Eurocup Finland 2007 - 09.07. 2007

Eurocup weekend 2007 - Finland

The EuroCup in Finland was organized at two beautiful locations. First, Saturday evening, we had the 5.000 m, 1.000 m, 100 m, and relay at the carting track in Hyvinkää (50 km north of Helsinki). This turned out to be a great track for kicking as well: nice, fast curves, slight elevations that could make a difference, smooth asphalt, no other traffic and a scenic overview for all spectators. A little cloudy weather joined in to create the perfect kicking conditions. There was a strong Finnish delegation, with Janne Moronen, Hannu Vierikko, Thomas Portin and many others, and also an Italian team (Paulo Quaranti and Elise Viglio), an extra Flemish competitor (Jan Boons besides Erwin Borremans), and Danny Niederberger from Switzerland.

The qualifications for the 1.000 m sprint hold promise of a great finale: the sixth best times were all within half a second from each other. And indeed, what a finale it was! The first half of the track showed a difficult and technical race with all competitors so close that they almost kicked on each others bikes… Further on Erwin Borremans could create a little gap, giving him a very good position on the beginning of the last uphill, that was only one curve away from the strait finish line. But Hannu Vierikko made a peerless comeback on that same last uphill, so Erwin and Hannu went into the last curve and last strait line side by side. Breathtaking! Tsjak tsjak tsjak they closed in, throwing their bikes forward in a final jump on the finish line. Erwin finished only inches for Hannu, setting a new world record on the 1.000 m with 1 minute 47,98seconds. Congratulations! Janne Moronen earned his bronze, Alpo Kuusisto could hold grasp of the fourth place.

The relay was shortened to give each country / team the opportunity to participate (four laps by two kickers in stead of the traditionally six laps by three kickers). Five teams prepared for start, three Finnish teams, an Italian mixed team and the Flemish team. The difference in strength between the teams was more considerable than in the other races, and the order early on was maintained throughout the remainder of the laps.

Twelve competitors started for the five kilometer race. Although it was just for "fun" and not for the EC-ranking, the average lap time was very sharp, and some serious kicking was presented by these strong guys in good shape.

After the races, we had a nice macaroni meal in the track tavern, combined with a small lottery (Heikki won the kickbike ;-). Sounds satisfactory? It got even better! We joined for a swim in nearby lake where the water was rather warm and comfortable. Can one not like Finland? Neeeeeeei, I don't think so.

On Sunday there was one race left: the feared marathon. Around twenty participants and as many supporters gathered at 10.00 in the morning in Espoo, alongside the beautiful Nuuksio national park (just east of Helsinki). The sun was already beating down on us, it wasn't just warm, it was really hot. Like that wouldn't be hard enough, the track was full of mean nasty uphills, some wind, and occasionally, regular traffic.
Like Hannu said at the start: "It's time to separate the boys from the men". Halfway the first of only two laps, Hannu was still dealing with a strong Alpo, and on a short distance, Janne, Erwin and Thomas.

The time for the first lap was little over 41 minutes. It was only later in the marathon that Hannu managed to sneak away from those in direct pursuit. Hannu Finished as the real "Potkupresidenti" in a sharp 1h 23' 25". Given the harsh conditions, it's quite good compared to the marathon record on the same track of 1h 20' 03". Alpo finished within half a minute (1h 23' 57") and Janne was already down four minutes, Erwin eight minutes at finish. Everybody made a great achievement by finishing. A refreshing beer launched the traditional comments on this curve, that uphill, this maneuver and that kind of fore wheel… it rolled into a real party in Hannu's cottage, but I preferred to take a hike in the Nuuksio national park, where my mind was swinging between the peaceful quietness of Finlands nature, and the rhythmic tsjak tsjak tsjak of kicking ;-)

Jan Boons.


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