MXGP of Sweden


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We’re always up for an opportunity to take in a world-class sporting event, even if it’s a sport that is new to us. So when we heard that a FIM Motocross World Championship contest was being held about twenty miles from Trollhattan in Uddevalla, Sweden, we just had to attend. Last year’s racing drew 30,000 people, so it’s a major event.

We’re really glad we attended—it was our first motocross and we had a fabulous time watching the racing, touring through the paddock area and talking to some of the teams. Can those bikes ever fly!

Below are trip highlights from August 25th, 2019 at Uddevalla, Sweden. Click any image for a larger view, or click the position to view the location on a map. And a live map of our current route and most recent log entries always is available at mvdirona.com/maps.

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Fog
Spitfire starting his morning inspection of the boat and marina area as daylight approaches in the fog. We have a big day planned where we will be attending the Motocross GP of Sweden in Uddevalla 20 miles (30km) away.
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Railway Bridge
We’re on our way to the Uddevalla Motocross GP motorcycle race but we decided to stop at the railroad bridge and watch a group of sailboats pass through. It looks like we’re going to have a great day at the racetrack where the fog has lifted and bright sun now dominates. The day already is fairly warm.
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Bus to Uddevalla
We’re underway from the Trollhatten Bus and Railstation to Uddevalla by express bus. We’ll only stop once on our way to Uddevalla. From Uddevalla we’ll have to find a bus or taxi to get to the racetrack but, since 30,000 others are making the same trip, we’re sure to find a way.
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Parking
It took a while to get a taxi in Uddevalla but, after about 25 min, we were underway. Here we’re close to a mile from the track and the highway is already completely lined with parked cars. It’s surprising to see every nook where a car could possibly be parked taken this far from the racetrack. We’re expecting the combination of great weather and a world class racing event is going to draw a record crowd.
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Grooming
The line up for admission wasn’t that bad and here we are just getting our first view of the Uddevalla Motocross GP race track. Heavy equipment is working throughout the track preparing it for the afternoon of racing. Here they are grooming the up-side of a hill that will later be launching motorocycle riders 20+ feet into the air.
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Gebben Racing
Over the years having attended many forms of racing from dirt track Sprint Cars through to Formula 1, we’ve learned that it’s really useful to have access to the Paddock where the race vehicles are worked upon. Since there won’t be racing on the track for another hour and half, we went straight to the paddock where we will see and learn more about the motorocycles beeing raced, meet some crew members, and get a more detailed perspective on what to expect. Here the Gebben Racing Kawasaki’s are ready to go racing.
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Mmm … Tools
Milwaukee, of our favorite power tool suppliers, was out in force and demonstrating their vast array of portable, battery-powered tools.
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Air Show
Motocross GP racers spend such a large percentage of their time flying off jumps that an MXGP event is often appropriately referred to as an “airshow.” And what better way to kick off the flying action than to have a Swedish fighter aircraft performing low level maneuvers over the racetrack. The performance lasted for nearly 20 min and at times the plane was remarkably close overhead.
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Flying
The action has begun and, if you have never been to a Motocross GP event in the past then you would be, like us, amazed at the heights the speeding bikes are launched to. This is the last jump prior to the leap at the finish line we’re thrilled at how close we are to the action, the heights the bikes are leaping to, and how near the bikes are to each other in the air.
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Fans
Here at the edge of the paddock, the racers pass through a tunnel under the track to get to the starting line. Fans line up to cheer on their favorite drivers as they head toward the track and many of the drivers do quick hand shakes on the way past.
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Finish Line
Here you can see two racers crossing the finish line only a foot or so apart in the air. The bikes run remarkably closely, touching frequently in the corners and sometimes even in the air.
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BMK Uddevalla
A panarama of BMK Uddevalla racetrack (click to enlarge). It’s a tight 1 mile (1.6km) of hard pack clay with difficult corners and lots of hills. Most drivers will spend a good part of every lap in the air.
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Trophy
A Kawasaki race bike on display in the paddock area with the last trophy the team has won.
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Engine Replacement
The racing is hard and close and there are flying rocks and colliding bikes, so there is always some acction in the paddock where parts are being replaced. But, other than tires and clutches, mechanical failures are rare. Here one of the Yamaha factory teams are changing an engine and it’s the only change we saw that day.
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Clutch
Here you can see the race bikes are using multi-disk clutches. The clutches are easy to access and can be changed fairly quickly.
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Audience
Racing has been underway for a couple of hours now and it’s been so exciting, that between watching the competition on the track and watching the service work in the paddock, we hadn’t looked up at the crowd. Pre-race estimates were that the race day crowd would top 30,000 and it looks like the good weather has brought in a group at least that large.
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Side-By-Side
Two racers competing for position. They left the ground side-by-side 20 ft back on the track and you can see where they will be landing still side by side into a hard right hand corner and up to another large jump.
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High
Here we’re remarkably close to the track beside a jump about midway between the start of the track. With a track marshal just barely visible in the lower part of the frame, this position really gives a perspective on how high the bikes are flying. As the bikes climb, you can hear the racers back off the throttle since, in the air, there is no upside to having the power down as the engine will just shoot to max RPM without resistance. Most of the drivers back off in the air, rev once as the ground approaches, and then go back to max throttle just before they land.
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Start
The starts are exciting. Each bike is mounted onto a rigid launch platform with a metal bar across the front wheel. The metal bar drops down all at once for the start. Prior to the start, each bike has its suspension pushed down and locked off in the fully compressed position. The suspension travel is long on these bikes since they need to be able to safely land from 10 to 20 ft in the air. The suspension is locked in the down position for the start to get maximum acceleration out of the launch platform. This is referred to as a hole shot and the suspension lock will release at the first major bump and return to the full travel needed for racing. If you look closely you’ll see the driver in the blue bike at the center of the frame has his elbow extended and is leaning to block the driver to his right. In this case, the driver in the blue bike prevailed and entered the first corner in front. The run to the first corner is explosively fast and very aggressive with lots of jostling and contact at speed.
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Triple-Parked
As we left the track, we found that the the ditches around the road were full of parked cars. As those areas filled up the shoulders on both sides filled as well. What’s amazing is some drivers got desperate and parked their cars on the highway beside the cars on the shoulder leaving only a single lane for the highway traffic. The highway traffic has been slowing and passing these numerous single lane segments carefully but, after the race, the traffic levels go up and these single lane sections are just about completely stopping traffic. Leaving the track is going to take a while.
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Gridlock
It had to happen. There were numerous cars actually parked on the highway. As long as traffic was light, cars could make it past these single lane segments a bit more slowly, but the highway was still flowing. As the traffic increased after the race, we eventually achieved gridlock where one single lane segment has cars flowing in one direct and the next single lane segment had card flowing in the opposite direction. Neither line of cars can move since each is blocked by a single lane segment in the opposing direction. This was made more difficult to clear up with several large buses and trucks in the blocked group.

