As soon as Juhani Koskinen started studying in Otaniemi, he joined the Teekkari Car Club, known in Finnish as Teekkarien Autokerho (TAK). It was the autumn of 1965 and the club had been organising the Teekkarirallye for about ten years. Already in early 1966, Koskinen made his way to the wintery forests of Siuntio, west of Espoo, to keep unauthorised individuals away from the closed special stages.
“I’ve been interested in cars ever since I was a little boy. My parents remember my older brother saying that when he grows up, he’ll take our mom and dad on a ride in a horse carriage, but I answered that I’ll drive them around in a car,” says Koskinen.
During the studying year 1967–68, Koskinen was the secretary of the Car Club and it was his job to find awards for the podium winners of Teekkarirallye. He came up with an award that made reference to Dipoli, built by the Student Union (TKY) of the Helsinki University of Technology and completed in Otaniemi in 1966. For many years, Dipoli hosted the Student Union and is now the headquarters of the Aalto University.
“The name ‘Dipoli’ refers to ‘Old Poly’ (Vanha Poli in Finnish), the Polytechnic Students’ Union on Lönnrotinkatu in Helsinki. Di means two and dipoli (dipole in English) refers to two poles in electricity. Its shape resembles the letter V with little balls on top,” explains Koskinen.
Koskinen led the way as the Car Club decided to make highly unique awards for Teekkarirallye: they asked a silversmith to make V-shaped trophies. In addition to these, the Car Club obtained honorary awards from sponsors.
“We got them using the typical strategy of teekkari: begging from Finnish industry. We got designer vases from Riihimäen Lasi.”
There was a separate category for women in the rally, and their honorary award also differed from the men's awards. In 1951, the Student Union of the Helsinki University of Technology had sold scale models of the Paavo Nurmi runner statue to raise funds for building the student village. The original full size statue stands e.g. in front of The Olympic Stadium of Helsinki, the headquarters of the International Olympic Committee in Lausanne, Switzerland, and in Turku, the home town of Paavo Nurmi. There were some model statues left over, so the Car Club decided to present the statue as honorary award in the women's category.
“Almost all tech students back then were men,” says Koskinen.
Pranks have been played during rallies
Since the rally was organised by teekkarit, Teekkarirallye always had some humour in it. Juhani Koskinen shares several stories of jäynäs or practical jokes played by teekkarit.
Towards the end of the 1960s, the Car Club decided to organise a special stage of the competition on the ice of Laajalahti Bay (or Laajatahna, as the students called the bay with its dirty water). The prank consisted of driving the special stage not by cars, but by snowmobiles, which Koskinen had borrowed from his summer job employer. The driver and the navigator had a set amount of time to complete the marked course on a snowmobile. They had to estimate the speed needed.