PRESENT - La Bañeza
La Bañeza is a municipality in Spain in the province of León, autonomous community of Castile and Leon, it has a population of about 12,000 inhabitants. The biggest event in the municipality are the motorcycle races which, in 2019, completed its 60th edition. The competition takes place on the city's layout and the circuit has a perimeter of 1,750 m. The organization is in charge of the Moto Club Bañezano under the aegis of the RFME. During the long existence of this event, it was played for the first time in 1952, it took place mostly without points for any championship. Still, between 1977 and 1985 the races scored for the Troféu Nacional Sénior.
1977, the first year of Troféu Nacional Sénior
It was in La Bañeza that Angel Nieto got his first victory riding a DERBI, later he said: “To be World Champion, you first have to race in La Bañeza”. Today the people of La Bañeza return the kindness with a huge mural.
In 2019, Osvaldo Garcia was one of the Portuguese representatives, he participated in the Super-Series with a DUCATI Pantah 350cc, here, at the end of the race, thanking the applause as he passes by the Angel Nieto mural (photo: Conchi Ares Rodriguez)
In 2019, the event had 4 races, 3 of classics and one of contemporary motorcycles. The open classes had the following main characteristics:
Clasicas 2T – up to 250cc, 2T, single cylinder, produced between 1945 and 1972, Japanese motorcycles are not allowed, riders aged 35 and over, this class is almost exclusively filled with motorcycles of Spanish origin, BULTACO, MONTESA and OSSA;
Clasicas 4T – up to 500cc, 4T, single cylinder, produced between 1945 and 1972, Japanese motorcycles are not allowed, riders aged 35 or over, this class is dominated by DUCATI, in great majority, against, scarce, NORTON or MATCHLESS;
Super-Series – up to 650cc, 4T, multicylinder, produced until 12-31-1984, only European motorcycles are allowed, the SANGLAS 400cc, although equipped with a YAMAHA engine, can participate, riders aged 35 or over, this class is dominated by the DUCATI Pantah, despite from the good replica of the MOTO GUZZI, the squad is a little different, including a BENELLI 500cc 4-cylinder;
Gran Premio – this is the only extra-Classic class, contemporary 125cc and Moto 3 competition bikes can participate, riders aged between 16 and 50;
As part of the program, there is an exhibition of classics in which the participating motorcycles perform twice, once on each day of the event, a few laps around the track, in 2019, we can watch the parade of a heterogeneous and quite interesting squad, a KRAUSER 80cc (ex-Doerflinger), a DERBI 50cc RAN (Replica Angel Nieto), a HONDA RS 250cc, a spectacular hybrid with a TZ 250cc frame, an RD 500 LC engine and a Rainey replica YZR 500 bodywork, among many other interesting ones gems of different ages.
(photos: Artur Meireles)
At the same time, there is an motor fair where you can appreciate some more relics in addition to sales tents dedicated to memorabilia, antique parts and other related items. Without having to enter an aseptic museum, in La Bañeza we go back in time, here we can smell the CASTROL R, see racing relics fulfilling their destiny: to compete. Far from the gigantic "hospitality" and the rigid rules of "dress code" currently imposed on the World Speed Championship and set as a goal by their substitutes, the informality of the Bañezano paddock is welcoming. Passion overcomes excess professionalism!
1968 and the mythical victory of Angel Nieto
In 2019, 60,000 people flocked to La Bañeza and enjoyed an atmosphere that is only possible at an event of this type. Many voices are raised against the urban competitions due to the inherent danger of the passive safety constraints inherent to a circuit of these characteristics, however, this organization proved to be up to the task and, in some way, the danger is reduced by the performances of the classics and by the fact that that the track is not too fast. For those who like it, the environment compensates for any defects and the poetry of this type of race is sufficient compensation. And, isn't that what made us love motorcycle racing?!...
José Carlos Figueiredo, another Portuguese athlete who participated in the Super-Series riding a MORINI 500cc
Complete report of 2019- 60th edition (video: MEDIAPLANET ES)