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Play that track again | 5 classic circuits to spice up today's MotoGP calendar

Gold & Goose
Giacomo Agostini, Belgian 500GP, Spa-Francorchamps, 1975 500 Grand Prix, action [credit - Gold & Goose]

Who doesn’t love a good adventure to somewhere new? The chance to explore a different setting, immerse yourself in a fresh culture and - if you gravitate in MotoGP circles - learn every square inch, apex and toilet location of a new circuit.

That said, is this pursuit of the new getting, you know, a little old? 

What about the greats of the past? The golden oldies? The ‘they don’t make them like they used to’ venues we’ve abandoned over the years…?


Perhaps it’s time to wipe those misty-eyes and campaign for a return to GP circuits we’ve loved and lost over the years… much like these.

2006 British MotoGP at Donington Park [credit - Gold & Goose]
The oft-forgotten Spitfire MotoGP entry leading down Craver Curves... might have won more had the ride-height device hadn't been fitted upside down

🇬🇧 Donington Park, United Kingdom

Silverstone might end up hosting the British MotoGP until the end of time and beyond, but whether it’s 2024 or 3034, it won’t stop purists from campaigning to take the event back to Donington Park.

Indeed, while Silverstone - with its fast, flat and flowing curves - is well suited to today’s high-speed machinery, you can’t help but feel MotoGP is something of an afterthought compared with its headline annual centrepiece of F1.

Donington Park, on the other hand, is a true biker’s circuit with its undulating rollercoaster of a ride layout that provides a challenging thrill for the rider… and allows superior viewing for the spectator too.

While today’s MotoGP might have outgrown the current configuration, Donington Park still boasts some of the sport’s most visually arresting highlights, not least the Craner Curves and the Old Hairpin, especially on a wet British summer's day.


Spa-Francorchamps, Belgian 500GP, action [credit - Gold & Goose]
Flimsy barriers made of hay - check! Knee-height Armco - check! Crowd control akin to going 180mph down Oxford Street - check! The 80s really were Grand Prix racing's golden era...

🇧🇪 Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium

After nearly two decades without front line international two-wheel action among the dense forests of the Belgian Ardennes, motorcycle racing is falling back in love with the iconic Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps.

With a high-speed layout that would be designated ‘expert’ difficulty on any arcade game, Spa-Francorchamps is one of the last few remaining venues that still captures the spirit of motorsport’s heritage with its swooping turns, muscle-squeezing rise-to-falls and breath snatching blind apexes.


A refreshing tonic to today’s newer state-of-the-art circuits designed by committee, with a lap that stretches almost 7km - most of which you spend with only rivals and Mother Nature for company - Spa still puts rider/driver skill, rather than commercial enterprise, at the heart of its pitch.

Alas, rising speeds and the stubbornness of nature led to Spa-Francorchamps slipping off the GP schedule in 1990, but recent modifications geared towards two-wheel racing have already seen the Endurance World Championship recently return, giving fresh hope that MotoGP may soon race through the Belgian countryside once again.

Eddie Lawson wins the 1985 Austrian 500GP at the Salzburgring [credit - Gold & Goose]
Injury by Thermos were a real risk for those spectating at the bottom of that hill...

🇦🇹 Salzburgring, Austria

What is the best way to describe the Salzburgring? Well, how about taking the Red Bull Ring - current home of the Austrian MotoGP -  then flatten it out and stretch it like an elastic band?

Better still, take the late, great Barry Sheene's words instead: "It's like threading a motorcycle through the eye of a needle at 180mph"

(Quite why you'd be combining those two activities is anyone's guess, but watch the video to get an idea anyway...)

Boasting two wobbly ribbon-like stretches masquerading as straights running parallel and adjoined by loops - including a banked curve - at either end, the Salzburgring is the (un)holy(moly) love child of a curious Oulton Park, Thruxton and Brands Hatch threeway.

It may not be the most technical circuit out there, but it certainly tested the nerves of any rider who tackled it on two-wheels…

Yugoslavian 500GP, action [credit - Gold & Goose]
Racing in Yugoslavia brought communism and proper kerbs that could knock teeth out and sense in

🇭🇷 Autodrom Grobnik, Croatia [Yugoslavia]

Better known under its colloquial ‘Rijeka’ title in a nod to its proximity to the Croatian coastal city, Autodrom Grobnik still intrigues some 40 years on from rubbing shoulders on the schedule with capitalist western counterparts under its Yugoslavia Grand Prix moniker.

While Yugoslavia as a nation may have since been sliced and diced, Grobnik nonetheless remains a very active venue today.

While the circuit facility itself hasn’t quite moved with the times, it has at least retained a layout that satisfies a brief of sustaining fast, flat, flowing racing that swings from one direction to the next with only minimal brake intervention. 

1985 South African Grand Prix, Kyalami, Freddie Spencer, action [credit - Gold & Goose]
Were Ford advertisers being paid by the word?

🇿🇦 Kyalami, South Africa

Can a World Championship really be a World Championship without holding at least one race in each continent? 

While the answer to that is open for debate, either way you’d be hard pressed to find anyone to oppose a return to South Africa almost two decades on from Grand Prix racing's most recent visit.

Both Kyalami and Phakisa (Welkom) have played host to Motorcycle Grand Prix racing over the years and either would make a fine re-addition to the MotoGP schedule.

Better still, thanks to the Binder brothers - Brad and Darryn - there are fairly good odds on it happening too, more so now Kyalami has upgraded its facilities and tweaked the layout.

Get a load of what MotoGP at Kyalami might one day look like as Brad Binder heads home with his KTM RC16 in tow to find out for himself [above]…

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