Entering it’s 54th year of hosting pure road racing competition, Imatranajo, better known in the UK as Imatra, since it’s return to the road racing calendar in 2016, has enjoyed a great upsurge in popularity.
It’s easy to see why Finland’s premier roads meeting, is so popular, the iconic surroundings, the chance to race on an ex World Championship circuit and it’s unique layout.
Most of all though, there’s a purity about it, similar to what you find, at the roads events across the UK, Ireland and in the Isle of Man.
With this in mind, it’s no surprise to see the 2018 entry for Imatra, the third round of the 2018 International Road Racing Championship, filled with world class quality.
Photo by Robby Repsol
Attention a plenty throughout Friday, Saturday and Sunday’s competition will be placed upon the Wepol Racing by Penz 13.com team, who’s all star rider line up includes IRRC Superbike championship leader Danny Webb.
Although a newcomer to Imatra, Webb who holds a 33 point championship lead has the undoubted ability to match the feats from last year of Michael Rutter and the late but great Dan Kneen, by securing podiums, race wins over the course of the weekend.
Team mates, plus fellow event newcomers, three times North West 200 winner Martin Jessopp, twice TT Privateers championship runner up Jamie Coward and Canada’s Dan Kruger all have the talent to potentially contend for rostrums.
Same unquestionably applies to IRRC legends Marek Cerveny and Didier Grams, plus local favourite Erno Kostamo of Markka Racing.
Additional quality to the Superbike entry is provided by European roads stars such as Terlicko maestro and former TT Privateers champion Horst Saiger, David Datzer, Nico Muller, Switzerland’s Lukas Maurer, Czech Republic’s Tomas Borovka and Imatranajo specialist Juha Kallio.
Looking towards the IRRC Supersport encounters, expect a battle royal between the likes of championship leader, meeting debutant Matthieu Lagrive, Pierre Yves Bian, Jonathan Goetschy and Laurent Hoffmann.
Photo by Robby Repsol
Don’t discount as well Christian Schmitz, Thomas Walther, Jochen Rotter and event wildcard Pauli Pekkanen from chalking up rostrum finishes.
Attracting blue chip title sponsorship from Valvoline, the 2018 Imatra Road Races, is shaping up to once again prove one of the main highlights of not only the IRRC calendar but the 2018 roads season as a whole.
Competition at Imatranajo gets underway on Friday with the opening practice sessions, followed on Saturday by a full day of qualifying, plus the Open B, opening IRRC Superbike, Supersport races.
The full practice, qualifying, race schedule for this years Imatranajo meet, is as follows:
Friday 6th June:
4:00 PM Roads close
5:15 PM Newcomers Practice
5:50 PM Open Supersport, Superstock Practice
6:25 PM Open Superbike Practice
7:00 PM Lightweight Practice
7:35 PM IRRC Supersport Practice
8:10 PM IRRC Superbike Practice
Saturday 7th June:
09:00 AM Roads close
10:00 AM IRRC Supersport First Qualifying
10:35 AM IRRC Superbike First Qualifying
11:10 AM Lightweight Qualifying
1:00 PM IRRC Supersport Second Qualifying
1:35 PM IRRC Superbike Second Qualifying
2:10 PM Open Supersport, Superstock Qualifying
2:45 PM Open Superbike Qualifying
3:45 PM IRRC Superbike Race 1 10 Laps
4:45 PM IRRC Supersport Race 1 10 Laps
5:45 PM Open B Race 7 Laps
Sunday 8th June:
08:30 AM Roads close
09:30 AM Open Supersport, Superstock warm up session
09:50 AM Lightweight warm up session
10:10 AM Open Superbike warm up session
10:30 AM IRRC Supersport warm up session
10:50 AM IRRC Superbike warm up session
12:00 PM Open Supersport, Superstock Race 10 Laps
1:00 PM Open Superbike Race 10 Laps
2:00 PM Lightweight Race 10 Laps
3:00 PM IRRC Supersport Race 2 10 Laps
4:00 PM IRRC Superbike Race 2 10 Laps
Words by Stevie Rial