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Official Review by Boštjan Černenšek, Stadium Journey Regional Correspondent
The Brno Circuit, also known as the Masaryk Circuit, is located near the second largest city in the Czech Republic, Brno. Opened in 1930, when the track was nearly 30 km (18 miles) long, the circuit received its current look in 1987, when it underwent a complete overhaul. Now 5.403 km (3.357 mi) with nine right and six left turns, it is still one of the longest tracks in the MotoGP calendar.
By far, the largest event on the circuit is the annual MotoGP race that draws up 140,000 fans that create a fantastic atmosphere. The track has also hosted several other major events, including the Superbike World Champions, the WTCC, the DTM, and others.
(Note: exchange rates are as of the date of this posting, October 2013.)
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On an event like this, you really can't ask for much more than the Brno Circuit offers you. Hamburgers, sausages, hot dogs, french fries...you name it. If it's fast food, it's available to you. And the prices are very reasonable, cheap even, when you compare them to other racing circuits. Prices for food run from about 2€ (50 Kč, $2.75) to 3.5€ (90 Kč, $4.75), but it's advisable that you make all your purchases in the Czech national currency, the Czech koruna, because the exchange rate isn't the best on location. But even if you don't, you won't lose much more than 20€ ($27.50) or so over the weekend, even if you buy plenty to eat and drink.
Speaking of drinks, the Czech Republic has the highest beer consumption per capita in the world, so it's not surprising that you will get a large beer for only 2€ (50 Kč, $2.75). The stands also offer a large selection of beverages, including soft drinks, wine, and alcohol-free beer, but because of the historic value beer has in the country, none of those drinks offers the same "bang for buck" beer does.
Speaking from my experience from MotoGP races, this is one of those tracks everybody should visit at least once. Fans from all over Europe are seen at the race circuit that consistently tops 100,000 on race day and reached a staggering 142,000 this 2013 year. The majority of fans come from the hosting nation, obviously, but large groups come from Germany, Poland, Slovenia, and Slovakia. There are also plenty of fans from far away lands like Russia, Spain, and France.
The mix of nationalities offers a special blend of fans that offer an incredible atmosphere. Every racer is cheered for loudly. Of course, the leading racers will get more of the attention, but every one of the hard working racers will be rewarded for their contribution to the race, no matter how far from the leaders they finish. An especially warm applause is also always reserved for the Czech racers - and not just from the home fans.
As are a large majority of racing tracks, the Brno Circuit is also located outside of a major metropolitan area. But because of the highway that is a two-minute drive from the track, you can travel quickly to any historic site you want to visit. The Czech Republic is known for its rich history, and the town of Brno is just 10 minutes away. It is definitely a must-see, as it offers hundreds of historic sites, including castles, palaces, cathedrals, parks, etc.
There are several smaller towns that have hidden gems, but to find them you need to have a guide book and plenty of time - something you won't really have if you're a motor racing buff. Worthy of a visit are also numerous lakes that can be found in the circuit's vicinity.
Fans that come to races at Brno Circuit come from different countries and cultures. But despite the obvious cultural differences, there are just about no incidents to talk about that could flare up in these situations, especially coupled with large quantities of beer. In fact, it's remarkable how so different fans come together and cheer for the same riders/drivers that compete in races.
The large crowd makes the already great atmosphere from the roaring engines even better. Often, special sections form in stands that are dedicated to a certain racer. After training sessions and the race, the rider always waves to "his" section or shows his appreciation in some other way. This ends up being a special moment for the fans who cheer the racers on through rain and sun.
With the track located some kilometers from the center of the nearest large town, Brno, it is expected that fans arrive either by car or motorbike. There are more then enough parking spaces around the circuit to accommodate all the fans. Buses take you from those spaces to the track (and back) for a small fee, but there is nothing more relaxing than a 15-20 minute walk back from the track to your car.
However, if driving to the location isn't your cup of tea and you're staying in Brno, bus rides from the bus station to the race circuit are available and offer an interesting experience. And, as expected, there is always the option that you take a taxi.
Ticket prices vary depending on the race you're attending, but races at the Brno Circuit have always been some of the cheapest on the calendar. For example, a three day weekend (Friday through Sunday) for all three MotoGP classes with your choice of seating on one of seven available stands costs just under 50€ (1290 Kč, $68.35) - in presale. Obviously, the prices are higher for tickets when the event is just days away.
Even if you buy your ticket on race day, when the price is the highest, you will definitely get your money's worth. On any given day, there are at least two practices in each class - there are three classes - or a warm up session and a race, meaning that every day, you get to watch several hours of racing.
The amazing atmosphere and cheap drinks and food add to the already fantastic Brno experience, but even without that, this is a must see location for a racing fan. As I said near the beginning, every MotoGP fan has to visit Brno at least once to be considered a real fan.
Other than the racing experience and the historic value of the neighborhood, the Brno Circuit doesn't offer much more. But do you really need anything more? I say no.
But that said, there is something that the organizers offer to you, and that is a pit walk. The right to walk through the pit lane and see the garages does not come cheap, but how often does one get a chance to see all that horsepower from up close?
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