Good Morning Gatebil!
A Long Time Coming

I can’t believe I’m actually here.

This may come as a surprise, but despite being a member of the Speedhunters team for the last two-and-a-bit years, and a regular reader of the site since the early, early days, this is my very first Gatebil festival.

I remember reading the extensive coverage that we, as Speedhunters, used to give to this annual automotive pilgrimage with utter amazement. A large majority of the Speedhunters team would descend upon Rudskogen Motorsenter south of Oslo, arriving from all corners of the world to do justice to this huge and intense celebration of internal combustion. These were the photographers that I aspired to be like, and Gatebil was the place that I wanted to shoot.

Personal ambitions aside, Gatebil was the Speedhunting event in Europe, so back then it was all hands on deck to deliver as much content as possible.

With this in mind, can you see why I’m a little daunted that, although I’m finally here at Rudskogen for the Gatebil 2018, I’m sat here alone (cue violin), solely responsible for delivering this year’s crazy antics from Norway (cut violin, this is awesome), direct to your screen in a timely manner?

Since booking my flights, hotel and travel arrangements a few weeks ago, a hectic shooting schedule has meant that the first time I’d really managed to give much thought to the gargantuan task ahead of me was sat in traffic on the A14 near Huntingdon, rushing to make my flight out to Oslo.

Gatebil Rudskogen 2018 by Jordan Butters Speedhunters-2525

After landing in Oslo yesterday, task one was to make the two hour drive south to my base in Fredrikstad, around 40 minutes from the track. I can’t help but feel like I lost the hire car lottery here. Still, if it gets me around and provides adequate features I’m happy enough.

Gatebil Rudskogen 2018 by Jordan Butters Speedhunters-2576

My first experiences of Norway were – 1.) Damn it’s beautiful here. Even the motorways are surrounded by lovely scenery, and countless interesting cars passed me by while I hummed along – automotive culture is in a healthy place here, and the spectrum of interest is immense.

For example, electric cars are the huge news here – it’s estimated that between 30-40% of new cars sold in Norway in 2018 will be plug-in. Know what’s also huge? Big American classics with throbbing V8s, and performance European sports cars – you’ve got to balance your Nissan Leaf out somehow, I guess?

Gatebil Rudskogen 2018 by Jordan Butters Speedhunters-2539

And – 2.) Damn it’s expensive here. My first stop was a pizza place that offered large pizzas for a bargain £30/€35/$40USD. Not wanting to remortgage my house for lunch, I opted for the safe option and headed for the nearest golden arches. Expensive in comparison to back home still, but I was far too excited that they do sweet potato fries to care. Sweet potato fries in McDonalds! What a world.

Gatebil Rudskogen 2018 by Jordan Butters Speedhunters-2626

Arriving in Fredrikstad and the theme continued – damn expensive and damn beautiful. Being in Norway is like living in a surreal postcard – everything is so clean and nice, and very serene; a contrast to what I’m going to witness all weekend in the confines of Rudskogen, I’m sure. After a wander around the town to get my bearings, and one and only (£9/€10/$12) beer in my system, I called it a night, eager to get my first taste of Gatebil in the morning.

My First Hour At Gatebil
Gatebil Rudskogen 2018 by Jordan Butters Speedhunters-2668

While times have most definitely changed, and our Speedhunting presence at Gatebil has trimmed down, its importance has not diminished one bit. One of several Gatebil festivals throughout the year, July’s event at Rudskogen is the highlight of the calendar, attracting drivers and fans from Scandinavia, the wider continent and the world to participate and witness this insane spectacle.

Gatebil Rudskogen 2018 by Jordan Butters Speedhunters-2701

If you’re not here, and haven’t been yet, then add it to the bucket list. Gatebil Rudskogen needs to be seen to be believed. In your absence, I’ll be bringing you a daily diary from Rudskogen over the extended weekend, as well as my highlights and the best cars that I find in the coming days and weeks. Hopefully I can do it justice for you.

Gatebil Rudskogen 2018 by Jordan Butters Speedhunters-2700

Arriving nice and early, and keen to bring you my initial impressions I set myself a time limit of just one hour to explore the site as it stirred to life, before reporting back with what I’d seen. Spoiler alert – Gatebil looks set to be everything I had hyped it up to be, and so much more.

I think my ambition to absorb as much Gatebil as possible over the next few days might have been a little bit too eager. While I’m bright-eye’d with excitement some of those who camped at the track last night, or travelled this morning are a bit more bleary-eye’d. Still, a brisk walk through the paddock as things are stirring to life and there are plenty of drivers setup for a busy weekend causing havoc and creating speed on the circuit. Today we’ve also got drift practice and qualifying on track too, so there’s plenty to keep everyone occupied.

