Last weekend’s Imatranajo meeting, showcased in my opinion why it should be classed as an international meeting, alongside the North West 200, TT Races, Ulster Grand Prix and Macau Grand Prix.
At present it’s these four events and the Steve Henshaw International Gold Cup at Scarborough, which carry international road race status.
Since it’s return last year, Imatranajo has gone from strength to strength. The former Moto GP World Championship venue, has proven an instant hit with IRRC competitors, the local’s but also recently TT front runners such as Dan Kneen and Michael Rutter.
Photo courtesy of Toni Borner
Competing last Friday, Saturday and Sunday, the high profile duo lead the Penz 13 BMW challenge, in providing Rico Penzkofer’s outfit with a momentous 1-2-3 finish, in the Open Superbike race.
The Penz 13 BMW Team Principal was full of praise for Imatra, he said:
“We fell in love with the race here and the organisation at Imatra, they are doing their very best and giving their all. It’s been a mega weekend and all our three riders already said that they want to come back here next year.”
Add in Alex Polita, IRRC stars such as Sebastien Le Grelle, Marek Cerveny, Didier Grams, Joey Den Besten and Kamil Holan, and you have an entry that is truly ‘World Class’.
With this in mind, in my opinion organisers at Imatranajo, should be pushing soon for the event to attain international road race status.
Like the Mountain Course and Dundrod, the roads of Imatra feel iconic, have a picturesque nature, plus have the draw of been an ex Grand Prix venue.
It also has a thriving online presence, and an informative app which includes live timing.
Add all this up, and you have an international meeting in waiting. Just imagine the quality of the entry, if a few more TT winners, rising roads stars, continental European giants where added to already top draw Supersport and Superbike grids.
From my point of view, the best way to sum up Imatranajo, is stated by recent runner up in the Solo Championship at the Southern 100, Dan Kneen.
“The track is really nice as is the backdrop.” roll on the 2018 Imatranajo meeting!
Words by Stevie Rial