German Nitro – 2018 NitrOlympX at Hockenheim
The NitrOlympX features liberal doses of the nose tickling, throat souring, eye watering smell of the liquid dynamite called nitromethane.
The ground shaking vibrations that rattle your bones and shake your intestines are felt here. The earsplitting noise, the staccato-like cackling from the glowing hot pipes and the thundering from a stampede of ten thousand horses envelopes your soul. It’s the call of the fastest and most extreme form of all Motorsports on the planet which makes fans from all over the world meet on the August weekend in the small town called Hockenheim. Hockenheim in Baden Württemberg known for its Formula One course. But this is NitrOlympX!
Once per year, part of the track gets turned into a fully prepped and glued quarter mile dragstrip. The strip then hosts two drag racing events on back to back weekends. One of which is a run what ya’ brung public race day event, which happens to take place the weekend before the big NitrOlympX show.
NitrOlympX is the fourth of six European championship drag races, but it’s also famous for its Saturday Night Show. Some fans just come for the nighttime fireworks. So after the first two days of qualifying of all sportsman and all FIA and FIM pro category cars, it’s all about an entertaining, thrill-filled two hours after dark.
With flame throwing, fire spitting, wheel standing cars and bikes running under colorful lights, and pumping music from the PA – it’s like techno dance club meets motorsport. The screaming crowds eat it up. This year’s edition was as spectacular as ever. From jet powered vehicles from all sizes and shapes, a turbine powered Go Kart to a jet powered school bus – it was quite the show!
But before it got dark, the Red Bull FMX-Show, a stunt rider duo, wowed the crowd with their spectacular high jumps and artistic poses.
Another highlight and regular participant of the show is Eric Teboul on his Rocket powered bike, which covers the quarter mile in 5.12 seconds! At the starting line the completely noiseless motorcycle puffs out some steam, then blasts off with a violent rush and whiz attacking the Rico Anthes Quarter mile in his very own particular fashion. And of course, a couple of top fuel bikes and top fuel dragsters showed up to make some show passes under the lights.
A couple of nostalgia dragsters and funny cars were also out showing the fans what it looked like in the past with smoking eighth- mile burnouts and noisy “dry hops.” Bob Hawkins performed one of his spectacular fire burnouts in his “Time Traveler 2“ slingshot dragster. And then it was the duel of the Jet Funny Cars, England vs. Germany, closing out the night with their flaming pops and bangs.
After all the action both fans and race teams mix in the pits and in the camp grounds to party, barbecue and to have their fair share of beers and laughs until the break of dawn. Sunday, race day, saw some great action from the cars of the sportsman classes as well as the pro categories.
FIA Top Fuel driver Liam Johnes took the trophy home to England beating Antti Horto with a 3.994 at 304.47 mph to a 4.07 at 277.31 mph. Timo Habermann defeated his brother Dennis with a 5.401 at 260.97 mph to a 5.47 at 260.97 mph in the final round of FIA Top Methanol Dragster.
Pro Modified driver Micke Gullqvist’s 5.976 at 261.21 mph beat Jan Ericsson’s 6.045 at 240.29 mph earning him the trophy. In FIA Pro Stock, surprisingly Robin Norén managed to win with a 8.608 at 98.46 mph on a tire shaking run defeating Bengt Ljungdahl’s 7.213 at 157.25 mph who pulled a red light at the tree.
After the all the Champaign bottles got splattered and the trophies got heaved, it was time to load the cars back into the trailer and head back home or onwards to the next to the last championship round in Tierp, Sweden. The 2018 NitrOlympX was a spectacular event with a huge car count and a record setting crowd. We’re already looking forward to the next year’s edition.