Niall's apex-by-apex guide to arguably the greatest racetrack in the UK. Druids will never be the same again...
With standard road gearing on my Yamaha R6 I’ll be in fifth gear over the start/finish line as I head into Paddock Hill bend. Unless your bike is geared specifically, there’s no point bothering with 6th here. The track rises up and this is where you begin braking while shifting down to third gear. Focus on the marshal’s post straight in front of you, which means you can brake harder and later since the bike is upright longer. At first this gives the impression that you’ll miss the apex but, releasing the brake, keep a closed throttle and the inside of the turn comes back nicely.
The good bit is, because you’ve turned-in late, the bike is more upright. Now you can get on the gas earlier and accelerate harder and more safely down the steep drop, before heading up to the slowest corner on the track, the right-hander of Druids. On a good lap I will brake past the 200 metre board, then shift down to second gear, again turning-in quite late but getting off the brake as the track flattens out. Use most of the track on the exit and hold second gear as you head diagonally across to the right and down to Graham Hill bend. This is a tricky left-hander as it tightens up and it’s off-camber. Sacrificing some entry speed gives a better line through the corner, which allows you to pick the bike up and accelerate safely to a late exit point on the kerb. It can be highside city coming out of this one so no big handfuls of throttle. It’s then up one gear along this short straight then back down again before braking hard (be careful over the bump when the front suspension is loaded) into Surtees.
This one takes a bit of practice but I use a very late apex to give me the best run onto the following straight. You have to be patient keeping a closed throttle to get back to the inside, but as soon as your knee is over the paint, roll it back on, stand the bike up as you climb up and move out to the kerb on the right. From here stay hard on the gas down towards Hawthorn.
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