Palembang City, MXGP World Championship

Palembang City in South Sumatra had the world’s attention in 2018 during the Asian Games. Then soon afterwards it disappeared again off the world map. However now as recent hosts to the MXGP World Championships, it is back as a loved destination for hosting international sporting events.

Palembang City

Before the Asians Games, many people have never heard about this city at all. Palembang is situated in South Sumatra as the capital city of the province in Indonesia. It is second on the list of highest populated cities in Sumatra. Set on the banks of the lower Musi River, this city is one of the oldest in entire Southeast Asia. When the World Motorcycle Racing Federation decided that Indonesia should be hosting two MXGP series in 2017, the first choice for 2018 was Palembang. This was what the governor decided, so plans were going according to his decision. According to Sadikin Aksa, the Chairman of the Indonesian Motorbike Association.

Unfortunately, Palembang was also hosting the Asian Games then, and the dates were running very close to each other. Hence the MXGP was instead moved to Pangkal Pinang. This year Palembang had to be placed back in the limelight and was the obvious choice for hosting the event. Palembang was also a preferred choice above Pangkal Pinang this year. Due to logistical problems which the organizers experienced in Pangkal Pinang from challenging docking situations in the sea which is rather shallow as well as limited flights.

The Preparations

The immediate pressure when the final decision was made that Palembang would be the hosting city, was to complete a motocross circuit set on international standards. The 1.5-kilometre clay circuit was completed within three weeks with the assistance of Greek technicians. Although shorter than the initially planned 1.9-kilometre track, it was ideally located. Only a short distance from the five stars Wyndham Hotel based in the OPI Mall. The results of this unique track was a very positive response from racers. Some even refer to this track as the best globally.

The Circuit

The location of the circuit was much appreciated for being close to the hotel, and riders didn’t have to hang around at the track for unnecessarily long periods. This allowed racers to finish racing and walk off to take a dip in the hotel’s pool. The track is complimented for the challenges which it brings with different bends and shorter trajectories.

Success for Palembang City

The event has drawn 40 motocrossers from around the globe and as many as 30 000 spectators, although the international viewer count stretched well into the millions. The success with which Palembang City has managed to host this event is applauded internationally. Now the South Sumatra Provincial Government is keen on making Palembang the permanent host for this event in future. Currently, they are waiting on approval of their bid for 2020 and hopefully far beyond.

The Toughest Tracks in a Challenging Sport

In a race of speed and adrenaline, the physical challenge placed on riders is often taken to the next level on individual tracks. Challenging turns and corners give some tracks a name for being notoriously brutal on the rider’s physical and mental capabilities. Let’s take a closer look at some of these famous tracks.

Twin Ring Motegi

This Japan-based ring is considered to be the hardest braking circuit in the world. Brembo, an Italian manufacturer of brakes in the bike industry, invested some time in researching the amount of force that bikers experience when riders are breaking under normal MotoGP circumstances. The average power that they are experiencing varies between 1.1 – 1.2G, and when effects go to about 1.4G, it is considered as an ordinary high maximum deceleration. On Motegi, racers experience these most stringent racing circumstances with excessive and constant pressure on their breaks, even to such a degree that their breaks sometimes get hot red.

Sachsenring

This German track is home to Turn 11 or also known as the Waterfall. The corner is not only blind and situated on a downhill section, but also crazy fast and off-camber. It is often tackled at speeds of up to 300kph. A real challenge to the strength of both man and their machines. An added twist to the troubles delivered by this turn is the fact that it is right-handed which follows right after several left-handed turns.

Circuit of the Americas

Based in the United States this track present riders with a massive elevation. The Laguna Seca is no longer in use by MotoGP, but it used to send drivers up to the Corkscrew which went along with an elevation from a mere 18 metres to 137 metres over the length of the track. This is totalling the height of an entire 11-storey building.

