Motorcycles, Motorsports, Outdoors, Streetbikes, Uncategorized

ICONIC MOTOGP TRACK BRNO TO STOP HOSTING TOP-LEVEL RACING

MotoGP

February 2, 2021
By Simon Patterson

The future of the Czech Grand Prix has been unequivocally answered by long-term hosts Automotodrom Brno, with the iconic track today confirming that it will no longer aim to host world championship events and instead concentrate on commercial usage of the venue.

Brno was suggested for the 2021 calendar after hosting KTM’s first-ever victory with Brad Binder in 2020 – but with an argument simmering about who should pay for a much-needed resurfacing of the 5.4km circuit, it never managed to advance further than provisional status.

And, with neither the track nor the local authorities willing to step up to pay for the multi-million Euro project, the track is now instead set to fall from the calendar permanently.

“We have many years of experience in organizing world competitions and we know the economy of such a company very well. No sporting or cultural event of world importance is economically possible to organize without proper public support,” explained Ivana Ulmanova, the statutory director of Automotodrom Brno, in a statement today confirming the news.

“For most of the active season, in addition to traditional companies, Automotodrom Brno will focus on the commercial lease of the racetrack to clubs and agencies.”

The Moravian town of Brno has hosted motorcycle racing since the 1920s, with a young Oskar Schindler (later to achieve fame for rescuing thousands of Jews from Nazi oppression) a podium finisher in the early days of the 18km road circuit.

It became an inaugural host of a grand prix in 1950, the second year of the championship, and has remained a permanent fixture since, hosting races on modified versions of the original road circuit until the move to the current purpose-built track in 1987.

In fact, 1992 remains the only year since 1950 that the track has failed to host a race, skipping out on that year as Czechoslovakia transitioned from communist rule and split into Slovakia and the Czech Republic.

The scene of many exceptional duels over the years thanks to the long drag up ‘Horsepower Hill’ to a final tight section of corners, it’s been a particular favourite of Valentino Rossi’s, marking the scene of the nine-time world champion’s first ever grand prix title success in 1997 in the 125cc class.

It also hosted an epic duel between Rossi and Sete Gibernau in 2003 (above), where a last-lap overtake allowed Rossi to beat his fierce Spanish rival by a mere 0.042 seconds – and then famously celebrate by breaking rocks while wearing a ball and chain.

Brno also saw Cal Crutchlow become the first British rider in nearly 40 years to win a premier- class race, when he took victory in damp conditions in 2016.

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