Alistair Maclean's Web Site
Circuit Descriptions

I have been able to find web sites for some of the listed circuits, for the non-US and UK sites, I run into a personal problem, namely my inability to speak the necessary languages to fully understand what I am seeing, so excuse me if some of the foreign circuit links are for toilet manufacturers that use pictures of motorcycles for marketing purposes.

For 2006 I have updated several of the circuits, and sadly note the demise of several others.

In hunting for these website links it became patently obvious that the standard Caveat Emptor of the web applies: links may change without warning. If you find changes and want to notify me, send e-mail here.

Some links require additional language packs for your browser to be properly read.

Check out racingcircuits.net or eTracks as both seem to have very comprehensive listings of race tracks, stats and maps.


Back Argentina

Buenos Aires
Often at the end of the Bike GP season, it is frequently a quiet affair. In recent years the track has been of varying quality. Last year sand was a problem. It’s a fast course and is but a small part of a larger motor racing facility.

Back Austria

A1-Ring
A modern facility, designed to be slower. It has many corners linked by short straights. The surface has drawn criticism due to its lack of grip. This track may drop off both bike and car racing this year.

Back Australia

The Aussies have poured all their GP circuit info into one web site.

Albert Park
Located in a park outside Melbourne, this circuit will see its fourth year of use by the F1 teams. It’s a relatively fast track, looking for the most part like a city center track, replete with concrete barriers.

Phillip Island
Located on a small island, in south eastern Australia, this is a scenic track. The GP bikes have been here several times, as have the Superbikes. It's fast, technical and can be dangerous. In previous years the wind and weather have been factors, as have seagulls! In '01 it saw some of the best racing action of any motorcycle series.

Back Belgium

Spa Francochamps
This is my favorite track. Some drivers hate it, others love it. Its extremely fast, and quite dangerous. For a GP track its long, at just over 4 miles. But with curves like Eau Rouge, and La Source, where bravery is paid with hansom rewards, it’s a drivers and riders track. Weather frequently plays its part here, the track being in the Ardennes hills.

Back Brazil

Interlagos
A blindingly fast course. Wide and good for passing on. We will be reminded that this was Ayrton Senna's homeland.

Jacarepaguá (Autodromo Nelson Piquet)
Has missed out on some FIM races due to improvements that were required not being completed in time.

Back Canada

Circuit Gilles Villeneuve
On an island in the St Lawrence by Montreal, and home to the Canadian F1 GP, it’s a tough track, very fast and narrow in places, with a few slow sections. Lots of chicanes used to slow the cars down. The website for this doesn't seem to work (www.grandprix.ca)

Back China

Shanghia
The track is laid out in the form of a chinese character (shang?), quite technical in nature with some very odd track features that are not entirely great for a new circuit (e.g. corner onto Start straight). First turn is entertaining, as are some of the high speed parts. Facilities said to be excellent, and impressive to look at. (Web site seems to be inactive)

Back Czech Republic

Brno
The bikes have been coming here for a few years. It's a very big circuit, with wide corners but short straights. It's a modern circuit designed to keep speeds down. Riders lines are varied so passing is frequent and entertaining.

Back France

Circuit Paul Ricard
The only major track that I have actually been round, currently undergoing a facelift. Now in a neutered short format, only the endurance boys still use the long circuit. The GP bikes often had close races here. Located in the south of France, midway between Nice and Marseilles.

Le Mans
Not the famous long circuit, but the shorter, more modern, Bugati thrash. This is a twisty technical track, laid inside the older circuits bounds. It's about 2.5 miles in length. Very atmospheric even for the shorter races.

Nevers Magny-Cours
Often a Formula 1 car track, 2003 will see its use by the World Superbike crew. In the heart of France, this is a fast track with some longs straights and highly technical sections. The web site may be in the course of transition, try also www.gpfrancef1.com

Back Germany

Sachsenring
A modern sinuous track. It has been the site of recent surprise victories by first time winners. Its tight curving nature favours lower HP outputs, and the 250's and 500 twins do well here. GP Bikes will be here for several years.

