Calendar 2021 - Insider Look
Posted on April 07, 2021
As we sit in Europe with, rain and snow in April and zero-degree temperatures I think many might be happy we are not racing at the moment. Sure, motocross men are tough, and just want to race, but nobody really wants to race in these types of conditions.
What we have in 2021, at least with the current calendar is three hard pack circuits starting the series, and then four of the next five being sand circuits. So, a good mix in the beginning to let us see who the master of the changing terrains is.
I just love the end of the season and hope it happens, because spending time in Argentina and Asia during the European winter suits everyone and while some might be a little worn out from another tough week in, week out series, I can’t imagine anyone is feeling down about sunning it in South America and Indonesia while those in Europe struggle through rain, wind and cold.
With the opening Grand Prix set for Russia on June 13, although many feels this opening round won’t happen, and given that Russia has massive numbers of Covid and deaths, then it feels a little too positive to assume we go there, but then again, the Russian promoters obviously want the opening round and know the current situation, so hopefully they know something we don't.
Myself, I hope we start at Matterley Basin on June 27, as they will be allowed spectators and the UK, despite having four rounds of the British motocross championship prior to Matterley, will be desperate to see the GP riders in action and a massive crowd is expected. Not only that, Matterley Basin is a brilliant circuit and the perfect start to the series. While still a baby in terms of years on the calendar, it is close to Foxhills in terms of running GP’s and is creeping up on both Farleigh Castle and Hawkstone Park, the two circuits that dominated the British GP from the 1950s right through until the early 2000s.
We then head to the legendary Maggiora track, a circuit that has fought problems with the local officials and at one point we never expected to see this circuit on the calendar again. The start of July, and perfect weather and Italy is always a good combination and we all know that this old school beauty will bring us some intense and exciting racing. Having run a GP back in 1966, it is the second oldest circuit on the calendar and due to a couple of amazing MXdN’s in 1986 and 2006, one of the most historical in our sports history.
Round four and Kegums in Latvia, so again the run of great GPs continues in 2021. This is my favourite stop of the season, not only because the circuit is nestled in amongst the massive pine trees, but everything about Latvia is perfect. Riga is a magnificent city with amazing bars and restaurants and the racing at Kegums is without question some of the tightest and intense and we always see drama at this place. I have loved this place since the first time we went a decade ago, and nothing has changed over the years.
After Latvia it is onto Oss in Holland and a nice one for me, being that it is just 20 minutes from my house. I might even take the train and take my bicycle, typically Dutch, but sure makes for a relaxing Sunday. I haven’t been to a GP in Oss since I think the 1998 Dutch GP, when Italian legend Alessio Chiodi took victory on the way to his World 125cc championship with Husqvarna. A good old school sand track and a nice new addition to the calendar after years of heading to Valkenswaard or Assen.
With Oss out of the way it is a drive through Germany to Czech Republic and another old school circuit at Loket. Not a favourite of mine, and I haven’t been for a number of years, but as old school as you can get and while it doesn’t have the beauty of Maggiora, it does hold a lot of history, going back to it’s first GP in 1995 when Belgian great Joel Smets won at this circuit. For the over 40s maybe not that long ago, but still 26 years, so that GP was run before most of the GP riders were born and even Antonio Cairoli was just a little kid.
From Loket it is back through Germany, and Holland to the deep black sand of Lommel. Again, like Loket not as old as some of the really old school circuits, but the history of this circuit is legendary, including that 1981 MXdN where Team USA started their domination of the sport and the 2012 MXdN when Europe took back the copyright of motocross. Of course, the Belgian GP is always special and the memory of some of the biggest names in the sport, now gone, your Joel Roberts and Eric Geboers live deep in the sand of this place. Belgian history alone, Belgium and Lommel is worth a visit.
The Swedish GP is another of the circuit that has been around since time began. Their first GP was in 1958, when World champion Sten Lundin won the 500cc GP and the circuit and has remained on the calendar ever since. Some years they failed to run a GP, but it has been a regular stop for the GP riders and while not the most beautiful circuit in the World, that big rock grandstand sure makes is a memorial place to visit. Not a sand circuit in terms of Lommel or Oss, but sandy enough to give the likes of Herlings and Coldenhoff an upper hand.
After Sweden we have a handful of new circuits in little-KymiRing in Finland, Afyonoarahisar in Turkey and Riola Sardo in Sardinia. Two sand and one hard pack, and a nice change although a lot of travel for the MXGP paddock, with the three races run within a month. Fortunately, a weekend break between Finland and Turkey and then a weekend break between Turkey and Sardinia. Obviously the Finnish and Sardinia tracks are MXGP rookies and it will be nice to see how they do.
The week after Sardinia is Mantova and the Monster Energy Motocross of Nations, and as much as I hate to write that the Nations is run in the middle of a GP season, Covid hasn’t given us much choice and we will take it. Mantova is a great circuit and no doubt the Antonio Cairoli fans will be out to say farewell to their King in possibly his final MXoN performance. AC222 is one of the greats of this event, and wouldn’t it be awesome to see Italy take a massive surprise victory. Hard work with the defending champions Holland racing in the sand of Mantova.
October usually means the end of the season, but that isn’t the case in 2021 with five races in the month. First we make our way to Teutschenthal on October 3, GP of France at a yet to determine circuit on October 10, GP of Spain on October 17, GP of Portugal on October 24 and Trentino in Italy on October 31. I am tired just writing it, but WOW, the riders will need to be at their fittest in this period and I am just thankful it is a single day format for the MXGP and MX2 riders. Let’s also hope that the October weather helps us out a little.
And then finally November and December, time for riders to start to relax a little, and those races I mentioned in Argentina on November 14 and Indonesia on November 28 and December 5. After October no doubt the riders will need a rest and without question, they will get it in these places. The final round in Bali just reeks of a massive MXGP party and extended holisay and everyone getting totally written off in some little bar or night club in the centre of Bali, after what will be another tough, tough season of motocross.