History of Porvoon Ajot

Porvoon Ajot is arranged for the 92nd time 13.6.2021

The first Porvoon Ajot race

The first ever Porvoon Ajot was in 1926. Porvoon Ajot was created around the same time as the launch of the European one-day classics. The Porvoon Ajot, the oldest bike race in Finland, has grown into a Finnish cycling classic. The initiative to organize the Porvoon Ajot was made by the first cycling legend for Porvoo Akilles Raul Hellberg. He was also the first winner of the Porvoon Ajot. The race route was 120km long and it was driven from Porvoo to Helsinki and back. The departure was from Porvoo market square. The car of the jury was followed on departure all the way to Veturitalli. From there the cyclist continued along the Helsinki road to the old city of Helsinki, from here along the hämeentie to Siltasaarenkatu, and further down to unioninkatu to the Great church, the then Nikolai church. At the corner of Senate square, a full turn was made back to Porvoo. In Porvoo, the end of the race followed along jokikatu, nikolainkatu, vuorikatu and aleksanterinkatu to a sport field with a finish line. 

Raul Hellberg’s reign

The founder of the race, the top cyclist of his time and a businessman Raul Hellberg, won the Porvoon Ajot in its early years, seven times in 1926-1930, 1932 and 1934. From the beginning, Porvoon Ajot was an international competition. The first foreign winner was Nils Welin from Sweden in 1931. The end of the 30s and the 40s were mainly the celebration of foreign cyclists. Arne Berg from Sweden won in 1935-1036 and 1938. The German Hans Preiskeit took the victory in 1939-1940. In 1941, before the start of the Continuation War, the victory went back to Sweden when Åke Seyffarthwon.

The Continuation war suspended the organising of Porvoon Ajot

During the strenuous/heavy years of continuation war, the Porvoon Ajot took a break for three years. During 1942-1944 no competition was organized. From 1945 onwards, the end of the 40s and the beginning of the 50s were a celebration of Swedish cyclists. The Swedish winning streak was only cut off two times by Thorvald Högström, who took the winnings in 1948 and 1950.

The golden age of the cyclist of Akilles and Harry Hannus

In the next thirty years, between 1953 and 1983, with exception of one year, winnings came to Finland, only in 1956 the victory went to Sweden. This is also the time for the Akilles cyclists golden age in the history of Porvoon Ajot. For Akilles cyclists, the victories went to: 1953 Nisse Henriksson, 1954 Ruben Forsblom, 1955 Juhani Marttinen, 1962 Kaj-Uno Johansson, 1963 Eero Karhu, 1967 Pertti Karhu, 1968 Ole Wackström. Then came the reign of Harry Hannus, the winner of all time in Porvoon Ajot: 1972 Harry Hannus, 1973 Harry Hannus, 1974 Harry Hannus, 1975 Harry Hannus, 1976 Harry Hannus, Akilles, 1977 Harry Hannus, 1978 Harry Hannus, 1979 Patrik Wackström, Akilles and again 1980 Harry Hannus, and yet again in 1983 Harry Hannus. Hannus won nine times in Porvoon Ajot. 


Great winners Kari Myyräläinen and Kjell Carlström

In 1984, Sweden returned to victory when Erik Nyholmer took over. The winnings of 1986 and 1987 went to Peter Jonsson from Sweden. Young Kari Myyryläinen took his first of six victories in 1985. Myyryläinen also won in 1988, 1989, 1992, 1995 and 1996. Akilles cyclists have not been seen among the winners since 1983, but cyclists representing different clubs from Akilles have won like Kjell Carlström. He has made a great professional career at the forefront of Porvoon Ajot in 1998, with TuUL's shirt, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2009 and 2011. At that time Carlström represented TWD-Länke, a recent Finnish power team. Akilles raised Oscar Stenström, TuUL won in 1999 and Marek Salermo in 2005 and 2008. 

Recently, winners have come from Finland and abroad. Foreigners  who have won are Alexander Gingsjö, Sweden 2010, 2012 Janek Tombak, Estonia, 2015 by Ben Carman from TWD-Länken, Australia, and Sebastiaan Pot, Netherlands won in 2017.  

Porvoon Ajot has a great history. In 2018, during the 90th anniversary of the race, Porvoo Ajo was honoured with an exquisite trophy, where the names of all past winners are engraved.