Adrenalin Arena launches Europe's top Supercross facility
News Thursday 03rd November 2010 By Tinus Nel
With populations of 1,4 million and 2,4 million respectively, Estonia and Latvia hardly rank up there alongside the Chinas and Indias of this world numbers wise, and yet a disproportionate number of top riders can trace their roots back to the region. A cursory moment of thought will bring a whole lot of names to the fore - Avo-,Tanel-, Aigar- and Martin Leok, Harri Kullas, Matiss Karro, Gert Krestinov, Juss Laanso, Lauris Freibergs and many more.
Look at the junior ranks, and the flood keeps coming. A visit to the annual Sõmerpalu summer motocross in the virtual backyard of the Leoks will reveal droves of youngsters enthusiastically plying their racing trade. The Estonian three colour is a regular and very visible feature at every GP race. There is no doubt then. Estonians have racing DNA coursing through their very veins.
With this in mind, it is no real surprise that arguably the best supercross facility in all of Europe arose in such a seemingly unlikely place as Estonia. The idea for a permanent supercross facility to facilitate training through the fierce Estonian winters, where temperatures regularly dip into - 30 degrees centigrade territory, initially seemed like a far-off pipe dream. It was first mooted by Kaido Park, father of yet another of Estonia's rising racing talents. Once Peeter Põldaru got involved, the project started gaining real momentum. Peeter became known in the international motocross scene when he brought Matiss Karro to the world championship series in 2007. With a successful track record of involvement in major projects, he knew which buttons to push, which lines to draw and which calls to make. After some professional lobbying, some European Union funding was secured, and the machines got to work.
Throughout the heavy winter months, construction continued, and in March 2010, a new bit of motocross heaven stood proudly for all the world to see - the Adrenalin Arena was up and (nearly) running. After some finishing touches, the promotors of the arena waited for the appropriate moment for their big launch. WIth the international racing season done and dusted, 30 October was pencilled in as the date for the official launch.
The hall was packed to the rafters as the guests rolled in for the special day. All kinds of celebrities, from government ministers to top level racers were present. A guided tour through the facility invariably resulted in some gasps of wonderment. The entrance lobby had been converted into a mini museum of sorts, with loads of (mainly) Leok paraphernalia on display. The classic bike of paterfamilias Vaino Leok is lined up next to Avo Leok's GP winning 500cc Kawasaki. The bikes that Tanel and Aigar rode throughout the years are also represented.
The facility caters well for the riders as well. The paved parking is more than adequate, there is a 300 square meter indoor garage, dressing rooms and showers, a fully equipped gym, chill room, internet facilities, and all that a rider's heart could desire. The triple-decker stands have seating for close on 2000 people, and the view over the track is perfect from everywhere.
The track - yes this is what it is all about. With total building dimensions of 120meters by 60 metres there is a fair bit of acreage under roof. Even with all the comfort facilities in the back, there is still room for a broad, attractive 550m track. A full timing system was installed by Mylaps, and with a flowing outdoor track just on the other side of the roller doors, it can fairly be said that this little area of the world had just been converted into motocross heaven.
Some top level rider were invited for the opening night's activities. The organizers reminded them that this was a festive occasion and that the race was a demonstration race only. Telling this top top level riders though is like telling some politicians not to steal, and the racing was fast and furious. After some entertaining on track action, it was South African Shannon Terreblanche who celebrated the first international class victory on the track. Matiss Karro was showing some blistering speed on a 450cc machine on the supercross track, and to him when the dubious honour of being the first rider to test the facility's earthquake-resistant powers when he planted himself with a Richter scale 5 thud.
All in all, the launch was a roaring success. The facility is there for all rider to use, and the beginners can always count on the presence of some more experienced riders to guide them through the intricacies of mastering a supercross track.