Tracks & Bikes

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Yves Briguet 'nudging' me out of the lead at Donington - Bu$£er!!
I've both won and crashed at all UK and the majority of World tracks that I've  raced on, so here is my brief description of them. Please note, these are my personal views. If you would like to discuss or get tips for any tracks in more detail,  just contact me.

Domestic Circuits

Anglesey
The 'Phillip Island' of Wales. Right on the coastline the circuit is smooth and quick in sections. Very little camber to deal with, it has a good selection of corners. Two basic layouts, International and Coastal, with International being the longest. A tight downhill twisty corkscrew section, on the Coastal, and a long loop with hairpin section on the International. Watch out for the wind as the open layout and location can make life interesting when it gets a bit breezy.

Aintree
Simple to learn, only 4 corners but one long, fast straight.

Brands Hatch
Indy: Tight track, that is difficult to pass on. All about getting on the gas as early as possible.
GP circuit: Fast and demanding.
 Indy part slow and slippy – GP circuit section fast and grippy.

Cadwell Park
Full circuit: Great to ride but a little dangerous in places. Lots of gradients with a good mix of corners.

Castle Combe
Quite fast, but very bumpy, with too many chicanes.

Croft
Similar to Castle Coombe. Both flat and quite fast, but here there are some very slow sections thrown in!

Donington
A wonderful flowing circuit except for the Melbourne loop, which is a bit of a stop start affair.

Knockhill
Hard to get right. A few blind corners over rises, and camber changes to catch you out.

Lydden
The Mallory of the South! Simple, but not very rewarding to ride, and very slippy to boot.

Mallory Park
Simple to learn only having 4 corners: but limited overtaking  opportunities can make passing dangerous.

North West 200
Very very fast, I've never gone as fast not even at Daytona off the banking. Not difficult to learn, being basically a triangle - but you must give a lot of respect to certain sections, or they will get you!!

Oulton Park
A real riders track, lots of ups and downs and a good mix of corners.
Placed 3rd in my favouite UK circuits.

Pembrey
Flat and smooth, a great track to go testing at. Good to set machines up on, due to it having most types of corner to play with. My number 2 UK circuit.

Scarborough
Not for the faint hearted!
Nice to walk round, but on anything faster than a push bike, very dodgy. Hairpins and jumps add to the 'fun'.

Silverstone
A bit of a miss match here! Has a good infield section before the end of the lap, but the mid section seems a bit of an add on.

Snetterton
Fast and simple to learn, but has one or two quick corners to play with.

Three Sisters
Great track to learn the basic techniques of racing at slow speeds, very twisty.

Thruxton
Number 1 of my UK circuits, super fast with no proper straights, the bike is always healed right over, pushing the front wheel into corners, only big balls need apply!

International Circuits

Macau 1996, Set pole, and broke the lap record,
whilst chasing down the leaders after ' out braking' myself on the first lap going into the 1st corner. 

China

Macau -The Big Cahoona! When asked what it's like to ride here, I can only say it's like an arcade game - except that it's for real! Very fast long straights and  a mixture of hairpins with tight twisty bits all thrown in. Oh and yes, there really is NO run off, and lined with steel and concrete barriers.
I enjoyed it but would not like to fall off there!

Zhuhai - A circuit designed for cars, a succession of straights leading to hairpins or sharp 90 degree corners. Ideal for 'late braking heros'.

Czech Republic

Brno - Fast, wide and great to ride.
Long downhill and uphill rises in beautiful countryside, make it my No. 2 International circuit.

Most - A relatively small circuit with a tight and twisty section then running round the back of the pit complex into some long sweeping bends, a good balance of turns, a very grippy abrasive surface but slightly bumpy in sections

Italy

Imola - a very demanding track of 4.933Km with a mix of chicanes, fast bends and lots of blind crests with long up and down hill sections to deal with, on top of that it's bumpy!

Monza - Set in a public park among the trees this a beautiful track. Quick straights and quick corners, only spoilt by daft chicanes.

VallelungaThe track is a very physical one, no time to rest -  plenty of slow tight corners. From the start line the first section is almost flat out top gear left/right/left with a dip in the middle corner called 'Curva Granda'. Next a short straight into a double 90o right-hander steeply banked on the entry (3rd), another short straight into a slow right/left/right bus stop type chicane (3rd), then back out on to the track into fast long left over the crest of a rise into the 'complex'.
This was to start with a 200o right-hander (second gear) then straight into a very tight left-hand hairpin (1st or 2nd). From there a short straight into a left/right series behind the pits, this section was difficult as the track is covered in tiny ripples. Next and finally into the last corner, a 180o banked (3rd) hairpin leading onto the home straight.  

