Road Racing’s Great Races: IRRC Imatranajo 2017 – Open Superbike Race

Road Racing’s Great Races: IRRC Imatranajo 2017 – Open Superbike Race

The Finnish Grand Prix home for multiple years, the iconic Imatranajo course has been raced on over the years by a who’s who of racing greats including Giacomo Agostini, Barry Sheene, Kenny Roberts and Phil Read.

Reintroduced into the road racing scene in 2016, joining the IRRC series schedule, the following year saw modern era roads royalty in the form of Michael Rutter and the late but great Dan Kneen take to high speed, acclaimed Imatra circuit.

Kneen, Rutter, Penz team mate Alex Polita, IRRC Superbike front runners Sebastien Le Grelle, Markka Racing’s Erno Kostamo, local wildcard Pauli Pekkanen would go onto treat the spectators at Imatranajo to a quite scintillating battle for open Superbike honours.

My report from back in July of 2017 on one of the all time great Imatranajo races, reads as follows:

Dan Kneen won a pulsating Open Superbike encounter at Imatra, to secure not only his first roads success of 2017 but also his first in Penz 13 BMW colours.

Edging out team mate and IRRC Superbike race 1 winner Michael Rutter by just 0.016 of a second, there was nothing in it throughout, as under 0.9 covered the top five finishers.

Photo by Jarmo Heikkeri

Speaking about his maiden Imatranajo victory, on his debut at the famous Finnish meeting, the Manxman stated via his Twitter page:

“Well that was tight racing, passed 5 in 3 laps to win Imatranajo main open race!”

Penz 13 BMW as on Saturday evening, locked out the podium, with Alex Polita sealing a second successive third place finish.

Pauli Pekkanen was fourth in front of IRRC great Sebastien Le Grelle, whilst Erno Kostamo in sixth, continues to impress at Imatranajo.

Concluding the top ten within the gripping six lap race, was Marek Cerveny, Toni Torpakko, Performance Racing Achterhoek’s Joey Den Besten and Petr Biciste.

Words by Stevie Rial

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