AS QATAR Motor and Motorcycle Federation’s (QMMF) five-year contract with Youthstream, which holds the commercial rights of Motocross World Championship came to a close, these seems to be a cloud of uncertainty about the event’s future in the country.
It was in October, 2012, that the QMMF signed the deal with Youthstream to host a round of Motocross from the following season.
In less than three months, the $1.6m Motocross Track was built and it hosted the opening round in March, 2013.
For five years, it stayed on the FIM calendar as the only night race of the season.
The 2017 season opener, which was held in Losail last week, saw double wins from Antonio Cairoli and Pauls Jonass. However, there was a eerie feeling that it could well have been the last race in Qatar though officials did not confirm it.
“We would like to continue our tie-up with the QMMF and Losail Circuit Sports Club (LCSC). I want to thank them for the great organisation. Everything was perfect and clean here — the track was prepared well, and the lights were fabulous. The Middle East is an important market for us and we would like to see Qatar Motocross GP continuing,” said Youthstream President Giuseppe Luongo.
The QMMF and LCSC have invested a lot on the project and recently upgraded the track, especially after the rains.
QMMF President Abdulrahman Al Mannai, who directly avoided a query on the event’s future in Qatar, said a decision would be made soon.
“We’ll do en evaluation of the Motocross races held here over the last five years, then hold discussions with the organisers before taking a call. The MXGP is always exciting. It’s always a great show. We had Tim (Gajser) and Jeffrey (Herlings) winning here last year in MXGP and MX2, and they went on to win the championship,” said Al Mannai.
His views were shared by LCSC General Manager Khalid Al Remaihi.
“We did some work on the track this year and it was received well by the riders. It’s always exciting to have the MXGP opening round here,” said Al Remaihi.