Knockhill may be small, but it is mighty. Hidden deep in the heart of Scotland, the 1.3 mile rodeo has all the makings for an incredible race track, and now it’s been re-surfaced, it’s better than ever…
How to master the best of British circuits. This month: Knockhill.
It may look like a straight, but it’s incredibly up and down. As you come over the crest where the start line is you’ll want to be the middle of the track coming over to the left – don’t be completely on the right as the bump is bigger. Try and aim your eye-line to be at pit exit, and get over as close as you can – ideally, if you want a fast time and there’s no traffic aim to be on the pit exit line as you hit the brakes at about at the end of pit wall, or just after.
On the entry to Duffus Dip BSB actually banned riders from using pitlane exit, but on a trackday use as much of it as possible, drift onto it and you’ll avoid the bump which is on the left as you hit the brakes... just remember it is dangerous though so keep an eye out for riders coming onto the track. On a big bike you’ll be looking to probably shift down to third, before tipping in just before the pit lane exit disappears. You’ll be tipping in blind, so although it looks like you won’t stop the corner opens out, and the trick is to be brave. The best line through this section is to catch the apex at the widest point and let the front run through, as even if you run deep you can gather it back on the left. You can run the inside kerb if needs be, but if it’s wet tip in later with less trail braking – and be careful as the rear wants to come round over the top. This is also a great place to set up a pass for turn three, so gas it as you hit the apex.
If you’ve run into Duffus dip too hot you can run all the way to the left without using run off, but if you’ve scrubbed off enough speed you can power through all the way into Scotsman. The track is downhill now so be mindful and aim to apex where the kerb sticks out the most, carrying as much speed through as you dare – although don’t go wider than the middle of the track on exit as you want to be braking upright for Scotsman.
Just as you exit Leslie’s pick the bike up; it is deceptive but Scotsman is a really hard braking, downhill corner – and you don’t realise the camber until you walk it. It’s off camber and easy to lose the front, so try and get a load of braking done while upright and shift down if possible to help scrub the speed. Get as far over to the left as you can and aim to turn in about halfway down the kerb. Get plenty of turning done before you get on the gas. Use all the track on exit, as you’re never fully upright when heading into Butcher’s so you’ll want to treat it as one long corner.
Run the kerb all the way through the exit of Scotsman on the way into here. You can either chop the throttle for a split second or drive through here depending on the power of your bike, although don’t be too aggressive as it can unsettle things as you’re on the kerb. Turn in hard a few metres before the end of the outside kerb and make sure the front is loaded with a semi throttle, aiming to clip the apex at the point it sticks out the most, before driving hard all the way up the chicane. Being aggressive won’t work on the exit here, so try and drag it back to the white line on the right side as much as you can, and in a
perfect world you’ll end up in around the middle of the track as the bike wants to fire left.
Arnold Clark 6 Chicane
The first turn is left then the track curves right over a crest, so do your best meerkat impression to look for the exit kerb as it’s a chicane that you’ll want to straight line as much as possible. On the way up aim for the very inside of the kerb and carry as much of the left kerb as possible – just make sure you don’t do too much turning while on the paint as it can get a little hairy. As soon as you get to the crest of the hill the rear will go light, so as soon as you hit the left kerb, let the bike settle and get it turned right as hard as you can – using all the kerb on the right apex up to the big sausage and then gas it hard all the way to the exit through the right. The track has a negative camber on exit but the kerb is almost a neutral so if you can, use the exit kerb as a berm! Just remember to avoid using the big old sausage kerbs though.
The exit’s completely blind here again, so be as brave as you can on the anchors – it’s uphill so you can go in pretty hard. The tip in point is halfway down the kerb on the outside here, so be as near to there as possible and brake late and deep, otherwise your exit will be buggered. The track’s off camber so the front wants to break away, but it’s uphill so it’s a strange feeling as the track is almost going away from you and coming for you at the same time.
This means you have to be mindful when pushing; it’s easy to tuck the front. Clip the apex just about where the sausage kerb finishes, and as soon as you can see the exit get the thing stood up and hit the gas hard. If you’re greedy it’s easy to get into all sorts of shenanigans here, so if it’s easier, try to carry as much speed as possible through the turn using all the track on the exit.
It may seem like a rest here, but it really isn’t! The trick is not to come out too wide as the track sweeps left, otherwise you have to throw it really hard left while braking into the hairpin – just where you want to be upright. Be tucked in, but don’t get complacent as it isn’t a straight – you’ll be carrying lean so be mindful as the rear can still break loose, so stay in the middle of the track, be smooth and keep it turning. The last sort of 500m is straight, and here’s a great place for an overtake.
9 Taylor’s hairpin
Stay over to the left and hit the anchors about 20m after the track straightens out, braking as hard as you can and bust it through all the gears – all the way down to first on a big bike. Be mindful that there’s a big wide bit of track here so it doesn’t matter too much if you outbrake yourself here; there’s room to play with when working out your braking marker. It’s a weird corner as the tighter you go, the better the camber is, whereas the wider you come in the more you can flow – so you can play around with lines as well, it really isn’t a one line corner. Turn in a few metres down the outside kerb and as you release the brakes the track comes to you thanks to the camber. It’s so aggressive that the forks will be completely compressed! It’s incredibly slow here, so roll through and don’t be greedy as there is a small crest on the exit. Apex as late as possible (ideally where the kerb thins out) and as you come over the second part do your very best Dani Pedrosa impression at getting the bike stood up and fired out. You can use all the kerb on exit if needs be.
It’s hard work over here, as there’s two big crests that will want you to wheelie into oblivion on a big bike. On the exit of Taylor’s hairpin aim over to the right hand side here, and straight over to where the rallycross section joins the track, as the right side has a smoother crest. After the first one, start making your way back over to the left again for turn one!
Nup, Frodo still can't get his knee down.
Keep off them dirty kerbs.
Watch for highsides on the exit of the chicane.
Pretty Boy showing off his cornering prowess.
As blind as you like.
You can soon run out of the track on the exit of the hairpin.