This year we had 3 weeks for holidays. Because of the circumstances we were not able to organise anything in advance but we had an idea: to go to Czech Republic on 9-10 of August to see Horiçe Road Race, and maybe going on with Brno GP the following week-end, on my motorbike. This was the plan.
Finally, one week before, we were able to confirm what we would do and we booked a full week (Wednesday to Wednesday) in a hotel 15km from Horiçe. So that we had some time to know the place, the circuit, the practice and races schedule (not updated on the website in English and no clue of Czech…) and so before it started (Saturday and Sunday).
We started the journey on 5th of August, finally with the 2 motorbikes. As we almost don’t use them during the year, at least they can breathe one week per year…
The first day, through national roads, consisted of 400km of straight line, then some twisties, and then we entered in Germany. First night in Heidelberg, just for taking a break and have some rest. Nothing to declare apart that I realised that I couldn’t remember a word of German I had studied a long time ago, not even to say “I don’t speak German”…
In the morning we went on, this time by the motorway with 2 advantages: it is toll free and in some parts there is no speed limit. I don’t really like to speed, but it is really, really pleasant to ride without being all the time looking at the speedometer to make sure you don’t get caught by a radar (in France it is just awful). There were 3 lanes, and everybody respecting the speed of the other vehicles in their lanes. The left lane the quicker, with some vehicles going very fast, but if you happened to be passing a slower vehicle in this lane, the fast vehicle would just slow down and wait for you to finish overtaking. Respect. Nice. Very pleasant to ride this way.
I though put the SV to 170km/h… never put it that much before (maybe my husband did, but he didn’t tell me lol) with the topbox and sideboxes.
Finally, at our pace, we arrived to Czech Republic border where we stopped to buy the toll sticker for motorways. The good news was that the motorbikes don’t have to pay it. Free ride on all the country motorways 🙂 .
So we followed to Prague and then to Hradec Králové and then to the North to our hotel at about 15km from Horiçe. And about 60km from Poland. The GPS took us through the quickest way, but not the best roads! Though the important was to get there, without the GPS we would still be turning around…
The hotel was up a hill with a forest, with very nice views from the terrace, the best for the evening beer (good and very cheap) in the sunset.
The first days we had some rest and some small ride outs around with the bikes, and we went to see the circuit. The circuit is so great, with ups and downs, part of it in the village, another one in the middle of the forest, it’s addictive, even being slow! We first had one lap to check the places from where taking nice pictures, but then I forgot why we were turning around and it took a few laps before I remembered… 😉
On Friday, while walking around the village, we ended up talking to a man, who was called Georges, was English living in Germany, was 69 and had come with his Triumph to see the races. He had no place to stay and the tourist office had recommended the hotel where we stayed. As we had nothing else to do, we told him that we could go with him to the hotel as he had no GPS. We met him later on the terrace after his dinner and before ours and we were chatting until late.
Saturday was practice day. The races were organised by the village motorclub, and the SBK and SSP races were part of the IRRC, International Road Races Championship, organised and ran mainly by Dutch, Belgian and German (www.irrc.eu ) with 6 circuits on the continent. Most circuits are much like circuits (although on roads), wider than Irish road races circuits, except Horiçe circuit.
But there were more races, Classics (175, 250, 350, 500, 750 cm3) and side-cars.
Roads were closing at 8.00am, so we had to arrive early. We were a little exaggerated with the “early” thing as we arrived almost before the marshals where we had decided to settle for a start.
The good thing about this circuit is that you can move all around it from inside. And with many places to eat and drink all around.
Where we were in the morning, in “Na Dachovech” was a very good spot to take pictures, which was what we wanted (it’s better to take pictures during practice and then follow the races… because it’s difficult, for us at least, to do both at once, even more when you don’t know the racers and you can’t understand a word of the comments…).
Sammy De Caluwe
Karel Brantner (?)
Jochem Van den Hoek
Radomir & Jiri SIMEK
Jan Polivka & Zdenek Sedlacek
Richard BILY & Jiry NESPESNY
At lunch time we moved to the paddock to buy something to drink and find another place for the next practice sessions. After the picnic we explored the different places for next day, some better to watch the races but worst for taking pictures.
The afternoon finalised with the first Classic 175-250cm3 race. The poor lads got pouring rain when it had been sunny all day (typical), with those bad conditions for racing when some parts are very wet and others are dry.
After the race we went back to the paddock to buy the entry fee for next day (about 10€), which can be bought in several circuit points or that some volunteers going around the circuit sell you before and during the races. The access to the paddock was also paying (it seems that they had problems with stealing some years ago).
Then we went for dinner and back to the hotel soon, as the next day we had to wake up early (not so much as the first day as we knew where to go).
We arrived to the circuit at about 7.30am, and went walking until the bend we had chosen, outside of “Dachovské Esico”. A good viewpoint, at the end of a straight line with 2 followed bends.
We watched from there, in the shade, the first 3 races Supersport, Classics 350 and Superbike.
After each race, the first 3 got a round around the circuit in a pickup car, so that everybody could celebrate with them, not only people with access to the paddock. We thought it was a brilliant idea.
After the 3rd race and coinciding with lunch break, we had to move to another place as we had the sun in front and it was starting to get too warm. We moved to the internal part of the circuit (in the forest) and looked for a place to eat and drink something. There was no fresh coke (the only thing we could ask in Czech lol), and they gave us a kind of local raspberry soda which was quite good and refreshing.
We went back to the external part of the circuit after “Stasovo Esicko”, in the straight line, where we watched the sidecar race. They were quite varied, oldest from 1963 and most recent from… 1978… The race itself was not too spectacular as the levels were too different, but it was really amazing to watch the passengers’ postures.
After the race we went to another point recommended by Georges, in the external part of the “Lukavecky Vracak” corner to watch the last 3 races: Supersport, Classics 500/750cm3 and Superbike.
It seemed to be a very popular place among the local people, with an amazing view to several corners. We had said not to take anymore pictures but we could not resist 😉 .
An accident during the Classics race delayed the last race, and many people left, so that we could have a good viewpoint for the last race.
The circuit is amazing, we were able to take a lot of “good” pics without a professional camera, and to enjoy the races. The racers were very close to the public with many Czech pilots, and the Czech are great fans of motorbike racing, you could feel it in the atmosphere and there were many families with children.
The only frustration we had was not being able to communicate with people, most didn’t speak English, and us, after one week we knew how to say “Dobry dén”, “Prossim”, “pivo”, “voda” (Good morning, Thanks, Beer, Water) and not much more… which reduces a lot the possibilities to get to know the people.
The same happened in the petrol stations, where there is always someone coming to you and asking where you come from, where you are going, and so… well, there we couldn’t understand what we were asked nor answer…
Well, the day was over, we went to the village for dinner and back to the hotel, with a small stop for taking pictures of the full moon.
The next day it was raining all day, so we took the day to plan where we could go 2 days later when we had no more hotel booked, as we had prepared nothing, but did not really want to go back home… we spent the day with the map (Czech Republic, Austria, Germany, Benelux) and the mobile phone, looking where there were some nice roads with loads of corners and where to stay.
The next day we went for a small trip to some mountains at the border with Poland.
At last we did not find so many nice landscapes, we went into Poland were we got stuck behind cars going at 50km/h, and ended up (mostly Juan in those cases) completely wrecked after 9 hours on the motorbikes without really enjoying it.
The next day we would leave Czech Republic… But not to go home yet…
To be continued…