Winton is an exciting track in rural Victoria, often seeing ASBK championship battles heat up as there’s no room for error. One mistake will often send you to the back of the pack, so here’s how to get the most out of a lap at Winton Raceway.
Into the Motorsport Esses could present you with a real chance to get past someone even on the first lap, but it was still a bit desperate and you had to lock it all up and somehow get through the chicane and out the exit on the black stuff.
On a flying lap I took it in third because it was quite a fast chicane and second would have slowed me down too much. Third on the exit seemed a little lazy but the boys assured me I wasn’t losing out up the hill to the finish line.
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I am going to call Turn three the old Turn one (Honda Corner) up on top of the rise where the grid was when I raced there.
So it was all about braking on the outside of the track and back to second, while tipping in – trying to apex where the track dips away on the inside. This corner has a really nice camber allowing you to pick up the throttle early, driving towards Turn four. You had to watch a little on the exit as you drifted towards the outside of the track when the camber flattened and the rear tyre would step out a little just as you were picking it up.
Still in second for Turn four grabbing just a little brake to wash some speed off and pull it into the apex setting yourself up for a really good hard exit carrying as much momentum into the long fast Turn five.
Exiting Turn four I would grab third gear as the front was going light trying to pull it over to the right for the entry of Turn five.
Turn five was where you could really get some time especially on the run in on the front but to do this you needed confidence in your front tyre and setup. I found the best way was to run in quite fast trying not to grab too much brake as washing speed off then meant you needed to crack the throttle early again to get the momentum up again.
It was easy to panic a little getting in there really fast and grab too much front braking on the side of the tyre. I saw a lot front lockups there and bikes cart wheeling through the infield. The trick was to get as far around the corner as you could on your entry speed, then picking up the throttle later just to keep it rolling along.
The next flick through this section reminds me a lot of the uphill left right over the hill at Wanneroo where you need hold it tight around the left until exactly the moment when you flick it right and try to straight line it through. Though it is a bit easier at Winton because it is flat and you can see the right. Hold third through here and rev it all the way to the limiter on the outside of the track before grabbing the brakes while straightening up, to be able to brake as hard as possible for the Turn seven hairpin.
Turn seven was one of the few passing spots at Winton because it is mostly a one line track but here if you had gotten the previous two corners right you could find yourself with an unexpected chance to jump up the inside of someone. Honestly if you had made a really good job of Turns five and six you could be almost alongside someone before you grabbed the brakes. It was critical to get it stopped here though because if you missed the apex just by a metre then who ever you passed would be back past you.
This next corner was where you just needed to give it a smooth, gentle little squirt from apex to apex and letting it run in and around the corners, trying not to stop/start it too much. This was where Kev was good. I did all this in second thinking it felt slow but actually it turned out to be the quick way through it all smooth and keeping the bike balanced.
Turn nine had you approaching a bit faster and braking hard into the apex to hit the apex and set up for a run along the short straight and maybe try and get up the inside of someone but when you are racing factory Ducatis on Michelin tyres you’re kidding yourself if you even think you can stay close to them on acceleration. Especially with jockey size Craig Connell on one! Even though Steve Martin had to carry quite a few more kilos there was no keeping up with him on acceleration either. Around somewhere like Winton with all the stop/starts it was the never-ending stretching rubber band game. They would jump away out of the turns and I would pull it all back on the brakes.
Turn 10 was back from third into second again trying to get it stopped because if you missed your apex just a little you lost so much exit speed down the next little straight trying to stay on the track and get the throttle open.
TURN 11 & 12
Turn 11 was exactly the same if you rushed in too fast shifting back from fourth to second you ran out too wide on the exit and couldn’t open the throttle between 11 and 12. So it was a matter of outside white line braking into turn 11, then inside white line apex, drifting out to outside white line while picking up the throttle before 12 and then trail braking into the inside white line apex for 12 to get that exit onto the start/finish straight.
The ZX-7 could stretch its legs slightly more here getting into fourth for only the second time all lap and into fifth for the only time.