Exciting MotoGP news for the Algarve!
Above: The Autodromo circuit in the Algarve
The Algarve in Southern Portugal has been chosen to host the final World Championship MotoGP™ race of the season at the spectacular Autodromo Internacional do Algarve race circuit in Portimao from the 20th – 22nd November 2020. It will be the first MotoGP™ race in Portugal since 2012.
The FIM, IRTA and Dorna Sports have announced the addition of a fifteenth Grand Prix to the 2020 FIM MotoGP™ World Championship calendar for the season finale. The reserve track for MotoGP™ since 2017, the circuit will now make its debut on the calendar.
The Autodromo Internacional do Algarve is truly unique, with its characteristic elevation changes and undulating layout earning it a reputation as a high-speed rollercoaster – a thrill ride for fans and competitors alike.
João Fernandes, President of Algarve Tourism comments: “We are thrilled to welcome MotoGP™ as it the pinnacle of two-wheeled motorsport, and we are so excited to have it. This will further endorse the positive confidence in the region as we are working to have approx. 30,000 fans attend for the weekend race. We continue to work with Dorna and the sanitary authorities to ensure we meet the necessary requirements for the safety and health of motorcycling fans.”
FIM President Jorge Viegas: "I am very proud that MotoGP will return to my country eight years after the last Grand Prix, which took place at the Circuito do Estoril in May 2012. I would like to warmly thank Dorna, the Autodromo Internacional do Algarve and the Motorcycling Federation of Portugal for having managed to meet the necessary conditions for the organisation of the finale of the 2020 FIM Grand Prix World Championship to take place in Portugal."
Dorna Sports CEO Carmelo Ezpeleta: “It’s big news for us. Portugal has a long history in our sport and there have been some historic battles in Estoril. It’s something very good for us to have the possibility to go back to Portugal, especially with Miguel Oliveira participating as it’s great to have a Portuguese rider able to compete in his own country. We are extremely happy to be racing in Portimao at the end of the year.”
Lagos's slave market. Built in 1444, it was colonial Europe's first slave market Image: Lacobrigo CC BY-SA 3.0
The Autodromo is based near the picturesque village of Alvor and the larger towns of Portimao and Lagos. Lagos is particularly interesting to history buffs as it was the historic centre of the Portuguese Age of Discovery, frequent home of Henry the Navigator, historical shipyard and, at one time, centre of the European slave trade.
And just eight minutes from the Autodromo (and 5.8 km), lie the Megalithic tombs of Alcalar. These ancient tombs are over 5,000 years old and are part of a larger prehistoric settlement that was one of many in the area. Communities here established villages defended by walls, trenches and embankments, and built houses and megalithic tombs.
The Megalithic tombs at Alcalar. Over 5,000 years old, they are well worth a visit. Photos: F. Richards
The tombs are of a cairn beehive type, built from a mound of stones around a tholos, with an underlying corridor and vaulted chamber (or crypt). The bases are made of schist and they have an east-facing entrance-way located in the middle. Access to the main chamber is through the eastward-facing corridor, covered in large slabs of limestone that oriented to narrowly focus access to the crypt.
The tombs are a fine example of the Chalcolithic period and are well worth a visit if you are visiting the Autodromo! From 1 September - 31 July, they are open from Wednesday - Friday, (10.00-13.00, 14.00-16.30) and Saturday (10.00-13.00) and in August are open on the same days, but stay open until 18.00hrs Wednesday-Saturday and are open on Sundays and holidays from 10.00-14.00.