Published July 2007
Eurocup weekend 2007 - Finland
The EuroCup in Finland was organized at two beautiful locations.
First, Saturday evening, we had the 5.000 m, 1.000 m, 100 m, and
relay at the carting track in Hyvinkää (50 km north of Helsinki).
This turned out to be a great track for kicking as well: nice, fast
curves, slight elevations that could make a difference, smooth asphalt,
no other traffic and a scenic overview for all spectators. A little
cloudy weather joined in to create the perfect kicking conditions.
There was a strong Finnish delegation, with Janne Moronen, Hannu
Vierikko, Thomas Portin and many others, and also an Italian team
(Paulo Quaranti and Elise Viglio), an extra Flemish competitor (Jan
Boons besides Erwin Borremans), and Danny Niederberger from Switzerland.
The qualifications for the 1.000 m sprint hold promise of a great
finale: the sixth best times were all within half a second from
each other. And indeed, what a finale it was! The first half of
the track showed a difficult and technical race with all competitors
so close that they almost kicked on each others bikes… Further on
Erwin Borremans could create a little gap, giving him a very good
position on the beginning of the last uphill, that was only one
curve away from the strait finish line. But Hannu Vierikko made
a peerless comeback on that same last uphill, so Erwin and Hannu
went into the last curve and last strait line side by side. Breathtaking!
Tsjak tsjak tsjak they closed in, throwing their bikes forward in
a final jump on the finish line. Erwin finished only inches for
Hannu, setting a new world record on the 1.000 m with 1 minute 47,98seconds.
Congratulations! Janne Moronen earned his bronze, Alpo Kuusisto
could hold grasp of the fourth place.
The relay was shortened to give each country / team the opportunity
to participate (four laps by two kickers in stead of the traditionally
six laps by three kickers). Five teams prepared for start, three
Finnish teams, an Italian mixed team and the Flemish team. The difference
in strength between the teams was more considerable than in the
other races, and the order early on was maintained throughout the
remainder of the laps.
Twelve competitors started for the five kilometer race. Although
it was just for "fun" and not for the EC-ranking, the average lap
time was very sharp, and some serious kicking was presented by these
strong guys in good shape.
After the races, we had a nice macaroni meal in the track tavern,
combined with a small lottery (Heikki won the kickbike ;-). Sounds
satisfactory? It got even better! We joined for a swim in nearby
lake where the water was rather warm and comfortable. Can one not
like Finland? Neeeeeeei, I don't think so.
On Sunday there was one race left: the feared marathon. Around twenty
participants and as many supporters gathered at 10.00 in the morning
in Espoo, alongside the beautiful Nuuksio national park (just east
of Helsinki). The sun was already beating down on us, it wasn't
just warm, it was really hot. Like that wouldn't be hard enough,
the track was full of mean nasty uphills, some wind, and occasionally,
Like Hannu said at the start: "It's time to separate the boys from
the men". Halfway the first of only two laps, Hannu was still dealing
with a strong Alpo, and on a short distance, Janne, Erwin and Thomas.
The time for the first lap was little over 41 minutes. It was only
later in the marathon that Hannu managed to sneak away from those
in direct pursuit. Hannu Finished as the real "Potkupresidenti"
in a sharp 1h 23' 25". Given the harsh conditions, it's quite good
compared to the marathon record on the same track of 1h 20' 03".
Alpo finished within half a minute (1h 23' 57") and Janne was already
down four minutes, Erwin eight minutes at finish. Everybody made
a great achievement by finishing. A refreshing beer launched the
traditional comments on this curve, that uphill, this maneuver and
that kind of fore wheel… it rolled into a real party in Hannu's
cottage, but I preferred to take a hike in the Nuuksio national
park, where my mind was swinging between the peaceful quietness
of Finlands nature, and the rhythmic tsjak tsjak tsjak of kicking