At the end of 2017 we’ve asked for analysis of the European Championships to Martin de Graaff, FIM Europe 1st Deputy President and Chairman of the Sporting Council. Here are his reflections.
Looking back to the 2017 season we notice many highlights but also some less positive points – for example in many events organisers had to work hard on their tracks in bad weather conditions. On the other side, the crowded motorsport calendar was attractive for an increasing number of participants.
In this time of the year all Federations celebrate the successes of the Regional, National, European or World Champions with prize-giving ceremonies. After this the riders take decisions about the next step in their careers.
Riders and Federations are satisfied with the new digital platform to issue the licenses, which now is operating well after some minor starting problems.
During the last meetings of all Commissions in October and November the Management Council received a long list of proposals for the various motorsport disciplines. In the meeting in December everything was discussed and approved. The calendar with in total 220 events for European Champions or Cups shows the interest of Federations, promoters and organisers.
The successful pyramid models in several disciplines are the example for other disciplines, young riders must have the possibilities to plan their careers for the next steps up to the European or World Championships.
News for 2018 in random order
The Motoball Commission talked and worked for a long time about future items and good developments. Even a delegation from Russia attended the meeting in order to introduce the prestigious Europe Championship in Kovrov in August 2018. Also the Juniors will play for their official European Cup in the same week. The organiser will build a big grandstand for this occasion and for the future of Motoball, which is very popular in this country.
Besides this event, a new competition is planned – a Motoball league. This event is divided into two regions. East with Russia, Ukraine and Belarus and West, with France, Lithuania and Germany (the Netherlands are playing in the German competition). The best two regions will play qualifying rounds before May. In September the Semi-Finals and Finals will take place. The Juniors will contribute to the future, in France and perhaps in other competitions the development of electric bikes will go on. In the UK two teams have given a presentation in a Motorshow as promotion for this sport.
The Trial Commission evaluated 2017 and showed the statistics with the number of licenses in all categories. This shows the need to pay more attention to the young riders. In the 2018 calendar there will be four events in all categories.
The Commission debated a long term strategy, which will be presented when completed.
Two candidates from Belgium and Sweden will enter the Commission, members from different Federations are good for the development of the Vintage events. Chairman José Campos Costa cannot continue to chair this Commission for personal reasons, and his successor is Igor Boskovic from Croatia. The Commission is responsible for many events in all kinds of disciplines. Important is the way of showing and using classic motorbikes. The cooperation with FIVA is welcome. FIVA is a partner of the FIM and is important in the lobby for vintage bikes in several countries. The Vintage Commission is responsible for the regulations and organisation of sporting events with vintage motorcycles. In the world of Vintage bikes there is a lot of potential to extend to more activities, and the Commission members are in contact with their national Federations to increase the events.
During the meeting in Fiumicino the Commission chairman had a long and good meeting with representatives of the promoter (whose name is XIEM).
The rules for the S1 and Supermoto Lites Trophy have been renewed. The new starting procedure has been simplified and will take less time. For young riders there will be events on tracks with asphalt only.
The Commission presented the draft of the 2018 calendar, which will be definitive after the next agreements with the Federations and organisers.
Enduro and Rally
Some renovation in the class structure has been decided: the U20 class will turn into the U21 to harmonize with the FIM classes. The Commission proposed already in the Congress meeting to introduce an E (electric) class.
The European Superenduro Cup will be held together with some FIM rounds, and some events are already in the calendar. In the European Championship Enduro calendar we have 4 events on the calendar. For the Extreme Enduro the rules will remain the same, this is also the case for the Bajas.
The All Terrain rallies will take place in Greece and Romania. The number of Cross Country Cups will increase. FIM Europe has the intention to cooperate with existing events in the various countries.
In 2018 there will be 2 European Snowmobile Enduro events: Romania and Finland.
The Commission has discussed the procedure of the nominations for Wild Card riders in the Euro Championships Bureau (Commission Chairman, Vice Chairman, Race Director). The reason is the change in the qualifying system for the 2018 Speedway Finals. New is also the European U19 Speedway Team Cup.
The SEC finals were successful, except some events under bad weather conditions – this is also the case for Grass Track races.
The Drag Racing Commission this year needed more meeting time in order to develop new regulations and proposals.
The two events in Santa Pod and the race in Hockenheim were successful again. In the last Santa Pod event even after heavy rain the track crew did a brilliant job to make the races possible. The negotiations with the Scandinavian countries for expanding the competition seem to be positive.
In all events the job of the technical specialist of the Commission will be particularly delicate – the technical rules are very important in this high-speed discipline.
The development of the Junior Dragbikes is also important – young riders are the future of Drag Racing sport. Positive is the increase of the Super Street Bike. Every year we see more riders in this spectacular class.
In a special working group the Pyramid Model for Road Race has been discussed with specialists from Federations and organisations and Commission members. It is not an easy task to develop the route for young riders from a basic level up to the international championships and the European Championship to the World Championship classes. The conclusion is that more federations must be involved with their programs for a future structure. Another working group evaluated the Mini Road Race to take decisions for the several classes and the future championship. The Commission planned one event on the 2018 calendar.
The Moto2 and the new Talent Cup are successful in the CEV Repsol races, the regulations will be updated. The organiser of the Supermono ESA stopped with this class, but another promoter/organiser has interest to continue. A contract for 5 years has been signed with a promoter form Hungary for the Street Free Style Cup.
On the Hillclimb calendar there is is a sufficient number of races: 6 events in 4 counties. A number of articles in the regulations are changed. In the ICGP Cup events was the average number of starters 28, this class will be continued. In the Alpe Adria Motorcycle Union the 300 Supersport European Cup is increasing in the number of races and participants.
The Endurance Cup started in France, in 2018 more Endurance races will take place. This will possible be in conjunction with other international endurance races. The Stocksport 1000 and the Supersport 600 will go on in the WC Superbike races in 8 European events.
Motocross & Snowcross
The classes will be unchanged in 2018, again with a big number of events on the European Championship Calendar. A new class will be added in the program – the Yamaha 125 Cup. The number of events will be discussed with Yamaha Europe.
On the quad calendar there will be again 6 races. New for this class is the qualifying race on Saturday, following to a request of the riders. The Sidecar and Quads of Nations, after a successful event in Cingoli, in 2018 will be organised in Denmark. The European MX of Nations and Women MXoN will take place in Poland.
A contract for 3 years has been signed with the new promoter of the European Supercross. This promoter, Sportainment, organised already one successful event in Gdansk (P) in November. The European Snowcross will be organised in Finland; however, the date and the venue is still under negotiation. New is a European Watercross Cup, also in Finland. Finland has experience with Watercross on Snowmobiles.
The MXGP Academy organised in 8 MXGP’s the activity for young riders and their parents. After this season the team was busy with the train-the trainers program in Germany and Latvia. The training in the South of Spain is planned in this time of the year. The requests of Federations and the planning of events is almost ready. Next year the team will also travel to Russia for the training of young riders and trainers.
In general the FIM Europe Sporting Commissions are satisfied, motorsport on this level is increasing. This is all made possible by the Federations, their organisers, riders and all our promoters.