The 2013 FIM Motocross World Championship will kick off this weekend in Qatar. With the riders, the teams and the bikes all prepared for the first gate to drop, let’s take an in-depth look at the series; or more specifically the schedule, and what you can expect from each track that the series visits.
Round 1: Losail, Qatar
Throughout the winter months, there has been a lot of anticipation surrounding the first GP in Qatar. Whether the decision to head in that direction is positive for the series remains to be seen; however we will have all of the answers that we seek in a few days time. Currently, there is not really much to judge the track on (aside from the video of the locals racing on it, which cannot really be used as evidence to suggest it is either good or bad). It does not look like the circuit has any elevation, as you would expect; the soil seems quite soft, also. It [the Qatar GP] will be a landmark event for the FIM Motocross World Championship, as it will be the first GP ever to be held at night under the floodlights. So, there will be plenty to look out for this weekend in regard to the track and venue.
Round 2: Si Racha, Thailand
Like Losail, we will not really know how well the GP of Thailand will work until the end of the event. However, from the initial photos of the track I am impressed by the layout. I do think that it is different from what is usually built at the new venues; the track surface seems to be quite loamy, it looks like it would be quite rough by the end of the day. Some big jumps have been implemented into the track design also, as per usual. Currently, it looks like they have a lot of work to do, as the track isn’t in great shape. But, all it would take is some preparation to solve the problem, which will undoubtedly be done in the final days leading up to the race.
Round 3: Valkenswaard, The Netherlands
After the overseas adventure, riders will return to familiar ground at Valkenswaard. But, the Dutch circuit will look slightly different to normal as well! Although, the iconic track features will still be present, they will be tackled from a different direction. The Valkenswaard circuit will be run anti-clockwise for the first time since 2004, obviously most of the riders won’t be familiar with the circuit running in that direction. It will be interesting to see how the racing plays out with the change, it will be a unique challenge; one which most of the riders have not faced previously.
Round 4: Arco di Trento
The riders will head to Italy, to the circuit of Arco di Trento for round of the series this year. The track is yet another new addition to the schedule, so some riders will not know what to expect once again. However, in the past the circuit has hosted various rounds of the Italian Championship, so a good percentage of the riders will know what they are about to face. It will be an exciting change for the riders, as it will be the first hard-pack circuit, and the first track with elevation, also (as you would expect from an Italian circuit).
Round 5: TBA
Surprisingly, the location of the fifth round of the 2013 FIM Motocross World Championship is still to be announced; despite the series starting in just a handful of days. At the moment, some are hinting that Sevlievo, Bulgaria could be filling the slot, which is obviously a circuit that the riders know well. I expect an announcement to be made in the coming weeks.
Round 6: Agueda, Portugal
When the provisional calendar was released, it looked like the popular Agueda circuit might be missing from the schedule this year. However, the circuit will host round six of the series. The red dirt of Agueda has been a favourite of riders and fans for many years now, the track seems to always provide great racing, with multiple line choices. The Portuguese circuit has not seen many changes over the years; however the layout and jumps do seem to flow well. The soil can get quite hard when the weather is hot, but the soft surface does provide traction for the riders.
Round 7: Beto Carrero, Brazil
In my opinion, this GP has a lot of potential. In fact, I am quite excited about the series going back to the venue for a second time. Beto Carrero is unique, because of it’s setting; the track is next to a theme park! This is a positive for the sport I do believe, as it must entice at least a few new fans. Of course, last year we didn’t get to see what the track would really turn out like on race day. However, prior to the influx of rain the circuit looked really impressive with some off-camber corners, and interesting line choices.
Round 8: Guadalajara, Mexico
Okay, it’s fair to say that the inaugural Mexican GP did not go to plan last year. There were a few off-track incidents that swayed the opinion of most people before the racing had begun. But, once the gates did drop the outcome was not much better as the lack of moisture in the dirt left most uncertain about even contesting the event! The coverage was also poor, which left those who did not attend the event with a sour taste in their mouth also. But, surely the promoters have now learnt from their mistakes and know what to expect when some of the worlds best riders will roll up at the Guadalajara facility. Time will tell, however the Mexican GP is not one that most are desperate to visit in the near future.
