News 5 - Full Circle the full circle
The organisers of The Arctic Circle, Timo Rietbergen and Keith Baud, have just returned from a successful month-long route recce for the 7000km event which will take place in June 2020. Just like the original event twenty years ago, The Arctic Circle will take competitors on an adventurous drive of discovery north through Poland, the Baltic States and Finland before turning west through Sweden and a final week amongst the spectacular scenery of Norway before the finish near Oslo.
Timo and Keith were heartened to find that the landscape hasn’t changed much in the past two decades and the superbly engineered Scandinavian roads were still a pleasure to drive on. However, with 50 years experience of organising Classic events all over Europe between them, they were still able to find some new and unique challenges along the way. If all goes to plan these include a section through the largest winter vehicle testing ground in Europe (less the snow and ice naturally), a regularity where a train timetable will be as useful as speed tables, and a special test the like of which has not been seen since the press launch of the Ford Cortina in 1963!
After a ceremonial start opposite the Brandenburger Tor in the centre of Potsdam, the route crosses the iconic Glienicke Bridge, where east and west exchanged spies during the Cold War, before heading east into Poland for the first overnight halt in the mediaeval city of Torun. From there, the route continues north-east through the Mazurian lake district to the Lithuanian spa resort of Birstonas before turning north through the Baltic States to Riga, and then on to Tallin for the first rest day to enjoy the sights of this ancient Hanseatic city.
After a short ferry crossing of the Baltic, the six day second leg of the event starts from Helsinki and heads north via a fabulous circuit and a very special rally museum to Jyvaskyla, at the heart of Rally of 1000 Lakes territory. This is a bit of a misnomer as there are in fact one hundred and eighty seven thousand, eight hundred and eighty eight lakes in Finland - but that would not fit on the rally plate!
Finland is a big country so it will take another two days driving north to reach Rovaniemi where the most famous person in the whole world – Santa Claus – has agreed to meet competitors when they finally reach the Arctic Circle on Midsummers day.
The route then follows the Arctic Circle west for an overnight halt in Sweden before continuing to the Norwegian coast where adventurous competitors could choose to arrive at the overnight halt in Mosjoen by a 700m long zipwire which runs across the valley from a nearby mountain, and deposits the intrepid rider right onto the front terrace of the historic Fru Haugens hotel! Turning south, a day’s run on the aptly named “Road to Hell” will bring competitors to the Trondheim, where they can enjoy a second rest day before embarking on the final four days run through the breath taking scenery of Norways fiords and mountains to the finish near Oslo.
“We would like to turn back the clock to when Classic Rallying first started 30 years ago”, said event director Timo Rietbergen. “So the route will use traditional map reading, straightforward regularities with just one timing point, and some unusual and exciting special tests to spice things up a little”.
Nearly thirty competitors from the U.K, Netherlands, Ireland, Italy, Switzerland, Belgium, Germany, Norway and the USA have already signed up for the sixteen day Arctic epic. As well as a fabulous route, the entry fee includes overnight halts in the best available hotels, lunches, coffee stops, special tests and visits, plus of course the full support of the experienced Classic Events N.L. team.