Its top speed is around 135kph: approximately the average speed of the fastest stages in Finland. But while a theme park may seem like a slightly odd place to put on a round of the FIA World Rally Championship, there have been many other strange sporting venues throughout the world. Here are just a few examples:
A car park: The Las Vegas Grand Prix was quite literally a Formula One race held in a car park, albeit a very big car park (belonging to the Caesar’s Palace casino). It was held only twice, in 1981 and 1982, and its cramped confines meant that the circuit essentially consisted of a non-stop series of hairpin bends. Because of that, it was physically exhausting.
A wall: Holding a marathon on a wall doesn’t sound like a great idea either. However, you can make an exception if we’re talking about the Great Wall of China. About a quarter of the Great Wall marathon route takes place on the wall itself, and for the unfortunate competitors there is a real sting in the tail: 3,800 stone steps to climb right at the end of the event. Nonetheless, the course record is still under three and a half hours.
A helipad: In February 2005, Andre Agassi and Roger Federer played an exhibition match 211 metres above Dubai’s Jumeirah Beach. The venue was the helipad of the seven-star Burj Al Arab hotel, which had been specially laid with Astroturf for the occasion. “I had no issue with the height, as long as nobody expected me to bungee jump off the side,” reported Agassi.
An abattoir: In what was clearly an attempt to reach out to vegetarians all over the world, Rally Principe de Asturias - part of the FIA European Rally Championship this season - based itself in the delightful surroundings of an abbatoir outside Oviedo in Spain. At least it made the catering easy.
The moon: All these efforts at unusual sporting venues pale into complete insignificance compared to the athletic endeavour of astronaut Alan Shepard, who decided to play a round of golf on the moon in 1971. It wasn’t quite a full round to be fair, as he only played two shots, but they were still unquestionably the most successful shots in golfing history: Shepard estimated that his first ball travelled for at least two miles.