Although the first round of the FIM Motocross World Championship is one hundred and ten days away, booking sites are already being perused as most look to make plans and point to MXGP rounds that they hope to visit. Deciding to ditch an event that you have attended each season for the unknown can be seen as a risk, but this guide will allow you to make an educated decision. Seeing as the season is a long one, which stretches across twenty rounds, this is part two of three of our lengthy feature and covers rounds eight through thirteen.
MXGP of Germany
For whatever reason, the MXGP of Germany is an event that I tend to underestimate somewhat. Not necessarily because of what goes on at the facility, as there is always great racing at the historic circuit, but because of what the surrounding area has to offer. There is plenty there though, thanks to neighbouring cities like Halle and Leipzig. This is another one where it may be easy to convince a significant other to sign up for the trip, as there is a lot of culture to soak up at those locations and obviously the usual amenities. There is nothing worse than having to scramble around in a remote location in an effort to find some kind of food, right?
Berlin is just a short drive away, two hours to be exact, but it is most likely that any visitors will end up flying into there. Leipzig is a closer airport, but finding a flight into there can be both tricky and expensive. Why not fly into Berlin and then spend a day exploring? The race is obviously a priority for any MXGP fan though and Teutschenthal is as good as any European venue. A majority of the circuit can be viewed from one spot, but then each location has its own special qualities. There always seems to be a lot going on at this event, oddly, as the atmosphere is electric. Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that Germany is such a large market for a lot of the sponsors within the paddock?
MXGP of Great Britain
Matterley Basin would be rammed each year if it was in mainland Europe and could draw from the neighbouring countries, much like Teutschenthal and St. Jean d’Angely. It is tough to convince those fans to make the trip across to the United Kingdom though, despite the fact that it is much easier than it may seem, as they are simply spoilt for choice. The British Grand Prix is still a hit though and a favourite of many riders and teams. The facility just oozes convenience, as there is an abundance of space and a motorway just minutes away.
In addition, Portsmouth and Southampton are easily accessible. Every type of restaurant that one could possibly want can be accessed within thirty minutes or so, then there are popular shopping malls like West Quay and Gunwharf Quays too. There are countless hotels, ranging from fairly cheap to luxurious, in the area as well. Oddly enough though, it seems that hotels in Britain are more expensive than anywhere else on the MXGP calendar. In short, staying in Southampton is the best move that one can make and there is really no need to overthink certain aspects. Everything is fairly simple.
Even flying over is easy, as Heathrow airport is just an hour and a half away. Gatwick is another major airport, which is closer to the circuit, then flying into Southampton is also an option if you are desperately searching for convenience. Although travelling over from France may seem fairly tedious, it really is not. However, if you are located in France or Belgium and have countless rounds on your doorstep, it is understandable that it would take a lot to urge you to hop across the English Channel.
MXGP of France
The Grand Prix of France, which is going to be held at the historic circuit of St. Jean d'Angely in June, is not really in need of an introduction. Should you pack your bags and head to the nation next year? Well, if you are travelling from further afield and want to experience a typical European setting, this would be a great one to hit. Additional attractions around the circuit may be hard to come by though, so if that is important to you then it may be worth considering another stop on the calendar.
No matter what happens though, the Grand Prix of France never disappoints. The French are some of the craziest fans in the world, most insiders would admit that, and St. Jean d'Angely pushes most spectators into one area along the bottom of the circuit. That creates a great atmosphere and also offers those present an amazing opportunity to see the entire track from one spot. Once you roll into the facility, there are really no drawbacks.
MXGP of Italy
It remains to be seen where the Italian Grand Prix will be held, but one would presume it will either be at Maggiora or Ottobiano. Maggiora is in no state to host an MXGP round at the moment, of course, but it would not take much to prepare it for such an extravagant event. There are much larger issues at play there, so whether or not riders of any level will ever grace the magnificent hills again remains to be seen. If it is on the calendar, however, then it is undoubtedly worth the trip. Experiencing the historic circuit has to be a bucket-list thing for most fans.
One would presume that Ottobiano would be the first reserve, as it ticks a lot of the same boxes as Maggiora. Milan Malpensa is the airport that is used for both circuits and, consequently, there is really no difference as far as the surrounding areas that the promoters are attempting to pull fans from. Ottobiano was actually a hit, considering that it was the first time that an event of that calibre has been hosted at the venue. It certainly seemed as though the sandy circuit would be locked into the calendar for years to come.
Mantova is another potential venue for this Grand Prix, seeing as the circuit is fairly close to Milan. Mantova appears to be the ultimate back-up plan though, for whatever reason, as it often ends up on the calendar if another event falls through at the last minute. If MXGP does visit one of these three circuits next year, then bank on the fact that there will be a great atmosphere and a lot of culture to soak up nearby. It is also worth noting that Venice is just a couple of hours away by car and should be considered if you are hoping to expand your trip.
MXGP of Indonesia
The Grand Prix of Indonesia is like something from another world. Getting to the unique setting of Pangkal Pinang will be a costly task for any European fan, because a domestic flight is required from Jakarta to the smaller island of Bangka. Once you land at Depati Amir airport, which actually only opened two months before the event was held this year, the MXGP circuit is just minutes away and everything is rather convenient. That is actually ideal, seeing as renting a car is not even really a possibility. Shuttles are provided to the track from certain hotels and, if you do not end up in one of those, a taxi is the best bet.
It is typical for locals in the area to get around on mopeds or similar equipment, hence why this is such a great market for manufacturers and sponsors within the industry. Those natives were extremely thankful that MXGP had opted to travel to their city, more so than any other fans in the world, as they took countless photos with riders and industry insiders alike. Even I was stopped to take around fifty or sixty photos across the weekend! It was just surreal. Youthstream announced that there were 56,000 fans in attendance and, to be completely honest, the figure is probably not too far from the truth. The place was packed.
Searching for restaurants or other modern attractions to visit around Pangkal Pinang is going to be a tall order, although there is a KFC near the track. Who would have thought? There are some spectacular areas to visit though, such as Kaolin Lake. The lake is only forty-five minutes from the track, so not too far, but again there is the problem of finding transport. That was not an issue for a lot of riders and teams though.
MXGP of Asia
Not much is known about the MXGP of Asia, which will also be held in Indonesia, as no details have been made available by Youthstream yet. Although these back-to-back events will be held in the same country, they really could not be further apart. A domestic flight is required to get from Jakarta to the circuit of Pangkal Pinang, as mentioned above, whereas Semarang is just seven hours from the capital by car. The two venues will be pulling different fans entirely, there is no doubt about that, so there is no reason to think that the layout of the calendar will be detrimental to either event.
Semarang appears to be a modern area to host a Grand Prix, in comparison to Pangkal Pinang at least. It almost seems as though it is going to resemble the Thai rounds that were held a couple of years ago, as far as the surroundings go, but obviously nothing is known about the circuit just yet. It is going to be intriguing to see what the riders and teams do in the week between these events, as Asia is a tricky place for those who need to stick to a strict diet and train regularly. Australia is not much of a stretch from Jakarta, of course, but that is still a lengthy flight and unnecessary travel during a hectic period.
Words: Lewis Phillips | Lead Image: KTM Images/Ray Archer