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The Beast of Bondi Beach
Swedish Rally 2006

Hagfors (pronounced "Hogforsh")


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Hagfors is about 100km from Karlstad which is where the big teams stay. Hagfors is a town of about 13,000 people and is set in a beautiful part of central Sweden. In summer you could have a wonderful time fishing, canoeing, camping, shooting poor defenceless animals etc. 

The area is renowned for its steel production and at the Uddeholm (9km down the road) service park there was a display of local metal engineering. 

Metal engineering

One of the local lads had a go at lopping 3 cylinders off a V-12 and came up with W-9. The engine was on display at the Uddeholm service park and its specs were impressive:

W9 engine

W9 engine-front

W9 engine specs


Hagfors sprint 

There is a sprint on Friday and Saturday nights.  On the Friday night we met a farmer and his wife from Norway. They were big Solberg fans and knew all the songs. They had two friends with them. They also had 1.5 litres of vodka, an official Petter Solberg hip flask and 24 Carlsbergs. It was all gone by the time the sprint was finished ( about 2 hours). I helped a bit with the hip flask. 

Mrs Farmer told me that she put her foot down because the lads had catered 3 litres (!!) of vodka for the night but as she was driving she drew the line. She nailed 6 Carlsbergs instead. The event is supposed to be dry. I saw a policeman snaffle a can of beer that someone had rested on a fence while making a phone call. On the Saturday night they went through bags but there were still Uber hammered people staggering about and occasionally falling over (which is the truly amazing thing given the conditions). 


000 on Ice at Hagfors 


The track was very icy yet the grip of the tyres is amazing.  The clearance on the gate was less than 12 inches each side.

Narrow gate at sprint 


The gate again


Short car at Hagfors 


Thomas Radstrom sticks it in again 




The Systembolaget 

The Swedish government has a  monopoly on the sale of strong liquor. The logic is that they want to discourage excessive alcohol consumption and alcohol is relatively expensive. You can buy 3.5% Carlsberg etc in the supermarkets but if you want something stringer you have to go to the Systembolaget.


Now for those who have never experienced the Systembolaget it works like this, at least in the places outside Stockholm. The grog is behind a locked cabinet. Here is a picture taken in Hagfors (pronounced “Hogforsh”). Hagfors Systembolaget 


There is a pen stuck to the glass. Every bottle of wine etc has a code. You write the code down with quantity and take a queue ticket then you wait under your number comes up and present your request to the sales person who goes away and fills your order. Another view of the Systembolaget at Hagfors


Now Hagfors is the epicentre of the rally and on Thursday and Friday night of the rally the Systembolaget is full of all manner of people from the various teams with very LONG lists of grog. They arrived with their own trolleys which they filled until groaning. Did I see drunks? Yes. I have never seen so many hammered people in my life. Makes an ARC event look tame. The Bateman’s Bay after party is teetotal by comparison! Despite sub-zero temperatures there were some young blokes partying on the balcony of their flat and were trying to entice Lucy and I to come and get on the grog with them on their balcony. It was around -10 Celsius I guess but they were rocking


How we got to Stage 10

The local farmers were employed to tow 40 - 60 people at a time up to the stage.  They used trailers that would normally be used for other agricultural purposes such as moving pigs, hay etc!

Temperature was around -19 Celsius.  As the tractor went along the chains on the wheels sprayed us with snow and ice.  When we got to the stage we had to walk in single file for about 1 km to get to the action.  Some of the drunks had trouble with this part of the journey !

The bit of stage 10 we were at was right near the flying finish.  The cars came downhill and then onto a straight with a kink in it.  I estimate speeds of 160+ kph by the quick guys.  The grip of snow tyres has to seen to be believed.


To view the video click here:  Stage 10 video 

This is a real man's snow quad on display at the Uddeholm service park.  The salesman explained that you just flick the rifle holster open, whip out the gun and "shoot bear" then fang off.  Real man's quad


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