Super Twin Bike Review
FHRA Nitro Nationals 
11 riders on site to compete for an 8 bike elimination ladder. 7 of the competitors was also on home turf at Alastaro. Finland is currently the biggest nation in number of championship teams in the Super Twin Bike category.  
The qualifications presented Zodiac Racing´s Job Heezen as low qualifier with 6.61 sec/ 318 km followed by Petri Matsson 6.85 and Svein Olav Rolfstad in 3rd position 6.88 sec. Nate Gagnon who was in championship lead before Alastaro struggled big time all through the qualifications. The bike unmanageable and drifting heavily during all runs which meant Gagnon had to shut off early time after time. The team found a reason for the "misbehaviour" of the bike, but that was too late and Gagnon found himself outside the ladder. He was  accompanied by Kari Rajala (who teams with Jaska Salakari) and Vesa Lipponen. 

In the eliminations quarter finals we saw Jan Sturla Hegré outrun Job Heezen, while Samu Kemppainen defeated fellow country man Pekka Parikka (who runs part of the championship in Sweden and Finland). Petri Mattsson, also from Finland ran 6.96 sec against Martijn de Haas, an ET which took Mattsson onto the semi-finals. In the last quarter finals Svein Olav Rolfstad´s 6.97 sec beat Ismo Mäenpää´s 7.15 sec (Mäenpää well ahead from the startline but lost)

In the semi-finals Petri Mattson got a bye run after Rolfstad was a no show. Rolfstads team mate Hegré did not have any luck in the semi-final against Kemppainen. Not just did he loose the run , damage to the engine was a non wanted bonus from that run.. 

Jan Sturla Hegré (left), Svein Olav Rolfstad (cnter) and Job Heezen had time for a chat in the line up. Hegré later won over Heezen in the quarter finals. 

Samu Kemppainen (left), Ian Turburville and Nate Gagnon. Turburville was a rider a few years back but now helps out Samu and Nate.

The final that should have been an all Finnish one between Samu Kemppainen and Petri Matsson but it rained off just miunutes before it was due Sunday evening (as did the finals in the other championship classes)..

Leaving Alastaro we have Nate Gagnon in continued championship which he was especially grateful for under the circumstances. 164 points for Gagnon, follwed by team mate Samu Kemppainen at 135 points and Job Heezen in 3rd place at 114. Check the full point standings under a separate headline in this newsletter!

Link to Qualification list
Link to Elimination ladder

The next round in the UEM Drag Bike Championship is the NitrOlympx at HockenheimRing in Germany August 10-12th. With a few days to go before the entry closes, the entry list show a few riders that was not present at Alastaro; Christian Jäger (Germany), Hans Olav Olstad from Norway who has suffered from back problems the latest months and reigning champion Lorenz Stäuble who does a welcome appearance at Hockeheim, which will be Stäubles first in the championship  this season.

Stay tuned for the NitrOlympx Preview in the next edition!

Samu Kemppainen (near lane) and Svein Olav Rolsftad

Spectacular photo! Burnout by Nate Gagnon, who did not have any luck in Finland,
but had done well enough during the start of the season to stay ahead in championship points. 

Jan Sturla Hegrés engine covered in flames. Not the best of events for Hegré and
team mate Svein Olav Rolfstad. But Hegré is still 4th in the championship 

Text: Åsa Kinnemar
Photos: Lena Perés & Åsa Kinnemar
This article is part of the Speedgroup Club Europe Newsletter #9/2012

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