MXlarge history lesson - Spanish Grand Prix
Press release Tuesday 14th June 2011 By Harry Van Hemmen
This was written by Harry after the rained out Spanish GP of 2007.
With practice in Bellpuig cancelled due to rain and mud what can one do? Go back to the hotel and splash in the pool … or watch F1 … or search for a piece of history in the area. Spain was always the opening round of the 250 cc World Championship and Sabadell (near Barcelona) the venue.
Here history was written in the 60’s and 70’s by the famous riders of that era. But closer to Bellpuig is another Grand Prix venue that hosted the 125cc of Spain and that track was in Montgai (near Balaguer). And as we stayed in Balaguer it was tempting to find the old GP circuit - which wasn’t difficult at all as the remains of the circuit can be seen from the main road.
Two concrete bridges and the clubhouse along the start straight are still recognizable and so is the La Caixa advertising on one of the bridges. After a long walk through the fields a closer look showed deep ruts and the rusted fence that survived almost 20 years. This track was hell to many riders who never rode a bone hard track. Infamous were the steep uphill jumps and drops that would scare the GP newcomers.
“The race in Montgai was always a 125 cc GP and it was organized by MC Segre, the same club that is organizer of the Bellpuig GP. In fact it’s today the 13th GP we organize in Bellpuig and we organized the same 13 GP’s at Montgai. The 125 GP of 1986 was the last race on that Montgai track.”
Oh wow, 1986 was the first time I visited Montgai. The old photo showing the start of the second race with title defender Pekka Vehkonen (1), Peter Dirkx (70), Mika Kouki (7), Massimo Contini (10), Alwin van Asten (21) and on the floor the future 1986 world 125cc champion Dave Strijbos.