Address: Falkenberg Motorklubb, Hällarp 308, 311 95 Falkenberg, Sweden
PH: +46 346 190 33
Circuit type: Permanent road course
Falkenberg is Sweden's fastest track, home of the Västkustloppet (West Coast Races) and one of the country's most popular tracks for spectators, thanks to its proximity to the beaches which make this part of the country a summer retreat for city dwellers.
Racing had been organised in the area since the 1950s by the Falkenburg Motor Club, using public roads to the east of the town at Skrea. These were hugely popular events, but they came skidding to a halt after the 1964 edition, when local authorities announced they were upgrading the roads and slicing a dual carriageway through the middle of the course. Pressure from local law enforcement officials was also making obtaining necessary permissions to race more difficult, so it was likely only a matter of time before the races were halted, even without the road works.
Undeterred, the Club under president Åke Lavéno began searching for a replacement, though this time they had in mind a permanent facility. A suitable site was found at Ljungby, a few miles to the north of the town, and by the end of the 1966 negotiations were concluded for the club to purchase the land. In April 1967 construction began amid the last of the winter snow, with Lavéno proclaiming the return of racing by the summer.
An army of volunteers set about the challenge and, amazingly, had created a fully functioning track in just four months, allowing the return of the Västkustloppet just as Lavéno had promised. So incredible was the progress, the Swedish tax man took years to be convinced it had largely been completed by volunteers and would therefore not be subject to an investment tax...
The first race took place on the new course on August 5, 1967, with Reine Wissell winning the Formula 3 feature race in a Brabham. The revived Västkustloppet also included touring and sportscar races alongside two wheel action, with races for 125cc, 250cc, 350cc and 500cc motorbikes as well as 750cc sidecars. More than 20,000 spectators turned out, their admission fees being a welcome contribution to the costs of creating the track.
Sadly, spectator figures like these would not be the norm as the circuit continued into the 1970s. Despite unprecedented success on the tracks for stars such as Ronnie Peterson and Gunnar Nilsson, the proliferation of circuits and racing events in Sweden meant there was an awful lot of competition for spectators in a sparsely populated country. Falkenberg did better than most, with its races scheduled during the July summer holidays when many Swedes head to the coast. Nevertheless by 1974, attendances of around 4,000 were more the norm.
Finances had become critical by the 1980s and the holding company which owned the circuit – formed by a core group of club members – had to be sold off to make ends meet. Vasabron AB took over ownership, with the motor club continuing to operate the facility and organise races. A downturn in the property market in 1993 meant that the new owners were themselves in trouble, collapsing into bankruptcy. The track's future looked uncertain, with the facility put up for public auction.
Once again the motor club faced losing its home circuit but, in a reversal of past history, the local authority stepped in to become saviours. Falkenberg Municipality bought the track on the understanding that the club would purchase it back if its financial fortunes improved. And improve they did, thanks to the rise in popularity of the Swedish Touring Car Series, which began to gain international exposure and had the fans flocking back through the turnstiles.
By 2001, the club was in a position to buy back the circuit and, with continuing good fortunes, began an investment programme to refurbish facilities. In 2004, a new chicane was introduced at the first turn after concerns were raised about rising speeds, while a tunnel to the infield paddock was also created – something that had been firmly on the wish list for many years.
Today, Falkenberg continues to thrive, with the STCC races now the highlight of the Västkustloppet, while other events include a popular historic meeting each September.
Falkenburg Raceway is located at Bergagård, about 10 km east of Falkenberg in south-western Sweden. The nearest airport is Halmstad Airport, around 40 minutes drive to the north, while Gothenburg's two airports (Landvetter and City) are around 80 minutes drive to the north, offering international connections.
The circuit itself is located along highway 154 which can be accessed from the E20 dual carriageway which links Gothenburg and Halmstad.