After about 20 minutes of no progress the driver of this blue Scania truck in the center decided he could break the gridlock by backing his truck in and out of gaps and single lane sections. Somehow he managed to back his truck more than a 1/2 kilometer, weaving through tiny gaps and managing to avoid the crowds of pedestrians heading to their cars. This got our bus back underway.

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Pizza Napoli
Back in Trollhatten after an amazing day at the race track. The bus ride back was a long one since it was a non-express bus that stopped more frequently and we were stationary for more than 20 min in the masses of traffic leaving the track, made worse by some attendees deciding to use the highway traffic lanes for parking. We decided to go straight from the bus stop to Pizza Napoli to enjoy an excellent pizza dinner before heading home to Dirona.
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Evening
The light was beautiful as we returned back to Dirona after a big day of motorcycle racing. You can see the boating season is drawing to a close and we’re almost alone in the normally busy Spikon Gasthamn in downtown Trollhatten.
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Trollhattan
As dusk settles over Trollhatten, we’re outside enjoying the still wonderfully warm evening and projected images that are visible on the wall on the other side of the Gota Alv river. Trollhattan really is a beautiful town with great civic pride.
Show locations on map Click the travel log icon on the left to see these locations on a map, with the complete log of our cruise.

On the map page, clicking on a camera or text icon will display a picture and/or log entry for that location, and clicking on the smaller icons along the route will display latitude, longitude and other navigation data for that location. And a live map of our current route and most recent log entries always is available at mvdirona.com/maps.

 
 


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2 comments on “MXGP of Sweden
  1. John S. says:

    You got some terrific photos of the motorcycles in mid-air! Given the amount of jostling and aggressive riding, I ‘m surprised there weren’t a number of crashes when the motorcycles landed.

    My problem watching car racing or motorcycle racing is that, after a while, I lose track of who’s in what position.

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