Karlskoga Velodromloppet Historic GP and Swedish Sports Car Meeting

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The Swedish racing schedule featured two major RHK championship meetings in July before the long August break.  The Historic Grand Prix at Gelleråsen Arena in Karlskoga attracted some 200 racers in first, tropical heat, and then typical Swedish midsummer rain, on 16-18 June, exactly 30 years after the first Velodrom race for historic cars was run.  The Club reconvened at Knutstorp on 30 June-2 July where the weather was just as capricious, for the third round of their championships.  Bengt-Åce Gustavsson reports on the highlights of both meetings…

The B & C Formula Vee classes were mixed at Knutsdorp and, as usual, the drivers offered close racing. Johan Lund (No.
84) started from pole, while Jan Lindqvist, Pontus Bencsik and Richard “Tiny” Persson battled for the positions behind. Bencsik skidded off the track on the penultimate lap and got stuck in the gravel. Lund won ahead of Lindqvist and Persson. Rasmus Bencsik finished in fourth place and won class B.

The biggest news of the year was a special display of extreme sports cars at Karlskoga in honour of Lars-Göran Widenborg known by friends as Lasse, who was one of the founders of RHK (Racerhistoriska Klubben) in 1978.  Lars-Göran, with his great technical competence, has been an eager and enthusiastic contributor to Swedish historic racing, and has written many of the regulations and inspected countless cars.  However, at the age of nearly 80, he has slowed down his activities.  Pekka Nyström started as an apprentice in Lasse’s workshop in the ‘80s and in 1987 Lars-Göran bought a Can-Am car.  Unfortunately, he never got to drive the car, which was put aside for future use.  The years passed and last winter Pekka made a real effort and completed the car, which was driven for the first time at the Karlskoga weekend.  Lars-Göran drove a few laps with it.  It’s a brutally fast car and, with straight pipes it sounded the way it was built to sound once upon a time.  Lars-Göran looked almost shocked when he got out of the car.  When asked how he felt, he replied. “I’m fine as hell, but I’d like a beer!”

In the class under 1300cc, the Finnish newcomer Jere Salo was by far the fastest in qualifying with his newly built Ford Escort 1300 GT, almost a second faster than Anders Jensen in a similar car. In the first race, Salo was leading by far when his car suddenly began to smoke alarmingly. He received a technical flag, but with only a few laps remaining, he decided to race to the finish. This was not appreciated by the race management who penalized him, so he missed the podium

Highlights of the two meetings were the races for over 1300cc GT and Saloon cars up to 1971 at Karlskoga, where wily veteran Bo Warmenius took the lead from pole in his Ford Escort RS 1600, with Josef Viktorsson (Opel Kadett B), who had qualified second, losing several positions at the start.  There ensued a lovely and watchable battle between Warmenius, Pekka Nyström (Chevrolet Camaro) Jonas Bengtsson (Chevrolet Corvette L88) and Viktorsson, who fell to fifth place before he started his pickup.  Bengtsson spun and Josef managed to get all the way up and win the race ahead of Nyström and Warmenius.  English driver Steve Soper qualified in sixth place overall in the new Trans AM class, but unfortunately a drive shaft broke in his Ford Boss 302 at the start, and he was forced to park, leaving Jari Tabell to win the first race for the Trans AM division with his Dodge Dart.  

Gustaf Stenquist took his first victory in class F in the first of two 1000cc Cup races in his Fiat Abarth 1000 TC on a rain-slick track after poleman, Jan Christians (no 44) made such a good start that he was penalised 15 seconds. Christians made no mistake in the second race and took victory in his Mini Cooper 970S

The Formula slicks race at Ring Knutstorp saw everyone starting on rain tyres.  Dane Jannik Sadolin took pole in his Reynard SF87, but Björn Johansson (Ralt RT3) snatched the lead in the first race. Sadolin fought back, while Peter “Lill-Orsa” Bohlin, who had started from the pitlane, drove up through the field in his Ralt RT30 to threaten Sadolin, only to spin.  Basically, all the drivers spun at some point in the slippery conditions, except Sadolin, who finally won by over half a minute ahead of a recovered Bohlin and Joakim Broström’s Ralt RT1.

There was a special display of extreme sports cars at Karlskoga in honour of Lars-Göran Widenborg Photos Bengt-Åce Gustavsson

Read more in our August 2023 issue…

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