EDRS Pro Nordic MC add lustre to Grand Opening of new Gardermoen Raceway
Norwegian drag racing is on the eve of a special event. After months of extremely hard work of many volunteers, it’s time for the Grand Opening of the completely renewed Gardermoen Raceway. The EDRS Pro Nordic Motorcycle Championship plays a major role in the Drag Challenge Grand Opening (August 3-7) as it’s round three of their championship. It’s great to see that the hard work of the NDRG crew is rewarded with a healthy entry in all EDRS Pro Nordic Motorcycle Championship classes.
Gardermoen Raceway will enter a new era with the Drag Challenge Grand Opening. Many volunteers did an outstanding job to alter the historic track into a modern drag racing venue that is ready for a long and bright future. It’s almost unbelievable what the Norsk Drag Racing Gardermoen (NDRG) crew did in such a short time. With all of the important facilities ready, it’s time for the Grand Opening, a milestone for Norwegian, and hopefully in the near future also European, drag racing. It may be unrealistic to expect records at the brand new track yet, but as it was a record setting track in the past, there is no doubt it will be the same in the near future.
The EDRS Pro Nordic Motorcycle Championship is at the half way point in the season and with Gardermoen, Norway, we see the third country in the series. Apart from the first round in Super Comp Bike and Super Street Bike, all eliminations were rained out at Alastaro, thus the favourites in almost all classes are still close together. That makes the Gardermoen race even more important and interesting. When riders still want to be in the title race at the final round at Tierp Arena, they can’t make any mistakes at Gardermoen and will have to score points!
Super Twin Motorcycle
There are no fewer than 14 entrants in Super Twin Motorcycle. All of the title contenders are at Gardermoen and there are also some interesting names and quick riders on the entry list that can spoil the championship dreams of the favourites. The current leader in the EDRS Pro Nordic Super Twin Motorcycle Championship is Samu Kemppainen.
The reigning champion had some serious opposition from his countrymen Vesa Lipponen and Harri Piensalmi in qualifying at Alastaro, and although the two Finns are not a real threat in the championship yet, they can become so if they score at Gardermoen. Greger Johansson is the number two in the championship and is 37 points behind leader Kemppainen. The best Norwegian riders are Vidar Ravnsborg and Hans Olav Olstad in third and fourth position in the championship. They will do everything they can to give their local fans something to cheer about.
Also from Norway are Erling Opheim, the current number six in the championship, Svein Olav Rolfstad and Trond Jostein Høiberget. As he was last year, Ronny Aasen is back in the EDRS Pro Nordic MC to race in his home country. The Zodiac machine can be extremely fast and will challenge all of the favourites for the race win. Marcus Christiansen from Denmark is back for his second race after his 2016 EDRS Pro Nordic MC debut at Alastaro. From Finland comes Aku Lantto, and after his Alastaro problems, he will at least try to make some more runs now. Last but not least Ismo Mäenpää from Finland is back for his first race of the 2016 season and the same is also true of Ulf Nylen.
Pro Stock Motorcycle
Kalle Lyrén is the man to beat in Pro Stock Motorcycle at the moment. The former EDRS Pro Nordic MC champion won the first race and was number one qualifier at Alastaro with his first ever 6-second run in Europe. The Veidec Lyrén Motorsports rider is leading the championship, 42 points clear of the number two and home favourite, Thomas Lysebraate Olsen.
Timo Savolainen is the number three in the championship, and as the Finn proved in the first two races, he can surprise and be in the final at Gardermoen. Kenneth Holmberg finally ended his period of bad luck at the second day at Alastaro. The Swecomposite rider will try to return to the performance levels he saw last season.
Fredrik Kempe is back for his third EDRS Pro Nordic MC race of the season, while Bo Thorselius will have his first outing of the 2016 EDRS Pro Nordic MC. Elvira Karlsson is not on the entry list so far. Elvira replaced her sister Ellsa in Finland. It’s not the first time that the Karlsson’s are a late entry, so let’s hope the Swedish team show up in Norway at the track where sisters Ellsa and Elvira were in the final last year.
Top Fuel Motorcycle
Top Fuel Motorcycle has six entrants from three different countries. Rikard Gustafsson is leading the championship after two races, but the Swede will get tough competition from reigning champion and local hero Jan Sturla Hegre. Thomas Pettersson is the number two in the provisional standings, but it will be difficult for the Swede to beat these two extremely fast combinations. The Grand Opening is Sverre Dahl’s first EDRS Pro Nordic MC race of the season, and as the Norwegian proved in the past, he can be extremely quick. Also new to this year’s championship is Per Wärn from Sweden and Shaun Branch from England. For Branch it’s his first ever race in the EDRS Pro Nordic MC. Like in Super Street Bike, it’s great to see riders from England entering the series.
Super Street Bike
With 15 entrants, Super Street Bike once again will have a 16-bike elimination ladder at Gardermoen. There are still only nine points in the championship between surprise leader and Tierp Arena winner Henri Kolehmainen from Finland, and Richard Stubbins from England. But Stubbins is not on the Gardermoen entry list and that could give Kolehmainen the opportunity to create a reasonable margin before the last race at Tierp. Mogens Lund from Denmark is third in the championship and proved his speed in the first round of eliminations at Alastaro.
Alex Hope is doing the full EDRS Pro Nordic MC tour and might be the new favourite to win the race when Stubbins is not in Norway. After his early exit at Tierp, Hope is fifth in the championship, 26 points short of number four, Anders Blanck. Vesa Ruhanen is the next rider in the points standing. Nils-Ola Andersson has had some problems so far this season and will be out for revenge.
The same can be said about reigning champion Björn Friström after his first round exit at Alastaro. Also from Sweden come Roberth Häggblom, Leif Larsson, Robert Nilsson, Ida Johansson, Emil Östlund and Pelle Lakmaker. There are two new Norwegian entrants at Gardermoen that we know very well from last year’s championship. Dag Wagenius is back after a shoulder injury that forced him to only watch his daughter Kathrine race in Super Comp Bike. Also back in action is Svein Ove Brændhagen.
Super Comp Bike
There is a healthy field of 19 entrants in Super Comp Bike. Seven riders are from Sweden, two from Finland, one from Denmark and nine from Norway! Bianca Nilsson was the most successful Super Comp Biker rider so far this season and so the young lady from Sweden is leading the championship. Anders Gerdtsson is second, but as the Swede is not on the entry list, it gives number three, 17-year old Kathrine Wagenius, the chance to make it an all-female one-two in the championship. Tomas Jonsson, Kimmo Rantala and Emil Östlund are not far behind in the championship and so eliminations will be as exciting as ever.
Super Gas Bike
Super Gas Bike has eleven entrants, and although it sounds a bit strange, ten of them are new to the 2016 EDRS Pro Nordic MC. Janne Koskinen, the number one in the championship and undefeated so far this season, is the only rider on the entry list that also attended race one and two. The Finn is of course the favourite to be the first ever EDRS Pro Nordic MC Super Gas Bike champion. Mikkel Jensen is from Denmark, and the other nine competitors in Super Gas Bike are all from Norway.
Qualifying for the EDRS Pro Nordic Motorcycle Championship in Top Fuel Motorcycle, Super Twin Motorcycle, Pro Stock Motorcycle and Super Street Bike will start Friday August 5.
For the Drag Challenge Grand Opening, Gardermoen Raceway, entry list see:
The EDRS Pro Nordic Motorcycle Championship points standings after two races: www.edrspro.com, points standings
Text: Remco Scheelings
Photos: Remco Scheelings and p.r. NDRG