On the right track

On the right track


If all goes according to plan, not only will competitors on the 2020 Arctic Circle Rally enjoy  the finest driving roads that the Baltic States and Scandinavia can offer, but they will also get the chance to sample a few laps of some of the most extraordinary and least known race circuits in the world.

Poland is not exactly blessed with suitable circuits, at least not in the remote northern area of the country through which the event passes on the first two days, however once into Lithuania, things start looking up a bit with a planned visit to the Nemunas Ring, the only purpose built track in the country.  Opened in 1960, this 3.3km track undulates through the forest near the city of Kaunus and still hosts a round of the Baltic Touring Car Championship as well as several motor bike races.

The idea of a circuit at Birkeniekai near Riga dates back to the 1950’s, but it was not until 1965 that work began on the first of three circuits that linked together would total nearly 6km. From a start/ finish line overlooked by archetypally communist blocks of flats, a narrow ribbon of tarmac dived into the dark forest, its edges unprotected by safety features such as Armco or run-off areas.  Go off here and you would be straight into a tree trunk!