Alastaro, always good for surprises

The FHRA Nitro Nationals is always special, and with an all Finnish final in Super Twin Motorcycle, a Finnish runner-up in Pro Stock Motorcycle and Finnish winners in Super Comp Bike and Super Gas Bike, the home crowd had plenty to cheer for. The qualifying and eliminations results were published on the Dragracingeurope.eu website during the event. In this article we give a short review and pay attention to some other highlights and notable events that happened in the EDRS Pro Nordic MC classes during the FHRA Nitro Nationals at Alastaro.

Two weeks after the season opening Tierp Internationals, the EDRS Pro Nordic Motorcycle Championship had its second round at Alastaro Circuit. The event was run under almost perfect weather conditions, although most motorcycle categories had some problems in qualifying with the strong side wind. Of course the long delays on Friday and Saturday were a black mark against the event and led to a reduced number of qualifying runs in all EDRS Pro Nordic MC classes. But eliminations and at least one surprise winner went a long way towards compensating for that.

Super Twin Motorcycle

In Super Twin Motorcycle Svein Olav Rolfstad impressed with an excellent 6.56 seconds in qualifying, handing the Norwegian rider the number one qualifying position. Due to the lack of track time and some mechanical problems, the differences in Super Twin were more than expected.

Greger Johansson was second with 7.6 seconds and Jaska Salakari third with 8.4 seconds. Reigning EDRS Pro Nordic MC Super Twin champion Samu Kemppainen had problems again and was fifth, with Roman Sixta and Tommy Grimes only 11th and 12th in the 12-bike field. Because of the limited number of qualifying runs, the organization decided to make the Super Twin Motorcycle category a 16-bike field instead of 8-bike field they normally run. Because Tierp winner Anders Hörnström couldn’t make it to the race at Alastaro, the Super Twins would at least have a first time winner in 2017.

Teemu Kettula again proved that you don’t have to be the quickest to win a race and that consistency is sometimes more important. The Finnish number six qualifier saw Rolfstad run into problems in the quarter final, and with a bye run in the semifinals, he advanced to the final. On the other side of the elimination ladder, Kemppainen finally was back to form. After a winning 6.92 seconds in round one, the reigning champion improved to 6.78 seconds in a close quarter final run against Sixta. In the semifinal Kemppainen had to face Salakari, but as the number three qualifier ran into problems, Kemppainen claimed the win in 8.2 seconds.

In the final Kemppainen was the clear favourite and was away first, but then suffered mechanical problems. Kettula made up the lost ground and passed the reigning champion to take the win in 7.97 seconds, the first win for the Finn in the EDRS Pro Nordic Motorcycle Championship.

Kemppainen is the new leader in the EDRS Pro Nordic MC Super Twin Motorcycle Championship, with Kettula in second position, only one point short of the leader. Johansson is third and Sixta fourth.

Pro Stock Motorcycle

After his crash at Tierp Arena, Kalle Lyrén and teammate Robert Karlsson were not at Alastaro. But after completing his licencing procedure, Janne Koskinen was allowed to take part in qualifying. The 2016 EDRS Pro Nordic MC Super Gas Bike champion was getting to grips very quickly with the difficult Pro Stock Motorcycle.

But in his second Friday qualifying run, Koskinen was caught by the wind, couldn’t avoid contact with the wall and crashed at the finish line. Koskinen was taken to the hospital and suffered a broken knee and wrist. We all wish the young Finn a speedy recovery. With only four Pro Stockers left, home favourite Timo Savolainen claimed the number one qualifying position, with Kenneth Holmberg and Thomas Lysebraate Olsen not far behind, and Alex Hope in fourth position.

In the semifinals Savolainen improved to a great 7.11 seconds and advanced to the final, where the Finn had to face Olsen, who beat Holmberg in the second semifinal.

The final was decided at the start line as Savolainen pulled a red light, handing the win to Olsen. It was the second consecutive win for the young Norwegian rider, as he was also the winner at Tierp.

Olsen is also the leader in the championship after two races, with Savolainen in second position and Hope third.

