The Swedes manifest their return to normality with the RED Track Day
RED Track Day in Sweden signals that motoring is becoming contagious again
You have got to admire the Swedes! In their varied history the courageous Vikings have demonstrated a remarkable determination in undertaking difficult tasks and carrying on in the face of adversity. As the COVID-19 is reaching a climax and the world becomes overwhelmed with news of loss and impending catastrophe, it fills with joy and optimism to hear that our northern friends are not abandoning their plans for another epic automotive adventure.
True to the passion that bonds them and loyal to their automotive heritage, motoring enthusiasts decided not to cancel their track event and will be present for the RED Track Day. The good news came from Peter Ternström of Gran Turismo Events and it reflects the strong desire to keep the May 1st annual tradition of starting the season with a track day at Gelleråsen Race Track.
It is called the RED Track Day as a “wink” to the annual socialist manifestation parades held on this date around the country. After driving on the track, the participants form their own “communist” parade, but with red Ferrari cars. The parade through the city attracts thousands of spectators each year, significantly more than the socialist manifestation.
Obviously, everything is now carefully planned, since the event is taking place under the auspices of Karlskoga Municipality in central Sweden, home of the renowned Bofors cannon. Over the last few weeks, we have all witnessed the cancellation of numerous events across the world for the protection of the people and Sweden is no exception.
However, both the local authorities and Gelleråsen Arena hosting the event, realized that carrying on with this event was an imperative and set about drafting rules to ensure the safety of all participants.
Therefore, spectators are not allowed and this is something that saddens visitors and participants alike, since motoring is a passion best enjoyed when shared.
Moreover, the maximum number of participants was brought down to 50 from 82, to ensure sufficient distancing. The measures are further strengthened by breaking down the participants into two groups of 25. Each group will have its own 30 minute slot on the track and friends will have to enjoy lunch with the members of their own group, again separating the two groups.
Still, the dinner taking place the night before is arranged in a very sizeable dinner area and if the weather allows, it will be moved outdoors.
Last, but not least digital briefing and check-in further ensures the protection of the participants.
Unprecedented measures no doubt. Yet, not isolating. Perhaps this is not ideal in terms of socializing and expressing our friendship. Certainly not how we normally interact with racing buddies. Still, camaraderie is a lot about respecting each other. At the same time, maintaining these standards will help participants take their mind off the pandemic and enjoy what they have craved the most for a long while. The timing couldn’t be better.
Karlskoga is the typical Swedish woodland and the track itself is surrounded by forest. The arrival of spring intensifies the beauty of nature and signifies the importance of balance. In organizing this event, the Swedes are leading by example, balancing obligations with desire, passion with respect and using common sense to tackle yet another historical challenge.
Many thanks to Peter Ternström of Gran Turismo Events for sharing his photographic archive of the event in 2019.