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After the trials and tribulations a couple of weeks previously in Germany, the European tour returned to Sweden for the Scandinavian Internationals at Tierp Arena north of Stockholm which is rapidly building a reputation as the fastest track in Europe. Cool conditions, thanks to a couple of weather fronts passing through Scandinavia over the course of the weekend, contributed to some spectacular numbers, especially from the UEM bike teams (low ET of the world in Top Fuel Bike, new European ET records in all three categories), although rain did it’s stuff (again) curtailing eliminations prior to the trophy shootouts on the Sunday. Despite this, the big crowd on Saturday and quality racing provided a much needed injection of renewed enthusiasm after what has been a season of struggles on and off track so far.
Despite running a very limited schedule this year, Antti Horto has been moving up the points table and a second (rained out) final round appearance of the year has persuaded the Aubox team to extend their rental agreement with Rune Fjeld to enable them to attend the European Finals this weekend. Horto took a first round winlight in unusual circumstances when Urs Erbacher’s chutes blossomed straight off the startline, whilst a 4.255/291 got him to the finishline ahead of Micke Kågered’s early shut-off 4.311/236.
The eliminations ladder delivered what could have been a barnstormer between the top two in the championship chase as Risto Poutiainen’s 4.093 put him head to head with Jari Halinen, who had carded 4.198 for seventh spot. Both RFM drivers would have chucked everything to get to the finishline first as a win for Poutiainen would have put him in an unassailable lead, but alas it wasn’t to be as what appears to be a rogue radio signal triggered the Electromotion receiver on his car almost as soon as it had fired up. A pair of four twenties progressed Halinen into a final against Horto and keeps his title hopes alive.