RIDING DIFFERENT BIKES. RACING SOME
What did we say? A great idea? A brilliant idea! So go ahead and book it! Still in doubt? Let us tell you, why track days in Spain in shapes of a pre-season training at Alcarras is a great idea.
What’s better than starting the motorcycling season of 2023 earlier than many other motorcyclists? And to do so underneath the warming Spanish sun? Oh, that magical Spanish sunshine.. The cold beer tastes better, after riding those quick lap times. The soda seems colder. And your bike seems faster.
Before you think this is a sponsored article; it is not. I promise. I simply am so enthusiastic about this event. I’ve been going there for a few years. And it is just an ideal get-a-way for every motorcyclist. This year, it will be my third year in a row. And again, I’m jumping for joy like a little kid.
Those who know me personally, know I’ve got a soft spot for Circuito d’Alcarras. The circuit which lies hidden in the Spanish hills. With a friendly elevation, which gives you just the right amount of butterflies in your stomach when you race down ‘the Waterfall’ after turn 5.
It is a track with flow, and I love that. It has technical bits in it, here and there, without giving you that ‘stop and go’ feeling. The circuit allows you to build up speed, but also provides the right circumstances to work on your technique. A perfect location to ‘get back into it’ after a cold Winter.
It is still cold, from where I’m writing. Our little beloved country – The Netherlands – is still waking up from Winter. After the shortest month – which always seems to be the longest, if you ask me -, March finally arrives. The month in which the first Spring vibes start to show up. And we can’t wait to get back on the motorbikes. If you hop onto them already in the Netherlands, you do so shivering. In Spain, you hop onto that bike with a smile and a relaxed body. I know which choice I would make..
It’s quite easy to get there. You fly to Barcelona, rent a little car and within two to three hours (depending on whether you stop somewhere for lunch or tapas) you arrive at Circuito d’Alcarras.
You can camp at the paddock, like we do with a whole bunch of people. That might sound intense. Camping on a stone parking lot. Yes, it is ‘going back to basics’. But it is also so much fun. Because you are not alone. Far from it! Lots of riders camp on the terrain around the circuit. There is a little sanitary block located on the paddock. It might be simple, but if you get there on time, the shower is really, really hot. Which can be a blessing in the early morning.
Not such a camper? I get that. I had to learn how to camp as well.. Luckily, the little city Lleida isn’t far from the track. Lots of hotels and AirBnB’s can be found there, and also in the countryside around the circuit. So lots of options to choose from.
How you get all your motorbike stuff to Spain? No need to drag it along with you in the plain. They see you coming at the airport..
No. You bring all your motorbike stuff to a certain location, the weekend before you fly to Spain. Book your track days at Racecracks and they will take care of the transport. It is a matter of crating your motorcycle, put all your stuff with it and let’s go!
Not a fan of flying? We used to drive to Alcarras ourselves. We took the van. And brought the motorcycles with us in a trailer or in a stretched van. If you think “Damn.. that’s a long drive.” Well.. I can’t argue with that. It is a long drive. But it is a beautiful route, though.
You cross the countryside of France, which allows your passenger to doze off. And it is just dreamy around and in the Pyrenees. At the foot of the mountains, you come across beautiful rivers and streams, which you drive along on otherwise very good road surfaces. And when you cross the Pyrenees during the day, it is truly magnificent. That makes the journey quite bearable. Good music through your speakers, a drink and a snack in the car and so, that long journey suddenly becomes part of your holiday. And you start enjoying it too.
Is this the year in which you finally start to ride on track? And do you want to book your first track days? Why not do so in Spain?
Circuito d’Alcarras is – in my not so humble opinion – a perfect circuit for novice track riders. You can open the throttle at the start finish straight just enough to satisfy the needs of the speeddemons among us. It’s not an endless straight like the one at Mugello, but just enough to get thrilled.
The circuit has a nice flow to it and a logical layout. That latter might be a bit personal. But to me, it feels natural and logical. No spontaneous changes of direction. No strange lanes. It all makes sense to me.
The elevation in the track gives you some butterflies in your storage, the first time you ride down after turn 5. Is your friend, buddy, father, sister of brother an experience racer? And do you do there together? Then the circuit will also give them the right amount of entertainment.
Is it your very first time on track? Then some very experienced instructors will be waiting for you at Circuito d’Alcarras. Book level 1 with Racecracks, and one of them will take you around safely.
It might be clear by now, that I love track days in Spain. Whenever we get back home, I’m already looking forward to next years Spanish adventures. But is it all really that amazing? Well, sometimes not. We did sleep on the concrete floor of the paddock for 6 days in a row, when our airbed sprung a leak. We cleared the ground of stones, put a thick plastic sheet on it, added blankets under the airbed etcetera. Nothing helped. That leaves you grumpy, trust me.
And we had one weekend in which all it did was rain. And it was very windy at night. So no great sleep, and lots of wet track time during the day. I don’t mind riding on track in the rain. But everything is wet at some point, even your clothing and underwear. You do get a bit tired of that.
We were told that was highly exceptional, and that it was the first time in 25 years that the weather was that bad during that week. So we will hold onto that.
Furthermore, it really is that amazing.
We can be long or short about it. But it’s actually quite simple. Track days in Spain? Pre-season training at Alcarras? Just do it. Book the thing. You won’t regret it. Maybe you will, the year after.. because then you will definitely want to do it again. And you just have to have the money for that.
Although track days in Spain are cheaper than they are in the Netherlands. However, you still have to go there, of course.
But you could do so following the Budget Riders principle: go camping. Despite not being a camper by any means, I thoroughly enjoy camping at Circuito d’Alcarras. Who would have thought – that asphalt, stone and a shared sanitary block would have so much charm. You have to experience it to get it. Will you be one of the insiders this year? Book that training course!
Want to read more? Read our detailed article about racing at Circuito d’Alcarras.