RARING TO GO! 9th September 2020
The organisers of the Arctic Circle, Classic Events BV, are happy to confirm that the event, originally scheduled for June 2020, will go ahead as planned in June 2021.
Like many of its contemporaries, the Arctic Circle fell foul of the Coronavirus outbreak, and had to be postponed for a year. However, Timo Rietbergen of Classic Events has viewed this delay as an opportunity to attract even more entries to the sixteen day odyssey around the Baltic States and Scandinavia.
“Basically, all the preparation work we did in 2019 in readiness for the 2020 event is still valid. We have only had to change one overnight halt because the original hotel could not accommodate us on the new date, but that now gives us the bonus of an extra night in Sweden!”
Unlike events to more familiar rallying countries like France, Spain and Italy, the Arctic Circle will pass through places and regions that have been relatively Covid free. Route designer Keith Baud, architect of the original event in 2000, pointed out, “the Baltic States and Scandinavia are still sparsely populated compared with the more crowded countries of Central and Southern Europe. Quite honestly, in northern Scandinavia you are more likely to see a reindeer than another human being, and I don’t think reindeer suffer from Covid 19.”
All of the countries the 7000km event passes through have managed the pandemic well so the organisers do not expect any problems come 2021. On the contrary, many of them are now re-opening to rallying, led by Estonia who recently hosted their first event in the World Rally Championship. Competitors who did the original event twenty years ago still have fond memories of the warm welcome they received in Tallin and other towns and cities around the Baltic, and 2021 should be no different.
From the start at Potsdam, just outside Berlin, on Saturday 12th June, a short transit section takes competitors across the border into Poland for the start of a two day drive across this historic and fascinating country. Then, after skimming the edge of Russia, the event enters Lithuania and the chance to drive the Nemunas Ring, the Lithuanian equivalent of the Nurburgring, before heading north on smooth gravel roads to Latvia, and its capitol Riga.
The fascinating circuit at Bikernieku kicks off day four before the route continues north through the Latvian forests to a lunch break on the very shores of the Baltic Sea. The afternoon run through southern Estonia finishes with a visit to purpose built motor sport complex before the final run into an overnight halt in Tallin, capitol of Estonia.
There will be plenty of free time on day five to explore the sights of this historic Hanseatic port before embarking on a late afternoon ferry for Helsinki in Finland, the sixth country in the rally. After a relaxing evening at a waterside hotel, the rally heads north the next morning to Avenhisto, regarded by many as one of the most challenging circuits in the world, whilst unch will be taken at the newly opened Mobilia Museum, which celebrates Finlands unique motoring heritage. This is the Land of the 1000 Lakes, the rallying heartland of Finland, and the afternoon will be spent following in the wheel tracks of motor sport history with regularity sections on some of the roads where the legendary Flying Finns learnt their skills.
The Scandic Laajavouri Hotel at Jyvaskyla is the traditional home of the 1000 Lakes Rally and should provide competitors with a welcome nights sleep before the event presses even further north towards the Arctic Circle the next morning. But Finland is a surprisingly large country and it will take a further two days driving, plus a night halt at the lakeside town of Vuokatti, before competitors finally reach the fabled Arctic Circle.
Because of social distancing, it is unlikely that anyone will be able to sit on Santas knee when he greets the competitors in Rovaniemi, but the organisers are confident that the satisfaction of reaching the Arctic will make up for any disappointment on that score!
After a party under the midnight sun, the event turns west and follows the Arctic Circle through the vast boreal forests into Sweden. The terrain gets a little more challenging with dramatic mountains and impressive rivers providing new interest in the landscape. Originally only one night was planned in the remote northern regions of this beautiful country, but now there will be two – at Arjeplog and Saxnas.
Approaching the Norwegian border, more mountains line the horizon and, even though it is midsummer, there may still be snow on the ground. After a couple of tricky regularities and a final test at a motorsport complex at Hell, the event finally reaches Trondheim, Norways second city, and a welcome rest day to recover from the rigours of the Arctic.
The final four days of the event are spent exploring the spectacular west coast of Norway with its breath-taking fiords and sensational mountain roads. Even though there will be three or four regularities a day, plus the occasional special test, the organisers have still allowed plenty of time in the schedule for everyone to enjoy the spectacular scenery.
Every twist and turn is guaranteed to produce a “WOW” before the rally finally draws to a close at the lakeside Sundvollen Hotel, just north of Oslo, from where regular ferries leave for mainland Europe.
Classic Events NV was originally set up twenty years ago by well-known competitor Bart Rietbergen, and is now run by his son Timo. Its first long distance event was the 2000 Mile Trial, followed by the Trial to the Nile in 2002, and since then Classic Events has successfully organised similar rallies in many far flung corners of the globe including South America, The Himalayas and New Zealand. Closer to home the hugely popular and highly competitive Winter Trial is now in its 20th edition!
For further information contact:
Classic Events NV. Postbus 94, 8170 AB Vaassen, The Netherlands
Tel: +31 (0)578 561 115 email: info@classicevents.nl