EDRS Pro Nordic Motorcycle Championship kicks off at Tierp Arena
Only a few days to go and the EDRS Pro Nordic Motorcycle Championship kicks off with the Tierp Internationals at Tierp Arena, the state-of-the-art drag race facility north of Stockholm. In four races the championship in six different categories will be decided, and the Tierp Internationals will be a first indication to see who are the favourites to follow in the footsteps of Robert Karlsson (Pro Stock Motorcycle), Samu Kemppainen (Super Twin Motorcycle), Jan Sturla Hegre (Top Fuel Motorcycle) and Björn Friström (Super Street Bike). Or will the reigning champions be able to keep their number one plate?
After the kick off at Tierp Arena, the teams will travel to Alastaro, Finland. Third race on the calendar is a special one, as it is the official opening of the great new Gardermoen Raceway in Norway. For their finals, the riders will go back to Tierp Arena for the Scandinavian Internationals, the fourth and last race of the EDRS Pro Nordic Motorcycle Championship. Super Comp Bike and Super Gas Bike are added to the EDRS Pro Nordic Motorcycle Championship this year, and together with Pro Stock Motorcycle, Super Twin Motorcycle, Top Fuel Motorcycle and Super Street Bike, that brings the number of categories in the most prestigious Scandinavian motorcycle drag racing championship up to six.
Pro Stock Motorcycle
Seven entrants from three different countries at the start of the season. As it looks like now, Pro Stock Motorcycle will have a new champion, as Robert Karlsson is not on the entry list. Only representative of the Karlsson family will be last year’s runner-up, Ellsa Karlsson, as her sister Elvira will also miss the start of the season. Ellsa Karlsson will meet some tough competition.
First of all there is Kalle Lyrén, the 2014 EDRS Pro Nordic MC champion. The Veidec Lyrén Motorsport rider travelled to the States at the end of last season, competed in some races of the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series and ran his first 6-second. With that experience and knowledge, Lyrén might be the favourite for the 2016 EDRS Pro Nordic MC Pro Stock Motorcycle title.
Kenneth Holmberg is another favourite. The Swecomposite rider had his first race of the season at Santa Pod. Holmberg suffered some engine problems, but that will be solved in time to go for a final at Tierp. Next one in the list is Thomas Lysebraaten Olsen from Norway. Last season the young and talented rider improved almost every race and a top three finish is possible. Timo Savolainen will defend the Finnish colours again and can always surprise with impressive numbers. Consistency was the problem so far for the Finn, but when he solved that over the winter, Savolainen can be a frontrunner too. Jörgen Bengtsson made his EDRS Pro Nordic MC debut in Pro Stock Motorcycle at the 2015 Scandinavian Internationals and is back for more. Not seen on the entry list in 2015 is Fredrik Kempe from Sweden.
Super Twin Motorcycle
No less than 15 entrants in Super Twin Motorcycle. With five riders, Norway is as usual well represented in this category. Four riders come from Sweden, four from Finland, one from Denmark and one from the Czech Republic. Reigning champion is Samu Kemppainen, and the Finn is again the clear favourite, especially as he comes back with the trophy after his win at Santa Pod. Also from Finland come last year’s number five, Ismo Mäenpää, Harri Piensalmi, and the so far less well-known Aku Lantto.
But the biggest threat for Kemppainen might be last year’s runner-up Hans Olav Olstad, and number three Per Bengtsson. Competition will also come from experienced an well-known Super Twin Motorcycle riders like Svein Olav Rolfstad, Vidar Ravnsborg, Trond Jostein Høiberget and Greger Johansson. But never underestimate Anders Hörnström, Erling Opheim and Stig Olof Svensson. All the way from the Czech Republic comes Roman Sixta, who had his first EDRS Pro Nordic MC event in August last year. That felt so good, that Sixta is back for more. Like Kemppainen, Sixta had his first race three weeks ago at Santa Pod.
Top Fuel Motorcycle
Top Fuel Motorcycle has five entrants at the Tierp Internationals. Reigning champion is Jan Sturla Hegre from Norway, but with Rikard Gustafsson on the entry list, the Norwegian knows it will be tough to repeat that success.
With his still almost brand new Top Fueler, Gustafsson stormed to a stunning 6.04 seconds at Santa Pod three weeks ago. Don’t be surprised to see his first 5-second at Tierp. For the two Peter Anderssons and Thomas Petterson it will be difficult to beat these two, but with consistency you can also win races.
Super Street Bike
With 19 entrants, Super Street Bike has the largest field in the EDRS Pro Nordic Motorcycle Championship at Tierp Arena. Reigning champion Björn Friström will start his title defense, but will meet strong competition, as only number three, Dag Wagenius is missing from last year’s top seven.
Runner-up Nils-Ola Andersson and Anders Blanck are back for more, but the toughest competition will come from England, the country with the strongest Super Street Bike field in Europe. Last year, Richard Stubbins and Alex Hope were at Tierp twice, and were in a class of their own. Although they only took part in two of the four races, they ended fifth and sixth in the championship. Stubbins was runner-up at The Main Event three weeks ago, while Hope won in Pro Stock Motorcycle.
Mogens Lund was also at Santa Pod. The Dane reset his personal best with his almost brand new bike and will be looking for more at Tierp. Special attention will go out to 19-year old Ida Johansson, as she steps up from Super Gas Bike and will make her SSB debut at Tierp. Other entrants from Sweden are Roberth Häggblom, Tommie Johansson, Nils Lagerlöf, Pelle Lakmaker, Leif Larsson, Jonas Lundberg, Robert Nilsson and last but not least Emil Östlund. From Finland come Henri Kolehmainen, Jani Kumpulainen, Kimmo Pulakka and Vesa Ruhanen.
Super Comp Bike and Super Gas Bike
For the first time, Super Comp Bike and Super Gas Bike are included in the EDRS Pro Nordic Motorcycle Championship. In Super Comp Bike there are 13 entrants with well-known names from Norway like Kristin Hegre, Kathrine Wagenius and Kjell Ågnes. From Sweden come Ulf Fridolfsson, Anders and Arvid Gerdtsson, Tomas Jonsson, Bianca Nilsson, Thomas Nordin, Peter Svensson, Micke Ölen and Emil and Rasmus Östlund. Super Gas Bike has four entrants, two from Sweden (Marcus Forsberg, Magnus Pollack) and two from Finland (Janne Koskinen, Kimmo Rantala). Sunday evening we will know who are the first ever EDRS Pro Nordic MC winners in these classes.
Link to the entry list: http://www.dragracing.eu/event_details.asp?c=y&id=299
Text and photos: Remco Scheelings