Entering it’s 53rd year of hosting pure road racing competition, Imatranajo, better known in the UK as Imatra, since it’s return to the road racing calendar last year, 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 event across the UK, Ireland and in the Isle of Man.
With this in mind, it’s no surprise to see the 2017 entry for Imatra, filled with world class quality.
Photo by Robby Repsol
Alongside anticipated IRRC Superbike front runners such as championship leader Sebastien Le Grelle, Marek Cerveny, Didier Grams, Kamil Holan and Johan Fredriks, there’s a strong local contingent with Markka Racing’s Erno Kostamo and Juha Kallio, expected to challenge for podium finishes.
Keep an eye as well on, Estonia’s Martin Partelpoig, currently third in the championship standings.
Arguably though, most of the attention worldwide throughout Friday, Saturday and Sunday, will be placed upon Penz 13 BMW making their Finnish roads debut, with high profile newcomers Alex Polita, Dan Kneen and Michael Rutter.
The Lightweight TT champion and his Manx and Italian team mates, all have the world class capabilities, providing they gel quickly with Imatranajo, to contend for race wins.
Looking towards the IRRC Supersport encounters, expect a battle royal between the likes of race winners at Hengelo Davy Thoonen and Joey Den Besten.
Photo by Robby Repsol
Don’t discount as well French rising star Pierre Yves Bian, the diverse Kamil Holan, Kopcany Supersport winner Wolfgang Schuster, Thomas Walther, Christian Schmitz and wildcard Pauli Pekkanen.
Attracting blue chip title sponsorship from BMW Delta Bavaria, the 2017 Imatra Road Races, is shaping up to be one of the main highlights of 2017 within the continental pure road racing scene.
Imatranajo action gets underway, on Friday with the opening practice sessions, followed on Saturday by a full day of qualifying, plus opening Superbike, Supersport and Sidecars.
Photo by Prosky Photography
Then Sunday 9th of July, is race day, with five races scheduled to take place.
The full Imatra Practice/Qualifying/Race schedule, is as follows:
Friday 7th July:
5:15 PM Open Supersport Practice 30 Minutes
6:00 PM Open Superbike Practice 30 Minutes
6:45 PM Sidecars Practice 30 Minutes
7:30 PM IRRC Supersport Practice 30 Minutes
8:15 PM IRRC Superbike Practice 30 Minutes
Saturday 8th July:
10:00 AM IRRC Supersport Qualifying 1 20 Minutes
10:35 AM IRRC Superbike Qualifying 1 20 Minutes
11:10 AM Sidecars Qualifying 1 20 Minutes
1:45 PM IRRC Supersport Qualifying 2 20 Minutes
2:20 PM IRRC Superbike Qualifying 2 20 Minutes
2:55 PM Sidecars Qualifying 2 20 Minutes
3:30 PM Open Supersport Qualifying 20 Minutes
4:05 PM Open Superbike Qualifying 20 Minutes
5:00 PM IRRC Supersport Race 1 10 Laps
6:00 PM IRRC Superbike Race 1 10 Laps
7:00 PM Sidecars Race 1 10 Laps
Sunday 9th July:
09:30 AM Open Supersport warm up 10 Minutes
09:50 AM Sidecars warm up 10 Minutes
10:10 AM Open Superbike warm up 10 Minutes
10:30 AM IRRC Supersport warm up 10 Minutes
10:50 AM IRRC Superbike warm up 10 Minutes
12:45 PM Open Supersport Race 1 10 Laps
1:45 PM Sidecars Race 2 10 Laps
2:45 PM Open Superbike Race 1 10 Laps
3:45 PM IRRC Supersport Race 2 10 Laps
4:45 PM IRRC Superbike Race 2 10 Laps
Words by Stevie Rial