Missano - (old style)- Anti clockwise track, so more left handed bends. Flat and smooth with good safety. A triple left handed corner on to the back straight is the key to a quick lap!
Now a clockwise circuit using the same track the feel is obviously completely different however the basic layout is the same.

Varano - The smallest circuit I've raced at since Three Sisters in the 80's, short straights and tight turns, basically a big kart track, good fun on a small capacity machine.

Mugello  - Fantastic is the best single word, beautiful part of the World to start with and the circuit is uber fast and flowing with the king of all home straights, a real must!

France

Le Mans - Very hard on the body, with lots of slow corners and braking. Probably the slippiest track in the wet I have ever ridden.

Ledenon - Built on top of a hill, it is usually windy and has more ups and downs than anywhere else I've ever been to.

Magny-Cours - Only the first corner is worth riding, the rest is a bunch of hairpins and stop - start bits, crap! For some reason, now the new home of the Bol d'or 24hr race.

Circuit Carole - The Parisian version of Three Sisters. Owned by the local council and built with the main aim to stop local heroes from killing themselves racing round the nearby industrial park. Named after the last person to die racing on the industrial estate, a girl called 'Carole'.

Paul Ricard - Old home of the Bol'Dor - one of the longest straights anywhere. Ask anyone who's ridden there and they'll tell you it's great! It is.

Nogaro - A small tight and twisty track with a long back straight into a hairpin and tight left/right corners. Not a great selection of corners to play with but good for working on slower switch back corners.

Dijon - Another small circuit which if you look at the circuit plan doesn't show the elevation changes that really make the track a fabulous to ride, a stunning last corner onto the start straight however being mostly a car circuit not much run off.

Croix-en-Ternois - Small and tight similar to Nogaro in length and feel but not suiting a large capacity machine, ideal for shake down testing with a good selection of corners to use.

Spain

Cartagena - Another smaller circuit that a lot of teams like to test at as there are many sections that have a similar feel to UK circuits. A few small rises and falls to play with plus some front end pushing bits to practice with.

Catalunya - Great track with a long straight and quite wide, a little like Brno.      

Calafat - Really technical and challenging track. Good combination of pith path chicanes and blind corners.

Albacete - High up in the mountains quite a tight and twisty track. Technique means it's all about getting in to a rhythm to get a quick lap.

Jerez - Set in a natural stadium this is also a tight track with a couple of hairpins thrown in to slow the action right down. A thing to watch for here is the sand blowing on to the track!

Alcarras - A great test circuit having a good balance of corners to play with, slightly bumpy in places which adds to the ride, also a great down hill double apex left hand bend with bumps and cambers, challenging is the word here.

Almeria - High in the mountains with a long back straight then a punishing selection of long sweeping corners and a tight chicane to play with, hard on front tyres as you are pushing the front everywhere. Watch out for the wind that can cause issues.

Spain continued

Parcmoto Castelloli - Rarely used but loads of fun. Built in an old quarry clinging on to the hillside. A massive incline to deal with as you basically climb the hill with sweeping corners all the way, then the back straight at the top of the hill then a long sweeping section down the hill. There's a bridge you cross giving it a real switch back kind of feel. Bumpy in places with not a great deal of run off so play safe in places.

Valencia - A great spectator circuit, set in a basin so the surrounding banking makes a superb watching area allowing an almost 100% view of a lap. To ride it's quite hard and demanding, with a down hill start/finish straight then slowly climbing up through a series of sweeping corners up to the back straight which has a fast kink towards the end. A great last section and last corner, but over all not my favourite place.

Aragon - Relatively new facility built on top of a hill making a spectacular circuit. Smooth and fast with a long back straight, a cork screw type section and a few tight bits thrown in too. Challenging but well worth the work.

Portugal

Estoril - Very quick, with some tricky 'off camber' tightening up corners to catch you out!

Portimao - A massive roller coaster circuit, very challenging with many blind sections bumps and surface changes to deal with. First and last corners are 'special' in my book, ride it and see for yourself.

Belgium

Spa Francorchamps - Fantastic!
Just the best mix of corners with breath taking scenery and scary fast sweeping bends. Difficult to get right - but when you do - no question, No. 1 in Europe for me!

Gedinne - A road circuit that is great to ride. Obviously more dangerous compared to a short circuit but if ridden with this in mind a great track. Mostly flat but there's a section dropping through a small valley/woods section in a dip which is great then a fast run down to the finish line where there is a chicane another great section, just make sure you've got some brakes left…

Hungary

Pannonia - Great test track, very safe with a good mix of corners, grippy and smooth. Perfect place to set up your machine.