Round 9: Ernee, France
I am very excited about the FIM Motocross World Championship returning to Ernee, France for the first time since 2009. Personally, I believe that the circuit is one of the better tracks that the series visits. The hillside location makes for great viewing, and the layout offers the riders many different passing opportunities. The soil is quite firm (as you would expect from a French track); however it is not as slick as St Jean d’Angely. The circuit has played host to a handful of historic moments in motocross history, namely the 2005 MXoN and Stefan Everts’ last GP.
Round 10: Maggiora, Italy
Following Ernee, riders and teams will head to Maggiora, Italy for round ten of the series on the sixteenth of June. Obviously, Maggiora is a historic circuit and most are pleased to see it make a return to the premier motocross series. The track will pose a unique challenge to the riders, as it is the least modern of all of the tracks on the schedule. When the announcement was made, Giuseppe Luongo stated that they would modernise the facility; therefore what exactly the riders will face in June remains to be seen. But one thing is certain, the slick, hillside layout will provide great racing.
Round 11: Uddevalla, Sweden
Uddevalla is another circuit that has been on the schedule for many years now. Although at first the ground seems quite soft, the circuit does end up quite slick sometimes, because of the rocky base. The setting in Uddevalla is unique; the rock face that most choose to watch from overshadows the facility. Interestingly, the Swedish facility always seems to provide a surprising result; which is something to bear in mind when the series visits Uddevalla.
Round 12: Kegums, Latvia
The Kegums circuit is still relatively new to the FIM Motocross World Championship, but it is already pegged by most as one the more impressive tracks. The track surface is quite sandy, but it is not as deep as you would find in the depths of Holland. In my mind at least, Kegums bears a resemblance to the Mantova circuit, because of its softer soil, and layout. Speaking of the layout, the Latvian GP often provides great racing as the layout offers many passing opportunities. Interestingly, the promoters are currently preparing to host the MXoN next year, which may be reflected in some changes that are made to the facility in the coming months.
Round 13: Semigorje, Russia
Semigorje, Russia first held a round of the FIM Motocross World Championship last year; the event was quite successful in comparison to some of the other rounds. The Russian track is a lot more modern than some of the other circuits on the schedule, because of how new it is. I do believe that this is a perfect example of ‘a modern Youthstream track’ as the layout does seem to be littered with jumps. However, when coupled with the soft, sandy soil it makes for some good racing. We saw it last year; mistakes are frequent because of this, which results in multiple passes.
Round 14: Lausitzring, Germany
Replacing Teutschenthal on the schedule, a new circuit will be constructed on the Lausitzring road racing facility in Germany. Of course, this does come with some positives for the series; teams are able to use the impressive infrastructure used for the road racing events. But, the negative is that the circuit will more than likely be nothing spectacular, especially when you compare it to Teutschenthal. However, you never know; it could surprise us. At the moment, we haven’t seen anything in regard to the design or layout of the track.
Round 15: Loket, Czech Republic
Loket is one of the older circuits on the schedule, which is reflected in the layout, as you will not find any large man-made doubles on the Czech Republic facility. The unique valley more often than not provides us with some great racing; there are multiple chances to pass when a rider loses drive racing up one of the many hills. The track surface is often hard baked, so there aren’t too many ruts to choose from. But, the racing doesn’t suffer because of this.
Round 16: Bastogne, Belgium
Stereotypically, the Belgian GP is hosted at a bottomless sand track; however the Bastogne track challenges this stereotype, as the soil is actually quite hard and slick. I am certain that most went into the GP last year expecting to be faced with a sand track, but the track is not like that at all. In my opinion, the circuit has quite a nice balance of jumps (rather than being littered with them), which made for some great racing last year. Although it is hard-pack, it seemed to be quite soft on top, which resulted in plenty of line choice.
Round 17: Matterley Basin, England
The British GP is a favourite of most riders, and fans; we are known for having an electric atmosphere from the very first gate drop. The event will be labelled the “MXGP Festival” once again; therefore we will be treated to racing from all ages. In the past, the track has hosted three MXGP rounds, so most are familiar with the track by now. The race will take place on the 24th and 25th August; but seeing as it is the penultimate round there is a high chance that we will see a world champion crowned on British soil.
Round 18: TBA
Like round five, the final round of the 2013 FIM Motocross World Championship is currently listed as ‘TBA’. Rumours suggest that the race could take place in Leirop, Holland; this seems logical, as Leirop often hosts a round at this time of the year. When it is announced, you will be able to find out where it will be held right here.
Words by Lewis Phillips