Losail International Circuit

Mugello circuit in Italy used to have the title as the one delivering the fastest speeds in MotoGP when Andrea Iannone reached speeds up to almost 350 kilometres per hour in 2014 on a Ducati. This all changed recently when the Losail International Circuit in Qatar was home to the record speed of 350.5 kilometres per hour. Marc Marquez set the record speed in 2015.

Sepang International Circuit

Last but still worthy of note is this track based in Malaysia. Home to the highest G force ever recorded on a track. Given it was during an accident when Lori Baz had a crash in Sepang during a 2016 pre-season test run. Because when F-16 fighter pilots are up in the air, there are some brief periods during which they experience forces of as much as 9G’s. When Lori Baz’s shoulder hit the deck on this day in 2016, his shoulder did it with an impact of 29.9G. Making Sepang top of the list of highest forces reached. All of these tracks demand courage and nerve to be able to achieve the extraordinary from mere humans and their machines.

The Isle of Man Claims Another – Remembering Daley Mathis

Earlier this month the Isle of Man collected yet another young talent from the world of super bikes leaving a young wife as a widow and a little girl growing up without her daddy. Daley Mathis’s death came as a great shock to the biking world. Feeling completed gutted was the all-around expression used by many fans and loved ones alike.

The Accident

This came after two racers lost their lives last year on the Isle of Man TT. During the Monster Energy Super-sport 1 race, Adam Lyon was killed and during Super bike TT, Dan Kneen, a local man lost his life. Mathison’s accident happened during his third lap only two miles into the course at Snug-borough approaching Union Mills. This happened during the opening RST Superbike race. The road was immediately red-flagged and Mathison was taken to hospital by air ambulance, but unfortunately, he passed away a few weeks before his 28th birthday.

His Career

The young racer from Stockton-on-Tees started racing at the age of 12 with an Aprilia RS125. This was in Yorkshire at the Elvington Race Track. From early on in his career his determination to be great in his passion was evident. He was often competing in a semi-professional race all over the world. He always wanted to learn more, aiming to become a professional racer. In 2013 a dream came true when he made his debut at the 2013 Manx Grand Prix on the Isle of Man Mountain Course and the next year followed his debut at the TT. His fastest lap time was the above 120mph.

He was always improving in his racing capabilities and experience and this brought him recognition and higher up in the ranks of professional racers. During the TT Zero class, he had three podium finishes and won twice the European MotoE Championship. For the TT his fastest lap time exceeded 128mph and this earned him a spot seeded in the top 20 riders of all 6 solo classes.

2019

2019 was a brilliant year laying ahead of this young star. He had rides secured with Wepol Racing by Penz13.com, the prestigious Germany based company as well as with WH Racing in Partnership with Dynobike in the UK. He was riding for Penz13.com during the crash.

Off the Tracks

Mathison is described by his family and friends as a talented man, a serious competitor, a vibrant person and he was passionate about racing. During 2015 he started to work with his old college, Darlington College to help young racers in the area to move their careers forward. He assisted with the course development for the September-intake and was always encouraging the students.

The death of this young man is leaving a gap both in the lives of his family as well as the family he had on the tracks. The only comfort they have is that he died while doing something he lived for.

Fascinating To Know, Some MotoGP Facts

Usually, while being stuck to the tracks in adrenaline-pumping admiration, fans are not aware of some of the exciting facts hidden away from plain sight. Therefore, let’s explore more of the hidden challenges that riders need to face.

Absolute Focus at All Times

Admiring record speeds and superfast lap times is part of the love for the sport, but it is easy to forget that riders are travelling for the most of the race against an average speed of 100 mph. Moving in a car at 100 mph is already requiring your full attention on the road in front of you, imagine doing it on two wheels with zero protection. Controlling the 250-horsepower bike to find the winning balance between victory and safety requires 100% focus at all times.

A Short Memory is Vital

Riders need to forget. This is vital if they want to win and remain focused on the race. Regardless of how many accidents they have had, they need to put them behind them and forget about it. A memory popping up in their minds about a previous accident can create hesitation and slows them down as well as shatter their focus, which is dangerous in itself.