The Netherlands

Assen - Fast and flowing track, with slightly banked corners. Grippy and smooth, but quite long and hard to learn. No. 3 of my favourite International tracks.

Germany

Hockenheim - Very, very fast, all about slip streaming. Long sweeping bends and a infield section just before the finish.

Nurburgring - Quite fast, with some slightly banked corners. A bit  hilly, a little like Brno.

Oschersleben - Very flat circuit with no elevation to deal with, a few sweeping corners and chicanes to use. A really good development track with a UK feel to it.

Lausitzring - The Rockingham of Germany, a tri oval Nascar type circuit with a massive infield section. No elevation but difficult to find good reference point being so bland on the infield.

Sweden

Linkoping - Fast and flowing track, with slightly banked corners. Grippy and smooth, but quite long and hard to learn. No. 3 of my favourite International tracks.

 

Denmark

Aarhus - A truck test facility in the north of Denmark. Only used by clubs too have short races on. Simple to learn being only a mile long with a decent straight then several hairpins.

Luxemburg

Colmar Berg Continental Tyre's test facility. Long straight the a never ending series of tight corners making your way back the start of the straight again. No run off at all, not good bike circuit safety wise but fun with common sense.

Austria

A1 Ring - Not used much by bikes now, an old circuit compromising of three straights with tight corners at the end of each then just before the end of the lap a few sweeping corners that save the track from being very dull.

Slovakia

Slovakiaring - Monster track, seriously quick, long fast corners and four over passes that create some 'interesting' sections. Now I've ridden there one of my favourite circuits.

Australia

Phillip Island - Ultimate holiday venue with a fantastically charismatic circuit to play on. Fast and flowing the bike is only ever upright on the home straight the rest of the time its on its side (not literally).

USA

Daytona - There's nothing quite like this!
350 banking in a tri oval shape, with a 'Micky Mouse' infield section that's totally mismatched to the rest of the track.
They call slipstreaming in the US 'drafting', this is the home of drafting (oh and by the way, having a very quick bike helps).

Japan

Suzuka - After the first corner (which in itself is a handful) comes a series of left/right/left bends leading to the 'Dunlop' curve a long double left hander - and then to make it worse Dunlops curve is over a blind summit! Nightmare.
The rest of the track is just as hard until you arrive at the stop/start chicane before the start/finish line - here you've just come round a 4th gear corner really fast in to a 1st gear chicane, it always looked hard on the telly but - 'how hard?'. I found it difficult to stay off the curb!

The absolute beauty of 'Pure Road Racing' - Northwest 200, using the kerbs....... 

Bikes: Below is a list of the bikes I've ridden on track throughout my career.

 

Honda

  • NSR250R

  • RS500

  • VFR400R (NC30)

  • VFR750 (RC30,45,NLOB)

  • CBR600 (92, 95,96,97)

  • CBR900 (96,97)

  • VTR1000 (98)

  • MT125

Yamaha

  • RD250/350LC

  • 350YVPS

  • TZR250R (87)

  • FZR600R (89, 90, 94) 

  • FZR750R(OW1)

  • FZR1000EXUP (89,90)
  • TRX850
  • FZR400
  • FZ600
  • R6
  • R1
  • R7

Ducati

  • 848

  • 888 SP

  • 926 SP3

  • 996 SPS

  • 916

  • 998 R

  • 999 R

  • Supermono

  • Panigale 1199

Suzuki

  • 250X7

  • RG250 GAMMA Mk 2

  • GSXR750WP

  • GSXR1000 K1,2,3,4,7
  • SV650
  • XR23
  • XR69

Cagiva

  • 500

  • Raptor

Moto Guzzi

  • 850cc special

  • 1100cc special

Brough Superior 

  • Moto 2

Paton

  • 500cc

Harley Davidson

  • VR1000

  • XR1200

Tigcraft

  • Rotax, Yamaha, MZ

Norton

  • Manx 500cc

  • Manx 350cc

  • 600 Dominator

Jawa

  • factory watercooled 650cc

Spondon / Ducati

  • 888

BMW

  • Pami /   780

  • R1100 s        

  • S1000RR

Triumph

  • Speed Triple 900

  • 675

ROC Yamaha

  • 500 Works bike

Matchless

  • G50

AJS

  • 7R

MuZ 780

  • Works Team bike

GCR 

  • CRF 450 Minimono

Kawasaki 

  • ZX10R

  • ZX750R

  • ZXR400

  • ZZ1100R

  • KR750

  • P&M 1100cc

Aprilia 

  • Mille

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