Hailed as the greatest motocross track in the United Kingdom, Matterley Basin rarely has an opportunity to bask in that glory. The vast valley emerges once a year to host a round of the FIM Motocross World Championship and then returns to its slumber. It is that lack of use that makes it so prestigious and a circuit that every rider, even those from the other side of the world, love to venture out onto though.
The spectacular layout consists of nineteen turns, which is typical for a track on the Grand Prix schedule. It contains various characteristics that make it unique though. The elevated start, a concept that was put into practice for the first time at the Monster Energy Cup a couple of years ago, is not used anywhere else within Europe. Although it does not make much of a difference to the technique that a rider uses or outcome of a race, it sticks out in the minds of fans and is memorable.
Where did Matterley Basin even come from? The track, which is hard-pack but includes deep ruts in spots, first hosted an event back in 2006. The Grand Prix of Great Britain was run in Winchester and won by Stefan Everts (MXGP) and Antonio Cairoli (MX2). Both guys swept the two motos in their respective classes on the day. Just three months later the greatest riders in the world travelled to Matterley Basin for the Motocross of Nations and, unsurprisingly, it is that event that the track is most known for. Stefan Everts bowed out of international competition and sparked a rivalry with James Stewart, something that fans enjoy reminiscing about.
The success of the inaugural event did not exactly cement the future of the circuit though. Matterley Basin no longer hosted events, aside from hosting the occasional charity race, from 2007 to 2010. It was thought that all hope was lost. It was not long before the track returned to its rightful place though and hosted the thirteenth round of the 2011 FIM Motocross World Championship. Matterley Basin has occupied a position on the Grand Prix calendar and does not appear to be going anywhere. The track will have the privilege of hosting the first European race of the season this year and, although some are sceptical, it will undoubtedly be one of the most popular races that has ever been run on British soil.