Vote for and revisit the best race of 2003
The 250cc series has come under some unfair criticism from various quarters in last few years but there was no doubting that 2003 served up one of the best Championship chases in recent memory.
Daijiro Kato had the 2001 crown in his pocket from the first GP and Marco Melandri was only marginally less dominant in 2002. The last ten months saw 250 rookie Manuel Poggiali assert his claim but having to fight off stiff competition from the ever-consistent Roby Rolfo, the Spanish duo of Fonsi Nieto and Toni Elias as well as the speed and spectacular style of Frenchman Randy De Puniet. The baton was passed around at virtually every GP and it was clear that a single mistake from any of the contenders would drop them out of the running as the races counted down as fifteen GPs from sixteen were won between the top five riders.
Here at motograndprix.com we have short-listed five races that we have put forward for you to vote and enjoy all over again. Over the next few weeks you can visit the survey section of the site and vote for the race that you think warrants another view and we'll show the highlights on New Year's Day. Alternatively if there are any ‘moments' that you feel we have missed then scribe your thoughts into a special thread on the 250cc forum.
The candidates for ‘Best race of 2003' are:
Skyy Vodka Grand Prix of Japan, Suzuka
Protagonists: Manuel Poggiali
Tricky conditions saw the top four riders separated by less than two seconds. The race was remarkable for the performance by eventual World Champion Manuel Poggiali who charged through to score victory in his first ever 250cc race despite qualifying down in 23rd position on the grid.
Gran Premio Marlboro de España, Jerez
Protagonists: Toni Elias, Randy de Puniet, Roby Rolfo, Manuel Poggiali
Toni Elias first win of the year came after a rousing performance in front of a packed home crowd. The Spanish youngster moved up from fourth place with a handful of laps remaining to head a four rider rabble split by just over half a second at the chequered flag. This was arguably the most exciting 250cc race for some years and all the more special in terms of what the win meant for the rider in question.
Grand Prix Polini de France, Le Mans
Protagonists: Elias, Poggiali, Porto
The excitement of Jerez was followed in France as Poggiali controversially crashed out with Sebastian Porto. The race saw a convincing performance by Toni Elias for his second win in a row while Randy de Puniet sent the fans home happy after a close race with Fonsi Nieto.
Cinzano Motorrad GP Deutschland Sachsenring
Protagonists: Rolfo, Nieto, De Puniet
After several seasons of trying Roby Rolfo finally buried his second step podium ‘curse' and gained his first career victory. The race was by no means an easy affair and barely three tenths of a second covered the Italian and his pursuers Fonsi Nieto and Randy de Puniet.
Cinzano Rio Grand Prix
Protagonists: Poggiali, Elias
On paper a 12 second win by Manuel Poggiali disguises how important his fourth victory of the season turned out to be. Toni Elias had been fighting with the Championship leader throughout the 22 laps and slipped off on the final circulation. The fall would deny the Spaniard the chance of a second consecutive winners trophy and all but scrub his title aspirations. Elias would go on to clinch the next two GPs setting a string of pole positions on-route. In many eyes this was the race in which Poggiali was able to place one hand on the crown.
Click here to vote in the Survey