A Severe Core Workout

It might appear smooth, easy and effortless when the riders speed by on the bikes, but a fact which people tend to forget is that the bike weighs roughly 160 kilograms, which is about double the weight of an adult man. Remaining agile at all times at very high speeds require extreme arm, upper body and core strength to be able to steer the bike and stay stable even at challenging angles.

Sweating Buckets Full

Manoeuvring a bike at a speed of 100 mph which is twice as heavy as an adult male is physically demanding. Viewers are seldom aware of the severe physical strain which these riders put on their bodies. This causes some severe sweating especially if the weather conditions are on the warmer side. The estimated amount of sweat that drivers lose during only 45 minutes on the track amounts to two litres. Hydration is vital.

Kangaroo Skin for a Comfortable Fit

Biker suits are made of a variety of different leathers. Kangaroo leather is often the preferred choice due to its stretchiness, which provides a feel of a second skin. These suits are only a mere 3 – 5 millimetres thick, yet it is tough enough to protect you during a nasty fall.

Minimal Contact with the Track

Depending on the tyres they use, the size of the actual area of the tyre in contact with the track varies a little, but as a rule, it is about the size of a small coin around corners. Corners are the worst due to the 55-degree angle at which they lean in to be able to speed through it. The intense scientific research needed to develop the correct chemical balance to achieve this is a significant contributor to the massive price tag linked to these tyres.

Rossi, the Legend, the Man

A name so synonymous with MotoGP it is hard to imagine the sport without it, yet that might happen within the uncomfortably near future.

The Beginning

The 41-year-old racer is born into a racing family. The son of Graziano Rossi, whose motorcycle career bloomed between 1977 and 1982. Valentino Rossi was already riding at a very young age. A family trait is, a constant need to go faster, and that is what happened. At the age of 5 years old, his dad had to replace the 60cc motor on his kart with a 100cc engine. At age 11, he won the regional kart championship. Shortly afterwards he took up minimoto and won many races in that as well. In 1993 he rode for the Cagiva Sports Production team and crashed his Cagiva Mito 125cc in the first corner roughly 100 meters from the pit lane and ended up 9th in the race. In 1995 Rossi moved over to Aprilia and not only won the Italian 125cc Championship but also came in third in the European Championship.

A Career of Long-Standing Success

Throughout his career of nearly 25 years, Rossi is second on the list of most Grand Prix wins in motorcycle racing with 115 wins. He became the only rider who has ever won the World Championship in four different classes distributed between 9 World Championship wins, ranking him 3rd on this list. In 1997 he won for Aprilia on a 125cc, in 1999 he did it again for Aprilia on a 250cc. After moving over to Honda, he won the 500cc division for them in 2001 after ending second the previous year. This was followed by a winning streak stretching from 2002 to 2005 in the MotoGP division. First for Honda and then from 2004 for Yamaha. He repeated the wins for Yahama again in 2008 and 2009.

A Bank Account of Note

The estimated figure for Rossi’s net worth is in the area of $140 million. This is the reflection of the success that he had in his racing career. Still, he remains very humble about his position and claims that he doesn’t like to be famous; he is racing purely to satisfy the passion which is driving him from within. His title as the Doctor he prefers to attribute to the fact that many doctors in Italy have the surname Rossi, rather than acknowledging that it is linked with respect and importance within the racing industry.

When is Rossi Retiring?

Earlier this year during the Yamaha Monster bikes launch in Jakarta, Rossi mentioned that he might be thinking of retirement. Age is catching up to him, and all good things must come to an end. The time spent on the bike is starting to take a physical toll on his body, and he is competing to younger, fitter and stronger men. If 2019 delivers another rather unsuccessful season for this legend, it is probably his cue to exit the sport. This will be a day of an emotional farewell to a star, a legend in time.

