The Scandinavian Open Superbike Championship
The Scandinavian Open was announced in 1995 as a brand new initiative to give Scandinavian riders healthy competition and a means to earn a living from their racing. British-born promoter Mike Luff had noted the dwindling interest from sponsors in the Nordic and domestic championships in the region and set out to bring road racing back to the public consciousness, promising a series with Europe-wide TV coverage, prominent sponsors, and a prize fund totalling nearly half a million Swedish Kroner.
It launched in 1996 to immediate success and attracted over 200 entries across seven classes for the opening round at Anderstorp. Though the first ever weekend was marred by the tragic death of Steve Ward during the Supersport race, the Scandinavian Open completed its debut season of four races in Sweden and one in Norway having fulfilled its early promises. For 1997 a Finnish round was added to the calendar, followed by a Danish round in 1998, and the series officially replaced the struggling Nordic Road Racing Championship that same year.
Though there were fears that the new championship would destroy each country's national series the promoters, organisers and circuits co-operated to help rather than hinder each other and on many occasions combined a round of the Scandinavian Open with the host country's domestic series. The Scandinavian Open ran for nearly two decades, finally ending in 2014 but leaving behind a fondly-remembered legacy in Scandinavian motorcycle racing.