Editor's Note: This is a first-hand account by Steve Oldford, the United States representative in the World Cup of Amateur Racing, after the second day of the three-day competition in Finland.
Our Finnish hosts were concerned last week about this week's weather as it snowed just days before our arrival to Finland. The weather continues to co-operate with temperatures around 27°C (around 80°F) and brilliantly blue skies.
|Jeff Darby photo|
|The participants in the World Cup of Amateur Racing pose for the camera before the second day of competition.|
On the two hour trip to Tampere, our gracious hosts took us to the YPAJA Equine College which is the leading facility in Finland for breeding, training and equine education. The proud heritage of the Finnish Coldblood breed is evident in the museum on the grounds and in the more than 100 Coldbloods in training at the facility. Coldbloods are Finnish cart and work horses that were bred over the years to trot (hopefully fast). One third of the races are the Coldblood breed.
After a beautiful parade of drivers, complete with a limousine ride to and from the paddock, gifts were presented in the winner's circle and interviews given with the previous night’s winners.
The three World Cup races Tuesday night were dominated by youth as young drivers from The Netherlands, Belgium and Switzerland came away with the wins.
Along with the young Finnish overall point leader Janne Raisanen, who won Monday, this group makes up the top four point leaders. They are 57, 55, 54, and 51 points, respectively. I remained in the middle of the pack with 35 points.
My evening of racing was highlighted by a scratch (we do get points for this), a breaker, and a sixth place finish with a long odds horse.
The group travels together by bus and has been enjoying each other’s stories of home, family, and of course, racing.