Motocross fans hold a parade against the disappearance of circuits: “We have world champions in this sport and that is now in danger of being lost” | Lommel

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Motocross fans from mainly Limburg and the Kempen gathered on Monday at the Municipal Motorcross Center in Lommel for a protest ride. The participants want to make a point against the disappearance of motocross tracks in Flanders. In 1990 there were still 103 permanent sites. “Today there are still two,” says Frank Janssen of the action group ‘Save all motocross races’.

In 1990, Flanders still had 103 permanent motocross sites. However, since the introduction of the VLAREM legislation, that number has steadily decreased. Today there are only a handful left in Flanders. “Things are going downhill with motocross races,” is what Frank Janssen of the action group ‘Save all motocross races’ says. “After the cancellation of the permit for Hondapark in Olmen, MC Lille (near Turnhout) has also lost its permit. This led to the founding of the Facebook group ‘Save all motocross circuits’. Barely 4 days after the start of that group we already had 2,000 followers. There are now two more motocross training circuits in Flanders: Genk and Lommel. However, Lommel is also under fire due to neighborhood protests.”

Laura Versmissen, Frank Janssen and Grietje Van Gorp are some of the initiators behind ‘Save all motocross circuits’ © Mine Dalemans

Peaceful tour

Frank Janssen is no stranger to the motocross environment. After all, he has been an announcer during motocross competitions for over 27 years and therefore has a great passion for the sport. “We expect a lot of people here this morning to take a peaceful tour together and put motorsport in the spotlight,” Frank continues. “The fact is that motocross is unfairly struggling with an image problem. Today there are only four permanent practice circuits open in Belgium, while twenty years ago there was a motorcycle track in almost every city or village.”

Move to France and the Netherlands

“The Belgian youth and the Belgian amateurs in motocross should of course be able to do weekly training before they ride their races at the weekend,” says Frank. “That is becoming increasingly difficult. Today only Genk and Lommel remain. For people who come from East and West Flanders, these are serious trips to make. These people often move to circuits in France. People from the Kempen often move to the Netherlands. And that obviously does not benefit motorsport in Belgium. We are confident because we also have many big names from motocross behind us, such as Joël Smets and Stefan Everts.”

The motorcycle riders left the Lommel Municipal Motorcross site on Monday morning for their protest ride. © Mine Dalemans

Attention to motor sports

“It is a problem that we absolutely have to tackle,” says Frank. “We want more attention for motocross and its image. And we also want the two motocross circuits (Olmen and Lille) to open again. Today we are therefore organizing a peaceful tour through the Kempen, starting here at the motocross circuit in Lommel. There are also people from other sports such as rally drivers who will join the tour today. These in turn also have problems for the rally circuits in Maasmechelen and Arendonk, to name a few. There, too, it often revolves around permit issues and noise nuisance, which is then the subject of neighborhood protests.”

World Champions

“We really don’t like the fact that the Belgian motocross sport, after having produced so many world champions, is gradually in danger of being lost due to institutional neglect and intolerance,” said Frank Janssens. “So today we are holding a kind of white march to express our dissatisfaction in a peaceful way. It will be a ride of about a hundred kilometers. ”

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Tags: Motocross fans hold parade disappearance circuits world champions sport danger lost Lommel

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