Together with 40 000 other mad Swedes, Norwegians, and other Europeans, I went to what might be the second largest motorsport event in Scandinavia: WorldRX in Höljes, Sweden. It’s also a huge festival, with lots of beer, weird music and raggare.
Okay, first of all I have to apologize for this being slightly delayed. Working and summer-social-stuff has eaten up all of my time, but I’ve finally transferred the last photos from my other phone, so this should at least show you some of what it’s like.
Since I live in the southeast part of Norway, Höljes is the closest round of the WorldRX for me to attend. Sure, Norway has it’s own round, but that is in the middle part of the country in a town called Hell. Right across the border to Sweden is a few hours shorter, even if you take a slight detour to buy proper beer and booze.
Thursday morning, me and my friend Anders packed up his Saab 9-3 with camping gear and went on a roadtrip. The first destination of the day was Torsby, a medium size town with a couple of shopping centres and their own Systembolag. While in the opposite end of the county, 50 km away, this allowed us to buy food for the whole weekend, lot’s of cans with water and soda, beer with more than 3.5 % alcohol, and stronger stuff if you felt like it. Let’s just say that you need at least 24 beers for the weekend, just to cope with all the local madness.
Topped up on beer and food, we met some friends with a caravan and followed Klarälven up towards Höljes. A small, small town with only 150 people living there permanently. A small shop, a huge dam and the racetrack are the only things you find here, and the lack of neighbours is probably how they can arrange such an event without disturbing anyone. Inside the camping area, we went to find a nice spot for our tent and caravan. Though the rallycross didn’t start until Friday and Saturday, the best spots were taken by locals who had camped there since the weekend before. We then had to settle for a spot a bit further from the track, but closer to the river. There were still lots of places where you could camp, so Thursday seems like the best day to travel if you don’t want to sit in Höljes for a week.
Since Anders doesn’t have a tow hitch on his Saab, we had to spend the weekend in a lavvu. While we were setting up the lavvu, the other guys were putting together a brand new party-tent. Being Norwegians, shelter from the sun is very important unless we want to get a very, very bad sunburn. The tent didn’t really fit together in the first place, but after some tweaking with duct tape, help from some Andreas Bakkerud-supporters and an hour of head-scratching, it was up and attatched to the caravan. The bad thing is, it was only attatched to the caravan, and not to the ground or anything else. That meant the first gust of wind collected the tent, and put it on the roof of the caravan. Since we were then quite pissed at working with the tent, so we just forgot about it until the next day. Getting it down and anchored to a car helped, and it stayed down for the rest of the weekend.
Since this event is in the middle of the summer, keeping food and drinks cold is challenging. Luckily, the friends with the caravan also brought a gas-powered generator! Since all of us brought electric cooling bags/boxes, we could keep the temperature lower than 20C. Not ideal, but it worked reasonably well. Bringing a barbeque was also a great idea, even if we used it for every meal. Not a healthy diet, but it works. We also stayed comfortable in the evening, since the caravan guys (once again) brought a sofa! Portable chairs is also a must since there are very few spectator stands here, just the natural topography around the track. Bringing your own sound system is only useful if you have a big one, since someone will always bring something very festival-sized that can play very loud.
Anyway, with all the stuff packed out and set up, hot dogs eaten and beers consumed, we decided to take a walk in the “happy street”. In short, the main road through the loud part of the camp, towards the track. Not much happened around the track, so we decided to stay in the street. Walking back towards the camp, we met a group of Norwegian girls(!) that seemingly all did rallycross of some sort. One of them turned out to be Ada Marie Hvaal, who were also competing at this event in the RX Lites class. She’s usually competing in S1600 home in Norway, and this was her first time out in RX Lites. We also met the same group the next evening, and due to a bit of bad luck and a misfiring engine Ada didn’t have the best weekend here.
After a while I spotted a familiar face in a red sweater, together with a bearded, long haired person. It was obvious that this was Andreas Bakkerud and Timur Timerzyanov, out among all the campers at midnight Thursday night. I wasn’t particularly starstruck, probably because a fair bit of drinking, so I decided to have a conversation:
They obviously didn’t have time to talk to a random fan all night, but it’s nice to share a few words with top class drivers. Afterwards we met Danish S1600 driver Ulrik Linnemann, also a guy with a huge talent. After complimenting his driving, I asked if he’d considered stepping up to Supercars. Motorsports costs a lot of money, and he said that he would need a ten times larger budget to do Supercars. That says a lot when rallycross is one of the cheaper motorsports out there.
Friday was the first day of racing, and the Supernational class with Norway vs Sweden was in focus today. This is old-school, RWD cars with between 350-400 hp, making for some spectacular racing. Since the Swedish regulations allow a bit more power than the Norwegian, Sweden won this round. Not much more happened this evening, as we stayed in our camp for the most part.
Saturday was a day filled with racing. With S1600, Touringcars, RX Lites and Supercars all running at the same event, we saw the track filled with action for about eight hours straight. This evening well-known Norwegian country/”danseband” artist Rune Rudberg were going to play at the start section, which made a track walk possible. What is so special about this track is that it’s completely threedimensional, there’s no flat section anywhere! That was way more evident when walking the track, than what you see on the broadcast. We decided to check out the last jump, and measured that the cars jump 15-20 meters here. Judging by the grooves in the tarmac, of course.
When checking out one of the marshal posts, we found the grill trim of Davy Jeanney’s Peugeot together with a lot of other body parts. We soon found out that the best way of carrying this was like a necklace, and also managed to get four persons inside at the same time. We also went to the Peugeot-Hansen team to get it signed, but none of the drivers were availible at that time. Sadly, we lost it later that night after the concert.
Sunday was another day of racing, and it’s incredible how much racing you get for an 80$ weekend ticket. Bear in mind that you also get several concerts and access to the paddock for that price. Value for money, it must be one of the best events to attend for anyone. We watched the last two heats and the finals (including the amazing Supercar final), before packing down and heading home. If you bring a caravan, expect to spend a few hours waiting to get out, since there’s a bit more traffic than usual. Without a caravan, you’re able to take a shortcut, and will be out as soon as you like. I still recommend taking a walk in the paddock after the racing is done, both to catch the podium champagne and a visit to the winners tent.
With three days of world-class racing just three hours away from home an annual visit to Höljes and WorldRX is obligatory for me now, together with 40 000 other people. Who knows what will happen next year, but I’m pretty sure both the event and WorldRX will grow! Next up is Round 7: WorldRX of Canada, and a preview of that will be posted Wednesday next week. See you then!