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Raid Poronkusema:

"Keep on ditching in a free world!"

All 2CVs in Europe are hibernating. All 2CVs? No! A small bunch of dyed-in-the-wool enthusiasts really perk up in knee deep snow. Every two years, Raid Laponie was the highlight of their winter delights. The vast emptiness of Lapland, North Cape in February, cold records, heaps of snow, even a detour to Russia were on the program. Some 300 "Superfins" were baptised  at the Arctic Circle with Swedish fermented fish during 20 years of Raid Laponie. But alas, nothing lasts for ever. 2004,  Raid Laponie was history. 

Soon after the last Raid, the organiser himself suffered from  "Raid lag". He invited the hard core of the snow addicts to  Mini-Raid Vehu. Since 2005, they have met somewhere in central Finland's forest  dreaming of Raid Laponie. Finally, after five years, "Raid  Poronkusema" was born. The idea was to keep the best traditions of Raid Laponie but have less stress and more fun.

14 teams from 10 countries souped up their 2CV's heating, insulated its roof and floor, pampered the engine with synthetic oil and tuned up their babies quite thoroughly. The first meeting place was a hostel in a former school building near Mikkeli in southern Finland. A team from northern Italy had the longest journey on wheels in their AK 400. By far the longest way from home was a participant from the Northern Territory of Australia who left the tropical summer behind to enjoy artic powder snow.  

Two teams from England brought their four-wheel-drive ducks across the Baltic Sea to play in Lapland's snow. The motto of the Secret Society of Superfins still was alive: "Always heading north"

DSC03070.jpg (96378 Byte)Two long days of driving with a few interesting stops en route took us to Saariselkä in the heart of Lapland. There, we spent three days of unlimited "Winter fun" in a cozy log cabin near the most famous Finnish ski resort.

Here, we were able to enjoy the snow to our heart's content. Cross country skiing on illuminated slopes, a reindeer farm visit, ice encrusted houses, power lines, signs and trees, drifting on ice-covered roads and driving our cars into the ditch were only some of the winter pleasures we enjoyed.

Eating, drinking, sauna and music were our nightly entertainments. The French idea of a "Dégustation" is spreading out more and more. The tables bent from food and drink the participants brought from all over Europe: Scottish Haggis, cheese from France, Italian pasta, English fruit cake, Belgian cherry beer, Dutch Genever, Finnish fish, German pumpernickel bread with blood sausage, Australian "road kill" and Austrian Mozartkugeln - to name just a few of the delicacies to be mentioned. The feast was topped off by all kinds of beer, wine and liquor from the distilleries around the world.

K3009_poronkusema.jpg (171776 Byte) What does "Poronkusema" mean? Poron = reindeer, kusema = piss. In Lapland, Poronkusema is a unit of length: you must stop a reindeer sleigh after one Porokusema, so the reindeer can perform his call of nature (1 PK = 6.14 kilometers). During the raid, a second meaning of the word evolved: Poronkusema become synonymous with inconvenience, mishap. "poronkusema happens" - instead of "shit happens".

Even on the journey to Finland, several raiders suffered from bad poronkusemas. Of all the selected means of transport, our 2CVs were the most reliable, whereas planes and buses turned out to be the most unreliable ones.  

The first prize for the largest share of arrival Poronkusema shared the Raider from northern Australia, who took 60 hours for the journey from Australia to Finland due to a delayed flight, and a Super-Super-Superfin from Paris. His 6 Ami made it all the way to Bremen, Germany when the electric worm forced him to cancel the trip. He did not give up but went back home and flew to Helsinki without further ado. His worst personal Poronkusema was that he now found himself in the passenger seat of his original passenger's Xantia.

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Haupt-Poronkusemas auf der Raid-Strecke in Finnland

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One of the organizers opened the Poronkusema-dance repairing the door lock of his Dyane. As it was somewhat cold and dark outside, he dismanteled the door and took it inside the hallway of the first hostel for a quick repair.