Jeffrey Herlings Back in MXGP Russia

The Latest Injury

Injuries are nothing new to this Dutch professional. In 2014 he couldn’t compete in Brazil due to a shoulder injury. Later that year he fractured his femur in Belgium. It was earlier this year that he injured his foot in an accident during training in Spain that kept him out of the loop for seven rounds of the championship. This caused a significant setback in KTM’s plans for the young star. 2018 was a brilliant year. Herlings had 33 moto victories, he won 17 GP’s and had a total of 19 podiums. He was heading for his first title, but then the injury happened in January, taking him out of the race and into a cast.

Uncertainty Regarding His Future

After this injury, there was for a short moment some doubt whether Herlings will remain in Europe for KTM. The alternative was to move over to the Lucas Oil AMA Pro Motocross Championship. In March it was confirmed that the Red Bull KTM rider would remain in Europe. Later that month, physical training for Herlings increased, and it was announced that he would possibly be back on his bike in late April. After already missing out on the opening round in Argentina, it was clear that he will also not be at the Grand Prix in Holland, Britain and Italy. He remained positive about his recovery. He was eager to get back and gave his all during training, but due to the complexity of the operation to his foot, he was hesitant to pushing too hard too fast and create another setback in his season.

Return for MXGP Russia

All the training and rehabilitation finally delivered results. Herling announced this week that he will be part of the MXGP in Russia and is already for three weeks back on his bike. He competed in the Dutch Masters last week at Rhenen and didn’t only win his first moto, but also came in third overall. In Austria he raced in the ADAC MX Masters came in just behind Jeremy Seewer in second place.

Herlings stated he felt that he could handle a high speed on his bike, but certain aspects still created issues for him. This meant that he had to change his thinking when going to Russia. Always committed to winning and glad to be back with his KTM team, he stated that any place between 5th and 10th would make him happy for now. He also mentioned that the more sandy terrain of Latvia would probably mean that he would have to rethink his strategy while keeping the situation with his foot in mind.

Although for now, it seems that his 84 GP wins will remain at that number for a little longer, he is keen on delivering a second half of the season which will equal his performance during last season. With his determination and KTM’s support, he will probably do just that. For now, he might be just hanging in the back but expect to see this young champion on podiums again soon.

Gear Up for a Weekend of High-Performance Racing

This weekend is another highlight on the events calendars of MotoGP fans. All eyes are set on Wisconsin which is the playground for the Dunlop Championship at Road America from Friday the 31st of May to Sunday the 2nd of June. This race forms the fourth leg in the MotoAmerica Road Racing Series. This legendary piece of the circuit is set between Milwaukee and Green Bay in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin. The four-mile stretch includes 14 turns and has challenged some of the best racers that the world had to offer since it had been established in 1955. What makes this leg of the race unique is that it has 640 acres of incredible viewpoints, allowing for excellent opportunities not to miss any of the high-speed adrenaline pumping action.

A Wonderful Racing Tradition

In 1976 the AMA Road Racing Championship was first introduced. This event provided a platform for motorcycle manufacturers as well as racing teams to display their performance capabilities and their production models to the racing world. Since the race was first introduced, the championship came a long way. After ups and down it was awarded to Wayne Rainey and the KRAVE Group in 2015, who then with the assistance of some partners, not only renamed the race but also grew it into a great success story. Now known as the MotoAmerica Road Racing Series, it is currently one of the most significant events in the industry. The race offers five classes of road racing. Racers can participate in Superbikes, Stock 1000, Supersport, Twins and Junior Cup. The goal which MotoAmerica set for this championship was to rediscover a keen interest in road racing. They also aim to send their riders to the top-level tournaments.

Highlights of the Weekend

The MotoAmerica EBS Brakes Superbike Championship is scheduled for Saturday at 3 pm. This is the premier race class and showcases the top road racers. These riders challenge the road in modified motorcycles which can easily reach speeds up to 200 miles per hour. Names to expect in this class are Cameron Beaubier on his Yamaha racing for Monster Energy/Yamalube/Yamaha Factory. Second in the ranks is Josh Herrin from Dublin on his Suzuki GSX-R1000. The third is the South African, Mathew Scholtz for Westby Racing on his Yamaha.

