NAMUR – OUR CASTLE ON THE HILL

From 1947 to 2007, the best motocross riders in the world travelled to Namur every year. There, where the Grand Prix Motocross of Namur, also known as the Grand Prix of Belgium or the Grand Prix of Wallonia motocross, was organized on the circuit of the Citadel of Namur. The course was drawn between the trees, streets and paths that can be found in the city park of Namur. In 2008 the GP 'moved' to Lommel.

The GP of Belgium in Namur was to motocross what the Circuit de Monaco is to Formula 1. However, due to its specific and extreme character, the course on the Citadel of Namur could withstand comparison with Monaco on more than one point. For example, the course ran between many trees and allowed the pilots to make deep descents before ending up on the street, covered with a layer of sand for the occasion. This Grand Prix was extremely popular with the motocross public. British, Americans, Russians, Finns, Swedes, everyone with a heart for motocross wanted to experience this legendary spectacle at least once.

Sadness was therefore omnipresent when the plug was pulled from the organization in 2007 when Namur MX Events saw some old-timers leave and no successor was found for chairman Pierre Chonquerez. The Belgian Grand Prix has been held in Lommel ever since, with the exception of 2012 and 2013, when Edmond Detry brought the Belgian Grand Prix back to Wallonia. The Grand Prix took place in Bastogne. 

However, this Namur businessman had bigger plans and investigated the possibility of a new Belgian Grand Prix at the Citadel of Namur. The man spoke aloud of a Grand Prix in 2015 and the Motocross of Nations in 2025. But he and the entire motocross community got a cold shower when it became clear that the track no longer met modern safety and facility requirements. Because the Citadel is more than a historic motocross track, these sweeping changes cannot be made. A Grand Prix at the Citadel of Namur therefore seems extremely unlikely in the future.

In 1988 Eric Geboers became world champion at the Citadel of Namur. However, it was not the Belgian himself who won the Grand Prix race, but the Swede Håkan Carlqvist. The Swede, motivated by the fact that no interesting team had made him an offer for next season, drove blisteringly fast. Carlqvist had only one intention: to prove the sceptics wrong and to relegate the opposition to amateurs. This put the Swede in the spotlight even more by pouring a beer at the Château du Monument known to motocross fans. Carlqvist eventually finished in a creditable tenth place in the final standings of the world championship. After his stunt he kept the honour to himself and hung up the motocross boots.

Eric Geboers won only once on the legendary track that spread over the Citadel of Namur. When he did this, in 1990, he immediately became world champion for the fifth time. On site he also immediately announced his retirement from active motocross. Immediately after the race, Geboers was picked up by a helicopter to tell the Belgian sports public his fifth world title and the news about his retirement in the much-watched Sport weekend on the then BRT.

Stefan Everts never lost a Grand Prix at the Citadel of Namur. The technically gifted pilot won his first Grand Prix on this mythical ground in 1998. The man from Neeroeteren did this as a wild card pilot on a Honda built uniquely for him. The Limburger, who competed in the 250cc World Championship that year, made an occasional trip to the 500cc class and convincingly won both rounds, in which his lead was so large that he was able to stop for a drink during the second race, following the example of Håkan Carlqvist who achieved this ten years earlier in 1988. This was just the first of his total of seven Grand Prix victories at the Citadel.

After the first victory at the Citadel, it took until 2001 due to injuries before Stefan Everts started again in a race at the Citadel. From 2001 to his retirement in 2006, Everts won all the Grand Prix's he participated in at the Citadel. In 2003 he even won both the MXGP and the 125cc Grand Prix of Belgium on the mythical course in one day. At the end of his career, the counter stood at seven Grand Prix victories in the capital of the Walloon Region, as many as 'Mister Motocross' Roger De Coster.

Photo Credit: Geoff Meyer

Author: 
Geoff Meyer

News

Pages

Infront Moto Racing is pleased to inform that the 2024 Travel Guide for the MXGP of Patagonia - Argentina is now available and can

TC222 The Legend - The first movie produced by MXGP will be launched on the 1st of March on MXGP-TV.com.  What an exciting news for moto

Monster Energy Yamaha Factory rider Thibault Benistant is very much in the picture when it comes to contenders fo

Related news

Infront Moto Racing is pleased to inform that the 2024 Travel Guide for the MXGP of Patag

MONACO (Principality of Monaco) 22 February 2024 – Infront Moto Racing is deligh