MotoGPThis weekend sees another festival of sport at the dramatic motor racing circuit at Jerez. It’s the perfect excuse to get in the car or on the bike and travel to one of the most iconic areas of southern Spain. Starting with the racing, this features the MotoGP motorbike World Championship Spanish Grand Prix. It covers the whole weekend with practice taking place on Friday, 3rd May with qualifying on Saturday, cumulating with the Grand Prix on Sunday. The supporting racing sees the Moto2 and Moto3 categories playing out their championships.

Spanish riders have been dominating the sport for the past years with three of them currently residing in the first three positions in the points table. Jorge Lorenzo, Marc Marquez and Dani Pedrosa have shown their class already. However, that Italian veteran and mastermind Valentino Rossi is just behind them. Now he is back with the Yamaha factory racing stable, he is also back on his favourite racing machine. His team mate this season is Jorge Lorenzo, lying first in the rankings with his two fellow countryman racing on the Repsol Honda team bikes just behind.

The whole weekend promises to be its usual exciting self and upwards of 150,000 spectators are expected to attend. The Spanish are fanatical about their motor cycle racing and their home-grown stars. This feeling is reflected by the people of Jerez where tens of thousands of its inhabitants spill out of the city and make their way for one of the most vibrant occasions of the year.

Set in a shallow valley, the area is consistently blessed with good weather beaming on beautiful scenery. The circuit itself was constructed in 1986 before being modified in 2002. It’s almost 4500 metres in length with a total of thirteen bends incorporated in its design, the last of which has been named after Lorenzo. It has grandstands that are capable of holding up to a quarter of a million spectators and provide perfect viewing facilities, that has made the circuit one of the favourites in the Grand Prix racing calendar. Not only for motorbikes but for a myriad of car racing championships including Formula One. The whole circuit was resurfaced in 2005 and is used by many racing teams for testing their machinery throughout the year. It also contains some of the most modern media and corporate facilities for hands-on reporting and entertaining.

Apart from its Grand Prix circuit, Jerez has much more to offer. It is one of the most beautiful cities to be found in Spain. Located just 20 km from the Costa at Sanlúcar, Jerez is acclaimed worldwide for its sherry and brandy bodegas. The English were mainly responsible for discovering sherry and its English name is derived from the Arabic language name of Jerez. This fortified wine is available in a multitude of different flavours and sweetness with its most driest called manzanilla to be found at Sanlúcar. However, the main sherry bodegas are still situated in the centre of the city where they continue to actively produce and cement their reputation.

Jerez is also famous for its beautiful horses, normally white stallions that are trained and ridden by some of the most talented riders. Their exhibitions and shows can be found locally and are well worth the visit. Flamenco is also synonymous with the city and the top dancers in southern Spain can be found in bars and clubs down the twists and turns of the calles in the old town, Casco Antiguo. Other Flamenco dancing is centred around the Barrio de Santiago which faces the cathedral. Beautiful palm lined squares together with magnificent rows of Jacaranda trees located on the wide thoroughfares found in the rest of the city give it a sophisticated aristocratic air. With or without the racing, Jerez is a beautiful destination to discover.

 

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