I lived and worked in Germany for a couple of years, and the Hockenheim circuit was less than 45 minutes away. For something like 16 Thursdays each year, they open the circuit to the public for a few hours in the evening. I think the entry to the cicuit is only €3, and 20 minute sessions are €12. It operates on an alternating system of sessions for cars, then bikes, then cars…………. With costs so low to enter, the evenings are massively popular, and there doesn’t seem to be any real regulation as to even a minimum of protective clothing. Every type of bike imaginable can be found there, from Goldwings, to Blades, to 2 strokes, and everything else in between. You can even take a pillion! I remember seeing a Dutch guy with a tricked out TL1000S each time I visited.
I managed to get to several of these evenings, and also a full track day organised by Hein Gericke, as I knew the manager of the local shop in Heilbronn. The weather wasn’t so good on this particular day, but I had new Michelin Pilot Power tyres fitted at the circuit, after the Michelin recall for faulty front tyres, and managed to get in probably 2 hours or more of track time on my ZX10-R, as others chose not to ride in the damp conditions.
The lap starts exiting the pits (on the top left of the picture) and speed builds rapidly until you arrive at the first right hand bend. This is a wickedly tight bend and there is only one fast line through it, although if you have loads of bikes arriving there at the same time, it gets interesting! Once through just nail it, the left hand kink is probably taken at around 200kph increasing to around 240kph (with me on board) before major braking at the 150m mark for the tight right hander. A quick blast to the right hander, another short sprint to the next left hander where it’s easy to get it wrong (and many did), before a right hander onto a shortish, but fast straight, where turn in speed is critical for your line into the stadium section. Hard braking round the left hander, which is an ideal place to dive up the inside of slower riders, then set yourself up for the kink , and be really careful round the final right hander and entry onto the start/finish straight, I nearly had my front wheel taken out from under me several times by some really fast guys with tighter lines and bigger balls than me!! Blitz down the straight but be careful, as it’s very easy to enter the right hander at the end of the straight too quickly, and I managed to go straight on here and onto the run off area, luckily keeping it upright, but entry speed here is critical.
The track is one of my favourites, fast, not too technical, and plenty of opportunities for overtaking. Although I rode it on my RC45, GSXR1000K2 and ZX-10R, the Kawasaki was by far the best ( see picture below). Its’ a great circuit and I had loads of fun there. Yet another circuit I’d like to ride again!
ALPINEBIKER CIRCUIT RATING- 9/10 Fast and fun, a test for the real speed merchants, one of the fastest circuits around!