Motorcycle Track Guides

Motorcycle Track Guide: Mallory Park

Learn the fastest line around the friendly Mallory Park circuit with Niall Mackenzie

Mallory Park may only be 1.3 miles long but this famous Leicestershire circuit will still give you plenty of thrills per lap. Although cars still race on the original circuit, bikes have to use the Edwina and Bus Stop chicanes however these sections are good fun and provide interesting challenges for riders. For BSB an additional chicane (Charlies) is incorporated mid way through Gerards which I feel is a waste of time as it seems to cause more crashes than it prevents.

Like Cadwell Park, Mallory’s high bankings provide excellent spectator viewing especially near the hairpin where you stand virtually above riders as they attempt  to muscle their machines round one of the tightest turns in the UK.  And then there is the legendary Mallory Café where the lovely, ‘mature’ ladies prepare the best English Breakfasts and lunchtime Shepherd’s Pie. I have to say on my last visit the old boy serving me sneezed on my chips but as Pig Flu didn’t ensue I’ve let him off.

Although I’ve won on 250s, 350s and Superbikes round Mallory my most memorable race was in 1998 when I was slugging it out for the win with Troy Bayliss. He lost the front half way round the hairpin and I landed on top of him causing a traffic jam for the guys behind. Normally I would have been well pissed off but it was pretty funny plus I always found there was very little to dislike about Bayliss.

At a brisk pace you’ll get round Mallory Park in under a minute however a lot of action will be packed into that sixty seconds and you’ll feel it. The short straights, heavy braking and physical chicanes give a good work out so make sure you quit when you feel tired. On hot days I always fancy a dip in the lake. But then if Les McKeown and Great Uncle Bulgaria have been in there then maybe it’s not such a good idea.

Over the years ‘the friendly circuit’ has held some big meetings but Mallory’s crowning glory and the one closest to my heart was back in 1975. Nearly 50,000 people witnessed the Tartan clad Bay City Rollers performing ‘Bye Bye Baby' while the Wombles bombed round the lake in a speedboat. That was proper rock and roll, man...

Sector One

Sector One: Start/Finish to Gerrards

You’ll be in 4th or 5th gear along the Kirkby straight while moving over to the left and looking for the 100m sign to use as a peel in point for entering the ultra-fast Gerrards. It’s best to click back one gear as this gives gentle engine braking, helping to pull you into this right hander.

On more powerful bikes you’ll need some front brake but one finger is enough just to steady things up as you pass over the ripples on the corner entry. It’s important to build up your entry pace here as I’ve seen so many riders rush in, panic, grab too much brake and hit the deck, when they could have easily made it round.

Take your time because although there is plenty of run off, bikes tend to cartwheel at this one – quite often the next stop for your bike is the paddock skip. Once over the bumps and settled, catch the throttle as soon as possible and drift into the middle section of the track. You need stay away from the joins in the track otherwise you’ll get the tramline effect and be all over the place.

Once into that middle section try to build some corner speed and stay on that line until around three quarters of the way round. At this point grab another gear and start to pull the bike to the inside, squaring off the last part of Gerards that leads onto the Stebbe straight. At this point you can get hard on the gas as the bike is becoming more upright but once again build up to this as it is easy to run out of tarmac on the exit. Once on to the back straight you immediately have to head diagonally back to the right hand side in readiness for hard braking before getting back to 2nd gear for the Edwinas Chicane.

Sector Two

Sector Two: Edwinas to John Cooper Esses

Sweeping across from the very right hand edge of the track you must discipline yourself for a slow in/fast out approach at this one. Rushing in will push you wide so your track position for the right flick and corner exit will be all wrong. You should practice going in real slow as this will allow plenty of time to heave the bike over to the right and set you up for a safe and clean run out along the next tiny straight.

Use all of 2nd gear before changing up to 3rd just before you peel into the fast right of the John Cooper Esses. With sticky tyres my R6 is nearly flat out through here but a good level of throttle feel is necessary to get the line just right.

Once through the right you should draw a straight line to the left apex then on up the hill. Although this is a full throttle section this fast left hander should always be given respect especially on opening laps as there will be no temperature in this side of your tyre. I remember seeing David Jefferies high siding here and feeling the ground shudder fifty metres away.

It is then a simple case of following the white line on the left all the way to the hairpin and practising late braking over the bumps on the way in. If you are on a big bike and have some grunt on tap then 2nd gear will be fine, however, if you find you need to go back to 1st then leave that last back-shift as late as possible to reduce rear end judder while braking over the bumps.

Sector Three

Sector Three: Esses to Shaw's hairpin

The Shaw’s hairpin is cambered so you can let the brakes off quite early and you’ll still be pushed into the apex. The best line is quite a wide turn in before squaring the corner off so that you exit mid-track setting yourself up nicely for the Bus Stop.

If you are on a big bike and have some grunt on tap then 2nd gear will be fine, however, if you find you need to go back to 1st then leave that last back-shift as late as possible to reduce rear end judder while braking over the bumps.

The Shaw’s hairpin is cambered so you can let the brakes off quite early and you’ll still be pushed into the apex. The best line is quite a wide turn in before squaring the corner off so that you exit mid-track setting yourself up nicely for the Bus Stop.

Sector Four

Sector Four: Bus Stop to Start/finish

If you exit the hairpin in 1st gear then you should change up to 2nd as you feel the front end go light and aim for the left hand painted kerb of the Bus Stop. A quick dab of front brake will ease you into this tight right then you’ll immediately have to get over the left side of the bike and aim for the left hand kerb.

These kerbs are slightly raised so don’t attack this part of the track too or it could bite back big time. I like to run quite wide and roll the throttle open while exiting the chicane then pull back to the middle of the track for Devils Elbow. Turning tight to the left might be shorter and make you accelerate harder but this is high risk and will be harder on tyres.

Also being leant over to the left makes changing up through the gears tricky so I shift to third early and wait until I’m heading down the hill before grabbing 4th. This may sound daft but always concentrate on where you are going here because as your speed increases the left turn tightens so that outside barrier looms quicker than you think. The pit lane garages will then flash past as you complete the lap and its then back over to the left to begin the next.

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