RIGA - Motorsports fans will doubtless be gleefully rubbing their hands together when the Motor Sports 2004 exhibition comes roaring into town Jan. 16 - Jan. 18. The show, which for motor enthusiasts is probably the biggest event of the year, is now in its fifth year and takes place at Riga's Kipsala International Exhibition Center.
Organizers say that this year's event has more on offer than ever before. There'll be a chance for people to see the very latest in motorsports technology, be it in the shape of racing cars, motorbikes, powerboats and even planes. Moreover, the public will have ample opportunity to try the latest vehicles out for size themselves.
Every kind of racing will be represented here, from speedway to rally to circuit to autocross to carting, and there'll be information about the various federations and racing clubs that fans can join. It will also be possible to meet up with established racing sportsmen and teams at the exhibition, who'll be there to give out autographs and answer questions, including leading Latvian bikers Agris Neija and Bruno Rozkalns and autocross champion Janis Bogdanovics.
The organizers say they expect a considerable amount of public interest in the "Monoformula Rusj," the first Russian-made monoformula vehicle and the only racing car produced in Eastern Europe. Just about all Formula 1 drivers start out racing in monoformula competitions.
There will also be plenty of live action as well. An oval circuit will be especially built to demonstrate speed racing, and there will also be motor trial and superbike events as well.
Not forgetting the kids, there will be a chance for 3 - 16-year-olds to try their hand at riding four-wheel bikes. Experts will be on hand to make sure it's all done safely.
And, in a typically Latvian flourish of patriotism, there will even be a special stand set up where people can check on the process of the Latvian drivers taking part in the Dakar Rally this year.
There will also be a special award ceremony on Jan. 16 for the 2003 Latvian Open Racing Championship. "The period of giving out awards after a long season of work is an important moment for all sportsmen,"says Uldis Pastnieks, director of the racing comisssion of the Latvian Automobile Federation.
In short, if you are one of those many people who enjoy motorsports, then this is definitely one for you. Whether you want to just marvel at the machines on show, or try your hand at actually driving one, there should be something to make everyone's day.o
Motor Sports 2004
Jan. 16 - Jan. 18
Open 10 a.m. - 8 p.m.
(until 6 p.m. on Jan. 18)
Tickets 2.50 lats (3.75 euros)