Best Places to Watch

Whether a motorcycle enthusiast or not, you will experience roadracing like nowhere else in the region. Nothing replaces the sound of bikes screaming through track, battling for position while watching from multiple angles around the track. Each corner has a different vantage point to enhance your perspective and enrich your experience.

(For a detailed map of where each corner resides at BIR – check out the BIR Track Map.)

Turn 1: Ahh, the legendary Turn 1. Turn 1 in the Donnybrooke configuration is the fastest turn on any road course in the country, with the fastest bikes topping 180mph before turn entry. Definitely try to spend some time here, it’s especially exciting watching the entire pack dice for position at the start of a race. If you listen closely, you will be able to hear who backs off and who doesn’t.

Turn 2: Some riders will tell you that Turn 2 is more challenging than Turn 1. Riders begin this turn at approximately 140mph with rider dragging their knee throughout. The friction between the track and the knee sliders at those speeds has been known to turn hard plastic sliders into a molten mess by the end of a race. It’s also worth noting that some of the faster Unlimited class riders will actually spin their rear tire all the way through Turn 2 in order to help them steer the bike. Keep an eye out for some of the Unlimited class front runners to see if there is smoke coming off of their rear tire as they spin it up!

Turn 3: The first “slow” corner on the track. If you watch near the entrance to the turn, you can see the faster riders lifting their rear wheels into the air as they brake as hard as possible. Since this is the first turn that riders brake for after the start of a race there is always a fair share of excitement, and crashes, as the mass of riders charge into this great passing zone.

Turn 4: The bleachers here offer a great vantage point of turns 3-6 and are a great location to see a good portion of the lap. When the Donnybrooke configuration is being used, look behind you towards Turn 1 as the riders speed through. Seeing them flash between the trees will give you a much better appreciation of how fast they’re actually traveling.

Turn 5: The layout of the turn 4/5 combination lends itself to some aggressive passing in Turn 5 as there are multiple lines to negotiate through this turn. Some riders enter Turn 5 on the inside of the corner to block a potential passing opportunity for the riders behind them, but in doing that they won’t be able to exit as quickly giving the riders behind a chance to out-power them on the run to Turn 6. A strategic corner that can provide great excitement!

Turn 6: The bleachers here are a great place to watch from, especially if you have binoculars. Sitting in the top left-hand corner will allow you to look upstream at the action from Turn 1 through Turn 3. You’ll also be able to watch the bikes from the exit of Turn 3 all the way to the entrance into Turn 7 from this vantage point.

Turn 7: This corner requires a rider to put a lot of trust in the front tire of his motorcycle as they begin slowing down for Turn 8 while still turning through the left-handed Turn 7. This corner will allow you to see who is the most comfortable with the setup of their bike as the riders that are confident in their machine will negotiate the turn visibly quicker than those that aren’t.

The track separates in Turn 8. Immediately below are the highlights of the corners on the Competition Course. The Donnybrooke course highlights are listed after the Competition Course highlights.

Competition Course

Turn 8: “The Carousel”. One of the most popular places to watch the action from is from the paddock area by “The Carousel” (and “The Joker”). It begins its life on the Donnybrooke course but continues turning right where the Donnybrooke course goes straight. High lean-angles are the order of the day in this corner as riders have the increased traction provided by the newer pavement. This corner leads into Turn 9, otherwise known as “The Joker” and lends itself to some great passing maneuvers – and showcases the results of failed great passing maneuvers!

Turn 9: “The Joker”. This very tight left hand turn was added to the track to change the trajectory of the motorcycles and prevent them from exiting the carousel pointed directly at a wall. “The Joker” is one of the more difficult turns on the track for riders because they have to slow dramatically toward the end of the turn while still leaned over.

Turn 10/11: This is the final combination of turns before the finish line (the finish line is located between Turn 11 and Turn 12 on the Competition Course) and a race can be won or lost depending on how fast a rider can get through this section.

Turn 12: One of the premier spectating points on the track is from either side of the bridge going over the track just after Turn 12. Please note that standing directly over the track on the bridge is not allowed. This corner is one of the best passing opportunities on the track. It’s a very tricky corner that will showcase a rider’s skill level and riding discipline.

Turn 13: Exiting this corner correctly is very important to a rider’s lap time as it is followed by the longest straightaway on the track. Look for riders to “set up” the pass of the rider in front of them by initiating the turn slightly later to be able to accelerate faster than their competition down the straightaway.

Donnybrooke Course

Turn 8: Turn 8 leads onto the short straightaway approaching Turn 9. Holding high corner speed and being able to quickly accelerate out of Turn 8 will allow you to set up a passing opportunity under braking for Turn 9.

Turn 9: Another great spot with tall bleachers to view all the close-up action. It’s the slowest corner on the Donnybrooke Course which will see most riders as low as second gear. Turn 9 is another great passing opportunity as riders brake as hard as they can before throwing the bike on its side and turn into what is essentially a driveway! The more powerful bikes (Middleweight, Heavyweight and Unlimited classes) will often power wheelie as they accelerate out of this turn.

Turn 10: The fence outside Turn 10 or inside by the Wheelie Bar is also an excellent spot for some great racing action. You can see and hear the bikes accelerate hard out of Turn 9 and watch as the riders set up passes going into Turn 10. This turn is the key to a fast lap at BIR since a good exit speed gives riders maximum speed down the mile-long straight, and is the key area for last-lap strategy as racers try to prevent a pass before the checkered flag. Take note of the dark patches on the inside of the corner. This is a sealant that offers additional grip in the dry, but when it’s wet or cold it becomes VERY slick!

It’s always exciting to watch a couple of sprint races from the grandstands right at the Start/Finish line on both sides of the track. The standing starts will be sure to get your heart pumping, and you will be able to see who gets the best launch and who blows it. It’s also exciting to watch racers fighting each other coming out of Turn 10 and dicing right to the checkered flag!

While at the track make sure you tune into 87.9 FM while we are running on the Competition Course or 105.3 FM while we are running on the Donnybrooke Course to hear all of the announcements!

For more information about Brainerd International Raceway please see our “About BIR” section, or click here!