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Finland: Racing Unites Old Friends and Sparks New Friendships


Less than 24 hours after Tucker accepted his ISOC National Snocross Pro Points Championship trophies, Team 68 boarded a plane for Helsinki, Finland for the 2011 FIM Snowcross World Championship. Our flights went without a hitch and all of bags arrived safely – HUGE relief!

We were immediately greeted by Mikko from SGN Group (Arctic Cat Finnish Distributor). He took us to the SGN warehouse where we were reunited with Tucker’s Euro-prepped Monster Energy/Arctic Cat which made the trip across the Atlantic three weeks earlier. The crew wasted no time and immediately uncrated the snowmobile. We were happy to see that all of our tools and supplies made the journey safely as well. After five hours of organizing, we loaded the sled and supplies into our mobile test facility – a spanking new Sprinter van. Thank you SGN Group! Tucker felt right at home.

Only days before our trip, I got an email from Raoul Bergman, Kirk’s long lost friend who was his Finnish tour guide and Arctic Cat teammate for a cross-country race 20 years ago. The Giant Enduro was a two-day, 565-mile race in Kemijärvi, Finland. They raced eight hours each day and were only allowed one 10-minute break for food and water. Kirk called it, “A true cross-country race…one of the most enjoyable races of my career.”

We met Raoul for dinner near our hotel. It was an exciting reunion full of stories and laughs.

Wednesday morning we left bright and early for Pieti Puhakka’s test track. Pieti is a Team Arctic Finnish racer who was kind enough to invite us to ride with him. He has the perfect set-up with a test track, groomer and heated work shop. Pieit and Tucker spent the day riding and testing together. Click HERE to watch a short clip of them riding together. This year will be Pieti’s first World Championship so keep your eye on the no. 23 Arctic Cat in Tuuri!

Thursday was the second and final day of testing at Pieti’s. The majority of the day was dedicated to starts and final tuning on Tucker’s sled. We arrived in Tuuri late Thursday night and were greeted by the Monster Energy Finland crew along with more people from SGN. Thank you for staying up to greet us!

Today, Friday, is a big day full of appearances and interviews for Tucker with practice early evening.

Much like our adventure in Sweden last year, it’s hard to find words that can describe the deep gratitude we have for the people who have helped us make this journey possible. We are truly blessed by this opportunity and have again made friends we will have for a lifetime. Kirk’s reunion with Raoul is a testament to this and encouragement that even after 20 years, we may all meet again!

You can watch all of the racing action from Finland LIVE and free online! Below is the direct link. A detailed broadcast schedule with the time change will be posted soon.

Watch the 2011 FIM Snowcross World Championship LIVE:

VIDEO: Two Laps with Tucker and Pieti

Kirk and Raoul

Kirk and Raoul

Kirk and Raoul

Tucker and Pieti

Tucker and Pieti

Tucker and Pieti

Mandi JohnsonFinland: Racing Unites Old Friends and Sparks New Friendships