A Final Slice of the Norwegian action

8/8/2012 9:08:26 AM
A vintage car on show in Trondheim city during the Norwegian Challenge  (EuropeanTour)
A vintage car on show in Trondheim city during the Norwegian Challenge (EuropeanTour)

Vintage cars, a Norwegian sporting legend and a local guide to Trondheim await you in our final Slice of the Action from Norway as our press officer gives you a look behind the scenes at the Norwegian Challenge...

Vintage drivers take to the streets of Trondheim

Players at the Norwegian Challenge this week could have been forgiven for thinking they had just flown into the past via a time machine when they arrived in Trondheim city as vintage Cadillac and Buicks roamed the streets.

In fact, the tournament took place on a big week for petrol heads as the city hosted a vintage car show and rally on the final day of the Norwegian Challenge.

Consequently, there were stunning Cadillacs, Buicks, Minis, Beatles and many more on show in the city for all to see on Saturday evening.

Indeed, the owner of this week’s Challenge Tour venue Byneset GK, Terje G Aasen, is one of the figureheads of the American Car Club of Norway, which was hosting the car show, while he is also the editor of their magazine.

After taking members of the Challenge Tour and Norwegian Golf Federation staff out for dinner on Saturday night, Terje actually managed to spot a car on show in the street which he used to own.

It was a truly dazzling array of old American cars and proved a welcome treat for all who got to see them this week. 

Family affair for Espen’s birthday

While Espen Kofstad was out of the running for the title at the Norwegian Challenge at Byneset GK, he was at least able to celebrate his birthday in his home country as the recent Challenge Tour winner turned 25 on Saturday.

The Olso man’s parents drove all the way up to Trondheim (a seven hour drive, no less) from Norway’s capital city to celebrate with their beloved son and treated him to a nice dinner in the city.

With the aforementioned celebrations on Monday night to celebrate Kofstad’s maiden victory at the Doubletree by Hilton Acaya Open last month, it has been quite a week of festivities for the highest Norwegian on the Challenge Tour Rankings.

Norwegian Challenge jumps after Wirkola success in Pro-Am

There was a true legend present at the Norwegian Challenge Pro-Am tournament this week, a sports star called Bjørn Wirkola, who is not only known as one of the country’s greatest sports stars ever, but also holds the more distinct feat of having a widely-used Norwegian idiom in his honour.

Wirkola is a star in Norway having become a World Champion in one of the country’s biggest sports - ski-jumping. He won the title in Olso in 1966 when the sport was at its peak of nationwide popularity, causing a huge stir in Norway.

There was so much hype build around Wirkola that every tournament he appeared in was in many ways built around his presence, with the fans creating a huge build-up to his jumps before decibels and excitement would reach a crescendo while the World Champion was mid-air.

Of course, in the immediate wake of his jumps there would be a significant dip in enthusiasm amongst the crowds – a deafening calm after the storm – which would leave the next competitor jumping amidst a vacuum of anti-climax.

From that period of Wirkola’s Beatles-like fame came the phrase ‘hoppe etter Wirkola’, or ‘jumping after Wirkola’ in English, which is used to describe the feeling of attempting to do a task in the immediate aftermath of somebody who has just done an exceptionally good job.

It is one of the most commonly used idioms in Norway and is also known to be used in Sweden. Incredibly, Wirkola went on to become a successful professional footballer, winning both the Norwegian League and Cup titles with Rosenborg BK.

No surprises then, when the super-talented all-round sportsman played in the Pro-Am and duly won alongside local player Elias Bertheussen.

Indeed, the following day when Bertheussen teed off in front of the willing local crowds, who cheered his first shot loudly, one of the Norwegian players soon to tee off was heard to mutter the phrase ‘hoppe etter Wirkola’!

Medallist present in Trondheim in Olympic week

With golf making its return to the Olympics in Rio 2016, there are plenty of players in the field at the Norwegian Challenge who have designs on an appearance in the biggest sports event in the world but surprisingly there is one Olympic medal winner present in Trondheim this week.

Both of the parents of talented young South Korean Byeong hun An are medallists in table tennis for two different countries.

Byeong hun’s father and caddy this week competed in the 1988 Olympics in Seoul and won a bronze medal for South Korea, having also won bronze at the 1987 World Championships and claimed a team gold at the 1986 Asian Games.

