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At a packed press conference at the Sport Authority of Thailand today, the country’s media were briefed on the forthcoming Motocross Grand Prix of Thailand (Thai MXGP), which will take place at the Pinthong, Sri Racha on 7-9th March.
While the world of motorsport anticipates that Formula One and MotoGP will eventually appear in Thailand over the coming years, MXGP is making its second appearance in the Kingdom and is expected to become a long-term fixture in the series.
Philippe Rahmani, Director of Overseas Relations for Youthstream, MXGP’s global promoter, explained that in 2013, 83 million viewers worldwide watched the Thai Motocross Grand Prix and the event enjoyed a total of 483 hours of TV coverage, more than any other MXGP round except for the French race. With new TV deals signed with CBS and Eurosport in 2014, the global TV audience could reach 100 million for this year. The coverage will also all be in HD for the first time, including drones and on-board cameras. The event will be screened by True Visions in Thailand.
He also noted that the Thai MXGP enjoys the largest social media following of all the events, with almost 45,000 followers on its Facebook page.
Mr Rahmani went on to reveal that the Thai MXGP has almost been cancelled. “There was big pressure to cancel a few weeks ago because of the country’s political turmoil,” he stated. “It has been only the drive and determination of the Khun Savitri, Khun Thongchai and Khun Kraitos Wongsawan that has made it happen and given Thailand such a spectacular and positive showcase.
“We must also thank the sponsors, such as PTT, AP Honda, McDonald’s and Vee Rubber, for their strength and continuing support during a difficult time. Meanwhile, the Race of Champions, already postponed, is expected not to go ahead and the Thailand Open Golf Championship has been cancelled, so we must thank and pay tribute to everybody involved.”
Over the last 40 years Thailand has built up a strong national championship, which enjoys thousands of spectators at each event, which features racing for youngsters as young as seven, amateurs and professionals in the 250cc MX2 and 450cc MX1 professional categories. As a result of this continuous development, three of Thailand’s elite riders, ‘Turbo’ Arnon Theplib (AP Honda) , ‘Chaiyan’ Rhompong (Yamaha) and Penjan Thannarat (Kawasaki) will enter the 2014 Thai MXGP. A fourth, ‘Game’ Trakarn Thangthong (Kunka Dirtshop KTM), is unable to participate due to a back injury.
Tickets are 1,500 baht for the full three days and available from Thai Ticket Major.
Text: Barry Russell, email@example.com
21 Feb. 2014