The last race of the year. It doesn’t really sound nice when you say it, but all good things have to end at some point. And the sooner we can finish this season, the more time we can spend preparing for next year.
The end of the year race was run at GTR Motorpark in Eskilstuna. Unfortunately, the old gravel trail had to give way to the ongoing expansion of the asphalt track. But GTR made sure we hade a temporary simpler loop that the race could run on, it contained no jumps but did the job for the competition. The morning’s training started in cold weather, as it usually is on our season finales. The sun arrived and as the hours went by it became warmer and the tyre pressures from the training the day before could finally be used. It was tight in the table for the day. With 60 points (20 per heat) to fight for, we had some competitors for the podium in the overall. You get points for placement in the heats according to the regulation.
Before the final race, Hampus Gustafson had a comfortable lead of 42 points ahead of Fredrik Eriksson. We sensed that the real fight would take place for third. And we weren’t wrong.
The time qualifiers offered a few surprises. Hampus was the fastest with a time of 50,395. That wasn’t a surprise. After 7-8 minutes into the qualifiers, Daniel Christensen was in second place. Fredrik soon after set a quick lap and pushed Daniel down one place. That was the line-up until Oskar’s last lap when he took the secondplace on the starting grid with 52,361. Fredrik held on to third place with 52,518 with 0.157 seconds behind Oskar. On the fourth and final square in the first row, Daniel, with a time of 52,624. That´s just 0.106 separating Fredrik from Daniel. To make things even more interesting, the difference from second to sixth place was just 0.475 seconds.
Before the competition, the table position was as shown below. If we supplement the table with the qualifying times, we get a better overview of what it looked like for the first heats. We exclude Oskar because he hasn´t run all the races and does not fight for a podium place in the total.
|Plac||Name||Point||Kvali time||Grid place|
|1||Hampus Gustafson||287p||50.395||1 (Row 1)|
|2||Fredrik Eriksson||245p||52.518||3 (Row 1)|
|3||Daniel Christensen||176p||52.624||4 (Row 1)|
|4||Carl Wennerberg||172p||52.836||6 (Row 2)|
|5||Jonas Skovby||159p||52.784||5 (Row 2)|
|6||Patrik Kerttu||144p||53.667||7 (Row 2)|
The fight was predicted to take place around third place in the table. That is, between Daniel, Carl, Jonas and Patrik. Patrik was already in the qualifiers almost a second behind Carl and Daniel. Which gave him a start on the seventh place. Each starting line has four riders, so first and last position on each starting line has a better chance of choosing lines into the first curve than second and third position. Jonas had some problems with his starts at the beginning of the season but seems to have figured that out from what we could see in Örebro and Västerås. Carl also gets to start in the middle of the pack.
When the lights go out for heat one, Oskar grabs the holeshot. He comes through the first s-part of the course with the whole field behind him. Hampus really doesn´t like to be second, he gets past Oskar before the gravel part. Fredrik is in third and chasing for Oskar.
Daniel manages to stay in fourth place of the start with Jonas close behind. Jonas manages to get past Daniel on the first part of the grave but Daniel stays behind and starts looking for a gap. On the next lap we see Jonas approaching the end of the gravel section. In the exit there are car tires on the inside of the curve and Jonas touched one of them so that it starts to roll. It’s rolling towards Daniel, who’s right behind. The tire goes towards Daniel’s front wheel and we can see how he, and his bike, flip forward. It’ll take Daniel a few seconds to get up and away again. Since it happened so early in the race, the field is still very close. All the other riders passes Daniel before he’s up again.
To further increase the stress, Daniel looses the front end at the last bend of the lap. He’s 5.2 seconds behind the nearest rider when he comes back up. Carl didn´t have as good a start and he´s seventh after the first lap behind Fredrik Odén. Fredrik blocks Carl and he struggles but manages to overtake on the fifth lap. Daniel catches up and passes some of the riders in front and he finishes the first heat in eighth place, saving some important points.
The point standings after heat one:
With the win in the first heat, Hampus has extended his lead to 47 points. If Fredrik were to win both remaining heats and Hampus crashes out, Fredrik still can’t beat Hampus.
Hampus has secured his title as the Swedish Champion 2020! Congratulations to Hampus!
When the battle for the series victory is over, we can change our focus back to the fight for third place
Hampus grabs the holeshot in heat 2 before Oskar, closely followed by Fredrik. Skovby has managed to get past Daniel and Carl is now in Daniel’s rear wheel. On the first lap Jonas stalls the engine on the gravel. He never goes down, but he’s forced to restart his bike again, without an e-start. He drops down to ninth place. However, he makes it up to seventh place before the heat is over.
Fredrik is close to Oskar and it looks like he’s searching for a place to overtake. But halfway through the race he falls on the gravelsection and Oskar gets some breathing room. Fredrik is up and away again before Daniel catches up so he never lost his place in the race. Daniel is heavily courted by Carl. The biggest gap that Daniel manages to build to Carl is 0.67 sec throughout the heat. Carl is noticeably faster on the asphalt but Daniel manages to recover time on the gravel during each lap so Carl never gets the opportunity to overtake. Daniel’s fastest time during the heat was 53,200 while Carl’s fastest was 53,259. It’s not over until it’s over…
Pointstandings after heat 2:
That means that Patrik is, unfortunately, out of the fight for third place. But the fight for third is still between Daniel, Carl and Jonas when they line up for the final heat with the reversed starting order.
Fredrik gets away pretty good in the start and gets past many of the slower riders in front. Hampus goes on the outside of curve two, which leads out onto the straight, and builds speed behind Fredrik towards the gravel. But he’s not close enough to attempt an overtake. Patrik got the holeshot and has Calle right behind him. Calle is faster but can’t get past.
Jonas is second to last from the get go and Daniel is sixth after the first two curves.
Fredrik is in third place after two laps but goes down when Hampus overtakes him on the gravel. He finishes the race in seventh place, but he has already secured his second place in the overall.
In order for Carl to beat Daniel, he need to take more than three points over Daniel. We had no doubt that Hampus would work his way up to first place ahead of Patrik. So the question is: How far up the field will Daniel be able to go?
Hampus is up in first place after six laps of the heat. Carl still hasn’t managed to get past Patrik. Daniel, on the other hand, has worked his way up to fourth place on lap six. With that position, Carl has 209 points against Daniels 210. Carl needs to overtake Patrik to win the fight. Daniel gets some help from Patrik who keeps blocking Carl. Daniel can run about ~52.5 sec times to chase down Carl, but Carl can’t drive faster than Patrik so he’ll have to settle for low 54s to high 52s at the best.
Daniel catches up on lap seven but he needs two laps before he finds a gap. On the entry of the gravel, Daniel shows his front wheel to Carl who is forced to go a little bit wider. This means that Carl can´t keep his speed into the second curve on the gravel and Daniel makes his way past for third place. Daniel is then ahead of Carl in the heat and has a safe third place in the total. When Daniel catches up with the two he already has the pace to go faster, so it´s just a matter of time before he finds a way past Patrik as well. Daniel finishes the race in second place and screams lika a girl all over the track as he realises that he has taken the third place in the total for the year.
We would like to congratulate Fredrik on the second place, We rarely see him make any mistakes so there is no question that it is on the podium he should be.
Congratulations also to Daniel who takes third place in his second year in elite.
Complete results can be found at Svemo.se
For those of you who are waiting for the summary from the Open-class, we can happily announce that it is coming.