The Supersport class presents the middleweight race class and is dominated by the Americans. In first, second and third place with Jeremiah Walker on his MV Augusta and Nick McFadden and Ryan Alvar both on Yamaha.

The upcoming stars are represented in the Liqui Moly Junior cup with an age group of 14 – 25. Cameron Jones currently leads this young group. The American is racing on Kawasaki. They are followed by Kevin Olmedo from El Salvador and the American, Trevor Standish, both on Yamaha.

The MotoAmerica Road Racing Series is presenting riders and spectators alike with plenty of adrenaline, great sportsmanship, fierce competition and skilled riding. With seven events still due in the series, including Utah, Pittsburgh and Alabama, road racing is indeed brought to the vans.

MotoGP Shaping Up for the Future

Carmelo Ezpeleta is busy preparing for the MotoGP future. It seems that the aim is to showcase more races and less test, but what is all planned for the future of MotoGP? Many contracts are running for five years and are due to end in 2021. By then, Ezpeleta wants the course to be already set for the future. He is setting up new agreements to run for the period 2022 to 2026. The current contracts worth 2.5 million from Dorna for each driver and include a maximum running of 20 Grand Prix’s.

Changes to be made include an increased number of Grand Prix from 20 to 22. It would mean that the number of races for bikes would then overtake the number in Formula 1, currently standing on 21. The aim is to achieve the maximum number of races per person. At the moment there are 19 races. Since Finland and Indonesia are expected to join in the future, and more tracks are indicating interest in joining up, an increased number of races becomes a requirement. It would lead to possibly reducing the number of test days even further after this season’s reduction from three to two already.

Ezpeleta is upfront about the fact that he is happy with the current grid. This is supported by the names of Aprilia, Honda, Ducati, Suzuki, Yamaha and KTM. It doesn’t seem that new manufacturers like Honda, BMW and Agusta will join the ranks for now. This idea is supported by some of the names in the race who don’t want to see more than 24 riders at once on the tracks.

It became evident that Valentino Rossi will not be running his own Yamaha customer team after his resignation and he will probably continue with protégés like Morbidelli. Dorna also seems keen to continue with 22 riders for the six manufacturers, instead of the current 24 after 2021.

Divisions will stay mainly the same. Yamaha and KTM will retain their four, Ducati has six for Pravac and Avintia and Honda four for Repsol and LCR. It is only Aprilia who will have a change to their starting places. This is due to their withdrawal in the period 2002 to 2004 in the Ivano Beggio after only three years, and they haven’t paid their fine since then. Therefore, they are considered more to be a customer team, racing as a Gresini partner. For them to gain official manufacturer status, they have to sign for five years from 2022, and early withdrawal will entail a hefty financial penalty.

Technical changes are minimal and are only to support continuity. It indicates stricter limitations regarding aerodynamic development, to retain costs while making adjustments. Dorna wants to create stability with early negotiations and talks are already underway with customer teams like Tech3, LCR, Gresini, Pramac, Avintia and Petronas. Representatives are at the table, to negotiate and get some plans set by the end of 2020. The future of MotoGP is something to look forward to with more races, as soon as all agree.

The Arenas of Greatness

In MotoGP, where speed and glory go hand-in-hand the thrill of being at the tracks when records are set, and challenges accepted, turns racing into more than a sport, it becomes a lifestyle. The road is more than a racing ground; it is indeed an arena where guts and glory meet for a rendezvous. Each of these areas of glorious victory comes along with its moments of triumph and devastation, marking greatness.

Some highlights and low lights on the world’s most famous tracks: Nürburgring

It is 1976, and Giacomo Agostini is in the race set in Germany with his 500cc MV Agusta. The Nürburgring is notoriously challenging, but Agostini’s win was after some changes were made to the track which was nick-named by Jackie Stewart as “The Green Hell”. This win was Agostini’s 122nd Grand Prix win, and his record is still standing today. A memorable moment in a lifetime of contribution to his passion for speed. Agostini is also always the record holder for the highest number of fastest laps, a total of 117.

