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Back on Track Day: Hooniverse Goes to Ahvenisto

Antti Kautonen September 30, 2015 Finnish Line, Hooniverse Goes To... 7 Comments

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Out of all the racetracks in Finland, Ahvenisto stands out. Most of the tracks here have been built somewhere in the middle of nowhere, and that usually renders them quite flat. But Ahvenisto stands proud by a ridge, with uphill sections and daring curves without yards and yards of run-off area. Originally, there wasn’t much close by but woodlands and fields, but urban sprawl reached the track quite quickly. Nowadays the track has to hold its ground to be able to exist in modern smalltown Finland, where people move next to race tracks and then complain about engine noise. But I digress: every minute spent at the track is worth it, as long as the track is in active use and respected for the motorsport history it embodies.

It has become sort of customary for our circle of FinalGearheads to end the summer season with an Ahvenisto trackday somewhere in late September or early October, and this year was no exception. I was eager to take my Miata there, as it’s the closest thing to an actually track-ready car I’ve had in my fleet.

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The paddock area shows its age, but driving the cars under the structure and emptying the trunk of anything loose is always a special moment.

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And as I’ve said before, the track is where I mangled my old Mazda four years ago. It felt like I was getting vindicated, driving back here in another Mazda, and spending a couple hours blasting around the track without the barriers getting another victim – even if the tires and wheels were the same exact ones that my old car wore way back when.

The MX-5 was lovely to handle on the track, even if the suspension is completely stock as well as the seats. On the uphill curves, I hang the tail out loose, and never did I experience significant brake fade or cooling problems. For the money, it’s a trooper. A rollcage wouldn’t go amiss, though, if I want to treat it as a track weapon in the future, and that probably requires a foamectomy to get me lower in my seat.

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The MX-5 wasn’t the only youngtimer Japanese classic on the track, as there were two DOHC Civics present.

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This Cortina Mk2 is a favorite: built from a forgotten, engineless hulk that was dragged home from under a tree, it’s now a seriously quick, tail-happy and loud machine.

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The trumpets there made for a lovely sound. 1600 Kent for your viewing pleasure.

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Two bikes: a CBR 1000RR Fireblade and a Triumph Street Triple R.

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A token French car!

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Another thing worth mentioning was that my brother was able to make it there, and spend some good track time in his E46. I only realized later that it was probably the first time we were driving on the same track, back to back, since we were battling each other in Gran Turismo a decade ago.

Here’s some onboard video from the blue BMW 130i:

And some material from the CBR’s line of sight:

  • Dean Bigglesworth

    Fun track. It’s been 12 years since my last visit in the Focus, though. http://i.imgur.com/CCOKvJ3.jpg

  • crank_case

    It’s been way, way too long since I’ve been to a trackday, my old MX5 in the paddock of Mondello with an even more diminutive friend. http://i155.photobucket.com/albums/s319/crankcase75/trackday%2029%20april%202011/DSCN0954.jpg

  • JayP

    Alright! A track day post!!
    Weekend before last I was out at Motorsport Ranch on the 3.1 course. I’d bothered to put the iphone mount up and record with Harry’s Laptimer. 2:42.xxx is an ok time. I only had 5 or 6 laps in that weekend. The next event is the same 3.1 so I can work on my skilz.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XWUmp09WTww

  • wunno sev

    i’ve always felt like days on an actual circuit have a relatively high barrier to entry – high cost, far from anywhere i live, etc – but autocrossing seems so much less satisfying to me.

    i’ve never driven on an actual circuit, so it’s probably worth paying the money and spending the time to do it once. i do have my very own miata i could thrash about.

    • Sjalabais

      Same here. I’d love to try one day, but currently I lack a track-respectable car.

      The engine in the Ford seems to sit very low…pretty interesting engine bay in any case. A lot of space wasted around the wheels there.