Farewell to Johnny Takter, one of the greatest
by Thomas Hedlund
Last weekend, one of the most successful drivers in Europe told his fans that he would retire after the races on May 10 at his home track Jägersro.
Sweden’s Johnny Takter ended his magnificent career by winning five of his remaining 14 races in May and as many as 19,243 spectators came to the racetrack in Malmö, Sweden on Thursday afternoon to see the top driver leave the scene for, what’s been said is the last time.
Johnny is the older brother to Jimmy and together they’ve won valuable trophies around the world.
Johnny, born in November 1958, won his first race in 1977 and followed his father Bo William when he moved from racetrack Mantorp to Jägersro the year after. In 1984, Johnny became the winningest driver in Sweden and with his mare Nealy Lobell he made it to five consecutive finals of the Elitlopp between 1988 and 1992. The year 1992 was also when Takter reached the milestone of 1,000 victories in the bike. When he left Jägersro on Thursday afternoon, he had collected 3,783 victories in his successful career.
Johnny has many times been named as a poet in the bike and it was poetry in motion when he was at his best. He could adapt to harness racing rules and styles wherever he raced.
To Swedish harness racing TV, Johnny said that he’s been fighting with motivational issues since he considers himself a 100 per cent competitor.
“My worst side appears from time to time when I compete, that’s something my closest friends and family know by now. I was born with social phobia and it’s been tough for me to handle the issue with people around the game. The competition… then I’ve known what I’ve been doing but my self esteem has not been the best along the way. There are still horses that I love to drive and I’ve been attached to some of them, so it might be possible that there is an opening for something different in the future. We will see what happens, but I figured out that I sit alone in my car for 40 days per year and thank God for good music and books that I could listen to,” Johnny told reporter Matteus Lillieborg for Swedish harness racing TV.
In 2010, Johnny won the Elitloppet with Stefan Melander-trained Iceland (Scarlet Knight) and in 2007 he drove Petri Puro trained Commander Crowe to victory in Svensk Travderby at his home track Jägersro.
Swedish harness racing will miss the black, green and white-colored driver who introduced poetry to the sport.
Some of the best horses in Johnny Takter’s career:
Field set for Copenhagen Cup
On Sunday (May 13), the Copenhagen Cup is scheduled at Charlottenlund racetrack in Copenhagen, Denmark.
Johan Untersteiner, who won the Finlandia-Ajo with Pastore Bob last weekend, will drive his Derby winner Cyber Lane (Raja Mirchi) and the winner of the race will most certainly get an invitation to the Elitlopp.
And news about the Elitlopp. Lotteria winner Urlo dei Venti from Italy was invited to the big race at Solvalla but the entourage around the horse declined just a few days ago.
(approximately 1.3 miles)
Horse – Driver
1. Cash Hanover – Michael Nimczyk
2. Takethem – Steen Juul
3. Ferrari B.R. – Per Oleg Midtfjeld
4. Cyber Lane – Johan Untersteiner
5. Generaal Bianco – Peter Untersteiner
6. Cruzado Dela Noche – Björn Goop
7. Romanesque – Dominik Locqueneux
8. Tripolini V.P. – Jeppe Juel
9. Mindyourvalue W.F. – Robert Bergh
10. Totoo del Ronco – Mario Minopoli Jr (Scratched)