Turkey is fast becoming an international sporting venue with it's very location a bridge between the European and Asian cultures. This year they have already staged the Champions League Football final in a new stadium on the outskirts of Istanbul. In August they hosted the first ever Turkish Formula One Grand Prix at the brand new Otodrom circuit which situated on the Asian side of the Bosphorus, 60 kilometres south east of the centre of Istanbul.
They spent over 80 million euros to complete the facility just in time for the Formula One debut. The 5.378 kms circuit was designed by Herman Tilke who has been responsible for the design of the new circuits of Sepang in Malaysia and Shanghai in China.
The first thing to strike you watching the Formula One race on the television was just how undulating the circuit was, making a welcome change from some of the flat featureless circuits that are in vogue at the moment The track runs in anti-clockwise direction and features six rights and seven left turns. As always it's nice and wide and should provide plenty of overtaking opportunities to excite the new fans of the sport.
Nobody has tested at the circuit so it really will be a trip into the unknown for the riders and engineers, while the two major MotoGP tyre manufacturers Michelin and Bridgestone may turn to their F1 colleagues for any tips.
Once again looking at television and the lay out of the circuit , the fast right hander turn 11, would seem to be the place top watch while the very sharp turn one at the end of the start and finish straight could certainly cause some fun and games.
The Formula One race ran smoothly with the only complaints about traffic jams in and out of the circuit and a good few team personnel going down with tummy bugs after sampling the local cuisine.
Turkey is a country located on two continents, Europe and Asia. Just three per cent is in Europe with 97 per cent in Asia. The population is approaching 70 million with Istanbul easily it's largest city with over ten million inhabitants. The Capital city of Ankara has a population of four million. Ninety-nine per cent of the population are Muslims.
Football in the main sport and Turkish fans are known for their passionate support. Turkish lira is the official currency of a country that hopes one day to be switching to the euros and which is steeped in history and tradition.
Contrary to popular belief the City of Troy was situated on the Dardanelles in the West of Turkey and was the scene of one of the greatest con tricks of all time. The Greeks and the Turks had been fighting for ten years over a beautiful women by the name of Helen of Sparta. One night the Greek troops withdrew from the boundaries of the City leaving behind a massive wooden horse.
The Turks inside the city thought the war was over and duly celebrated, as one does, by drinking themselves into a stupor. On discovering the wooden horse outside the walls, they wheeled in their trophy of war to the centre of the city before sleeping off their hangovers. While they slept the Greek soldiers who were hidden in the horse, jumped out and slaughtered the lot of them.
Hiding in the back of transit van to get free entry to Snetterton or Albecete is one thing but hiding in a wooden horse to get free entry into the Otodrom is another.
So another new adventure for MotoGP into a country that is hoping to bridge that Europe/Asia divide by finally gaining full membership into the European Union. The arrival of yet another international sporting event to their shores will surely help their cause.
It promises to be yet another interesting weekend but keep a look out for that dodgy food and wooden horses outside the main gate.