In a weird turn of events, Trevor has flown from the good ‘ole US of A to Europe twice in the past two weeks on a mission to bring some fantastic motorsport coverage to Speedhunters.
First was the 24 Hours of Nürburgring, now it’s the sixth round of the World Rallycross Championship in Sweden.
Okay, truth be told, Paddy wanted to cover the N24, but it clashed with Players Classic and since he loves that event almost as much as his Golf GTI, Trevor got the golden ticket to visit the Green Hell for a weekend of endurance racing. Lucky man.
Last weekend was the Goodwood Festival of Speed, too, so most of the UK’s automotive media was lapping up arguably the most eclectic automotive assault on the senses known to man, including our own Jordan Butters.
Dino’s actually been in Europe for so long working on special Need for Speed projects, that we’re actually starting to miss him. A quick flight from Berlin up to Scandinavia for Dino-san wasn’t an option. So, having just recovered from jet lag after N24, Trevor headed back to Portland airport for a 3-night trip to Höljes in Sweden, via Norway.
I’d ask if he’s feeling tired, but that’s him asleep in the back of our rental. [Who even sleeps that way!? - PMcG]
Here he is during better times, investigating the number of cylinders in our poorly-built Alfa Romeo, which was less than the following six reasons why you should come and see World RX in Sweden at some point in your life.
1. It’s Home To A Really Crazy ‘Street’
We have the best site sponsors, and BILSTEIN invited us out to see the second half of the 2019 FIA World Rallycross Championship kick off, but the cool thing is their marketing guys don’t really care so much for corporate ‘please do this’ type of communications.
In fact, when we got here, they just pointed us in the direction of a place called ‘Happy Street’. We walked just over 5-miles photographing this, so to really do ‘Happy Street’ justice, Trevor’s going to bring you a full-blown story in the next few days. What I will say is that the Swedish motorsport fans have the best energy.
For one week, this tiny little place called Höljes turns into a week-long party. Happy Street runs alongside the racetrack and at first glance it seems quite small and pretty tame. But once you get into the eye of the storm, things get wild. Excitement levels peaked.
2. Elbows-Out Racing
World RX drivers are at 100% all of the time. This photo sequence of Latvia’s Reinis Nitiss going swiftly towards upside-down was actually taken during Q1 qualifying. I’ll let Trevor’s photos do the talking, but safe to say this is no snore-fest.
3. It’s Unpredictable
By its very nature, Rallycross racing is wild.
Why? Well, the tracks are generally quite short, the cars are powerful and super-agile and since you’ve seen the way the drivers ‘practice’, the qualifying sessions and races can get a little bit silly. You know that dude Nitiss who made a spectacular roll earlier in this story? Well, his team repaired the car and he made a great recovery from his Q1 summersault to set the fastest time in Q2.
It’s definitely not over, until it’s over in World RX.
The same can be said for Anton Marklund, who Paddy was hanging out with at Spa. Despite getting punted off the track by a Škoda in Q1, Anton Marklund won Q2 race 3 and took the fifth quickest time to lift him to P2 on day two at Höljes RX. However, as you can see from the opening image, things didn’t quite go to plan for Anton at his home round, but we’ll save that story for another day.
By the way, Škoda is one of Trevor’s favourite car brands, so feel free to send him photos if you have one of these fine machines.
4. The Spectators Come First
There’s a solid reason why over 48,000 people flock to Höljes in Volvos, buses, motor homes and more Volvos. Because of its popularity, this event is known as the Swedish Grand Prix. You can see the whole track and the amphitheater-style viewing combined with the door-to-door action makes for an absolutely relentless spectator experience.
5. The Track
Speaking of the track, the tarmac and gravel combo at Höljes is purpose-built for Rallycross and there’s this natural jump, which the drivers enter flat in 6th gear. The entire course must feel insane, so here’s some photos, which should explain why it’s fun to watch.
6. Rallycross Cars Are Simply Bananas
It’s difficult to talk about these cars without repeating what’s been said before, but 600hp hatchbacks on steroids that are capable of sprinting from standstill to 60mph in less than 2-seconds will never get old.
Paddy shared an excellent story of his trip to Spa, which delves into the luck required to win a World RX, which you can read here.
Technical stuff and spec sheets aside, you need to see these cars with your own eyes spitting flames at least once in your life.
Put it on your bucket list and head to Happy Street…
Photos by Trevor Yale Ryan
World Rallycross this year has been nuts! After VW's complete and utter stranglehold over the past couple years it's refreshing to see the close competition and the amount of winners. Spa was phenominal, Holjes was wild (my sympathy to the crews who worked like dogs) and you literally cannot go into a round assuming someone is going to win!.
As a racing fan overall, F1 is being dominated by Mercedes and the mid pack is ok to watch. Supercars is being dominated by DJR Team Penske, WTCR is ruined by BOP regulations. WEC only has Toyota in the top tier (for now), and Nascar is in decline. DTM is getting better and so is Super GT. But as of right now there are only two easily picked options for variety and that is Formula E and World Rallycross.
Thank you for promoting them as they continue to improve and grow this series.
Rowdy, def need to go check it out sometime. Maybe bring up the rear as a novice competitor. Also if you guys are too burned out flying around the world doing journalism, I have the experience, stamina and resume necessary to fill in
rallycross in real life is like forza and gran turismo online. If there's someone in front of you, they're the brakes. Balls to the wall. Flat out... crazy.