When the FIA decided to drop the Canadian Grand Prix from the 2009 Formula One calendar, came as a surprise to race organizers and left North America without an F1 race.
The race draws an estimated $100 million in revenue to the city of Montreal and the loss was great enough that bringing back the race became a campaign promise for a major Canadian political party in the recent federal election.
Unfortunately, that party did not win the election and F1 chief Bernie Ecclestone recently closed the door on the possibility of the race returning to Montreal’s Gilles Villeneuve Circuit in 2009.
With four-wheel Grand Prix racing out of the picture, perhaps the Canadians should be looking for a two-wheeled option.
MotoGP already features two American stops on its tour, one on the west coast in Laguna Seca and another in the Midwest at Indianapolis. A Canadian motorcycle Grand Prix in Montreal would add a stop in the northeastern part of the continent.
The last Canadian Grand Prix motorcycle race was a one-off event in 1967 during Canada’s centennial year at Mosport International Raceway in Bowmanville, Ontario. Montreal was a popular stop for F1 drivers and the 2005 Canadian Grand Prix drew 51 million viewers making it the third most-watched televised sporting event that year. Of course, the Gilles Villeneuve Circuit may need a major update to meet FIM standards, but the investment may be worthwhile to have a top-tier racing event at the venue.
And if MotoGP isn’t available, World Superbike may be an option as well. The only current North American stop on the WSBK tour is at Miller Motorsports Park in Utah. Wouldn’t a second stop on the opposite side of the continent sound nice?