On 22-23 August in Botniaring race track, which is located 380 km north from Helsinki, first round of Finnish road race championship “Rata SM” took place. It was supposed to be the fourth round of the championship, but due to COVID-19 Finland also had some restrictions for gathering, therefore the first three rounds were cancelled. Now the championship has two rounds – the current one in Botniaring, and the second will be held in Alastaro race track on September. Around 100 drivers were participating at this first round, out of which 31 were Legend Cars drivers mostly from Finland, but two drivers were also from Latvia – Valters Zviedris, who competed in Pro class, and Janis Holeriks, who competed in Masters class.
19-year-old driver from “Jurmala/Papa’s Racing Team” Valters Zviedris held a very interesting competition, who out of 31 drivers held 14th, 7th and 7th positions in three races. Valters was quite fast during the whole weekend and showed good results in all the free practices in Top 10. Qualification was held on Saturday, on which Valters showed a good result, therefore he started the first race from the 7th position. Janis Horeliks started the first race from the position 8th. First race was not the best for both Latvian drivers – both used the newly imported Hoosier tires from the USA, which are allowed to be used in Europe for the first year, so the cars did not have the right regulations for these tyres. Janis managed to hold 9th position, but Valters fell down to 14th position.
Practice on Sunday morning started with a heavy rain and with an extreme driving conditions. Legend Cars do not have windshield wipers, because in the USA Legend Cars do not drive in the rain – it is similar to NASCAR, where people simply wait for the rain to stop and for the race track to dry, only then continue the race. It is not the same in Europe, so we have to compete as it is and agree with the bad visibility during rainy competitions. The track was still wet for the second race, but the organizers decided the cars must have “Semi-slick” tyres meant for a dry weather. Latvian did a great job in these conditions and improved their positions. Valters finished 7th, showing the 3rd best lap time between all the participants, and Janis showed the 5th fastest lap time, although finished only 14th.
Janis and Valters held a great 3rd race. After a great start, Valters went onto the 4th position and held it almost until the final lap, when a group of cars caught him, including Janis. After various overtakings during the last lap, both Latvians finished close to each other – Janis in the 6th position, but Valters in the 7th position. All 31 Legend Cars drivers were competing together, but the results are calculated in three separate classes – Semi Pro is the beginners class, Pro class features drivers with at least 2 year experience, and Masters class with drivers aged 40 and more. Janis finished as 3rd on the first and second races, but on the third race held the 1st position in his Masters class, so he came home with three cups.
Team says huge thanks to the mechanics Normunds Subeckis and Agris Maluckis for the great preparation of the cars and the ability to align it to the changing weather conditions. Thanks to the Jurmala City Council for their support to Valters and covering the entrance fees, and also to other supports, sponsors and fans.
Next Legend Cars race for the Latvian drivers will be held on mid-September in Alastaro race track. On 9-11 October the final round of the North European Zone championship will be held in Bikernieki race track in Riga, Latvia. The best drivers from Finland, Sweden, perhaps also from Denmark and other countries promise to come and participate in this round, if the borders will be open at that time, of course. Maybe even someone from the USA and Great Britain, where these Legend Cars championships feature many skilled participants, could come and compete in this race.