Great qualifying for EDRS Pro Nordic MC round two at Alastaro, but eliminations rained out
After two days of great qualifying with a stunning 6.98 seconds for Kalle Lyrén in Pro Stock Motorcycle and a Finnish top three in Super Twin Motorcycle led by Samu Kemppainen with 6.62 seconds, everybody was looking forward to an action packed elimination day. But the thus far perfect Finnish weather had other plans and so, after the first round of Super Street Bike, a thunderstorm and rain showers brought an early end to the eliminations of the FHRA Nitro Nationals, round two of the EDRS Pro Nordic Motorcycle Championship.
Alastaro Circuit, situated in the middle of the beautiful Finnish forests, hosted round two of the EDRS Pro Nordic Motorcycle Championship. With plenty of sunshine and pleasant temperatures, there were almost perfect weather conditions during qualifying for the FHRA Nitro Nationals. Until a few years ago, traction was a problem at Alastaro, but since the track was resurfaced, it has become better every year, with almost record setting numbers in the 2016 edition of this great race. That made it even harder to accept that the rain cut short eliminations to only one round in Super Street Bike and Super Comp Bike.
Pro Stock Motorcycle
As he was in the first round of the EDRS Pro Nordic Motorcycle Championship at Tierp, Kalle Lyrén was in a class of his own in qualifying at Alastaro. Even the worst of his four runs would have been good enough to claim the number one qualifying position. The Veidec Lyrén Motorsports rider started with 7.04 seconds, improved to 7.01 seconds, recorded 7.02 seconds in his third run, to storm to a stunning 6.985 seconds at 306.9 km/h in his final run. It was Lyrén’s first ever 6-second run in Europe, after he broke the 7-second barrier earlier this year in the United States.
Elvira Karlsson replaced her sister Ellsa on the Robert Karlsson owned bike, as the youngest of the two sisters still had handling problems with the powerful Pro Stocker. In her first race in almost a year, Elvira claimed the second qualifying position with 7.21 seconds, with local hero Timo Savolainen in third position with 7.31 seconds.
After some mechanical problems on Friday, Kenneth Holmberg ended his period of bad luck on Saturday with two good runs and a fourth qualifying position. Thomas Olsen was fifth, Fredrik Kempe sixth and Jukka Köykkä from Finland ended qualifying for his first EDRS Pro Nordic MC race in seventh position.
With his Tierp win and qualifying results at Alastaro, Lyrén is leading the EDRS Pro Nordic Pro Stock Motorcycle Championship with 151 points. Olsen is second with 109 points and Savolainen third with 100 points.
Super Twin Motorcycle
There was a major surprise in Super Twin Motorcycle qualifying at the end of day one. It was not favourite Samu Kemppainen leading the field, but Vesa Lipponen! The Finn stormed to 6.74 seconds to take the lead, with Kemppainen in second position with 6.79 seconds.
But Saturday evening everything was back to normal again. Kemppainen stormed to 6.62 seconds to take over the number one position. Lipponen couldn’t improve on his Friday performance but still ended qualifying in an excellent second position.
Harri Piensalmi (6.99 seconds) surprised with a number three qualifying position, making the top three all Finnish. Svein Olaf Rolfstad was the best of the rest in the seven second zone and ended his first EDRS Pro Nordic MC race of the season in fourth qualifying position. Vidar Ravnsborg was fifth, Tierp runner-up Greger Johansson sixth, Erling Opheim seventh and Marcus Christiansen from Denmark took the eighth and last qualifying position for eliminations. Finnish rookies Torsti Kettula and Aku Lantto didn’t make the field.
Kemppainen is leading the EDRS Pro Nordic Super Twin Motorcycle Championship after two races, with Johansson in second position and Ravnsborg third. As in Pro Stock Motorcycle, Super Twin Motorcycle also sees three riders from three different countries in the provisional top three.
Top Fuel Motorcycle
After he had to skip the first race at Tierp Arena, Jan Sturla Hegre had his first EDRS Pro Nordic MC outing of the 2016 season at Alastaro. The reigning EDRS Pro Nordic MC Top Fuel Motorcycle champion from Norway recorded 6.379 seconds on Friday, and as number two qualifier Rikard Gustafsson couldn’t improve on his Friday performance of 6.80 seconds, Hegre ended qualifying in the number one position. Thomas Pettersson was third with 7.15 seconds.