During the next days, the situation eased somewhat. The winter Raider's Poronkusemas confined mainly to travel in the (snow covered covered) ditch (--> "ditching") just to be pulled out again by the following raiders. Fortunately, noone was hurt and the damages to the cars were limited to a few minor scratches. This reflects in particular the vast experience of the participants with the wintery road conditions.

The participants tried to produce as inventive Poronkusemas as possible. For me, the following ditching was a special highlight of particular humourus quality: One Raider (unintentionally) mixed up a snowmobile track with the exit from a petrol station. Unfortunately, 50 cm of powdered snow do not carry a Dyane. The chassis was carefully belly landed on the snow in full length. Fortunately, one 4WD duck happened to be on the scene that very moment and pulled the disabled vessel from the deep snow.

We do not want to leave unmentioned the most creative Poronkusema. The organizer (i.e. his co-driver) competently collected the first price. He succeeded in breaking the suspension, two rims and one brake line of the 2CV on a closed road on the frozen Baltic Sea by driving across a chunk of ice. "Kallefarao" was stranded on the bare ice with no suspension nor brakes. No reason to panic: Of course, the following Raider had the spare parts needed in his trunk. Within less than 1 1/2 hours, 2CV was on the road - sorry: the ice - again. The less adventurous Raiders enjoyed the scene from the icebreaker which connects the island of Hailuoto to the mainland. The ferry crosses the ice some 50 meters away from the inofficial ice road. 

One English team chose the 4WD duck because of the better driving on slippery roads. STill, they were forced into the ditch by an oncoming bus. The road slope was so steep that despite his 4WD he did not manage to get back to the road by himself.  Remember: 4WD does not protect form ditching.

The participant from Australia managed to manouver himself into the ditch even without any external help. Well, we have to admit: He had to drive on the wrong side of the road all the time. An effect the author is very familiar with from a former trip to Britain where he lost a tire ("Don't drive so close to the curb all the time!").

A team from Belgium deserves the award for the most frequent open bonnet. At the petrol station, he checked the tank and filled up the oil. Just for the raid, a completely overhauled engine was installed. 9.5 liters of oil for 6500 km correspond to a mixture of 1:43.  That sounds a bit too much even for a two-stroke engine.

Last but not least I'd like to report the perhaps funniest Poronkusema. A Belgian 2CV van had a manual starter cable the way it used to be in the 60s. Belgian 2CV van had a manual starter cable the way it used to be in the 60s. One morning the driver forgot to turn on the ignition. to turn on the ignition. When he realised this after one or two minutes of starting in vain, he quickly switched on the ignition. This led to an explosion of the carefully accumulated fuel-air mixture in the first muffler Auspuffquertopf and subsequent repair hours.


One intended incident for Raid newbies could be called "poronkusema" as well: The Polar baptism. Unfortunately for the novices and to the delight of all the other participants, Henkka again spared no effort to smuggle a tin of long expired fermented herring from Sweden to Finland. This so called "surströmming" is considered a delicacy only in Sweden. The adventure of smelling the manure gas when opening the can is absolutely indescribable. Instantly, all fir trees within a mile dropped their needles. The poor novices bravely ate their share and drove off with the windows open. Poor passengers.

Besides the mentioned adverse events, we very much enjoyed winter driving with our 2CVs in the enchanted landscape of Lapland. There is hardly a better car for snowy roads. Often we intentionally choose lonely backroads, which were not cleared from all snow. The retreaded Italian (!) studded tires pulled our duck at 100 kph over the bare ice like a train on rails. At several places we literally drove on ice: As soon as the ice is thick enough, ice roads are layed out are on the lakes and even on the Baltic Sea. For many participants, this was the most impressive driving experience.

There is not enough room to show all pictures here. A small video (6 MB) from Vehu shows the Frozen Duck band live on stage. Pertti from Kajaani wrote the Raid Poronkusema song.

Karsten, SB-CV 911

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