Gatebil Rudskogen 2018 by Jordan Butters Speedhunters-2696
Gatebil Rudskogen 2018 by Jordan Butters Speedhunters-2680
Gatebil Rudskogen 2018 by Jordan Butters Speedhunters-2722
Gatebil Rudskogen 2018 by Jordan Butters Speedhunters-2712
Gatebil Rudskogen 2018 by Jordan Butters Speedhunters-2706

The sheer variety of machines is unparalleled, with everything from wildly-styled drifters to big-winged time attack machines, supercars and huge horsepower street beasts gearing up for the weekend.

Gatebil Rudskogen 2018 by Jordan Butters Speedhunters-8359

A dystopian Mad Max style view of the future once the EVs take over? No, just Gatebil. This is the one place where bringing 700hp to the track isn’t anything especially extraordinary. The past 60 minutes have taught me that I need to raise my expectations if I’m going to do anything other than be continuously picking my jaw up off the floor all weekend.

And today’s the ‘quiet’ day. Don’t worry there’s lots more to come over the weekend – on cue, Paddy’s just sent me a text telling me to check out the ubiquitous-sounding ‘other paddock’, so I’m heading over there now. I’ve had the smallest taste of Gatebil and I can feel it calling me back already…

Jordan Butters
Instagram: jordanbutters
jordan@speedhunters.com

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26 comments

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1
Paddy McGrath

Your first Gatebil is always the best Gatebil.

Author2
Jordan Butters

I’m in a perpetual state of awkward arousal.

3
Paddy McGrath
decom_5f05721cc8991c96f75d45c7360eb858_5b3e3984f3f3a.gifdecom_5f05721cc8991c96f75d45c7360eb858_5b3e3984f3f3a.gif
4

Oooohhhhhhhh mercy, that green Porsche!!

5
Federico Barutto

Gatebil is for me the best event of the year to see here on Speedhunters. Especially the extreme craziness of the cars there. Can’t wait to see some Gatebil car spotlights!

6

Huge amount of separate article worthy builds but i can pick 1: the SMART with most probably a TURBO BUSA engine.

Author7
Jordan Butters

Four hundred and fifty horsepower. I’m going to get a closer look today.

8

Do want. I love any time anyone does anything with a Smart. They're such unloved and ridiculed cars and I love to see unconventional builds. Would be eager to see what's going on in there.

9

(A little inside-tip) Go to the three Lambo Supertrofeo cars in the paddoc, talk to Radni, and ask him if you could have a sneakpeak at the zyrus LP1200 - project ;)

10

Amazing. Scandinavian nature and this kind of car event...truly on top of the bucket list!
Also, that Porsche, too mint!

11

lovely, see you tomorrow. early vacation ftw.

12

I'm so happy to see the Laurel from last year has made the trip again! Looking forward to all the coverage

Author13
Jordan Butters

Those are some lively lads having the time of their life.

14
Dino Dalle Carbonare

Oh my God, so many memories flooding back!!

Author15
Jordan Butters

All aboard the feels train; that’ll be 5,000Kr for a ticket please.

16

I'm just psyched to see pictures of Fredrikstad on this site.

Brace yourself, Jordan - the best of luck to ya'

Author17
Jordan Butters

Are you from here? It’s lovrly!

18

Forty bucks equivalent for a damn pizza?!

But then again, isn't this one of those countries that writes speeding tickets that're based on your income?

19
Paddy McGrath

I'm not sure if they're based on your income, but the fines for speeding are HARSH in Norway. Up to 3mph over the limit is a $100 fine. 85mph on the highway? Lose your license, minimum of 30 hours community service and mandatory 18 days minimum in jail and a huge fine.

20

Why does that two-tone Elise look so good? I get that it's drawing inspiration from the Elan... but that looks better than it has any right to.

Author21
Jordan Butters

I know right? Especially in those peaceful settings.

22

Makes me think about two-toning more vehicles that normally wouldn't (and shouldn't) be two-toned...

23

Benz with BMW cap wheel

24

The smart peaked my interest too, mainly down to it's presumably front-enginedness. Would love to see photos with the front panel off if it's removed at any time during the show. google only brings videos of it in action.

Author25
Jordan Butters

It's coming – and yes the engine is up front.

26

Does anyone happen to know the colour code for the s14 with the SH Katakana Sticker on the windshield?

That would be wonderful, cheers

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