WorldSBK start preparation photographed by us on June 9, 2018, in Brno from the roof of the main building. In row one were the then Kawasaki team-mates Tom Sykes (right) and Jonathan Rea, who won the first race on Saturday.

Twice as interesting news before the Czech Republic round in August

The Motul FIM Superbike World Championship took place in the Czech Republic for the last time in June 2018 and since we were there at the time, we still have very good memories of it. After Brno decided not to continue the event the following year on the flimsy grounds that the WSBK event was not profitable enough, many fans were absolutely rightly disappointed. We could understand this well, also because the usual problems of MotoGP events in the near-series World Championship did not exist. In the last few years of the Prototype World Cup, we had to pay absolutely usurious prices for overnight stays. Once we were so offended that we even decided to go to Vienna. From there we bike to the Masaryk Ring every day in just under an hour and a half, and we didn’t regret it. From 2020 the end of MotoGP came and now Most jumped into the breach for 2021, which can only mean a profit for all fans from the Czech Republic and the neighboring countries.

The track from Most, just over an hour’s drive south of Dresden, will be a restaurant for the Superbike World Championship for at least 5 years from 2021. Now some investments have even been made specifically to ensure that the conditions for the WSBK should be optimal.

New surface and some other optimizations for the 1st WSBK event

Most recently, Autodrom Most communicated some of the work that had been completed on the 4.212 km (2.617 miles) route before WorldSBK returned to the Czech Republic. In addition to the event from August 6th to 8th, the racetrack agreed with Dorna on a five-year contract to host their World Championship round there. According to those responsible, around 15 million Czech crowns (approx. 590,000 euros) have been invested so that the route should be as safe as possible for drivers and spectators. Among other things, on the main straight, the surface was provided with a harder coating, the surface of which is intended to increase the grip for the motorcycles. For this purpose, some run-off zones were expanded with gravel in places. According to the responsible persons with a total of over 4,500 tons of gravel, which corresponds to about 150 fully loaded trucks. Safety foam barriers and airbags were used to secure particularly critical points in the curves.

A recording from about two decades before the “Wende”, which brought the GDR back together with the FRG and led to the separation of the Czech Republic and Slovakia. Originally, a course led through the middle of the small town of Most, before a permanent circuit was built in the vicinity of a former mine just outside.

Additional technical changes
At the Autodrom Most, not only safety changes were made to the route, but also technical changes. The aim was to ensure the correct number of timing sectors. With now ten timing loops, which measure both time and speed with four sectors, as well as the top speed of the near-series WSBK bikes. The event is organized in cooperation with the Automotoklub Most. On the second weekend in August, all three classes with WSBK, WorldSSP and WorldSSP300 will be used.

The route sketch of Most, a circuit that is roughly the opposite of the Red Bull Ring, which minus the left bend known as Turn 2 does not come to ten corners and where therefore practically only full throttle is driven on the first three of four parts of the route.

The double end for Brno as a result of short-sighted mismanagement

We feared it early on, but in the end it came much later than we originally expected. There is talk of the end of the Masaryk ring near Brno and its world championship races for motorcycles. About a decade and a half ago, so-called “stretch limousines” stood in front of the main entrance, with women standing in front of them of relevant provenance. In a country that has been plagued by corruption and the Mafia since the departure of the Russians in early 1990, these were not good harbingers of a secure future. In many countries of the former “Eastern Bloc” there is still no peace in this regard.

Started on the old Masaryk ring near Brno in the 1960s. For us in the city, the start-finish straight was often the street on which we were on our permanent route from the age of 45 onwards. Of the still active drivers, Johnny Rea is with 2 wins ahead of Alex Lowes with one of the most successful of the Czech Republic event.

The lost millions and the unwillingness to invest turned into a boomerang
In Brno at that time, especially at MotoGP events, millions must have seeped away via dubious channels. In any case, almost nothing was invested for the audience during all this time, and the conditions were mostly hair-raising for the press as well. A good example was the half-rotten underpass at the equally dilapidated old grandstand, as well as the never-developed footpaths to the lower part of the route. The Brno region is now paying for the consequences of this short-sighted mismanagement, because after the MotoGP they will no longer receive any WSBK anytime soon. The lost millions and the lack of willingness to invest ultimately became a boomerang for route owners, organizers and local politicians. With the horrendous overnight prices on GP weekends in the Czech Republic, many fans will hardly cry a tear after the end of this event.

Aerial view of the modern route from Most with the town in the upper right corner, which at least offers some overnight accommodations and from where it is hardly worth taking the car on the route, so close by foot to the Autodrom is it. In contrast to Brno everything was done right there and for most viewers from Germany and the northern part of Central Europe it is even closer.

WorldSBK’s provisional calendar

It is less than ideal that FIM and Dorna, with their chaotic planning, now ensured that the Styrian GP of MotoGP will take place at the same time during the WSBK weekend in Most. The on-site spectators on the track, however, may not care. For us and many fans who would like to enjoy both events, it’s still a nuisance. In addition, this of course “cannibalizes” the ratings of the WSBK, which is definitely a nuisance for their teams and sponsors. They are now paying the price that the original planning was done as if there was no corona pandemic and as if there had never been one. The previous shifts and new positions are shown below in bold.

The two still very questionable events overseas are highlighted in gray. These are the main reason why many teams were only able to submit their entries for the European rounds from the start for reasons of cost. Many voices in the paddock are speaking behind closed doors that the Dorna was doing the championship great damage to the sport.