Brands Hatch, Kent
Set in rolling down land countryside, heavily wooded in parts, Brands Hatch is London's own circuit. Originally a grass-track venue, it has evolved into one - or, rather, two - of the most spectacular race tracks to be found anywhere.
This year we see the change of one of the most demanding corners, Dingle Dell. It has been straightened out and although still a challenge due to the blind entry, old racers will have bored young racers looking for the door when reminiscing about "how it used to be so much harder". It's still a test and now faster than ever - but with better run-off.
The short or 'Indy' circuit boasts the best spectating in racing. From Paddock Hill, nearly the entire track can clearly be seen, with the most dramatic corner Paddock Hill Bend - in the immediate foreground. Although often thought of as a head banging 'scratchers' track, it is in fact extremely technical, with each bend flowing into the next. A fluent riding style pays dividends, but total commitment is also required.
Despite sharing several corners, the long 'Grand Prix' circuit is surprisingly different in character. Much faster, it hurtles through mature woodland in a manner more reminiscent of Zolder.
Both circuits are also very three-dimensional. As well as steep hills, cambers are extreme in places (only Shell bend at Oulton Park comes close). Only a walk around the circuit reveals how pronounced they really are.
On the Indy circuit it pays to gear for corners rather than straights, of which there are few. Some riders opt for gearing similar to Snetterton - and then don't use top. For the GP circuit, most teams gear for top speed through Pilgrims Drop.
Completely resurfaced in 1998, Brands now offers superb grip and far fewer bumps than before. In 1999 Graham Hill Bend was completely redesigned, partly to slow traffic but mainly to straighten the exit, to eliminate the potential risk of a highside in close proximity to the inside paddock wall.
Brands is not unduly demanding of a bike's handling. The main problem for production bikes is usually one of ground clearance, accentuated by the occasional crucial bump (as at Paddock). Ride height may have to be increased.
Map and Directions
Easy access, just 3 miles from Junction 3 of the M25, then onto the A20, Brands Hatch is adjacent to West Kingsdown. The A20 also leads to the circuit from the South. On busy race weekends the brown signs are supplemented by the blue RAC ones. Parking is plentiful, but delays can occur when leaving the track.
Lap Record Holders
Brands Hatch Indy Club Lap Records
|250GP||Jason Davis||Yamaha TZ250||49.19||87.67||22-Mar-09|
|250NGC||Gary Vines||Honda RS 250||52.72||81.80||18-Mar-12|
|600cc||Max Hunt||Honda 600||48.13||89.60||20-Mar-11|
|Open||Jonathan Howarth||Kawasaki 1000||47.55||90.70||20-Mar-11|
|Sound of Thunder||Daniel Cooper||Triumph 600SS||47.92||90.00||21-Mar-10|
|Powerbikes||Phil Bevan||Yamaha 1000||47.60||90.60||22-Mar-09|
|1300 S'stocks||Hilary Philips||Suzuki GSXR 1000||49.16||87.72||22-Mar-09|
|700 S'Stocks||Daniel Frear||Yamaha R6||50.88||86.26||16-Jun-07|
|Pre Injection 1300||Michael Hobbs||Yamaha R1||52.15||80.24||18-Mar-12|
|Pre Injection 700||Tom Nethercott||Suzuki GSXR 600||56.08||76.90||18-Mar-12|
|Open 450||Kyle Ryde||Honda RS125||50.47||85.45||20-Mar-11|
|F400||Simon Gates||Yamaha FZR400||51.07||86.42||12-Jun-05|
|Open 500||Arnie Shelton||Honda RS125||59.02||73.03||16-Mar-13|
|400 S'stocks||Chris Beverley||Honda CBR400||53.91||81.41||17-Jun-07|
|Formula 125cc||Connor Moody||Aprilia RS 125||59.09||72.89||20-Mar-11|
|125cc||Kyle Ryde||Honda RS125||50.16||85.98||20-Mar-11|
|Mini Twins||Daniel Brill||Suzuki SV650||52.57||83.49||25-Jun-06|
|GP45||Chris Harrison||Aprilia SXV||54.11||79.70||20-Mar-11|
|GP45 Single||Matthew Andrew||Suzuki GP45||54.55||79.06||18-Mar-12|
|Open Newcomers||Joshua Day||Yamaha R6||51.79||84.74||17-Jun-07|
|Mini Twin Newcomers||Sean Montgomery||Suzuki SV650||59.40||72.60||16-Mar-13|
|500 Newcomers||Simon Wilkins||Honda CBR 400||1.02.25||69.28||16-Mar-13|
|400 Newcomers'||Chris Beverley||Honda CBR 400||53.77||81.62||17-Jun-07|
|Sidcars Open||Holland/Watson||LCR SUZUKI 1000||49.55||87.03||18-Mar-12|
|Sidecars F2||Dongworth/Partridge||Ireson Honda 600||51.42||83.87||21-Mar-09|
|Solo||Jonathan Howarth||Kawasaki 1000||47.55||90.70||20-Mar-11|
|Sidecars||Holland/Watson||LCR SUZUKI 1000||49.55||87.03||18-Mar-12|