Twice World Champ Andrew Pitt takes us on a corner by corner walk around the tight and bumpy Wakefield Park Raceway... Words: Andrew Pitt, Images Keith Muir, John Smith
Wakefield Park is named after Charles Cheers Wakefield, the founder of Castrol oil and offers one of Australia’s tighter track, located just two hours from Sydney.
Following KC around here in the early days was when I started to realise that rushing in all locked up on a bigger bike wasn’t always the best way because although I liked to be able to close the gap a lot on Kev on the brakes I would lose all of it and more again every time on the exit.
That was when I started to realise I wasn’t using the power on the exit because I couldn’t get the throttle opened. All because I was still trying to get it stopped and all back in line and I was carrying way too much lean angle while Kev was already gone with the throttle fully open.
Overall I really enjoyed riding around on my own at Wakefield Park and loved the layout but racing on it left me a little frustrated trying to find passing places. I would imagine it must be a pretty tough race around there with a field of superbikes unless you had qualified on the front row and got away at the front. Saying that though, compared to some of the BSB tracks I have seen, Wakefield Park absolutely leaves them standing in the shade.
Being honest though, if they can run car races around Wakefield Park, then back in 1997 when I last raced there in my early Supersport days I probably still had a fair bit of my overtaking craft and manoeuvres to learn.
Turn One – Wakefield Park Raceway
Depending on what size bike you are taking through there, this is not really much of a turn and is more of a fast kink. On the ZX-6R it was back one gear from sixth and then rolling the throttle back on slightly before turn two.
Turn Two – Wakefield Park Raceway
After drifting to the outside of the track coming through the turn one kink in fifth, I would pick the bike upright a little to brake in a straight line while shifting back two more gears before tipping into turn two. It is important to release the brakes early here to let it keep rolling and pick up the throttle early to keep the rpms from dropping too low and get a good exit which could allow one of the very few passing chances up the inside into turn three.
Turn Three – Wakefield Park Raceway
On your own (or at a track day) you would approach from the outside white line, shifting back to third for a fast entry but in a racing situation you had to cover yourself a little from someone coming up the inside.
Turn Four – Wakefield Park Raceway
Was simply about pulling it back to the left a bit and shifting back to second and even a mid-track entry was okay here because you tended to park it a little before you started to build speed again through the next series of turns.
Turn Five – Wakefield Park Raceway
After picking it up a little and driving out of turn four over the slight rise, turn five was slightly faster as you went down through the dip that was the apex, all the time being careful not to grind out the cases and foot pegs through here and ending up on your arse in the dirt.
The exit was fun as this was the first of two turns where it would slide and spin a little then shifting to third just before tipping into turn six.
Turn Six & Seven – Wakefield Park Raceway
This turn meant building speed around the right and keeping the bike stable before flicking it left through the fast turn seven.
Depending on the bike and gearing again, but usually it was up to fourth through here to soften the bike slightly under acceleration before grabbing the brakes and back to second for the tight left.
Turn Eight – Wakefield Park Raceway
Here it was basically just a matter of getting it stopped and lining it up for the exit onto the next faster section. After apexing the turn you would get on the throttle smoothly, a little like the 11 and 12 combination at Eastern Creek. Picking up the throttle and letting it run out before pulling it back in to apex again.
Turn Nine – Wakefield Park Raceway
Having shifted up to third on the exit of turn eight and sometimes fourth (again to keep the bike settled), it was then the flick right and on to turn 10.
Turn Ten – Wakefield Park Raceway
This was quite fast and normally meant shifting back a gear so as to not run off the track on the exit but you really needed to be inch perfect through here – outside white line, inside white line and outside white line again to get the run onto the back straight and hopefully create a passing chance into the last turn on the track, the tight second-gear turn 11.