An airfield circuit, Thruxton is one of the fastest tracks in the UK. Once the home of Britain’s major long-distance event, the track has supplied the name to several celebrated British motorcycles. Sadly, in recent years environmental concerns have meant that race meetings are few and far between which means that testing other than at race meetings themselves is almost non-existent.
Despite limited use, Thruxton saw considerable investment prior to the beginning of the 2000 race season, most of which centred around the track being completely resurfaced. Thankfully the new surface removed the treacherous over-banding which in places was as wide as a tyre contact patch and as slippery in the wet as an ice-covered manhole cover. The new surface has also ironed out many of the bumps (although a newcomer to the circuit would find that hard to believe) and has given the track an extremely grippy surface. The compound used is allegedly identical to that laid at Magny Cours, and now that the surface has had a few months to ‘bed in’, lap times have dropped by an incredible two and a half seconds a lap.
While many of the small ripple-type bumps have gone, the big ones are still there and this means that suspension needs to be set to compensate for the increased speed and ferocity of wheel movement. As a general rule it is advisable to run less rebound front and rear at Thruxton than on many of the slower and smoother tracks.
Slightly Jekyll-and-Hyde in character, Thruxton is equally demanding of a rider’s bottle and his machine’s handling. It has perhaps the fastest bend in the country in Church, as well as two of the more intricate sections in The Complex and Club Chicane. Both of these offer excellent spectator viewing. This is a fast circuit so gearing is tall. It is especially important to have a good gear for the drive through Church and up Woodham Hill.