DIrt Bike Journal | HAKAN CARLQVIST, 1954 – 2017

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Hakan “Carla” Carlqvist is unfortunately not with us – the well-known Swedish racer handed away within the early days of July 2017 on the all too younger age of 63. His motocross profession was so profitable that he grew to become well-known to most of the people in Sweden, even with those that weren’t all in favour of bikes. Nevertheless, those who knew Carla, knew of his stubbornness and good spirit. He’s summed up by 4 key phrases: hero, achievement, cussed, beloved – a person with just one purpose in his sights. Carla captured two motocross world titles, the primary with Husqvarna in 1979…

Hakan Carlqvist was born on January 15th, 1954. However the motocross racer we all know began out with pursuits in lots of sports activities. At first he was a eager soccer participant and an avid ice hockey man, in addition to going downhill at high-speed. His curiosity in bikes got here on the age of 16 when Carlqvist began to trip a 125cc street bike. The next yr, in 1971, Hakan purchased a Penton-KTM competitors machine, which helped pave his approach to future success. Carlqvist received his first race by being cussed, quick and constant. Step-by-step, he learnt to be an expert rider. His career away from the monitor was as a glass-trader, having labored within the building enterprise earlier than that.

Leaping forward to 1978 and Husqvarna have been solely prepared to provide Carla a manufacturing machine and spare components, having given him manufacturing facility assist the earlier yr. The season began properly. Hakan received the primary Grand Prix warmth of his life on the sequence opener held in Spain. However the remainder of ‘78 didn’t meet along with his need to overcome. He completed a mere seventh within the championship standings on the finish of ’78. On dwelling turf Carla was as soon as once more second within the nationwide championship after Thorleif Hansen, one other profitable Husky rider who additionally made his title well-known all around the world.

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When the 1979 season approached, folks from Husqvarna had doubts about Carlqvist’s efficiency. After some negotiations, the manufacturing facility gave him an opportunity to show himself on a manufacturing facility machine within the 250cc world championship. There was no discuss of contract cash, however merely bonus for achieved outcomes… “The cash was of second significance to me in spite of everything my failures,” mentioned Carlqvist, “all I wished now was an opportunity to show myself. Deep inside, I knew I used to be a winner.”

1979 began properly with a second place on the April opener, which as typical was held in Sabadell, Spain. Two weeks later, Hakan Carlqvist went on to race in Halle, Holland. In The Netherlands you race on sandy floor, more often than not. The unfastened floor suited Carla properly and he received each motos in fashion, displaying that he was on the proper approach to success. Per week later the GP scene moved to Bra in northern Italy. Carla broke down within the first warmth, however received the second. After three rounds, Carlqvist was forward within the 250cc sequence and issues appeared promising.

“This season made all of the distinction to me,” mentioned Hakan, “earlier than I needed to repair every thing myself, however with my works mechanic Tommy Jansson, I used to be in a position to focus on using, which proved to achieve success. Tommy J was a person with a earlier motocross profession and he helped me each getting ready my Husqvarna in addition to providing psychological assist. Our friendship goes again a great distance, so this was an optimum answer for our staff. I might additionally be aware that I used to be sooner from the beginning this yr and that my using was extra constant than earlier than.”

In Genk, Belgium, Carlqvist was overwhelmed by his important rival Neil Hudson from Nice Britain. Nevertheless, Carla received the second warmth so he nonetheless dominated the championship. In Karlovac, Yugoslavia, the order was repeated, whereas the Swede regained command in Holice, Czechoslovakia by successful each motos. Half the season was gone and Husqvarna was on the prime of the standings. We have been now at first of June and it was time for the Polish GP in Szczecin. Once more, Carlqvist received each races as he did the next week in Lavour, France. With 4 GPs to go, the championship was virtually determined in favour of the 25-year outdated Swede. Within the coming two Grand Prix rounds, Carlqvist solely scored 10 factors with a 3rd spot on the U.S. city of Unadilla.

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However within the first week of August the title chase was determined after Hakan Carlqvist received each motos in Bielstein, Germany. Out of the 24 held, Carla received 14 GP races and along with his first world title within the bag, media now renamed him “Superswede”. There was monumental pleasure and it’s laborious to clarify the feelings Carlqvist felt on the time of success. After his dangerous luck with extreme accidents in earlier years, he had many occasions been unsure. However in the long run his efforts paid off and Husqvarna had a brand new star of their manufacturing facility staff. The triumph of the Superswede obtained a improbable media response after his nice victory.

“My goals lastly got here true,” mentioned an exultant Hakan Carlqvist, “however my goals went additional since I additionally wished the half-litre class title.”

The 1979 season had began on the 18th of February and went on till the 21st of October, with races each weekend however two. “At the moment I used to be bored with racing across the globe and simply wished to chill out with mates and have a good time my luck.”

With elevated confidence, the cussed Carla began preparations for an additional world title, which got here in 1983. He was now well-known for his sizzling mood and his infamous outbursts. Hakan Carlqvist was a person who by no means shredded phrases, and the reality was not all the time appreciated on this non-forgiving sport. His using fashion set its mark by all the time making an attempt to provide the utmost and his assault would by no means be underestimated.


Shortly after his second title, I had lunch with Carla in Cologne. He was attending the IFMA motorbike present. Privately, he was a easy and sort man, with even much less phrases than regular. However some folks in contrast him with the boxing legend Cassius Clay.

“However that’s solely as a result of I’m centered,” retaliated the cumbersome Swede, “it’s simply my method of being. Having achieved my final purpose, I can chill out and take the longer term because it comes. Possibly make some cash, so I can retire with out financial hassles.”

Individuals who noticed him focus forward of a race, have one other feeling about Carla’s conduct. His hefty mood was each optimistic and detrimental for his using expertise. It doesn’t matter what, Hakan Carlqvist will all the time be remembered as a hero. He spent his final a long time in southern France, away from publicity. He suffered severely from ache after all of the accidents throughout his profession and lived with drugs and powerful painkillers. “What’s achieved is completed, he mentioned, the remainder of my life is personal and never up for dialogue.”

In 1983, Hakan Carlqvist obtained the “Svenska Dagbladet Gold Medal” which is probably the most prestigious sports activities award you may get in Sweden. He is without doubt one of the hardest males ever to sit down on a motorbike. Moulded from hardened metal, he had a warrior’s intuition on the monitor. Passing away within the evening of the sixth of July 2017, a Swedish motoring icon has handed.

Right here’s mud in your eye, Carla!

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