On the 1st of April, the website from one of the leading motorcycle magazines announced that MotoGP would return to the track of Spa-Francorchamps in 2019. Undoubtedly a great joke, although actually it wasn’t a joke. Thanks to the dynamic DG Sport team, you won’t have to wait till 2019 to hear MotoGP’s roar on the track in the Ardennes. And that is true !
After the 500 GP and Superbikes, the major Classic event will also welcome first generation MotoGP’s this year. «One could say it’s a bit contradictory to invite “modern” machines to a mainly “classic” event», says Florian Jupsin, the new conductor of the Bikers’Classics. «But let’s not forget that the FIM (International Motorcycle Federation) has introduced the MotoGP category in 2002… More than 12 years ago, a small eternity if we think about the many technological evolutions these machines have known over the past years !»
In 2001 a young Italian rider, Valentino Rossi, took home the very last 500cc world title with his Honda after having won the 125cc and 250cc titles in 1997 with Aprilia. Ever since, the MotoGP category has evolved continuously with ever changing rules, displacements, tyre manufacturers and even constructors.
«By adding MotoGP we contribute to our own will to evolve. If an event wants to continue growing and developing, it has to evolve and continuously reinvent itself. That’s what the Bikers’Classics have been doing ever since their creation in 2003. With the arrival of MotoGP on the Bikers’Classic scene we want to attract a new generation of spectators for whom the machines from the previous century don’t evoke memories.
For them, but also for everyone else, this will be a unique opportunity to hear and see these exceptional machines ride. «Besides some anecdotic passages it will be mainly about the first apparition of MotoGP’s on the track of Spa-Francorchamps. A long awaited moment by the entire Belgian motorcycle community, a moment which will remain in the memories of those who will witness it for many years!
On top of the spectacular MotoGP machines (among which Olivier Jacque’s Kawasaki, Scott Redding’s Honda RCV and an ex-Stoner Ducati), the organizers have once again succeeded in gathering a marvellous panoply of machines, such as a Moto2 Suter from Marc Marquez, 500cc GP machines (a 1997 Honda NSR V2 Gresini Barros, a team Roberts Proton KR3, 1993 Yamaha ROC…), Superbikes (a 1999 Ducati 996 Bayliss, a 1998 Suzuki GSX-R Witham, a 1996 Yamaha YZF 750 MacKenzie, a 1987 Bimota YB4…). «With 45 motorcycles at the start of the GP parade there will be a nice overview of 40 years of MotoGP history», says Florian Jupsin. «We will see machines that we never even saw in Belgium ! I would explicitly like to thank Spirit of Speed for giving us the opportunity to realise this adventure.
An other parade that attracts a lot of attention is that of the side-cars. Fans of this genre will get to feast their eyes, with the BMW RS 54 leading the parade. This machine remains the one with the most titles on its name in motorcycle racing history, with not less than 19 world titles, won between 1954 and 1974. You will get to admire about 10 of these famous RS 54 on the track of Spa during the first weekend of July, but also some of its major competitors (URS, König). Seated on these machines will be an equally impressive panoply of world champions of the discipline, such as Rolf Steinhausen (world champion 1975-76), Egbert Streuer (world champion from 1984 till 1986) and his son Bennie (current world champion), Max Deubel (4 times world champion between 1961 and 1964) and Siegfried Schauzu (9 times winner of the Tourist Trophy for sidecars). Steve Webster (ten titles!) might possibly make it too.
Whereas the European Classic Series and the tenth edition of the 4 Hours Classic on Saturday night, the major attraction will undoubtedly be the presence of John McGuinness, the “Morecambe Missile”, endurance and Tourist Trophy specialist, category in which he is a living legend with not less than 23 victories and still counting ! Definitely a contender for the victory with the Honda team Neate Racing Powered by Motul. And a true opponent for the duo Richard Hubin – Grégory Fastré, that really wants to win this home race and already did so in 2014. And then there are the other races for the French, German and Belgian Classic championships.
As usual, Saturday evening will be very festive and musical, with a concert from the group Hot For 90’s, organised in collaboration with the event’s Rock & Pop partner, Classic 21. The entire weekend you will be treated to many animations, in the Lifestyle Village created in 2015, at the exchange fair and in the Commercial Village.
A last novelty that DG Sport adds to this 14th edition is the diner-conference, which will take place on Friday evening at the Hôtel de la Source. Living Grand Prix legends will participate at a conference-debate sharing anecdotes from their racing years. What happens backstage in MotoGP and little secrets, revealed by riders that wrote some of the most historical pages in motorcycle racing history. An exclusive evening, a wonderful meal, prestigious invitees… An evening especially for fans of exceptional moments.
A quick historical Bikers’Classics overview:
2003 : First edition of the Bikers’Classics
2004 : The first stars appear on scene (such as Mamola, Schwantz and Spencer)
2007 : First edition of the 4 Hours Classic
2008 : Tribute to John Surtees
2011 : Yamaha celebrate their 50 years of competition
2012 : Superbikes in the spotlights
2013 : 500cc GP and Sidecars
2014 : Anniversary of the Suzuki RG 500
2015 : The Lifestyle Village sees the light of day
2016 : MotoGP returns to Spa !