Typically a person will always want more, no matter the situation. A majority of fans that reside in the United Kingdom perused the final version of the MXGP calendar in disbelief, as it became apparent that they would not be able to line the fences at a British Grand Prix next year.
Now, of course, everyone is aware that the reason for this is that Matterley Basin has been awarded the Motocross of Nations. However, linking back to the opening sentence, people just want more. I can sympathise with the request somewhat, as Italy have enjoyed hosting two Grand Prix events as well as the MXoN in the last eight months. There are multiple facilities capable of handling an event of this stature in Italy, however, and the same goes for France, whereas Latvia and Germany were not so fortunate.
Rarely does the circuit that is set to host the Motocross of Nations have the privilege of being the site of a Grand Prix in the same season. I know what you are thinking; Matterley Basin ran both events ten years ago. The MXoN was completely different at that point though, as there was just half the infrastructure and it did not garner quite as much attention as it does now. The bar has been raised year after year and Steve Dixon seemingly does not want to be outdone. Heck, he has openly admitted that he has skipped the traditional MXGP round to make necessary changes to both the track and surrounding area!
If he were to host the two events, it is almost guaranteed that one of the two would suffer from lacklustre support. Not everyone can afford to attend two high-profile events in the same year, as I am sure you have noticed in various social media rants, although that reason does not quite apply when you look at how many stops were made in Italy this season. However, you have to remember that a country like Italy can draw so many fans from Switzerland, France and other neighbouring nations.
A perfect example of that is the event that was run at Villars sous Ecot last year, which took place just four months before the Motocross of Nations at Ernée. Although it boasted the ‘GP of France’ title, Villars sous Ecot managed to attract a bumper crowd thanks to how accessible it was from Switzerland. The United Kingdom does not boast the same trait.
Back to the track, however, as some seem to have grasped that Matterley Basin needs time to prepare for such an event. Circuits like Foxhill and Hawkstone Park have been chucked around as potential candidates to host a British Grand Prix, but that is just so unrealistic. Foxhill has had its day, in my opinion, as it is so tired now and really does not promote great racing.
The Maxxis British Championship rounds that have been held there serve as proof of that, as there is typically very little passing. The access to the circuit is hardly ideal also, which is the biggest problem with somewhere like Hawkstone Park, and where you would put the infrastructure? A nostalgic fan would question why you need all of that, but it is a vital part of the FIM Motocross World Championship and an area that Youthstream excel.
If you are looking to attract an outside sponsor, it is that VIP experience that they will demand. Simply putting them in a field with no amenities and stating this is ‘real’ motocross will not do it. Making them feel special, however, and taking them to a private area that they could call their own will spark some kind of interest. A lot of these companies would look at countless angles when deciding to dump money into the sport, as it has progressed so far from just a logo in a visible spot. That is a topic for another day though!
British fans will have to sit tight through the first half of next year, to bring this back around to the topic at hand. It will all be worth it, however, when the greatest race arrives at a venue that is prepped to perfection and ready to tackle all scenarios. Everyone will be so eager by the time that they finally get a chance to hang over the fence that the event may just turn out to be the best ever.
Words: Lewis Phillips | Image: ConwayMX