British Grand Prix – Opener

When the British Grand Prix was placed on the 2020 calendar as the first round of the MXGP championship everyone in the sport got excited. The FIM Motocross World Championship hasn’t started in Europe since 2012 at the Valkenswaard circuit, and riders, fans and teams are all looking towards Matterley Basin with hopes of something very special.

Of course, Steve Dixon, who runs the circuit as local organizer, will continue what has been a really enjoyable run at one of the most popular tracks in the World. Dixon started his promotional journey in 2005, some 15 years ago, and knows that the importance of a Grand Prix in Great Britain helps to attract more people to motocross.

“As a promoter I did 2005 at Matchems,” Dixon said. “Then 2006 at Matterley Basin, followed by 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019 and this year. We also did the MXoN in 2006 and 2017. So, this will be my 12th Grand Prix as a promoter. We have had more GPs at Matterley Basin than anywhere else in the last 30 years in the UK. Consistently running year after year, and apart from maybe the 1980s when they had a lot at Hawkstone Park and Farleigh Castle, we have run more than anyone else.

British motocross legend Dave Thorpe can’t wait to visit Matterley Basin again. A regular with his own teams or just as a fan, the three time World 500cc motocross champion can see this years’ British GP pull some surprises for the local riders.

Thorpe said. “The British Grand Prix is always special. The atmosphere is always good and with Matterley Basin being early in the season, people tend to come and watch the early races, rather than the bits in the middle. It will undoubtably have a good atmosphere.”

Thorpe also remembers back to his golden days, when he dominated the World scene, and also brought his British fans to their feet with spectacular performances. Thorpe, riding an HRC factory bike battled the likes of Eric Geboers, Georges Jobe and Andre Malherbe on the way to victories at his home GP.

“Obviously,” Thorpe said. “The one everyone remembers is Farleigh Castle in 1985, when I had a good race with Andre (Malherbe) and then the second race when I went down in the start and came back to get to the front, to battle with Andre and we had a great race. The memories for me was the crowd running from one side of the track to the other. It was generally like being in a football stadium, with the roar of the crowd. So that fits in my mind, but another one on a personal level, was Hawkstone Park in 1984. In 84, whilst I had won a race in Sweden, I was still a relative new comer at winning a Grand Prix. I went to Hawkstone as a real underdog against all the sand specialists, and it was an extremely hot day, so the fitness really helped me. I came away from there with a double win, and the following week in Belgium I won both races and I also won both races in Italy, and that kind of set me up for 1985 and 1986, where I went into the winter training and really confident.”

Now, when the fans start arriving for this year’s British Grand Prix, you know both Dixon and Thorpe will be standing on the hillside circuit, watching and enjoying just as much as anyone else. Don’t miss this year’s event, as the likes of Jeffrey Herlings, Antonio Cairoli and Tim Gajser try and recreate that same atmosphere that Thorpe created in his golden era.

Author: 
Geoff Meyer

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