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Termas de Rio Hondo circuit suffers devastating fire

The Termas de Rio Hondo circuit-Argentina’s venue for its MotoGP event- has suffered a fire that has devastated several of its buildings, including the media centre and several pit garages.

The circuit-located around 80km from Santiago-was consumed by fire on Friday night after sparks from a welding job being undertaking on one of the terraces reportedly caught alight before reaching the pit area.

The fire quickly spread throughout the rest of the pit building and accompanying structures, destroying the commentary booths, VIP facilities as well as the media centre according to Hector Farina, director of the Termas de Rio Hondo track.

Farina released a statement regarding the outlook of the circuit following the blaze confirming that no victims were caught up in the incident, though the circuit would be out of action for some time due to the amount of work needed to bring the venue facilities to the level they need to be in order to host events.

“Unfortunately the entire pit building was destroyed by the fire that occurred in the last hours at the racetrack, this sector also included the press rooms, Race Control and vip lounges,” said Farina.

“Both the museum and the control tower located at the ends, along with other offices, mini-hospitals, etc., did not have considerable damage.”

Farina confirmed that the circuit is still committed to doing “everything possible” in order to host its postponed MotoGP event-currently pencilled in for sometime in November after it was delayed from its original April date due to Covid-19- despite the fire, confirming the track has full insurance and thus the money needed to fund its repair is fully covered.  

“The racetrack has full insurance against fire, so the issue of economic damage is covered in that sense, but it will surely take a long time to rebuild this important area necessary for national and international competitions,” continued Farina.

“Thank God, there were no victims to mourn, and we want to thank all those who collaborated in this incident that generated moments of great danger due to the wind that ran. Many thanks to various Fire Department staff, police officers, municipal staff, racetrack workers, etc.

“They did everything they could to prevent further damage. We will work from now on to do everything possible to meet the schedules we have planned, including the Moto GP in November.”

The Termas de Rio Hondo track has hosted its annual MotoGP event since 2014 following an extensive overhaul in 2012, though its ’20 edition was cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the ’21 event confirmed as being pushed back to later in the year last month as the virus continued to wreak havoc across the Americas.

The layout has seen a variety of different victors over the past few years including six time MotoGP world champion Marc Marquez, Cal Crutchlow, Yamaha’s Maverick Vinales as well as newly-signed Petronas SRT recruit and seven-time premier class champion Valentino Rossi.

The circuit mainly focuses on hosting local Argentinean championships such as the TC2000 touring car series aside from MotoGP, though it became the home of the World Touring Car Championship Race of Argentina for five seasons spanning 2013-’17 before dropping off its calendar when the series morphed into the World Touring Car Cup.  

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