RACK racing comes in many forms – speedway, longtrack, grasstrack, ice racing and flat track. But Teterow’s iconic Bergringrennen event falls into none of those categories – it’s a sport within a sport.
T SPEEDWAY GRAND PRIX 2022 TRACKSIDE
Those who stayed on after the FIM Speedway GP of Germany on Saturday were rewarded with one of motorcycling’s most unique occasions on Sunday as the Bergring Arena’s bigger and more famous brother staged its 100th event.
TETEROW TRACKSIDE – BERGRING SPECIAL WORDS: Paul Burbidge PICTURES: Jarek Pabijan
Head up the grass banking behind bends one and two of the Bergring Arena and you are greeted with a glorious sight – the grass Bergring circuit, complete with motocross-style jumps, break-neck climbs and descents, left and right turns, more German beer and sausage than you can shake a stick at and even its own musical anthem.
The town of Teterow boasts 9,100 inhabitants according to Wikipedia. Their numbers swell by over 12,000 on Bergringrennen day as everyone from families with children to stag parties adorned with customised Bergring shirts cover the grass, seeking the best view of the action.
Speedway Star took a wrong turn on the way to the speedway track on Friday and ended up on the road leading up to the Bergring’s campsites, which were already filling up with revellers anticipating a great weekend.
So what is it all about? You can’t call the Bergringrennen a grasstrack event. Racing may take place on grass, but that’s where the similarities end. You can’t call it motocross either. The sight of longtrack bikes with heavily fortified suspension firing over blind jumps like cruise missiles puts pay to that.
Even FIM Track Racing Commission director Armando Castagna cannot define it as a sport, “it’s simply Bergring Teterow,” he said, and that is enough.
While the FIM German Speedway GP is a very international event, attracting fans from all over Europe, the Bergringrennen is a very German occasion. You won’t hear any English commentary. Fewer people than average speak anything other than German in this rural part of the country.
But racing is a pretty universal language. If you love nothing more than relaxing in glorious countryside, enjoying good-value beer and hot dogs and watching longtrack, motocross and quad bikes being tested to the limit, this is one to add to your motorcycling bucket list.
Speedway GP star Freddie Lindgren was spotted checking out the action along with his mechanics on Sunday. With the circuit’s fearsome reputation for high-speed crashes, it’s unlikely his Polish club would give their blessing to him taking to a track where you get more airborne than sideways.
There has been some crossover with speedway. Speedway GP commentator Kelvin Tatum is a former three-time winner of the Bergringrennen, triumphing in 1997, 1999 and 2004. He’s a legend in these parts, while his father Martin also topped the rostrum in 1961.
This year’s event was won by Germany’s Christian Hülshorst, but there was still a distinctly British flavour as Charley Powell and Paul Cooper took second and third places respectively.
With lengthy breaks between the heats, the action went on well into the evening, forcing Speedway Star to make a break for Berlin Airport with around only half of the scheduled races completed at 4 pm.
But it’s hard to find much to complain about. A few more attractions like fairground rides and different food stands would only enhance the event further. On a day when the sun was baking the track and the shirtless fans stood in the middle of it, dust was also a factor.
Less time between heats would also improve the action, although at 1,877m, it’s a much bigger track to manage, water and inspect than your average 300-metre speedway oval, and always there’s plenty of time to grab a beer.
Kids also had the chance to get their first taste of life in the saddle, with quad bikes available to ride around a mini-track in the middle of the Bergring
There’s a lot going for this rough and ready event – if you can find a spot in the shade next to a jump, you’re in for a great afternoon.
It is hoped that Teterow will secure a longer-term deal to stage Speedway GP racing so that it can become part of a mouth-watering double-header with
Bergringrennen every year.
If this is achieved, Teterow may have one of Europe’s biggest track-racing weekends on its hands. It may not be in a city centre and the name does not carry the same commercial weight beyond the sport as Speedway GP cities like Cardiff, Warsaw or Prague, but this event more than deserves its place.
The town now officially calls itself Bergringstadt Teterow – Bergring town Teterow. The event has come to define this sleepy corner of north-east Germany, which shakes to the unmistakable banger ‘No Limit’ by 2 Unlimited every time a race gets underway, closely followed by the roar of 500 or 650cc bikes or 750cc quads thundering over the hill.
If you’re a motorcycling connoisseur and you’re looking for a truly immersive racing weekend away, this truly is the trip for you. With their 100th event done and dusted, here’s to another century for the Bergring!
12 speedway star June 11, 2022
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