Mallory Park

is a motor racing circuit situated in the village of Kirkby Mallory, just off the A47, between Leicester and Hinckley. With the full car circuit measuring only 1.35 miles (2.173 km) it is amongst the shortest permanent race circuits in the UK. However, chicanes introduced to reduce speeds in motorcycle events mean that the Superbike Circuit is slightly longer, at 1.41 miles (2.269 km). Shorter UK circuits are Lydden Hill, Brands Hatch Indy circuit, Scotland’s Knockhill and Silverstone’s diminutive Stowe circuit.

The circuit started life as a pony trotting circuit in the late 1940s, which defined the outline of the oval track still in use today. After the financial collapse of the equestrian club responsible for the circuit, the track was hired by various motorcycle clubs for grass track motorcycle and motorcycle sidecar racing. The circuit was converted to a metalled, road racing venue following the purchase of the site by Clive Wormleighton in 1955.

Throughout the Sixties and Seventies, the circuit hosted almost every major British car and bike championship. Famously, the Bay City Rollers played a concert during a BBC-organised ‘Fun Day’ on May 18th, 1975, on a stage specifically constructed in the middle of the lake.

Today the circuit is used for a host of different events, most notably track days, both public and corporate, and has for the last 25 years been the home of the UK’s largest operator of track days, everyman racing.

The circuit has a number of formations, founded on a basic one-mile oval, with the majority of configurations including the northerly extension to the tight, 180° Shaw’s Hairpin. At the other end of the circuit lies the long right-hand Gerard’s Bend. Gerard’s is about a third of a mile long and turns through nearly 200°. It was named after local racing hero Bob Gerard, who opened the newly reconstructed circuit on 25 April 1956. Unusually, there are a number of large lakes occupying approximately half of the circuit infield. Despite its short length and Shaw’s Hairpin, the tightest corner of any UK track, (other than the hairpin on Cadwell Park’s short circuit,) Mallory is a fast circuit. To reduce speeds for motorcycle racing a pair of chicanes have been introduced, together with a revised exit to Gerard’s. Edwina’s was added toward the end of the straight following Gerard’s, named after former managing director of the circuit Edwina Overend, and the Bus Stop Chicane on the descent to the sweeping left kink, the Devil’s Elbow, a blind, downhill, off camber left-hander before the start–finish line on Kirkby Straight. In 2003 a new complex was added toward the end of Gerard’s curve. This sequence of bends was designed to reduce speeds on entry to Edwina’s, and to prevent motorcycles from colliding as they jockey for position into the chicane.

Annually in October, The Festival of Sidecars takes place. No solo machines compete, but sidecars of all categories are entered, including three-wheelers such as those made by the Morgan Motor Company.

Mallory Park does not have any true permanent garage facilities, although there are a handful of open garages in the pitlane.

Adjacent to the road course is a purpose-built motocross circuit which played host to the British Motocross Grand Prix in 2008. The event was being organised by off-road promotions company RHL, who originally planned to use the former Grand Prix circuit at Foxhill, near Swindon, until it became apparent that the infrastructure at the Wiltshire venue would not be sufficient for such a high profile event.

The event was seen as a success by fans, with over 30,000 fans in attendance over the weekend, and it is hoped that Grand Prix events will continue at the circuit for the foreseeable future.

 

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