Drag Challenge at Gardermoen Raceway, round three of the EDRS Pro Nordic Motorcycle Championship
The 2015 EDRS Pro Nordic Motorcycle Championship is halfway through the season and part two kicks off with the Drag Challenge at the popular Gardermoen Raceway. On the entry list for the Norwegian round of the EDRS Pro Nordic MC are not only the regular championship contenders, but also some interesting new names. Can they disturb the championship dreams of the leaders, or will other riders surprise? Samu Kemppainen, Robert Karlsson, Dag Wagenius and Sverre Dahl travel to Gardermoen as the leaders in their respective categories, but will they still be leading after the Gardermoen eliminations?
Two rounds done and two to go! The riders who still want to be in the race for the title at the final round at Tierp Arena know what they have to do at Gardermoen Raceway: don’t make any mistakes, go some rounds and score points! One thing is for sure, the fast Gardermoen track will see exiting racing, close finishes, fast elapsed times and when the weather conditions are good, some new personal bests. In many ways this year’s Drag Challenge will be a race to remember, as it’s the last one at the ‘old’ Gardermoen Raceway. Next year Norway’s leading drag racing venue will look totally different and the new state-of-the-art facility will also be a leading European drag racing venue again.
Pro Stock Motorcycle – another Karlsson?
Who can beat the Karlssons? That seems to be the question so far this season. After a number one qualifying position at Tierp Arena for Robert Karlsson, all three Karlssons (Robert, Elvira and Ellsa) were in the semi-finals at Alastaro. In the Finnish final Robert beat daughter Elvira and took the win. Elvira will be out for revenge, also to keep her championship dream alive as she is the number two in the title race behind her father Robert. Ellsa made some extra test runs at Malmö Raceway last week and will at least try to reset her personal best.
Number three in the championship is Kenneth Holmberg. The Swecomposite rider has reset his personal best a few times already this season, but a win would make the season even more perfect and bring him closer to the leader in the championship.
Kalle Lyrén had a bad Alastaro weekend as the reigning EDRS Pro Nordic Pro Stock Motorcycle champion damaged both engines in qualifying and had to withdraw from eliminations. At this moment a second consecutive title seems far away, but with two good results it’s still possible for the Veidec rider. Anders Larsson showed his speed with a second qualifying position at Tierp. The experienced Pro Stock Motorcycle racer hates losing and with his great reaction times, he can disturb the title aspirations of the favorites.
After some problems at Tierp, Thomas Olsen made major progress in Finland and will try to make the next step at his home track, Gardermoen. Olsen will be accompanied by another local hero, Kenneth Vik. It will be the first EDRS Pro Nordic MC outing for the Norwegian rider this season. Another newcomer to this year’s EDRS Pro Nordic MC, but also an experienced Pro Stock Motorcycle racer, is Bo Thorselius from Sweden.
Super Twin Motorcycle – will Samu Kemppainen also be on top in Norway?
Samu Kemppainen has been the man to beat so far this season in Super Twin Motorcycle. In both races the reigning FIM European champion was number one qualifier and was in a class of his own in the Alastaro eliminations. Kemppainen might go for some new records at Gardermoen, but that’s still no guarantee for a win in eliminations.
Alastaro runner-up Per Bengtsson hopes to have more traction than he had in Finland. If the Swede can find the right set-up, he can challenge Kemppainen. The same can be said about the first Norwegian rider in the championship ranking, reigning EDRS Pro Nordic Super Twin Motorcycle champion Hans Olav Olstad. Olstad needs a win to keep his championship dream alive. Also from Norway are Svein Olaf Rolfstad, who had to withdraw from Alastaro eliminations, Vidar Ravnsborg and Trond Høiberget.
New to the championship and a great asset is of course regular FIM European Championship contender Ronny Aasen. Among the favorites is also Ismo Mäenpää from Finland, while from the same country Asko Määttä (after his second engine damage of this season in Alastaro) will already be happy to make some trouble free runs.
An outsider is Anders Hörnström, who made some good and spectacular (front wheel in the air) runs already this season. Stig Olof Svensson and Anna Lena Asplund from Sweden make the field to twelve and as in Super Twin Motorcycle everything is possible and these two riders can always surprise.
Dag Wagenius leads Super Street Bike
After his great win at Alastaro, Dag Wagenius comes to his home race as leader in the EDRS Pro Nordic Super Street Bike championship. In Finland Wagenius showed his great riding style and that even wheelies can’t stop him. But like at Alastaro, the field will be close together in Super Street Bike. Reigning EDRS Pro Nordic Super Street Bike champion Björn Friström was runner-up at Alastaro and is in that same position in the championship.
Nils-Ola Andersson is the number three in the championship and proved again at Alastaro how fast he can be. Anders Blanck and Leif Larsson were not so lucky so far this year, and both Swedes want to see Gardermoen as the turning point of their season.
Svein Ove Braendhagen skipped the Alastaro race but is back in his home country to collect points. From Sweden we see Pelle Lakmaker, Niclas Johansson, Roberth Häggblom and Emil Östlund. The only Finn on the entry list so far is Kimmo Pulakka.
Top Fuel Motorcycle
Sverre Dahl is leading in EDRS Pro Nordic MC Top Fuel Motorcycle. In Finland Dahl had some traction problems, but as Jan Sturla Hegre suffered severe engine damage in qualifying, Dahl had an easy win with a bye run in the final. At their home track the two Norwegian stars both want to shine, not with great racing only, but also with personal record breaking runs. Dahl was close to the 6.00-second barrier at Tierp earlier this season, and what a highlight it would be if he could make his first 5-second run in the last race at the ‘old’ Gardermoen track.
A lot of attention will go out to Rikard Gustafsson, as the Swedish record setting Funny Bike rider will race his brand new Top Fuel Motorcycle at Gardermoen. Gustafsson made his first test runs with the state-of-the-art machine at Malmö Raceway a few days ago, but the Drag Challenge will be the first official international race for this new combination.
Drag Challenge, Gardermoen Raceway, entry list: