If you meet a Saab veteran in Trollhättan, then at some point there will be talk of his motorsport involvement. Almost all of them have ever raced rally or folk race races. Not always in Saab. A Fiat, an Opel or a VW Beetle. Everything is possible. The main thing is cheap and it drives.
The Swedes have gas in their blood or in their genes, which explains why they build such good cars in the north. On the way out of the city towards the Saab factory, on the edge of the Stallbacka industrial area, is the grounds of the SMK Trollhattan. Crosskart, rally cross and folk races are driven on the “Knattecrossbanan”. The special, very Scandinavian type of stock car racing and originally comes from Finland.
The Folk Race is first and foremost an inexpensive and therefore popular way for anyone with petrol in their blood to indulge their passion for motorsport. Fun is not a question of money and for reasons of cost, antique cars are used. In Sweden, people like to talk about the “folk race dead” as the last stop for old cars. So no event for people who only see rolling cultural assets in classic cars.
The races themselves are surprisingly civil. It behaves fairly, deliberate ramming of the opponent is expressly prohibited.
In Trollhättan, the Folk Race is a pleasure for young and old. The event has a little bit of “folk festival” flair. Children run along the racetrack and through the paddock, Swedes from all walks of life meet to enjoy their petrol-heavy hobby together.
Besides the racetrack, it's not just about cars. Talks about children, school, work are taking place. The Folk Race is the framework for social activities.
In Trollhättan are of course mainly old Saab, Saab 900, Saab 90 or 99, or Saab 9000 at the start. But also Volvo or Audi and VW can be found.
The atmosphere of the race is hard to describe. The air smells of gasoline, it rattles and roars from every corner. After the start signal it goes up a hill, excited commented by the race director. And completely incomprehensible to us. Then at full throttle in the first corner, usually with contact to the neighbors. Mud splashes, the vehicles drift like Walter Röhrl at its best time in the direction of the straights. Then two tight corners, a kick on the accelerator and with full load down the hill.
The track is quite short with 2.400 meters, well visible to the spectators, the maximum speed of the racer is 80 Km / h. Who does not grab the curves or where the technology fails, there is quick help there. A wheel loader forks the race car and brings him back to the paddock.
There is a law - apparently. We like it. Saab always wins, Volvo never. And Saabs also has an internal hierarchy. When in doubt, a 9000 is faster than a 900. Audi and Opel are always in between. At least when we visited.
Which may also be due to the fact that the Saabs are small, agile and mostly turbo-charged. One of the few Volvos, painted pink, on the other hand a huge, heavy and therefore slow station wagon with wall unit qualities. Gothenburg versus Trollhättan, the eternal duel. Saab has always built the sportier cars.
The Volvo was piloted by a talented female pilot, because even the Folk Race is no longer a pure male domain for a long time.
The paddock requires rough tools and improvisation. Chisels and sometimes the welder. After each run, the crew comes, buckles the doors and clears the box for the next race. The driver's camp is freely accessible to everyone, the descent from the race track crosses the driveway to the paddock. In unimaginable in Germany. So be careful when visiting.
Folk Race is an event for the whole family that spends the whole Saturday at the racetrack. Fun, gasoline talks and a cool hobby. For Trollhättan visitors a clear recommendation from our side.