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On Saturday, the curtain goes up on the second RFME Copa de España de Flat Track at the Circuit Valencia, alongside another American discipline as the Cup shares top billing with the Valencia NASCAR Fest. The quarter mile at the track is the first host of the season after the inaugural Cup in 2016 – with the crowns in each category ready to be defended for the first time ever.
Suzuki Grau rider Ferran Cardus is the man fighting to keep his throne in the FlatTrack Pro category, and will be wearing the number 1 plate as engines fire up this year – following the traditions of the sport to the T.
Cardus heads home to Spain after taking part in #OperationDaytona and racing stateside against the best of the best – the perfect way to gear up for his title defence in Spain. However, one of his key rivals from last year in the Copa de España, vice champion Franc Serra, also headed over to the US of A - so the Honda ART rider is sure to be a big rival once again in 2017.
Third placed rider last season Nico Terol departs the Cup this year, but competition will remain fierce for the two pacesetters. Gerard Bailo (Suzuki Català) will be gearing up to join the fight for the throne, as well as special invitee Francesco Cecchini as the three-time flat track World Champion teams up with Honda ART.
The FlatTrack Pro category sees some more new faces join the ranks this season – as the Rookies category is combined with the Pros. So riders like Genís Gelada (Coward/Supermotard Kit), Marc Capdevila (KTM/Parcerisas) and Josep Gelada (Coward/Supermotard Kit) touch down in the Pro category in the 2017 RFME Copa de España de Flat Track.
The bad news sees a big absence from the grid as the first race looms, with Ferran Sastre (Kawasaki Noyes Camp) confirmed to miss a lot of the season following a knee injury – so the 2016 Rookies Champion will be forced to wait a little longer to debut in the top category.
Last time the Cup raced in Valencia, another member of the Noyes Camp - North American superstar Brad Baker – dominated proceedings to do the double. Home glory it wasn’t quite, but it was another incredible learning experience as Spanish flat track continues growing, the field gets deeper and Spanish competition to step into Baker’s shoes gets tougher.
Master: experience and spectacle
The Master category has also seen some changes since last season. The age lower age limit is now lowered from 35 to 30, opening the door to more riders looking to take on the big hitters in 2017.
Reigning Champion Guillermo Cano gears up in Suzuki Grau colours, and now shares the team with his biggest rival from 2016: Vicent Navarro. Lluís Massana (KTM/Parcerisas) will be back up to strength after falling out of title contention following an injury towards the end of last season, and is sure to join the fight or the crown this year as part of the trio who created some of the races of the season last year.
Also returning are riders such as Victor Lozano (Armi Energy Drink) and Martí Puigrodon, as some new faces join in the form of Lluís Perruca and Ignasi Sorribes (Suzuki Català).
Junior: new for 2017
The biggest novelty this year is the incorporation of the new Junior category, which spans the IMR Challenge and the Junior 85cc/150cc and Junior 65cc classes. This investment in the future has a clear goal: keep pushing forward the progress of authentic American Flat Track on Spanish soil.
This category will race at Rancho Canudas at the end of May, and in Teruel in September.
So SAVE THE DATE:
Actions begins at the Circuit Valencia on April 8th at 12:30, as part of Valencia NASCAR Fest – with tickets valid for all the weekend’s activities. Tickets are available online beforehand at a discounted rate, or at the box office on site.
All the action from Round 1 can also be enjoyed with Magazine Off Road, which the RFME will broadcast on Teledeporte during the week after the event.
About the Cup:
The RFME Copa de España de Flat Track is the first national Flat Track Championship on Spanish soil. The Cup is made up of four rounds – one a double event – throughout the country. For the first time, the essence of this American discipline arrives in Spain, allowing fans to enjoy the races on TT tracks – including right-handers – and short tracks, ovals of less than half a mile.
More information is available on Flattrack.org.