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.
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 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 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.