Top Fuel Bike Review
FHRA Nitro Nationals 
Four riders entered for the FHRA Nitro Nationals Top Fuel Bike category; Ian King (UK) Rikard Gustafsson and Nils Lagerlöf (Sweden) and domestic rider Kai Selkämaa who has not been competing in the previous two championship rounds. 
In the qualifications we saw Rikard Gustafsson start off with a fine 6.64 sec run already during session #1, while Ian King 6.32 sec from session #3 improved to an impressive 6.19 sec in the 4th and last qualification round. The bike fish tailed half track but King managed the 1585 cc Puma Engineering / Gulf Oil Racing Top Fuel Bike impressively. 

King with that passed Gustafsson in the qualification list and Kai Selkämma follwed at 6.80 sec/323 km and in 4th place Nils Lagerlöf  at 7.96 sec, which the team was not overwhelmingly sastisfied with.

In the eliminations it was King against Lagerlöf and Gustafsson against Selkämaa. On paper it should have been King and Gustafsson who took the wins, but this is drag racing and in one of the most extreme and difficult motorsports to manage a win rarely come easy or come at all.. Nils Lagerlöfs win over King, Nils described afterwards as somewhat of a milestone for him personally. Lagerlöf presented a 6.88 sec run at 306 km (King ran 7.74 sec).

In the other semi-final we saw a tight race between Gustafsson and Selkämaa where Selkämaa was slightly ahead from the startline and crossed the finish line after 7.067 sec at 305 km compared to Gustafssons 7.09 sec/311 km.

Also on site at Alastaro to watch and assist was F2010 Top Fuel Bike champion Petri Paljakka, Finland who hopes to enter the event in Hockenheim if all falls in place  

Kai Selkämma entered the championship at Alastaro

So, the final that should have been between Selkämaa and Lagerlöf but rained out (as did the finals in the other championship classes)..

Leaving Alastaro we have Ian King in championship lead at 174 points, 48 points ahead of Nils Lagerlöf and with Rikard Gustafsson in 3rd place at 108 points.

Link to Qualification list
Link to Elimination ladder

The next round in the UEM Drag Bike Championship is the NitrOlympx at HockenheimRing in Germany August 10-12th. With a few days to go before the entry closes, the entry list show a few riders that was not present at Alastaro;  Europes quickest Peter Svensson (Sweden), stable performing Steve Woollatt (UK) and Otto Kneble from the Czech Republic. 

Stay tuned for the NitrOlympx Preview in the next edition!

Nils Lagerlöf is one of three Funny Bike riders who performed under 6.99 sec in 2011 and is allowed to compete in Top Fuel Bike. Here with crew member Niclas.
Lagerlöf was a finalist at Alastaro

Rikard Gustafsson always starts the bike at the bleach box assisted by his son

Ian King ready to enter the Alastaro track in a smoky burnout

Significant style - Nils Lagerlöf ready to enter pre stage

Text: Åsa Kinnemar
Photos: Speedgroup
This article is part of the Speedgroup Club Europe Newsletter #9/2012

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