Hockenheim
The world's fastest race track with both left and right corners. Somewhat non-technical, even with the three chicanes and the stadium section, it is nonetheless a tough ride or drive. With speeds approaching 200mph at three parts of the circuit. With its proximity to the Black Forest rain is not uncommon, making for very tough conditions. Slipstreaming becomes an art form. The track may drop off the listings in '01 as the safety-crats do their stuff.

Nürburgring
A name steeped in legend. This is a newer circuit, opened about 7 years ago, siting inside the bounds of the old track. Riders and drivers complain that it's a very boring circuit. It's been made to be slow, with many constant radius bends. There are some elevation changes.

Lausitz
This is a new circuit for 2001, situated in the old East Germany and built about 80 miles from Berlin. It is a significant complex consisting of a large superspeedway style tri-oval, into which is laid a road race circuit. The new circuit struck me as a bit "mickey mouse", with 2 or three long straights tied together with lots of fiddly little bends, not a passing track. Riders like however.

Back Hungary

Hungaroring
Another former Eastern Bloc country with a new-ish race course. This has been used for about 12 years. It's very technical and slow. It is often the only F1 race to get terminated as a two hour event, rather than covering the specified distance. A nearly symmetrical track design is quite unique. Not really a favourite of anyone's.

Balaton Ring
This appears to be a new race track. No info, and the web site is just a blank home page.

Back Indonesia

Sirkuit Sentul
A fast, wide track with very high speeds. The huge corners have seen some excellent racing, enabling varied racing lines. This is a very hot part of the world, extremely humid, very distressing to both riders and drivers Riders often find that just completing the race is tough enough. My Indonesian isn't good enough to determine if this track has a web site or not.

Back Italy & San Marino

Imola
Italy is somehow gifted with several historically important tracks. This is a classically fast track, with stylish corner names. Always excellent racing.

Monza
Yet another Italian track that has been the site of much of motor racing's history. The Parabolique is still one of the most feared corners in racing. Every year more chicanes go in here to slow the drivers & riders down. The Scuderia and Ducatista will be out in strength. Latest modifications include a change to the chicane at the end of the front straight to further slow the bikes, before they lead onto the back.

Misano
A smaller track in northern Italy, San Marino really. It is often singled out for its poor surface, however it frequently sees very close competition. Local heroes seem to do well here.

Mugello
Home for several years now to the main Italian GP, it has been the scene of many strange events over the years (remember the riders strike?). A twisting, difficult track, that after being resurfaced became much more entertaining for the riders.

Vallelunga
Just north of Rome this track is to be used for Endurance racing in 2002, might we see it enter the main calendar in years to come? (Don't you just love URL's you KNOW are going to change tomorrow! The Vallelunga site seems to be run out of the Italian Auto club website.)

Back Japan

Suzuka
Honda's very own test track. Unique for its figure of '8' layout, with an underpass, it's a fast and tricky course. The turns at the end's of the track are frequently the locations of controversy. The front straight is exceptionally fast.

Sugo
In the shadow of the volcano, Mt Fuji, this long fast track is the frequent site of the Japanese Superbike races. It's narrow and hard. Local riders do best here. Watch for local lads to do well, again.

Motegi Twin Ring
Run inside a larger oval speedway, where NASCAR has its Japanese pilgrimage, the track is a bit tight in places (particularly the horseshow onto the main front straight) but has two very long straights. Owned by Suzuki, it has become a place Honda likes to do well, though with mixed results.

Back Malaysia

Shah Alam
It would seem, modern as it was, this circuit no longer exists.

Sepang
Another of the newer GP circuits. This has been used in the past by the Superbikes. It is frequently used for the Pan Asia race series. It is a modern wide track, leaving lots of passing space. One issue tends to be the heat and humidity that sap a riders strength.

