It’s finally here, the one event everyone is looking forward to, the British Grand Prix. Almost matching World Cup status, the biggest off-road motorcycle racing event in the United Kingdom takes place this weekend at the newly constructed Matterley Basin circuit just outside the ancient city of Winchester.

Honda riders will be out in force with Ken de Dycker looking to continue his fine season which has taken him to fourth in the MX1 World Championship standings. Pascal Leuret will be focussed on consolidating his 7th place in the Championship, but most eyes will be on Kiwi Joshua Coppins.

CAS Honda rider Coppins returns after a shoulder injury and is raring to go.  The 2005 World MX1 runner-up said “I can’t wait to get back into it”.

Finishing touches to the circuit, which is expected to house a crowd of more than thirty thousand people over this coming weekend, will be made in the coming days as more than thirty teams and eighty riders arrive to contest the British Grand Prix and the eighth round of the 2006 FIM World Championships.

With brilliant weather expected a large crowd will arrive for the weekend’s action.

Organisers Bike it Promotions are expecting one of the largest crowds of the Grand Prix series this year and a typically British noisy atmosphere to cheer on a generous compliment of home-grown talent.

Pre-event tickets sales have been extremely healthy and supersede the figures from the 2005 British and English Grand Prix combined. A thorough PR campaign is taking place around Winchester and Southampton with local radio ads airing this week.

Other news emanating from Matterley is that the forty metre squared TV screen will be showing World Cup matches on Saturday (Italy vs USA) and Sunday nights (France vs South Korea). A DJ and live band are booked for Friday and Saturday evenings while a funfair will also form part of the location. The Trade stand area is full and there will be a bus service running from Winchester rail station and the centre of the town to the circuit entrance.

The 807th Mayor of Winchester (England’s first capital city), Sue Nelmes, will open the Grand Prix and also present some of the trophies at the riders’ presentation.

“It has been going well but obviously the intensity of the work increases nearer the date,” said Steve Dixon the organizer of the event. “We had a few setbacks with the weather initially, so the last few days are going to be flat out. It is great that the Mayor is going to attend and shows the good level of support we have from the local government. We have been finalising the track over the weekend, and most of the marquees have now gone up, and the security fencing will be erected over the next couple of days ready for when the event starts. We hope the good weather continues and that it will be a really exciting weekend.”

Tickets are available for purchase on the door and practice gets underway at 10am Saturday morning.


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