News 12 Oct 2016

MXGP series poised for 2017 calendar expansion

20-round world championship on the cards for next year.

Source: Supplied.

Source: Supplied.

Words: Adam Wheeler

After the longest grand prix season on record with 18 stops, MXGP is rumoured to be heading for a more comprehensive schedule for 2017 with the inclusion of two more dates on the FIM Motocross World Championship slate that will bring the series up to 20 rounds.

The 2017 calendar should be released in the coming weeks and well before the time of the FIM General Assembly in November on the eve of the FIM Gala in Berlin that celebrates all the champions from the various sports in 2016.

MXGP will allegedly take-in five overseas trips with Qatar, Indonesia, Argentina, Mexico and the USA (Charlotte Motor Speedway) involving freight organisation for the teams. The British grand prix will go on hiatus due to the Matterley Basin Motocross of Nations at the beginning of October, but there are apparently slots back on the agenda for the grand prix of Sweden (Uddevalla), Portugal (Agueda) and Russia (Orlyonok). The first grand prix of San Marino this century has already been confirmed for inclusion in 2017.

There was talk that the grand prix of Spain at Talavera de la Reina would not entertain an Iberian stop for the third year in a row and that the eventual MXGP rundown would be slimmed to 19 fixtures. Allegedly promoters Youthstream have a contract with the FIM that limits to the GP calendar to a maximum of 20 dates.

20 grand prix events would effectively mean 22 weekends of competition for teams with the Motocross of Nations included and a potential second running of the Monster Energy SMX Riders’ Cup. MXGP will continue to build on strong followings in Argentina and Russia and the traditional hot-bed of fandom that is France means the country could stage two events in 2017 with Villars sous Ecot looking to again welcome the paddock after their popular effort in 2015.

A new market will be explored in bike-mad southern Asia for the next three years with Pangkal Pinang hosting the Indonesian round, while rumours circulated at the recent Motocross of Nations that the promoters behind the last four Thai grands prix will be back in contention for a 2018 space with a new circuit in the Nakhonchaisri area.