Back Monaco

Monaco
The streets on Monte Carlo will once more resound to the bellow of F1 cars. Tight, dangerous and tricky. The drivers come here and race more because of the heritage than the driving. Recent years have seen rain and crashes. I think we can expect dry conditions sometime soon; the crashes are just part of the scenery.

Back Netherlands

Assen
The Dutch TT is a Mecca for European fans. The track is disliked by many riders as being too narrow, but as the last remaining road course (the roads are all now devoid of public traffic), the fans love it. It's a technically challenging track that almost always leads to close, exciting racing. Watch for action in the last chicane.

Back Portugal

Estoril
This ocean side race track makes a reappearance on the calendar. It's many years since it was last used for FIM short track competition (Endurance races are occasionally held here).

Back Qatar

Losail / Doha
The Oil rich peninsular of Qatar has built an impressive new track, used in 2004 by the F1 teams, and to be used for the first time by the MotoGP teams in 2005. It's a broad technical track, which because it sits in the desert has something of a sand problem. The same designer of Sentul, built this.

Back Turkey

Istanbul / Kurtkoy
Wow, what a track! With the essence of famous corners from many tracks, and some of its own unique features, this has produced some great racing. It is a very big track, very modern. The slow parts are only but so slow, the fast parts are mind boggling. Love the big 4 apex 'hairpin'.

Back United Kingdom

Brands Hatch
The Old Lady of British tracks. It's a fast and technical track. It has problems with surface wear, leading to traction issues, but in general it's an enjoyable track for all. Located close to London, it has become the home for Superbike racing, seeing close and thrilling action. Both the 2000 & 2001 season saw some of the largest SBK crowds anywhere, with over 120,000 people each year. This website also covers Snetterton, Cadwell Park, and Oulton Park.

Donnington
An historic track, in the British midlands, thoroughly modernised. It sits under the approach to the East Midlands airport and has always suffered from a slippery surface, a consequence of avgas being dumped by the fliers. This has not deterred riders from selecting this as their favourite track. It's slow and safe. Not always very close, the action is best viewed on TV.

Silverstone
The home of F1 cars in Britain, and very nearly the home of F1 entirely. There are more racing teams centered around Silverstone than anywhere else with the possible exception of Charlotte, NC. With 2002 upon us, there should be a completely modernised, new track layout, with better facilities. Let's hope it makes this a track worth visiting again.

Mallory Park
Mallory is a tiny race track, being just over a mile long. It's not up to international requirements anymore, but it is a fun location. Effectively an egg shaped, flat (not banked) oval, with a finger pointing out the thinner end of the track, it ends up being a fast and moderately interesting track. The 'Devil's Elbow' takes pure courage to attack at full song.

Back United States

Barber Motorsports Park, AL

A fine, modern, race track in a part of the world better known for its high speed ovals. The facility sports a highly regarded museum and visitors center, along with track side sculptures of motorcycle eating insects! The track is somewhat European in nature, with flowing sections. Passing here is common in uncommon places, much to the surprise of the passed competitors.

Brainerd, MN

It seems talk of this track turning into a shopping mall or Golf coaurse is premature, the beloved Minnesota track is now under new management. Take a deep breathe and think of what it is like to run into turn 1 trying to stay at the top of 5th gear pulling 160 mph. It's a long track, part drag strip, and attracts vociferous fans.

Fontana, CA

Another Oval track with a rinkie-do infield. The infield has been modified several times, and though it has a couple of interesting features, it never strikes me as having been designed. Bikes are always running across corners in the dirt where curbs have sunk or been forgotten. Track was recently renamed to the Auto Club Speedway.

Daytona, FL

The high banked circuit is traditionally the start-of-season race. Unusual in layout, only Loudon, Pikes Peak and Las Vegas are also ovals, it is a simple if dauntingly fast track. It's a long race, traditionally being 200 miles for the spring event, and has vast fields of competitors (80 riders have started a race before now). [They seem to like changing this URL, so beware].

