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Click Above to visit the main race report - split into each day.

The 2011 IFMAR 10th off road world championships is the premiere event for the best class of racing - electric buggies! This years event is being held at possibly the best venue in terms of organisation you'll likely ever see. The organisers at Vaasa are just that - organised.

The first we all experienced of this venue and organisation was the 2007 EFRA European Championships - and with stories about euro150,000 being spent on that event along with over 100 staff throughout the week looking after the running of things - you get the idea that this event is on another level.

Since we weren't racing at the event it would be costly to attend and thankfully Team Durango helped with our costs to attend and report on all the event - so a huge thanks to them.

We were travelling with Associated driver Rich Lowe - who landed at casa oOple around 7pm Friday evening, and within a few short minutes the road-trip golf was packed and ready to rock n roll.
First stop was the nearby Halifax on-road track to meet up with Lincolnshire body-shop hero Graham ‘Blitzboy’ Smith, who in a record turnaround time had painted up Rich’s sleek new shells after they landed in England on Tuesday - now that’s a good service. These shells are top secret and we’ll be unable to officially reveal their identity until they appear at the championships event, although I’m sure we’ll sneak in some preview pics.

Lowe gets his painted shells down at the Halifax track from Blitz

Car packed!

After a swift bodyshell handover we were on our way southwards, and a brief stop at Ralphs farm for camera loan / firearms discussion did little to hinder our Heathrow-bound performance - we landed at our stopover hotel at a modest 00:30am.

We finally rocked up at the holiday inn we'd booked on laterooms.com to the fantastic news that they had no record of our parking being included nor breakfast! Awesome! The hotel staff were nice and unhelpful and we eventually gave in and left the parking to worry about later and went to our lacklustre rundown room for a few hours expensive sleep.
£5 an hour Internet access, £12 a night parking, this ain't cheap! 

Reporting continued into the night, although some of the more sensible travellers opted to really go wild on the early night option and managed a yawn-inducing 3.5hours sleep before the alarms started sounding to remind us it was time to check in for our flight.

After doing the official logo months in advance - preparing the logo and report layout for oOple came down to the night before! So after a fun filled day of packing and driving down the London - then waiting for the hotel to sort their cockup I kicked off the report officially at 1am! No worries, we need to get up at 5am to fly....... Oh dear.

Cunjouring up a logo in such a short time wasn't going to be easy - I needed to incorporate our sponsors somehow as Team Durango coughed up to help get us here by paying for our flights and accomodation (not sure it stretched to that 120 quid parking bill we'll face on our return however!)

I started by looking at the official logo and decided to nick a few bits - at least to start things off. I then had a look through the logos I did for the 2007 and 2009 events - along with some choice EFRA Euros logos like the 2009 one from the Bilbao report, which was simple and nice.

I threw together a few variations and at 3:03am remembered to add the year - by 3:11am a switch clicked in my head and I couldn't go on any longer. Tagging on the year had literally meant tagging on the year to the end of the logo in an uninspiring mess and it all started looking the same - the time had come to sleep. Praise the mighty god of sleep.

I wrote the words above, put the logos in - then saw what was needed. 3:19am and the final logo (hopefully) was done!

The checking in process was fairly straight forward although some luggage-shuffling was required to balance out the excess weight, and we just managed to avoid any additional charges - and that is travelling without racing gear! Perhaps one suitcase for shoes, make-up and vinegar wasn't entirely necessary.

Our first flight was the early departure from Heathrow to Helsinki and we met with several drivers from the UK team inlcuding Durango warrior Adam Skelding, and BRCA hero Paul Worlsey.

We flew in luxury - with engines on each side and everything. On arrival in Helsinki the gate for the connecting flight to Vaasa was just a sea of R/C warriors from around the world.

Bags packed! 300mm F2.8 lens, tripod, harddrive, wheels, hats and 2 bottles of malt vinegar!

John Spencer thought he had been crowned WORLD CHAMPION - he actually needed a wee.

Helsinki airport was full of R/C superstars.

Dave Church with his duty free booty

oOples and Truhe's

The pull-start plane from Helsinki to Vaasa.

After around an hour on the plane from Helsinki we arried at Vaasa where everyone picked up their baggage - well, actually not everyone since several racers and organisers had missing items. Along with a bunch of other racers and reporters the oOple team were on the coach provided by the organisers but there was quite a delay whilst people tried to sort out what was happening with their luggage that hadn't made it over from Helsinki.

Eventually we got going and with heavy rain and not much going on at the track, the bus went past the track slowly so we could all take a look, and then carried onto the hotel rather than allow us out to meander round in the rain feeling miserable. The journey into Vaasa didn't take long and we arried at the Radisson Blue that pretty much all the racers are staying at. The hotel is split into three buildings with 285 rooms.

Upon arrival in the centre of Vaasa, and following our hotel check-in by a very attentive young lady, the next step was of course to explore the shops, stock up on essential crisps and pop, and check out the hotel facilities.

DC interviews random Finns with a rubber nob

A very handy Irish pub adorns the ground floor of one part of our hotel, which was conveniently located for accosting passing locals. A stag party stumbled past and asked us what advice we could offer for a long and happy marriage; as could easily be expected UK mad-mad DC was on standby to offer some very helpful advice.

In the midst of the excitement we borrowed our hotels very useful printing facilities to create a paper form of UK warrior and Worlds Warm Up Winner Darren Bloomfield, and brought him along to the pub to join in the pre-race celebrations. We'd like to take this opportunity to reassure Darren and his fan club that we absolutely meant no dis-respect by doing this, and we merely wanted to express our own disappointment that he was unable to physically attend the event, and extend a gesture of sympathy towards Darren in what we believe to be a very disheartening situation - many people asked about Darren and his situation and not being able to participate. Paper-Darren lives however and was having a great time in downtown Vaasa........

We took out paper-Bloomfield to celebrate him

Otto shares a drink with his friend

Matt-aussie-lad meets Darren


More drinks

The waitress really admires Darren

Darren meets another lady


Vaasa - 1am.

The schedule for the event can be seen from the buttons for the report days - 8 days of wrenching and racing.