KymiRing project unravels with bankruptcy, major series exits

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Credit: KymiRing

The KymiRing was intended to be Finland’s premier circuit capable of hosting a versatile array of international championships from MotoGP to motocross and rallycross. However, the dream seems to be going down the drain with each new development since its opening in 2019, and it appears to have hit rock bottom amid reports that construction companies Maanrakennus Pekka Rautiainen Ky and Macra oy have filed bankruptcy claims against the track. With circuit ownership unable to pay the money owed and construction therefore coming to a halt, series like the FIM Motocross World Championship and Nitro Rallycross have cancelled their races there.

Located in Iitti, the KymiRing broke ground in 2016 and envisioned as an FIA Grade 1 circuit, the first of its kind in the Nordic realm. After signing a five-year deal in 2017, MotoGP was due to début there in 2020 as the first premier motorcycle Grand Prix event in Finland since Imatra welcomed it from 1964 to 1982, but global crises led repeated postponements with the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020/2021 and the Russian invasion of Ukraine in 2022. The race is still on the 2023 calendar.

In late June, Finnish publication Yle reported the KymiRing owed its construction firms compensation for their work, with Maanrakennus Pekka Rautiainen Ky seeking €370,000 while Macra oy wanted €264,000. At the time, track CEO Riku Rönnholm denied knowing about the applications and took the matter behind closed doors.

While the situation played out in meeting rooms, the Motocross World Championship elected to relocate its 13/14 August date from the KymiRing to former longtime venue Hyvinkään Vauhtipuisto. MXGP had previously delayed its KymiRing visits twice from 2020 onwards.

Nitro Rallycross was the next to call off its trip to KymiRing, doing so on Monday and citing the circuit “still not being fully completed yet per scheduled milestones.” The weekend was originally set to take place on 27/28 August as part of the fledgling series’ international expansion.

“Nitro Circus has produced successful events in Finland in the past and, given the country’s passion for rallycross and motorsports in general, Nitro RX hopes to be able to return,” reads the series’ press release. “Once series organizers have clear visibility as to the completion of the circuit as well as the new management structure of KymiRing, Nitro RX will assess the viability of holding future events at the venue.”

Although Finland has a rallycross scene that includes hosting the FIA World Rallycross Championship at Tykkimäki in Kouvola in 2014 and 2020, Nitro RX will not replace the lost KymiRing date. As a result, there will be a two-month break between the series’ second round at Strängnäs Motorstadion in Sweden on 30/31 July and ERX Motor Park on 1/2 October. ERX, the first American race of the 2022/23 Nitro RX season, also bears an uncertain future amid local noise and land complaints; this weekend’s Championship Off-Road event is expected to see an independent noise study.

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Justin is not an off-road racer, but he writes about it for The Checkered Flag.
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