Samu Kemppainen, Kalle Lyrén, Rikard Gustafsson rule, while Henri Kolehmainen surprises at EDRS Pro Nordic MC season-opening Tierp Internationals
Samu Kemppainen (Super Twin Motorcycle), Kalle Lyrén (Pro Stock Motorcycle) and Rikard Gustafsson (Top Fuel Motorcycle) impressed with dominant wins in their respective categories at the EDRS Pro Nordic Motorcycle Championship season opening Tierp Internationals. All three riders raced to victory from the number one qualifying position at the state-of-the art Tierp Arena facility. In Super Street Bike, Henri Kolehmainen was the surprising winner when favourite and number one qualifier Richard Stubbins’ motor failed to start. In Super Comp Bike and Super Gas Bike the finals couldn’t be contested as the rain that hampered the Tierp Internationals almost all weekend, came back ten minutes too early.
The Tierp Internationals at the Tierp Arena drag racing facility was the first round of the EDRS Pro Nordic Motorcycle Championship. Qualifying was badly affected by the rain that plagued the Tierp area on Friday and Saturday. After a long day of waiting, the rain finally stopped late on Friday afternoon and thanks to the terrific effort of the Tierp Arena track crew, qualifying started at 5.30 PM and continued until 10 PM. That made it possible for all EDRS Pro Nordic Motorcycle Championship classes to still run the two originally planned qualifying sessions. The ETs were of course not impressive at the ‘green’ and already cold track. Saturday qualifying was washed out completely and so the elimination ladders were based on the two Friday runs. On Sunday, the sun was back and eliminations were contested in almost perfect conditions.
Super Twin Motorcycle
After his win at Santa Pod a few weeks ago at the opening round of the FIM championship, reigning EDRS Pro Nordic MC Super Twin Motorcycle champion Samu Kemppainen once again demonstrated his great form by racing to a stunning 6.76 seconds pass.
The Finn was in a class of his own, as number two qualifier Hans Olav Olstad’s best ET was 7.31 seconds and number three, Greger Johansson, was almost a second behind. Vidar Ravnsborg was fourth after two runs, Anders Hörnström and Roman Sixta from the Czech Republic fifth and sixth, and Per Bengtsson a disappointing seventh. Trond Jostein Høiberget was the last rider to qualify for eliminations.
As Olstad and Bengtsson had to face each other in the quarter finals, one of the favourites to win the race and the title would be out after round one. Bengtsson ran into technical problems while Olstad showed what the Norwegian is capable of with a great 6.72 seconds to advance to the next round. So did Kemppainen, as the Finn stormed to an impressive 6.54 seconds to beat Høiberget. Ravnsborg beat Hörnström in a close hole shot win, and Johansson defeated Sixta.
Kemppainen demonstrated his absolute dominance in European Super Twin Motorcycle again in the semi-final where the Finn recorded 6.50 seconds to defeat Ravnsborg and advance to the final. In the other semi-final Olstad ran into problems and Johansson took the win.
Kemppainen saved the best for the last and in another perfect run the Finn stormed to a stunning 6.48 seconds, another improvement after the 6.54 and 6.50 second passes and the best ET of the weekend. Johansson had some spectacular nitro flames at the start line, but the 7.30 seconds was far from enough to beat the reigning EDRS Pro Nordic MC champion.
Pro Stock Motorcycle
Pro Stock Motorcycle didn’t have the best Friday qualifying as many riders had all kind of mechanical problems and could only do one, or in some cases, no runs. Kalle Lyrén had problems at the start line in his first run, but the Veidec Lyrén Motorsports rider bounced back with 7.50 seconds in his second run to take over the lead from Ellsa Karlsson.
Karlsson stayed in second position, Timo Savolainen from Finland was third qualifier, while Fredrik Kempe was fourth and Thomas Olsen fifth. After his engine problems at The Main Event, Kenneth Holmberg was hit by technical issues again and couldn’t make it to the finish line.
Thanks to the better weather conditions, ETs in Pro Stock Motorcycle improve dramatically in eliminations. In a bye run Lyrén stormed to 7.02 seconds, and Savolainen improve to a great 7.26 seconds to defeat Kempe. There was drama in the run between Karlsson and Olsen. Karlsson was away first and as Olsen ran into problems, the win seemed to go to the young Swedish rider. But near the top end, Karlsson drifted to the centre line and hit the reflectors at the finish line, handing the win to Olsen.
In the semi-final Lyrén proved the 7.02 seconds was not a lucky shot, as in 7.01 seconds the Veidec rider improved again to defeat Savolainen. As Olsen had a bye run in his semi-final, Lyrén and the young Norwegian rider had to face each other in the final. Lyrén was the clear favourite and showed his consistency as after the 7.02 and 7.01 seconds, the former EDRS Pro Stock Motorcycle champion stormed to another 7.02 seconds to take the win.
