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For the fifth year running, the Circuit Barcelona Catalunya welcomes many top international rally drivers to the FIA World RX of Catalunya, which is also the inaugural event of the 2019 Rallycross World Championship. Among those taking part are such star names as Sébastien Loeb, Petter Solberg and Matthias Ekström as well as Johan Kristoffersson and Oliver Bennet – don't miss your chance to see them and numerous other experts behind the wheel compete in these spectacular compact vehicles that are fitted with 600-HP engines.
The FIA World RX of Catalunya is also part of the Horse Power Festival, which means that as well as being able to watch a series of exciting races, spectactors can make the most of a wide range of activities related to motor sports and cars for all ages during the whole weekend.
FC Barcelona gets a new season of football underway with its traditional friendly that is named after the club's founder. The Joan Gamper Trophy is played in August, once players return from their summer break, and it provides fans a great opportunity to see some of Barça's new signings in action before the serious business of leagues and competitions begins. It's also a fantastic chance to visit the majestic Camp Nou stadium, Europe's largest and a must-see for any real soccer aficionado; indeed it's one of the most-visited places in Catalonia.
To contest the trophy (until 1996, it was actually a four-team competition with two semi-finals and a final played, but a rise in other pre-season events meant that it was scaled back), the club invites an international challenger.
This year Barça play against the Arsenal team.
Of all the memorable Catalan traditions, which include 'fire runs' and dancing 'giants', it's arguably the human towers that have the most impact on those watching them. To enjoy a true festival of these castells, head to Vilafranca de Penedès for its annual festa major, from the 29th August to the 2nd September, which commemorates the town's patron Sant Fèlix.
The casteller groups that have more participated in the San Félix Day, August 30, have been els Xiquets de Valls (currently, the Colla Vella and the Colla Joves), the Castellers de Vilafranca and the Minyons de Terrassa. Even so, also has participated els Nens del Vendrell, Colla Jove Xiquets de Tarragona, els Xicots de Vilafranca, among others. Each human tower is an exemplary example of team work, from the crowd forming the supporting pinya at the bottom via the columns formed as each level rises and culminating with the youngest members of the crew scampering right to the very top to crown the construction, which is officially completed once the smallest of all (l'enxaneta) raises his or her hand. Cue thunderous applause.
As running becomes increasingly popular with millions of people around the world, the numbers coming to take part in Barcelona's marathon grows each year. It's now the fourth largest marathon in Europe after Berlin, London and Paris, with over 17,000 people signing up. Doubtless part of the appeal is the idea of running a 42.2km route around one of the continent's most aesthetically pleasing cities. The number of globally recognised landmarks passed by participants, such as the Sagrada Família and Camp Nou, as well as noteworthy vistas including the seafront, historic port and Ciutadella Park, make this a one-of-a-kind sporting event.
But that's not all. The Barcelona marathon is much more, with entertainment for the crowds that includes concerts, traditional Catalan culture and different local drumming groups, a four-kilometre Breakfast Run the day before the race, a Kids Race, and Expo Sports, a fair focused on outdoor sports that has numerous stands from major sporting companies.
Another big Barcelona sporting weekend arrives as the MotoGP World Championship returns with the Monster Energy Catalonia Grand Prix. There's always a lot of local interest for this event, thanks to Catalonia's tradition of producing world-class motorbike drivers such as Marc Márquez (last year's overall world champion), Dani Pedrosa and Pol Espargaró, while other Spanish stars include Jorge Lorenzo. This race was added to the championship schedule in 1991 although there was already a Spanish MotoGP event because of the level of local success in the sport.
It's run over 25 laps and the popular Italian driver Valentino Rossi says it's one of his favourite tracks. Indeed Rossi has won it six times since 2001, with Australian Casey Stoner - winner in 2007 and 2011 - and the italian Andrea Dovizioso are the only riders who challenge the Spaniards' hegemony over this course. Last year champion was Jorge Lorenzo.
So join the excited crowd and see who will be the champion of this particular crown.
Those loud engines are getting ready to rev once more at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya. Over three days in May, Barcelona hosts the fifth event, and the first in Europe, of this year's F1 Championship Season, the Spanish Grand Prix.
This is undoubtedly one of the biggest dates on Barcelona's sporting calendar, and an amazing opportunity to see the celebrated drivers and teams taking part in one of the most thrilling sports in the world. This circuit is regularly used as a test venue meaning that many of those participating are very familiar with its straights and curves, and feel right at home on its 4.66km.
Current World Champion Lewis Hamilton won on this course last year, his third victory on the Barcelona circuit, and he will joins drivers like Alain Prost and Jackie Stewart with a third chequered flag.
The European Balloon Festival in Igualada is the biggest gathering of hot air balloons in Spain and welcomes around 25,000 visitors over four days the first fortnight of July. It's a meeting point, a competition and a festival in one, with more than 50 balloons taking to the air. Competitive flights take place early in the morning and at dusk, when conditions are ideal, and if you want a taste of the high life, balloon rides can be booked in advance. Fly among a mass of Balloons from several counties of the world.
But there's plenty to enjoy from ground level, whether it's the different skill challenges in the competition, live music, kids' activities and workshops, or the magical Night Glow event, in which balloons are fired up but don't take off, glowing like lanterns and accompanied by a fireworks display.
The profile of this three-pronged sporting event is definitely on the up; it's now part of both the Olympics and the Paralympics, and athletes such as the British Brownlee brothers have raised audience interest in the swimming, cycling and running challenge. It's also becoming popular among amateurs looking for a more varied exercise endeavour than that offered by just sticking to one sport. Unsurprisingly, then, the Barcelona Triathlon attracts thousands of competitors each year to its beachfront setting.
With three distances available, participants can choose between supersprint, sprint and Olympic and take part either as individuals, in pairs (where the two complete the course together) or as a relay team (with two or three members sharing the effort). As well as the sporting action, the day before the competition the Triexpo show is held, a place to find the latest in triathlon trends and accessories, making it ideal for stocking up on new kit and meeting some of the other people taking part.
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