El 26 y 27 de julio de 2003 the XXXVII Ciudad de Alcañiz Award was held, which would be the last test that was played in the urban layout of the Aragonese city. A historic race that marked the end of an era for Spanish motorsports of which 20 years have passed.
Do not ask this letter-junta for impartiality in this regard. There can be discussion if this or that driver is the best of all time, if this or that car has marked an era. But there is no doubt that the best circuit that ever was and will be in Spain was the Circuito de Guadalope, there is no doubt about that. This is so for many reasons, but the main one was that the people of Alcañiz devoted themselves for almost 40 years to organizing the race that would make this small population of Teruel universal. Not only setting up infrastructure, but also giving shelter to pilots who came from all over Spain and Europe to race.
In the Historacing podcastWe already talked about what Alcañiz was and meant. Now that 20 years have passed since the last race held at the Guadalope Circuit, vamos to remember what we lost those July 26 and 27, 2003.
A LITTLE HISTORY
El Guadalope Circuit was born in 1965 at the initiative of Dr. Joaquín Repollés, a motor fan who wanted to organize a race within the local festivities. What started as a modest adventure soon became a national and international benchmark. Pilots of the stature of Alex Soler-Roig, Emilio de Villota, Luis Pérez-Sala, Carlos Sainz or the "Roadrunner". We are talking about mythical names of world motorsports and brands such as Porsche, BMW or Alfa Romeo.
The circuit had a demanding and varied layout, with ups and downs, tight and technical corners, combined with long straights, which put the drivers' skill and courage to the test. He lap record held by Juan Fernandez, who in 1984 did a time of 1:33:67 that will remain for eternity, aboard a Danone Lola-BMW tray. It was a dream race lap to hunt down the leader of the test, his teammate Fermín Vélez who had achieved pole position.
THE END OF THE RACES IN ALCAÑIZ
The 2003 edition was the last opportunity to enjoy the motor show in Alcañiz. The winner was Xavier Riera, who prevailed with a BMW 320i to the rest of the competitors in the Superprestigio category. In this way, it became the pilot who had won the Ciudad De Alcañiz Award the most times, since he added this victory to those achieved in 1999, 200 and 2001.
In addition, it was held FADA Trophy, in which Luis Carlos Maurel won with SEAT León, the Challenge CM, which Gutiérrez won, and a test of classics in which José María Segimón won with a Lola. The test served as a tribute to all those who had made the history of the circuit possible, from the organizers to the pilots, passing through the sponsors and the fans, since there were more and more difficulties for the celebration of the test.
With the closure of the urban circuit of Guadalope an important part of the cultural heritage of the engine was lost of our country. However, sportsmanship and passion for racing they did not become extinct in Alcañiz. In 2009, the MotorLand Aragón complex was inaugurated, a modern permanent circuit designed by Hermann Tilke. Since then, it has hosted events in the MotoGP World Championship, the Superbike World Championship and the Formula V8 3.5 World Series. MotorLand Aragón is the legacy of the Guadalope circuit, a place where you can continue to vibrate with the engine, although without the magic that the urban circuit had.
THE FASTEST IN SPAIN
I do not want to miss the opportunity to thank the Royal Automobile Club of Guadalope that fights with practically no means to preserve the legacy of what was the fastest circuit in Spain. Remind our readers that they do it without institutional help, so that the memory is not lost of which he was fastest circuit in Spain. In no circuit were stockings as high as the one that marked Fermín Vélez of 142,299 km/h in 1984.
Now that the 20th anniversary of that XXXVII Ciudad de Alcañiz Award is over, we must continue fighting more than ever so that the legacy of a heritage is not lost that we shouldn't lose
NOTE: The author wishes to thank both the Real Automovil Club de Guadalope for their help for the photographs and the motor historian Joan Setoan.