Track Guide: SMSP/Eastern Creek Raceway

Eastern Creek or SMSP is an amazing track relatively close to the city as far as race tracks go. It’s has plenty of fast corners but a handful of technical sections where you can pick up plenty of time. Check out how to get the most out of this track.

There are plenty of corners at Eastern Creek where you can improve a lot on your lap times.

Gearing
A common mistake at Eastern Creek is to gear the bike for the super-long front straight. You must gear it for the corners because there are so many second and third gear corners that if the bike isn’t jumping out of them the lap time will never come.


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Grid Position
Not as critical here as some places because there is such a long drag to and through turn one. Most bikes don’t even need to brake for turn one off the start. The ideal position though is on the outside where pole is, or even seventh or eighth which places you on the outside of the second row. A good start can get you around everyone into turn one.

Turn one is a high speed corner where you’ll find yourself braking less and less each lap as you gain confidence.

TURN ONE
This is a really awesome corner regardless of your bike size because it is so fast and open that you can make up so much time through this turn when you get it right and feel comfortable running into it. The bike always gets a little light going into it over the bumps from the dragsters. On the 250 Production bike it was top gear and some say it could be done flat out. I tried it once while leading the Australian Championship race in 1996 and lost the front on the bump that is halfway around it. In Supersport it was fifth or fourth gear depending on gearing and the Superbike was fourth. One of the only real overtaking places is into turn one out of the slipstream and up the inside if your bike is fast enough.

Turn two is tough one, it all depends on what you want out of the next corner with where you place your bike.

TURN TWO
What you could do into turn two depended on your run through turn one. Other than that it’s a pretty boring double apex corner where you could lose more than you could gain if you tried too hard. It’s about getting out of it well then short shifting to get the run over the tunnel that could open up another passing opportunity down the inside.

Turn three is the first right hand corner of the track. Make sure that rear tyre is up to temp before hitting it!

TURN THREE
This is the first right hand corner on the track so you have to make sure the rear is up to temperature because getting the right run through here could open up a passing chance into four. Keeping the front wheel down over the tunnel is an issue on the bigger bikes.

Turn four is another corner that you need to position yourself ready for the next few turns.

TURN FOUR
You need to hit the inside apex early here over the bump because keeping it tight all the way around is important for setting up turn five. Pick the throttle up early through the right but not too aggressive so you can set up turn five in third gear.

Turn Five can be really rewarding when you get it right! It flows really nicely at high speed.

TURN FIVE
As soon as you flick it left, pick up the throttle even before apexing the left to get the run up the hill. Getting it right means you drift out onto the ripple strip exiting the turn. I remember the first time I tested Kev Curtain’s race winning ZX-6R. I was loving the fact that for the first time on the road I could spin the rear in third gear.

In recent years, SMSP have also added a wider run off area so you can take this turn quite wide on the GP layout.

TURN SIX 
Turn Six used to actually be two corners but in recent years SMSP have straightened out the entry and eliminated a turn. Back to second on the ZX-7R Superbike the exit here is really fun in spinning it until it’s upright. The drive is really important out of here because a passing opportunity into turn nine starts here.

Blind on entry over a bit of a rise and as soon as the bike is settled, it’s straight back on the throttle again.”

TURN SEVEN
Corporate Hill, as it was called, is a fun corner on any bike. Blind on entry over a bit of a rise and as soon as the bike is settled, it’s straight back on the throttle again. Many people get in trouble getting into turn seven so it’s one of those turns you have to sacrifice a little going in so you can get a super exit on opening up the possibility of diving up the inside of someone into turn nine.

“I found you can pretty much use any line going into nine without losing anything as long as you get it stopped and can open the throttle quickly on the exit.”

TURN EIGHT
I found you can pretty much use any line going into nine without losing anything as long as you get it stopped and can open the throttle quickly on the exit.

“Really fast entry here that doesn’t need a lot of braking, mostly when you are upright picking it up to tip into turn 10.”

TURN NINE
Really fast entry here that doesn’t need a lot of braking, mostly when you are upright picking it up to tip into turn 10. I found out the hard way grabbing a big handful of brakes just as I tipped in one day on the RGV 250.

Turn 10 can be a tough one to get right as you’re coming off a relatively high speed corner and switching sides.

TURN 10
You need to pay attention to the inside kerb on a Production based bike because I have seen many people touch the case on the inside kerb here and go down. Once into 11 you need to pick the throttle up again drifting out to the kerb before pulling it back in for the entry to turn 11.

When tackling turn 11 on a low powered bike, your exit is everything as it sets you up for the next few corners.

TURN 11
Along with turn one, this is probably the most important corner on the track because the exit out of here determines your straight-line speed and chances of getting a slipstream or stopping someone getting in your slipstream. Getting it turned and pointing down the straight before you open the throttle allows you to open it very quickly and get all the important drive over the rise and down the hill.

OTHER THINGS
Among other things that stand out in my mind at Eastern Creek is the afternoon sun. Any time after about 4:00pm going into turn one becomes pretty tough, along with corporate hill as you’re suddenly blinded going into turn nine.

The most important thing about riding at SMSP is to have fun. It’s a great flowing track.

The pit roof is another unique aspect to Eastern Creek with everybody going up there to watch the races and then running from one side to another to see the bikes come down the straight, over the tunnel and into turn nine.

The lovely NSW Police Force also set up on Brabham Drive under the expressway, at the roundabout and behind the huge spectator mound outside turn one. A cynical person would say that this is purely to book people as they enter and leave the area…


 

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