Autodromo del Mugello

Set in Tuscany, Italy and home to the 2018 Gran Premio d’Italia Oakley the adrenaline pumping event is much closer to recent history. Ducati has the eyes of the world’s MotoGP community set on them as Andrea Dovizioso becomes the fastest man in MotoGP history. Breaking the records for the fastest lap speed and setting the new world record at an all-time high of 356.4km/h. With ever-increasing records speeds, how long before this new record would be shattered?

Sepang International Circuit

It is at this Malaysian track that in the name of guts and glory, speed sent a bill in the form of a day of mourning. One of the unfortunate days in 2011 when the young Italian racer, Marco Simoncelli fell off his bike and slid on the track into the way of oncoming fellow racers Colin Edwards and Valentino Rossi. His death was imminent and a stark reminder to all present of the danger lurking in the shadows of adrenaline.

Isle of Man

Since 1907 this is one of the most dangerous racing tracks in the world. An entire arena of glory set in this island village. Enthusiast flock from all over the world to be part of this annual event and every time it is a memorable moment in MotoGP history. The death toll of riders on this track is a stark 258 up to 2018, but the price is also sometimes paid by spectators and bystanders with four deaths recently.

This sport is indeed more than a sport; it is a lifestyle choice, a way of being and declaring who you are. Tracks are more than stretched of the tarred road; it is arenas of human endurance and magnificence. It is within these highs and lows that the passion for speed of this sport is sometimes a double-edged sword, for there are a few that know that it is in the face of death that you genuinely become alive.

Finding the Best Racing Gear

Racing gear for track and on the road can be quite pricy, but every part of it is well worth the effort, especially when you consider what could happen without it. Racing suits, helmets, gloves and boots all work together to provide the ultimate protection. Therefore, it’s simply not worth trying to save a couple of dollars as the quality of the gear is sure to suffer with it.

It’s essential to understand what to look for when choosing race gear as some safety factors play a significant role. When you begin to shop around, you’re sure to see some cheaper options that look great, but with closer inspection, you might see some areas that reveal rather significant risks.

Below, we look at the most significant factors that play a role when choosing the best gear that provides the ultimate protection. We aren’t looking at brands or prices, but rather the things you need to look at before investing in your safety while riding or racing.

Helmets

Helmets are the most important and one of the most expensive parts of your kit. It’s essential to choose helmets that fit perfectly as a loose helmet could do more damage than good. Cheaper helmets tend to be round, which already doesn’t suit our faces, making at least one of the areas around your head be at risk. However, as soon as you move to premium helmets, you’ll find various shapes that suit your head shape for the best fit and protection.

Be sure to look for D.O.T. rating on the inside of the helmet. This ensures the helmet has been tested for drops, falls and much more. It also indicates that it passed those tests and is recognized as a safe option.

Suits / Jackets / Pants

When it comes to body wear, there are a few things to consider. Firstly, we need to look at comfort and the best protection, which would usually involve high-grade padding around the shoulders, torso, elbows and knees. Some suits include additional padding around the hips and back area as well, which is a great addition.

When choosing a suit, you also want to look for the D.O.T. ratings while doing some checking of your own. This would include the quality of the stitching, how well it fits you and the quality of the leather they use. If you’re a road rider, you’d also want to look at how well it keeps you cool and ensure it works with the rest of your gear.

Gloves and Boots

Gloves and boots are the last parts of a standard kit and are also some of the most important. With boots, you’d want to ensure it’s not too flexible and won’t allow your ankle to bend in ways it’s not supposed to go. You’d also want good quality leather and clamps that won’t fail as soon as you fall.
When it comes to gloves, be sure to choose ones that provide high-grade coverage on the inside of your hand while also protecting your fingers. Also, check the quality of the material and the stitching.