Three-time British Superbike champ Niall Mackenzie's guide to one of the UK's most challenging race tracks, Oulton Park
With 130mph tree-lined avenues, a heavily banked hairpin and a start finish straight that is actually one long corner, Oulton Park is as special as they come. There’s nothing more spectacular than standing by the exit of Deers Leap when thirty Superbikes appear from nowhere thundering round on their first lap then quickly disappearing again round Old Hall. A short walk will then take you to my favourite spectating point, Cascades. Here you can see bikes and riders decking out everything close up before heading down to Island corner. Then a few seconds later coming back over Hilltop when their rear wheels will be in the air as they brake into the Hislops Chicane.
I’m proud to say, like most circuits in the UK I’ve won 250cc and Superbike races at Oulton Park. I have great memories of swapping paint while battling with Walker, Reynolds and Hislop in the late nineties and not so good memories of falling off a lot when it rained. As with many of the tracks Troy Bayliss visited for the first time, I found he used the weirdest, scariest lines but needless to say they worked. One amusing incident was when I crashed leading the final 250 race of the season momentarily handing the British Championship to my main rival (and flawed genius) Alan Carter. Fortunately I was so far in front he didn’t see. So I hid the bike behind some bales and he crashed on the next lap gifting the Championship back to me. Result!
But less about me and more about riding one of, if not the, most challenging track in Britain. There is no such thing as a straightforward turn here, but don’t be put off. It’s a tricky place to get right but when you begin to get the hang of things, it gets better and better. Here we go...
Posted: 23/03/2013 at 23:52
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