A taste of Jerez
Jerez de la Frontera: a city infused with historical and artistic heritage and most importantly home to one of the biggest motorcycle capitals in the world. Situated in the community of Andalucía on the Atlantic Coast, north west of Gibraltar, the journey to the motorcycle-mad city is one of beauty and excitement. If you’re coming from Malaga or Gibraltar, there are two large airports within easy driving distance of both the city and the track, making it as convenient as it is enjoyable.
Jerez is a city rich in motorsport history and provides the perfect platform for the annual MotoGP event (traditionally one of the first stops for the series on European soil). Having first been blessed with the roar of engines in the early 60’s the city planned and organised a prestigious international race in the local streets of Jerez entitled ‘Trofeo de la Merced’ which brought about the likes of the late Angel Nieto (after whom the Jerez circuit is now named), Ricardo Tormo and Barry Sheene. The spirit of motorsport has ever since been shared among the public and in 1985 Jerez quickly became one of the most famous circuits, paving the way for the first Spanish Grand Prix in 1987. Crowds flood in by the thousands and display a passion for the sport that is tangible. The event has grown into more of a celebration rather than just another race with over 129,000 spectators last year. It is a celebration of the people, the sport and their unrelenting love of two-wheels.
Upon arriving to Jerez it becomes very clear that there are various strong elements that define the city. Wine, horses, religion and motorsport are among the most important. Exploring the centre of the town is like walking through urbanity that time forgot; roads and architecture effortlessly charming with jagged edges. Shells of ancient buildings are fitted with todays modern businesses creating rustic elegance and monuments have been brilliantly preserved to exhibit a life lived centuries ago. These buildings carry the foundations of Roman, British and Spanish culture with modern day flare. An experience unique to the Jerez race weekend.
Hotels are scattered around the city, ranging in price to appeal to your preference and the majority situated less than fifteen minutes away from the circuit. They are simple, pleasant and encapsulate the old era of Spain with classic colours, furnishings and design. Greeted by the friendliest of staff, in the perfect location (the climate is normally very agreeable), The town is the ultimate spot to base yourself for the GP weekend. The main road from Jerez leads right to the circuit, making it an easy and accessible option for both seasoned and new travellers alike.
Restaurants are dispersed all over the city with strong traditional Spanish influence. Mesón del Asador, a carnivores paradise with delicious cuts of meat to satisfy your cravings, Albores a traditional restaurant that juxtaposes contemporary flavours with quality seafood and Spanish tapas and last but certainly not least, Bar Juanito a rustic experience that offers you a little piece of Spain each time you visit. These are just a few of the many delicious options Jerez has to offer.
From Thursday evening passionate chaos floods the local streets with any kind of road ‘rules’ blind-eyed by the authorities. It’s a free-for-all occasion attracting men, women and children of all ages. There are no limitations, just pure enjoyment and it is the perfect example of how similar interests can bring so many unique people together. The atmosphere consistently erupts from the multitude of howling engines, and smoke coats your lungs as scorched tyres leave their mark on the tarmac like graffiti. The show the riders put on is not the only spectacle to be seen. The combination of on and off track enthusiasm is a match made in heaven that will be engrained in your memories for a long time.
Photos by CormacGP