MXGP and Asia

With the new 2023 provisional calendar out, we again notice that one thing that makes the MXGP series so special are also the  exotic locations, covering the whole World. While the FIM Motocross World Championship has always had a strong relationship with Europe and for many years the Motocross World Championship was mainly based in Europe, as the sport grows, so too do the destinations.

Travelling to countries like Argentina, Indonesia, Brazil, Australia, South Africa and many others always gave the series a special look and when the 2023 calendar was recently announced, we again saw some interesting additions.

Back in 2005, the FIM Motocross World Championships headed to Japan, and while the Grand Prix series had travelled to Asia in the past, Japan and Indonesia in the 1990s, when the series visited Thailand back in 2013, it opened up a whole new relationship between Asia and MXGP, one that has continued to grow up in the last decade.

As mentioned, Thailand was added to the calendar and remained for a handful of years, visiting places like Si Racha on the outskirts of the major tourist destination Pattaya. We returned to Si Racha in 2014 and then in 2015, we travelled to the small village of Nakhonchaisri, before heading to Suphan Buri in 2016. Every time the country supported us with friendly faces and large crowds.

When one door closed in Thailand another opened in Indonesia and in 2017 the MXGP paddock travelled to the small island of Pangkal Pinang. This cozy little destination held GPs in 2017 and 2018 and in 2018 we also ventured to Semarang on the mainland of Java, which produced a brilliant race track, large crowds, and an unbelievable atmosphere. Promotion of this event in Semarang was something many of us had never seen before, with large billboards and streets filled with posters of the Grand Prix heroes.

The Asian adventure didn’t end there though as in 2019 we had two venues in Indonesia, Semarang again and Palembang, not to mention one in China. The Chinese Grand Prix was sensational, again a brilliant racetrack and huge interest from the Chinese government and people. A stand-out round of the 2019 MXGP and MX2 championships.

We returned to Indonesia this year after the pandemic at the magnificent Samota-Sumbawa circuit, the whole motocross World was excited and once again, Asian fans came in big numbers to enjoy this brilliant sport.

Nobody was disappointed with this event as a large crowd attended and the whole island of Sumbawa celebrated our return, similar to Semarang, the promotion of this event was first class. Now with 2023 getting closer and closer, we will return to Sumbawa to celebrate our sport once again, with the neighboring island of Lombok (in Indonesia) being involved and another new destination with Thanh Hoa in Vietnam.

So, as we sit through the European winter, and the Grand Prix riders take a short break before re-starting their preparation, we can all once again be excited as we are once again set to visit the continent, which has long been home to the majority of the human population, was the site of many of the first civilizations and of course is an area that means so much to motorsport in general.

Author: 
Geoff Meyer

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