Gustafsson is leading the EDRS Pro Nordic Top Fuel Motorcycle Championship, with Tierp runner-up Pettersson in second position and Hegre third.
Super Street Bike
Favourite Richard Stubbins suffered some mechanical problems on Friday, but bounced back on Saturday to jump from the sixth qualifying position into the lead. Nobody could even come close to the Englishman’s 7.25 second pass. But behind Stubbins, the next five riders were extremely close together.
Friday leader Alex Hope was second with 7.428 seconds, closely followed by Anders Blanck with 7.455 seconds. Only one thousandth of a second behind Blanck was reigning champion Björn Friström, who was getting to grips with his new bike. In fifth qualifying position there was Henri Kolehmainen with 7.471 seconds, and only 0.006 seconds behind that was the Tierp Arena winner Vesa Ruhanen in sixth position! That’s what we call close qualifying – five riders within 0.05 seconds of each other.
The first rider in the 7.5 seconds was Mogens Lund with 7.56 seconds. The Dane had some problems with a water leak in qualifying. Emil Östlund was eighth qualifier with 7.72 seconds and Nils-Ola Andersson a disappointing thirteenth. Apart from number sixteen qualifier Ida Johansson, all riders who qualified for eliminations were in the 7-second zone.
Super Street Bike was the only class of the EDRS Pro Nordic Motorcycle Championship that could complete one round of eliminations on Sunday. Almost all of the top eight qualifiers had no problems winning their round and so Stubbins, Östlund, Kolehmainen, Hope, Lund, Blanck and Ruhanen advanced to the quarter finals.
Hope and Lund particularly impressed with 7.34 and 7.37 second elapsed times, much better than their qualifying numbers. The only exception among the top eight qualifiers was Friström, as the reigning champion had some mechanical problems and was defeated by number thirteen qualifier Andersson.
Tierp Arena winner Kolehmainen is still leading the EDRS Pro Nordic MC Super Street Bike Championship, but with his better qualifying results at Alastaro, Stubbins closed the gap to nine points. Lund is third with Blanck in fourth position.
Super Comp Bike
Super Comp Bike had already made some qualifying runs on the Thursday, and altogether they made six runs. Emil Östlund was leading the 17-bike field, with Tierp finalist Bianca Nilsson in second position and Arvid Gerdtsson in third. Super Comp Bike started their eliminations on Saturday afternoon and were able to complete one round. Nilsson, Anders Gerdtsson, Kathrine Wagenius and Tomas Jonsson all won their rounds and so the top four in the championship remained unchanged after Tierp.
Super Gas Bike
For the second time in two races Janne Koskinen was number one qualifier in Super Gas Bike. After six qualifying runs Jari Malinen was second and Kari Rautanen third, making the top three of the 7-bike field all Finnish. As it was in almost all other classes, eliminations for Super Gas Bike were over before they could even start on Sunday afternoon. In the championship Koskinen is leading, with Tierp finalist Magnus Pollack in second position and Malinen third.
FHRA Nitro Nationals statistics
Top Fuel Motorcycle
Low ET: Jan Sturla Hegre, 6.379 seconds
Top Speed: Rikard Gustafsson, 332.81 km/h
Super Twin Motorcycle
Low ET: Samu Kemppainen, 6.628 seconds
Top Speed: Vesa Lipponen, 376,79 km/h
Pro Stock Motorcycle
Low ET: Kalle Lyrén, 6.985 seconds
Top Speed: Kalle Lyrén, 307.43 km/h
Super Street Bike
Low ET: Richard Stubbins, 7.25 seconds
Top Speed: Alex Hope, 321.24 km/h
For the final qualifying lists and elimination ladders see:
For the championship points standings after the FHRA Nitro Nationals see:
www.edrspro.com, points standings
For more pictures see: www.edrspro.com, photo galleries
Text and photos: Remco Scheelings