His mother Jiao Zhimin, meanwhile, is originally from China and represented her country and also won bronze at the 1988 Olympics while claiming a team silver in the women’s doubles.

She was a semi-finalist in women's singles and doubles at the 1985 World Championships in Gothenburg. At the 1987 World Championships in New Delhi she was runner-up in the mixed doubles, and was a member of China's victorious team.

The Olympic spirit is well and truly alive at the Norwegian Challenge and we are honoured to have such a decorated athlete present.

Elias draws inspiration from Rosenborg

Local man Elias Bertheussen had a cracking opening round at the Norwegian Challenge as he drew the crowds to one of the marquee groups alongside Nick Dougherty and Philip Archer.

The young Trondheim man carded a four under par 68 to end the opening day three shots off the lead but he had other things on his mind as soon as he got off the course – the fate of his beloved Rosenborg BK.

They played at home in the Europa League Qualifying Stage and Bertheussen made his way to the 21,000 capacity Lerkendal Stadion nearby to watch his side draw 0-0 with Swiss team Servette.

Although not an inspired result for his side, hopefully Bertheussen will have drawn some inspiration from the team in his attempts to claim a home victory this week.

Federation celebration

It has been good times for the Norwegian Golf Federation recently with Espen Kofstad’s maiden Challenge Tour win coming just three weeks before they play host to this week’s Norwegian Challenge and his feat was recognised by the Federation on the Tuesday evening leading up to the tournament.

Kofstad and a few of his fellow Norwegians in the field this week were treated to dinner in the lively Trondheim city centre and the Federation raised a glass in honour of his achievement, which has kick-started a superb run of form for the affable Olso man.

There were tales of the tour in abundance amongst some of Norway’s finest golfers and no doubt the Federation’s gesture of pride and commendation will give the other players a boost in their quest for professional glory.

Trondheim - The City of Sport

Trondheim prides itself as being the Norwegian capital of sport and there is a great deal of pride here that this year’s Norwegian Challenge visits the spectacular fjord land region.

A local Nordic skiing venue regularly hosts World Cup competitions in ski jumping, biathlon and cross-country skiing and their proudest moment came in 1997, when they played host to the FIS Nordic World Ski Championships.

Trondheim is also the home city of Norway’s most successful football team, Rosenborg BK, who have won 22 national titles in all.

Rosenberg’s crowning moment in Europe came in 1996 when they beat AC Milan at the San Siro to knock the Italian giants out of the Champions League and progress to the quarter-finals, where they were eventually beaten by Juventus.

They have also beaten Real Madrid in Europe’s biggest competition, 2-0 at home in 1997. Former players include Stig Inge Bjørnebye, who Liverpool and Blackburn fans may remember from the 1990s and 2000s, and former Aston Villa player John Carew while former Tottenham Hotspur striker Stefan Iverson has returned for a third spell and is currently lining out for the Trondheim outfit.

A local guide to Trondheim

Seeing as the European Challenge Tour and its players and staff will be making up roughly 0.001 of the population of the beautiful Trondheim this week, it would only be right for us to give you a little guide of the third most populous city of Norway.

•    The settlement was founded in 997 as a trading post, and was the capital of Norway during the Viking Age until 1217.

•    Trondheim is situated where the river Nidelva meets Trondheimsfjorden and the sheltered conditions make for a good harbour. The river used to be deep enough for most boats in the Middle Ages. An avalanche of mud and stones made it less navigable and partly ruined the harbour in the mid-17th century.

•    It is a city with a strong University presence, with the Norwegian University of Science and Technology based here, and one fifth of the population of the city are students.

•    The city has experienced several major fires. Since it was a city of log buildings, made out of wood, most fires caused severe damage. Great fires ravaged the city in 1598, 1651, 1681, 1708, twice in 1717, 1742, 1788, 1841 and 1842; these were only the worst cases. The 1651 fire destroyed 90% of all buildings within the city limits. The fire in 1681 led to an almost total reconstruction of the city.

•    At summer solstice, the sun rises at 03:00 and sets at 23:40, but stays just below the horizon–there is no darkness from 20 May to 20 July. At winter solstice, the sun rises at 10:00, stays very low above the horizon, and sets at 14:30.