The Grand Prix of the City of Valencia has won the 20th edition of the IRTA 'Best Grand Prix Trophy', after retaining the same high standards that had been established during the winning 2002 round.

The torturous Ricardo Tormo Circuit, inaugurated by King Juan Carlos of Spain in September 1999, hosted the final race in the 16-round 2003 MotoGP World Championship and, following its triumph in 2002, race promoter Circuito del Motor y Promocion Deportivo and the on-track staff simply employed the same successful formula - plus a little extra.

Valencia's success is the third consecutive win for a Spanish venue, after the Circuit de Catalunya outscored strong opposition to take the 2001 award. But, as IRTA
president Sito Pons has often so rightly pointed out, the stakes continue to rise.

"The high standards set by many of the best grands prix who have taken the prestigious trophy in recent years calls for a superb effort by any circuit and race promoter
seeking the ultimate IRTA accolade," he explained.

Named in honour of one of Valencia's famous sons, former 50cc world champion Ricardo Tormo, the track is perfectly situated on the outskirts of the city close to a network of national highways connecting Valencia to other major cities.

Set in a 60,000-seat amphitheatre, the circuit is unique in that race fans get a clear view of every metre of the action. Competing teams and riders have to work hard to take anything from the race, as the layout features nine left- and five right-hand corners crammed into 4.005km. And, with a start-finish straight measuring just 876m, competitors have precious little time to relax.

The IRTA Trophy is awarded based upon a point scoring system that covers every aspect of the running of a grand prix. Safety measures and medical facilities are paramount in motorsport and Valencia passed those tests with flying colours.

Each year the circuit management and associated on-event staff have improved their performance. The event is now one of the most popular with the teams and riders. Certainly one of the safest venues on the calendar, Valencia has competent hard working trackside marshals to back up the facilities. Medical facilities are first class and the co-operation with the Clinica Mobile is excellent.

"Two in a row is quite an achievement, and I'm very happy for the people there," Pons admitted when the results were declared, "For Valencia to take the award again this year was particularly impressive because, when the teams and riders arrived at the circuit, everyone was very tired. It was at the end of a hard year, especially hard after three difficult flyaway races.

"Valencia deserves the trophy, as they held off close challenges from several excellent grands prix. The event is well organised and the staff are very competent. The races are always good and the race fans play an important part of the event - they create a very special atmosphere on race day."

Only two other grands prix have recorded back-to-back IRTA Trophy successes in the 20-year history of the award - Australia's Eastern Creek and Mugello, in Italy.

All concerned with the winning grand prix deserve the prestigious honour and all are determined to equal Mugello's incredible triple success of 1995-1997. Mugello, Catalunya, Phillip Island, and Valencia have dominated Trophy success in recent years, but the stakes will be higher again in 2004 as several other circuits are knocking at the door.