Returning to the Eastern Block - Russia and Czech Republic
News Wednesday 18th July 2012 By Geoff Meyer
Since the fall of the Berlin wall in the 1980s places like Czech Republic and Russia have become more of a tourist destination than many years ago, but still there remains some of that feeling of the unknown.
I know my visits to all three countries have not always brought happy memories, with a large portion of Russian vodka, Pilsner Urquell beer from the Czech Republic late nights and terrible headaches.
The Motocross is often brilliant, and I guess that is what counts right……. My first visit to Czech Republic was in 1987 when Wayne Gardner was the man in the World Road Racing Championships.
Visiting Prague and Brno for the Road Racing GP was a blast, but my most recent visits have obviously been for Grand Prix Motocross and the Loket circuit in the Western border of the country is often called the most old school circuit on the calendar and for good reason. Its rock hard, pretty narrow and the spectators are usually old men dressed in gum boots and national dress. I loved the place until a night out with a fellow journalist where I was drugged, robbed and left on the street. Great story to tell friends, but not so much fun at the time.
Russia I’ve had the pleasure to visit just once, back in 2002 when Dorna controlled the FIM World Motocross Championships. Despite a brilliant weekend in Moscow the races itself was littered with problems.
A lack of medical staff, poor internet and heavy security didn’t make it one of my favorites races of all time, but times have changed and with Youthstream now in control everthing should run smoothly.
What the Russian Grand Prix will bring this coming weekend anyone can guess, but that magical old school feeling will surely be a major part of the weekend.