Top Fuel Motorcycle

Top Fuel Motorcycle had only two entrants at Alastaro. As expected, Jan Sturla Hegre was too quick for Thomas Pettersson’s Funny Bike in qualifying and eliminations as well, and so the Norwegian rider took the win and is also the leader in the EDRS Pro Nordic MC Top Fuel Motorcycle championship, with reigning champion Pettersson in second position.

Super Street Bike

In Super Street Bike Mogens Lund was in a class of his own in qualifying. The Danish winner of round number one at Tierp recorded a 7.38-second elapsed time. That could have been even quicker as Lund wasn’t forced to shut off after 1000 feet as the side wind became too strong at that point of the track.

Anders Blanck was the number two qualifier with 7.60 seconds, with Vesa Ruhanen in third position (7.80 seconds) and Roberth Häggblom fourth with 7.89 seconds. Behind Kim Hilander, reigning champion Henri Kolehmainen was only sixth qualifier with 8.11 seconds.

As there was less wind on eliminations day, Lund could go full throttle over the ¼ mile and improved to 7.14 seconds in the first round, to beat Mark Hope with a less impressive 7.89 seconds in the quarter final.

In the semifinals Lund improved again with a great 7.11 seconds against Ruhanen. On the other side of the elimination ladder Blanck defeated Björn Friström, who had a very difficult weekend at Alastaro, and Hilander, to advance to the final with a  bye run in the semifinal.

With Lund and Blanck in the final, the last round was a replay of the Tierp Internationals final. But there was no revenge for Blanck, as Lund recorded 7.54 seconds while Blanck ran into problems.

With this second consecutive win, Lund leads the championship with 331 points, with Blanck in second position with 277 points and Ruhanen third with 240 points.

Super Comp Bike

In Super Comp Bike Toni Suokas led the 16-bike field into eliminations with 8.55 seconds, with Peter Östlund in second and Jami Oksanen in third position. Suokas proved his great Alastaro form by recording the almost perfect index time of 8.502 seconds in his quarter final win over Tomas Jonsson, to advance to the final after defeating Emil Östlund in the semifinals.

In the final Suokas had to face Kimmo Rantala. The Tierp Arena winner didn’t have his best qualifying with a sixth position, but was strong in eliminations.

In the all Finnish final, Rantala couldn’t double up after his Tierp win and was defeated by number one qualifier Suokas.

Rantala leads the championship, with Emil Östlund in second position while his victory jumped Suokas into third position.

Super Gas Bike

Before the Alastaro race started it was already sure there would be a Finnish winner, as all competitors were from the land of the 1000 lakes. Heikki Koskinen was the number one qualifier after three runs, with Kari Rautanen in second position and Jari Malinen third. After defeating Jani Blom in the first round, Koskinen advanced to the final with a bye run in the semifinals.

Malinen had a far more difficult job to do, as the number three qualifier had to beat Rautanen in a close semifinal to advance to the final. Koskinen couldn’t make it to the final in time and so Malinen took the win in his home race.

In the championship, Tierp Internationals runner-up Iiro Reinola is still the leader, with Malinen second and Koskinen third.

It’s a Finnish tradition that the winners get dunked in a water barrel. Super Twin Motorcycle winner Teemu Kettula had to experience this home tradition

and Thomas Lysebraate Olsen too

and also Mogens Lund couldn’t avoid a wet shirt

Super Twin Motorcycle is always spectacular and sometimes explosive. Jaska Salakari proved that in qualifying

while Tommy Grimes went out with a big bang in round one of eliminations

Speedgroup was on site for assistance and to provide the teams with the decals they needed.

Start line inspection by Kathrine Wagenius

And once again not all riders could keep both wheels on the ground. Super Gas Bike rider Juha Komulainen was one of them

and Ida Zetterström carried on from where she left off at Tierp Arena

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Champions 2017
Jan Sturla Hegré, NOR - Top Fuel MC
Tommy Grimes Jr USA - Super Twin MC
Thomas Olsen, NOR - Pro Stock MC
Mogens Lund, DEN - Super Street Bike
Emil Östlund, SWE - Super Comp Bike
Iiro Reinola, FIN - Super Gas Bike
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