It is safe to assume that every single fan is craving some action at this point in the lengthy spring break and, consequently, some have been tempted to travel to an upcoming round of the 2019 FIM Motocross World Championship in order to fulfil those cravings. What is a good race to travel to though? What factors should be taken into consideration? Using the knowledge gained in recent years, this feature can answer a lot of questions.
MXGP of Lombardia
Mantova is a well-known circuit, of course, but because of the fact that it hosted a pre-season international for many years. It has never really been a staple on the FIM Motocross World Championship schedule, for whatever reason, but arises regularly enough to keep it relevant and ensure that most are familiar with the surroundings. It is actually mildly surprising that it does not stick around for consecutive seasons. Mantova typically creates incredible racing and attracts a strong crowd, just look at that last time that the Grand Prix contingent tackled the shallow surface for proof of that.
This is where things get interesting this time around though. Mantova is hosting the fifth round of eighteen, but the fourth race was also run in Italy and just a month earlier. Italy is a big country, with a healthy spread of fans, so there is room for multiple events to coexist. Mantova is a two-hour drive from Pietramurata though and therefore the Grand Prix of Lombardia will be trying to pull from the same pool of fans, most of whom have already spent a chunk of money on attending the fourth round. It is going to be very interesting to see what success the promoters have, bearing that in mind.
Anyway, Mantova is a great facility. There is not a ton of room to work with, so the spectator areas may be a bit cramped in spots, but that all adds to the atmosphere, right? Flying into Verona is your best bet, as it is just forty minutes from the circuit, but heading into Milan, which is a lot cheaper at this point, is an option too. A huge positive of Italian rounds is that one does not have to stray too far to find an alternative airport that is significantly cheaper.
MXGP of Portugal
The Grand Prix of Portugal was missing from the FIM Motocross World Championship schedule for a while, three seasons to be exact, but is a firm fixture again now. Agueda looks spectacular on television, especially when the sun is shining. The orange soil is just iconic! The event has not really met its stereotypes over the last couple of years though, as the weather has not exactly been kind and created a softer surface. The fact that the race occupies a later date this year, by a month or so, means that conditions should resemble what most expect and please international travellers.
How easy is it to get across to Portugal from the United Kingdom? There are a handful of options. Porto is the closest airport to the circuit, as it is just over an hour away, but flights into that location are fairly limited. It seems as though getting on an extremely early flight is the only option if entering that airport is a priority. Lisbon is another option, but the drive from there is more than two hours. Why choose that when Porto is an hour away? The point of this column is to impart wisdom, based on what has been gathered after visiting the same venues for a handful of years now, and this is an important one.
When planning a trip to the MXGP of Portugal in Agueda, one would obviously search for hotels in Agueda. That makes sense! It turns out that most riders and teams do not stay in the city though, instead opting to stay in Aveiro. The hotels in that area are better and there are more options too, so do not make the mistake that those of us at MX Vice did in year one. This event is a good one to hit though and just one of the bucket-list races.
MXGP of France
It is safe to assume that most know what is on offer when the MXGP of France pops up each year. Fans will flock to a natural circuit that is on a hill in a remote part of France. That is about right, huh? St. Jean d'Angely will play host to the French stop for the second year in succession, which is peculiar, and rarely disappoints. There are always thousands in attendance no matter the circumstances and the layout does typically create some great racing. There have been many memorable moments throughout years and the viewing is incredible as well so, yeah, those are all good things!
Is it an easy place to get to? Well, it is France. How hard can it really be? It is a seven-hour drive from Calais. That is obviously daunting but, crucially, it is a much cheaper option and makes popping across to an MXGP round for the weekend rather easy. Flying is an option though and there are many airports dotted around; Angouleme, La Rochelle and Bordeaux are all within two hours. Getting flights into those airports can be a bit tricky though, based on past experience, but Nantes is a viable option and just two hours from the track by car. The important thing to consider is that there are many options available!
The same cannot be said about hotels, unfortunately, so camping is an option that is worth considering. It is hardly surprising, as going to a natural and historic circuit often involves venturing off to a remote venue. That is a timeless debate that will not be tackled here but, anyway, there are some hotels close to the track. Do not expect it to be easy to locate one at this late stage though. Although, saying that, it is easier than it would be if the MXGP of France was being held at Ernee.
MXGP of Russia
The MXGP of Russia, a round of the FIM Motocross World Championship calendar that every fan hopes to hit! This is obviously a tad trickier to travel to, compared to the previous stop in France, depending on your nationality. Visas are required, which means that handing over a passport for a week or so is necessary and there are many forms that have to be completed, as well as other tasks, in order to successfully gain access to Russia. That obviously comes at a significant cost, but surprisingly the flights do not eat up as much of a budget as one may initially presume. It is actually fairly reasonable and, hey, that is a positive point!
It is difficult to locate the track on a map, weirdly, but the setting is breathtaking once figured out. Orlyonok sits alongside the Black Sea, which makes for some breath-taking photos, and consequently there are a few residential areas nearby that include hotels of a good quality. There is Lermontovo and Novomikhaylovskiy, for instance, that are within fifteen minutes of the circuit, so that is not too much of a bother. Krasnodar is the airport to fly into, which is not really up for debate, so base all searches around that. Sochi is not too far away though nor is Anapa.
If heading to Russia is something that sounds intriguing, and it does for some fans, then it is not too late to get all of the appropriate documentation lined up. One would have to act quite fast in order to ensure that there are no pitfalls, but there is time to work with. Hey, being able to tick Russia off of the list of countries visited is rare!
Words: Lewis Phillips | Lead Image: ConwayMX