Laguna Seca, CA
In the hills above Monterey, California, this is the venue of the only International motorcycle road racing event held on US soil; the Superbikes come here for a bash. The Corkscrew is the stunning midpoint on each lap. A very technical track, one that still has several questionable safety features, it nevertheless offers excellent racing.

Mid Ohio, OH

Mid-Ohio is a mixed blessing. It's a fast swoopy track; the back straight is QUITE long; the corners are technical, but it's the patch work of repairs to wear and tear that is the issue. Concrete patches have made differences in grip to surrounding asphalt, and also left 1/2 inch (12mm) height differences, leading to many bobbles, particularly in the wet that so often seems to be present here.

Miller Motorsports Part, Tooele, Utah

One of a set of new road race tracks that have sprung up in recent years, it will has been used for several years now, and has hosted the US round of the World Superbike championship. Well liked circuit, with a long front straight, and a complex, technical and challenging set of turns round the back.

Loudon, NH

Probably one of the oldest events (though not the track) in America, completely modernized in the 1990's. It is centered on a NASCAR oval with the road circuit using the front straight. It's a bit nasty where the road course crosses the oval and being a bit tight all-round, tends to be out of favour with many riders. Off the AMA calendars for years because of safety issues, it's name has been mentioned again more recently.

NJ Motorsports Park, Millville, NJ

Brand new facility located in Southern NJ, will become the closest AMA races to the New York metro area in many years.

Road Atlanta, GA

This is a genuine jewel of a race track. It is swoopy, undulating and for the most part a safe track. Many changes have been made in recent years, some in an abortive attempt at getting a GP of one sort or another, some for safety. The result though is an even better racing venue.

Road America, WI

Talk about long. This is a 4 mile plus track. It was to have been the site of the 2001 US 500cc GP, but homolgation failed. Most years it is just normal AMA faire. An interesting track, with long straights (drafting) and FAST corners.

Sears Point, CA

Part drag strip, part road course. In recent years it has undergone a variety of modifications to make it safer. The last turn is always a bit frantic, as is the first turn off the traction compound covered main straight onto the road race circuit.

Virginia International Raceway, VA

This is a brand new (old) track, re-opened in 1999 after 27 years of disuse, held the closing round of the 01 season US national Superbike series. Part of a large motorsports complex and resort. It's a winding, entertaining and pretty track.

Willow Springs, CA

This is THE club racer circuit in the USA. In the high desert above L.A., it is a curvaceous track suffering a bit from years of use and the constant ingress of sand. Turn 9 is a near flat out 180° turn that can see the bravest of the brave take places and win races.

Heartland Park, Topeka, KS

Mostly known for lesser NASCAR classes, this is a proper road circuit, built alongside the old drag raceway.

Back South Africa

Kyalami
The scene of SA's first GP after apartheid, this year it will again host the Superbikes. A fast and technically challenging track, the Ducatis and Hondas seem well suited to its tight corners and elevation changes.

Welkom
Another modern circuit. Quite wide, but suffers from wind blown sand.

Back Spain

Albacete
A recent arrival. It's a short-ish track that is very tight and technical in nature.

Catalunya

With a long front straight, this circuit leads to some demon late braking, and spectacular first lap crashes into the sand traps. In '98 it essential sorted out the GP season, through crashes and contentious stewardship.

Jarama
An old circuit, only recently brought back into the fold. I haven't seen racing from here in decades.

Jerez
In the north west of Spain, in the heart of Port country, it is Spain's premier track. Tight and technical course which can be run fast by everyone, but only a few stay upright to tell the tale. A likeable track, which has seen some fine performances.

Valencia

Another of the recent tracks, sinuous in nature, with some interesting elevation changes. It's a tough track for the big 500cc 4's, but allows the twins to show their stuff.


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