Road Racing News

IRRC 2019: Imatranajo Preview

Entering it’s 55th 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, given its 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, authenticity about it, similar to what you find, at the road’s events across the UK, Ireland and in the Isle of Man.

With this in mind, it’s no surprise to see the 2019 entry for Imatra, the third round of the 2019 International Road Racing Championship, filled with world class quality.

Photo by Mark Corlett

Attention a plenty throughout Friday, Saturday and Sunday’s competition will be placed upon the Penz 13 BMW run Wepol Racing team, who’s all-star rider line-up includes IRRC Superbike championship leader Davey Todd.

Fresh from an excellent top six finish in last Friday’s Dunlop Senior TT, although the amiable Todd is a debutant to Imatra, he no question has the raw ability, potent talent to contend for podiums, race wins over the course of this weekend’s competitive action.

Photo by Pekka Varis

Team mate, reigning IRRC Superbike champion Danny Webb, making a welcome return to IRRC affiliated competition, dominated last years Imatranajo meeting, and starts for many the favourite to wrap up multiple Superbike successes.

Adding further top class depth to Wepol Racing’s challenge are multi North West 200 winner, roads returnee Martin Jessopp and Czech road racing legend Marek Cerveny.

IRRC series maestro Didier Grams, fellow series front runner, local hero Erno Kostamo will both be in prime contention for rostrum finishes, race wins.

Whilst further quality to the Superbike entry is provided by the likes of Kamil Holan, Ales Nechvatal, lead TT newcomer Lukas Maurer, Tomas Borovka and Performance Racing Achterhoek’s Virgil Amber Bloemhard.

Photo by Pekka Varis

Looking towards the IRRC Supersport encounters, expect battle royals between the likes of championship leader, reigning champion Matthieu Lagrive, Optimark Road Racing’s Pierre Yves Bian and Delaur Road Racing Belgium’s Laurent Hoffmann.

Others capable of contending for podium placing’s in the 10 lap Supersport races include event wildcard Pauli Pekkanen, Thomas Walther, Kamil Holan and Christian Schmitz.

Supported by leading Finland based travel company Finnlines, the 2019 Imatra Road Races, is shaping up to once again prove one of the main highlights of not only the IRRC calendar, but also the 2019 roads season as a whole.

Photo by Lars Törnqvist

Competition at Imatranajo gets underway on Friday with the opening practice sessions, followed on Saturday by a full day of qualifying, plus the opening IRRC Supersport/Superbike, Sidecar, ICGP (International Classic Grand Prix) races.

The full practice, qualifying, race schedule for this years Imatranajo meet, is as follows:

14th June:

3:00 PM Roads close
4:00 PM Newcomers Practice
4:30 PM Open Supersport Practice
5:00 PM Open Superbike Practice
5:30 PM IRRC Supersport Practice
6:00 PM ICGP (International Classic Grand Prix) Practice
6:30 PM IRRC Superbike Practice
7:00 PM Sidecars Practice
8:30 PM Roads open

15th June:

09:00 AM Roads close
10:00 AM IRRC Supersport Q1
10:30 AM ICGP Q1
11:00 AM IRRC Superbike Q1
11:30 AM Sidecars Q1

12:00 PM Open Supersport Q1
12:30 PM Open Superbike Q1
2:00 PM IRRC Supersport Q2
2:30 PM ICGP Q2
3:00 PM IRRC Superbike Q2
3:30 PM Sidecars Q2

4:30 PM IRRC Supersport Race 1 10 Laps
5:20 PM ICGP Race 1 10 Laps
6:10 PM IRRC Superbike Race 1 10 Laps
7:00 PM Sidecars Race 1 8 Laps
8:30 PM Roads open

16th June:

09:00 AM Roads open
10:30 AM ICGP Warm Up session
11:00 AM Open Supersport Race 2 8 Laps
11:50 AM Open Superbike Race 2 8 Laps

1:30 PM Sidecars Race 2 10 Laps
2:20 PM IRRC Supersport Race 2 10 Laps
3:10 PM ICGP Race 2 10 Laps
4:00 PM IRRC Superbike Race 2 10 Laps

Words by Stevie Rial