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The first step towards ACR

In the early summer of 1987, NMK Rana presented a report on the status and future of local motorsport. The report was drawn up and authored by the motor club's Øystein Bentzen, and with him in the work he had NMK Rana's manager, Bjørn Jamtli and Leiv Bustnes from Rana municipality's regulatory office.

The financing of the work had come about as a settlement in a conflict between NMK Ranas and the municipality's management. The case had been so heated that NMK Rana had threatened the municipal management with a police report.

The background to the conflict was that in the spring of 1986, NMK Rana had entered into an agreement with the landowner, then Statens Skoger, to expand its holding area at Røssvoll in order to build a track for motocross and an area for trail running. The area was to be located in the forest that at the time lay between the motorway and the airport, and was a measure that NMK Rana was to offer to children and young people.

 

After the agreement was concluded with the landowner, the necessary documents were sent to Rana Municipality for rezoning. The response from the municipality was that they would look at the proposal against the airport's needs, which NMK Rana settled for as normal municipal proceedings.

 

But that autumn, the motor club's leader, Bjørn Jamtli discovered by chance that it wasbegan extensive construction work in the middle of the area NMK Rana had entered into an agreement with the landowner about. On enquiry, it turned out that Statens Skoger was just as surprised as the motor club, and that the state landowner was also unaware of what was going on.

After a few days, it turned out that a newly established helicopter company had started the work without any formal approval other than a meeting with the municipality's management. What signals and any verbal "we'll fix this" that were given in the meeting is unknown, but the situation created justified anger at NMK Rana.

 

While NMK Rana had sat quietly in the boat for several weeks and waited for the municipality's formal proceedings, the municipality's management had held meetings with another interested party without notifying either the club or the landowner. This caused great anger among the motor club's management.

 

NMK Rana had invested a lot of time, training and resources in organizing a larger range of activities for young people. Among other things, the clubhouse was being extended, and plans were ready for changing rooms on the lower floor. The municipality's neglect of the club's interests and goodwill meant that NMK Rana chose to contact the local the lawyer Erling Moss.

The lawyer carried out investigations into the case, and in a meeting with NMK Ranas Bjørn Jamtli and Øystein Bentzen, Moss was able to say that the municipality's handling was not carried out in accordance with current laws and regulations. The case had become public knowledge, and both the local newspaper and NRK were on the case. Right after the meeting with Moss, Øystein Bentzen expressed in an interview with NRK that NMK Rana felt overrun and disregarded, and that the club considered going to court, possibly to the police with a report.

When the interview was published, the municipal management was quick to invite NMK Rana to an inspection at Røssvoll where even both the mayor and councilor participated. The inspection was also attended by a representative from the helicopter company, from the contractor and for the landowner. The municipality's head of regulation launched during the inspection a proposal about an alternative area for the motor club, a proposal which NMK Rana, after a few days' consideration, accepted without hesitation.

Lawyer Erling Moss was less satisfied with the municipality's performance, and in a larticle in Rana Blad just before Christmas, he summarized the case from his point of view. The lawyer's post made the contents of the case more widely known, and already the following day, the general manager of the helicopter company appeared in the local newspaper andtook the blame for the misery.

Today, you can smile at the positions you partly took or ended up in, but history meant that more people in Mo i Rana became familiar with the club's activities and significant value for the local community. From several local politicians there was eventually a desire to let the municipality contribute to a survey of the business for local motorsport and what future prospects the club had.

 

NMK Rana was encouraged to send an application, and on New Year's Day in 1987 the municipal council granted NOK 87,000 for an investigation. The municipality made an office available to the municipality's cultural department, and just a couple of weeks later the work was under way. The work resulted in the report mentioned at the beginning, and the report laid much of the foundation for the work that a few years later created ACR.

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The sketch that showed how to imagine a 3,500 meter asphalt track at Røssvoll. In 1987, nobody in the country had knowledge of track design, and the sketch must therefore be seen as an illustration for the utilization of the area. A couple of years later, plans change character.

Expansion of Røssvoll

In the mid-80s, many tens of cars in Mo i Rana had a half-meter sticker in the rear window with the text "NMK Rana - Mo i Rana's pride", and the club's members and support members numbered more than 1,100 people. In sum, this made NMK Rana the second largest sports team in Rana, and the heart and kidney of the club was Røssvoll Motorstadion, Norway's only permanent motor sports facility.

When the club presented the report on the future of motorsport in Mo i Rana in 1987, the conclusion was clear: It was Røssvoll Motorstadion that had to be expanded to international goals. NMK Rana was not averse to locating elsewhere, but its heart still lay with the purpose-built track at Røssvoll.

You can read the entire report online atThe National Library.

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From left Hans Arne Nodland, Torstein Karstensen, Kjell Martinsen, Ole Jørgen Skaalbones and Torleif Guldhav. Asbjørn Smedvik was not present.

Yellow group

When the local motorsport community took on the task, no one in the country had ever built a track to international standards. Even the country's foremost road engineers fell short. It therefore became a demanding task to prepare the first sketches. The club's requirement was a minimum of 3,500 metres, and the rest could be made up along the way.

 

It became clear early on that the FIA's (car) requirements were far more expensive to meet, and there were thus no funds for a long enough track. FIM's (mc) requirements were more adapted to economic reality, and FIM's handbook for track inspectors was therefore obtained and translated into Norwegian. It had a yellow cover, and NMK Rana's working group thus got the name Gulgruppa.

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The group's work already started in 1988, and had to begin its work without an updated map. The maps were from the time before the open pit was opened, and initially the group worked from photographs taken during a flight together with Mo Flyklubb.

After a while funds were obtained to allow the Swedish Mapping Authority to take proper aerial photos, and a few months later preliminary maps came out that showed better what the area looked like.

Creative as the group was, they threw themselves into the tasks of creating a 3D model of the terrain and modeling the track on top of it. For a long time, it was Gulgruppa's model that was presented to the international visits, and above the county council, the Ministry of Culture, the National Committee of the Districts' Development Fund and others who had an interesting pocket of money.

Pictured: The basis for the first sketches were some photos taken from a trip with the local flying club. Due to bad weather and other reasons, the trip was postponed several times, and when it was finally carried out, the fresh snow had subsided.

Pictured: FIM president Jos Vaessen studies the plans from ACR. Some similarities with today's course, but still a completely different course. On these sketches, the track is drawn clockwise, i.e. in the opposite direction to that which was built later.

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When the president of the international motorcycle federation, Jos Vaessen (NL) visited Mo i Rana in 1990, it was Gulgruppa's model that was transported up to the rock fills. He said a few years later that he was shocked by the plans. They had never seen something so ambitious before internationally.

When more extensive funding was in place and Nordland Teknikk was engaged, Gulgruppa continued its function as a reference group for engineers and architects, and all elements, calculations and space programs were carefully coordinated by this team which had carefully familiarized itself with countless international regulations .

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NMK Rana's manager, Bjørn Jamtli and then project manager for the financing, Øystein Bentzen, presented the 3D model to the local press in 1988.

More articles will follow

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