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Bartlett arrives in Norway for World Driving Championship

May 14, 2009

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The mood was light on the eve of the opening of the 2009 World Driving Championship in Bergen, Norway, where some of the drivers who will compete in the 20-heat series had the opportunity to enjoy some local seafood and trade racing stories.

Jason Bartlett, who will represent the United States, met Canada’s Brad Forward, Australia’s Gareth Rattray, and the defending World Driving Champion, Belgium’s Christophe Martens.

While the mood was light at dinner, tomorrow all 10 will have arrived in Norway’s second-largest city and they will all be in the bike in the first four races in the series, which will open during the afternoon at Bergen’s 1,000 meter--five-eighths-mile--racetrack.

Bartlett has a positive attitude on the eve of the Championship, his first, and is ready to take things as they come.

“I still don’t quite know what to expect,” Bartlett said. “I think the most important thing, though, might simply be not to over-think things.

“Tron (Gravdal, the Det Norske Travselskap’s sports manager, who is supervising the competition for the host country) gave me some tips today about how to read the racing program, but honestly I don’t know much more about things after reading up,” he said with a laugh.

The four horses Bartlett drew in round one will start from posts 1, 7, 10 and 9. All four of the heats will be raced at 2,100 meters, or a little more than 1 1/4 miles, and the style of racing here rewards patience rather than early speed--something that often goes unrewarded at Yonkers Raceway and the other American ovals where Bartlett regularly plies his trade.

The extra distance should more than compensate for what might otherwise appear to be bad post positions. The track handicapper has predicted a second and third for Bartlett on Thursday.

Following Thursday’s opening round and Thursday evening’s official welcoming banquet, the drivers and the accompanying party will fly from Bergen to Oslo on Friday, bus northward to Biri for the second round of four races and along the way see more of the country’s natural beauty. (USTA)

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