Top Fuel Motorcycle
As expected, Rikard Gustafsson was the number one qualifier in Top Fuel Motorcycle and the only rider to break the 7-second barrier with 6.86 seconds. Thomas Pettersson was second (7.60 seconds) and the two Peter Anderssons third and fourth
In the semi-final Gustafsson (6.74 seconds) and Pettersson (7.2 seconds) defeated the two Anderssons and advanced to the final. Gustafsson didn’t make any mistakes and in his second 6-second run of the day (6.66 seconds), the favourite defeated Pettersson to win the first race of the season.
Super Street Bike
With Super Street Bike riders from England on the entry list, you knew they were the favourites to be in the number one qualifying position. The Tierp Internationals was no exception, but while Richard Stubbins left everyone far behind last year, his 7.45 seconds was just enough to stay ahead of Anders Blanck from Sweden, who was only 0.004 seconds behind the leader. Henri Kolehmainen from Finland was third and Mogens Lund from Denmark fourth, and so there were four countries represented in the top four.
Reigning champion Björn Friström had some problems and was fifth, and Robert Häggblom sixth. Nils-Ola Andersson, last year’s runner-up in the EDRS Pro Nordic MC, was only 13th, and the second top favourite from England, Alex Hope, was hit by all kinds of mechanical problems and was 14th . Rookie SSB-rider Ida Johansson was 16th and last one to qualify at her first ever EDRS Pro Nordic MC SSB race.
Eliminations in Super Street Bike were exciting and full of surprises. That started in the first round as Hope (7.46 seconds) pulled a red light, handing the win to Kolehmainen (7.53 seconds). Friström ran into problems and was eliminated by a surprising Robert Nilsson, while Lund defeated Andersson. There were no problems for Stubbins, who improved to 7.28 seconds, Leif Larsson (another 7-second run), Blanck (7.47 seconds), Jonas Lundberg and Häggblom, and so these riders advanced to the quarter finals.
Blanck was the next victim of eliminations as last year’s number four in the EDRS Pro Nordic MC ran into technical problems and saw Lundberg cross the finish line first. Stubbins improved again on his earlier performance with 7.19 seconds (against Larsson) to advance to the semi-finals. Lund was on a mission too and improved to 7.36 seconds to defeat Nilsson, while Kolehmainen (7.409 seconds) was too quick for Häggblom.
With Stubbins, Lund, Kolehmainen and Lundberg, there were four riders from four different countries in the semi-finals. Stubbins had to face Lund, and although the Dane improved to a great 7.23 seconds, it was not enough to beat Stubbins, who reset the best time of the day to 7.15 seconds. Kolehmainen recorded exactly the same ET as the Finn did in the quarter finals and that was enough to defeat Lundberg.
The biggest surprise of the day came in the final, where Stubbins was of course the clear favourite. But at the most important moment, Stubbins’ motor failed to fire up and although Kolehmainen waited a while, the Finn was ordered to come to the start line, and to his own surprise, took take an easy win.
Super Comp Bike
For 2016, Super Comp Bike and Super Gas Bike have been added to the EDRS Pro Nordic Motorcycle Championship. Qualifying in these two categories was also badly affected by the rain, as they could only run one qualifying session on Thursday. Super Comp Bike had twelve qualifiers with Peter Svensson in the number one position and Tomas Jonsson second. Bianca Larsson was third qualifier.
In the quarter final, number ten qualifier Anders Gerdtsson defeated Kimmo Rantala, and as the Swede had a bye run in the semi-final, he advanced to the final. The other semi-final was an all-female race with Kathrine Wagenius and Bianca Nilsson, with Nilsson taking the win. Unfortunately, with Nilsson and Gerdtsson in the line-up for their final, it started to rain and the race director had to cancel the Super Comp Bike final.
Super Gas Bike
The same happened to the Super Gas Bike finalists. In the semi-final number one qualifier Janne Koskinen from Finland defeated Thomas Nordin, and Magnus Pollack beat Marcus Forsberg. But also Koskinen and Pollack will have to wait a few more weeks to win their first EDRS Pro Nordic MC race.
Tierp Internationals statistics
Top Fuel Motorcycle
Low ET: Rikard Gustafsson, 6.669 seconds
Super Twin Motorcycle
Low ET: Samu Kemppainen, 6.483 seconds
Pro Stock Motorcycle
Low ET: Kalle Lyrén, 7.011 seconds
Super Street Bike
Low ET: Richard Stubbins, 7.157 seconds
Link to final qualifying lists and elimination ladder:
Link to championship points standings after the Tierp Internationals
For more pictures see:
Text: Remco Scheelings
Photos: Remco Scheelings