Your guide to Hidden Valley
Looks are deceiving with the beauty often hidden underneath and that’s a fitting analogy for the Hidden Valley circuit.
From the outside Hidden Valley doesn’t appear to be all that special. Unlike Phillip Island, where even from the outside, it’s obvious it’s a brain-warp of a racetrack. Hidden Valley only comes into its own when you’ve ridden it.
Featuring an ultra-long straight with a hairpin at the end combined with an ever tighter hairpin at half lap distance, with a few corners to link it together, one may be forgiven for thinking there isn’t too much to it.
Heading out on track to discover first-hand the character of the corners soon gives a vastly different perspective.
Hidden Valley may be short in distance at 2.8km, but it is extremely demanding; Accuracy, commitment, aggression and courage are the requirements for a good lap of the circuit that many riders consider one of the very best ribbons of bitumen in Australia.
The heat adds another dimension, to be able to keep up the same pace at maximum intensity over race distance, while still managing your tires, knowing that the heat and humidity will take its toll on them as well.
Many have related that the drag off the start line to turn one, so far in the distance through the heat haze, can be very exhilarating.
Sitting on the start line, the heat reflecting off the tarmac, the heat rising from the engine, the sweat dripping in your eyes, and trickling down your back, baking in your leathers, looking at the red start lights, silently pleading for the starter to ‘Start the bloody race!’
Then you’re off, the hot air flows through your leathers and the long charge to turn one, elbows out in the drag race and hopefully everyone funnels through into turn one.
The 1km long main straight starts the challenge on a flying lap. On the DesmoSport Ducati last year Oli Bayliss was registering 301 km/h with the V4 R spinning 16,000 rpm in top gear before the bravery of late braking takes over for the critical turn one.
There’s a number of different lines through this critical corner; You can either make a very late apex or make it a double apex corner, with a few other options depending on the race situation.
Whatever line it is, the exit after pick-up from a mid corner speed of 80 km/h defines the run and top speed through the uphill esses to Turns 2, 3 and 4 it is an exhilarating run, clicking a gear and keeping the throttle wide open as you change direction from left to right to left then a short blast before getting hard on the picks to line up the right angle T5.
The bike transitions through around 45-degree of lean either side as you thread your way through 2-3-4 and hit a maximum of 225 km/h before hitting the picks for turn five.
There’s a great passing opportunity in the run to T5, but if you get it wrong going in too early, or too tight, you can lose momentum as you run it wide on the exit which stuffs the line into T6. It also helps to stay mid track on entry to miss the braking bumps caused by the tin tops and keep the bike more settled as you tip in. The apex speed for turn five is 88 km/h and during the record lap with Oli Bayliss last year he ran second gear all the way from the exit of turn one right through to turn six, with a top speed of 172 km/h between T5-6.
T6 is another heavy braking place and good passing opportunity, but it helps not to focus too much on getting through here too quick as its simple to out brake yourself going in too hard, if you do it’s very easy to run wide and stuff up the entry into the T6 hairpin. This is one of the slowest corners on the calendar with an apex speed even on Oli’s record lap of only 57 km/h in first gear.
From the hairpin part two of the lap commences, out of first gear, short shift to the next gear for the drive needed through towards turn seven, or ‘Ducati’ as the locals like to call it after a local demolished his red steed on the exit. You can’t see the exit until you are hitting the apex. The later you can make that apex the better. Oli hit 141 km/h before turn seven and a lowest speed of 124 km/h through the 7-8-9 complex with a shift to third gear between T7 and T8.
The lap then takes on another dimension with the run up to turn 10, after negotiating the right-left kink of T8 and 9. Here Oli hit 206 km/h before T10.
Turn 10 is one of the most exhilarating turns in Australia. A real heart in mouth moment as you tip it in. We have seen plenty of determined passing moves at this spot and no doubt it will come into play again this weekend.
It is a vitally important as this sets you up for the final part of the lap, but it’s so easy to misjudge and run out of bitumen. Get turn 10 wrong and you can easily run wide as the track goes slightly off-camber and pushes the bike wide, which means you have to get off the gas, instead of feeding it on for the charge down through the next three corners, that can almost be ‘straight-lined’, before the final tight left-hander at T14 to bring you back onto the ‘drag race’ straight.
Oli got as low as 103 km/h through T10 and T11 and nudged 160 km/h thorugh that next run of turns before the final corner where he dropped right down to 84 km/h before starting his run down the kilometer long straight.
Then it is time to breathe as the fun starts all over again. If the ASBK boys are on it then a time of under 66-seconds will appear on their dash as they cross the start-finish line to do it all again…
A special thanks to Shane at DesmoSport Ducati for looking through Oli’s data trace from his record lap last year to give us the speed, gear and lean angle information to help us try and get this right.
ASBK On-Track Schedule Darwin
Add half an hour to times for eastern seaboard AEST
Free Practice 1: 8:50am (30 min)
Free Practice 2: 11:45am (30 min)
Free Practice 3: 2:55pm (35 min)
Qualifying 1: 9:10am (20 min)
Qualifying 2:9:35am (15 min)
Race 1: 1:10pm (16 laps)
Race 2: 10:00am (16 laps)
Race 3: 1:55pm (16 laps)
Hidden Valley ASBK TV Schedule
The slightly different format of the Hidden Valley event – where there are three races instead of the usual two- also has slightly different TV times and broadcasters.
In 2022, Fox Sports Australia will broadcast live nearly every on-track session plus all races.
As has occured in previous years, Channel 7 will broadcast races one and three live-to-air alongside the regular Supercars TV coverage.
Post event, ASBK TV will work with TV production partners AVE to create a special edition replay of ASBK Round 4 – Darwin. This special edition will be broadcast on SBS – Sunday 3rd July 1300 – 1500 AEST.
As well as the always epic racing, this special edition will feature exclusive behind the action scenes, color stories and all the thrills and spills from one of the great rounds of any season; Hidden Valley, NT.
ASBK Live Broadcast information
Fox Sports Australia
Friday – Free Practice 2 and Free Practice 3
Saturday – Qualifying 1 & Qualifying 2, plus Race 1
Sunday – Race 2 (Exclusively Live on Fox) & Race 3
Saturday – Race 1
Sunday – Race 3
Sunday 3rd July 1pm- The ASBK Darwin Show
Check the Event Schedule and your local guides for exact times
mi-bike Motorcycle Insurance
Alpinestars Superbike Championship Points Standings
mi-bike Motorcycle Insurance
2022 ASBK Calendar
|Round 1 Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit, VIC 25 – 27 February|
|SBK, SSPT, SS300, R3 Cup, OJC, SBK Masters|
|Round 2 Queensland Raceway, Ipswich QLD 18 – 20 March|
|SBK, SSPT, SS300, R3 Cup, OJC, Sidecars|
|Round 3 Wakefield Park Raceway, Goulburn NSW 22 – 24 April|
|SBK, SSPT, SS300, R3 Cup, OJC, Aussie Racing Cars|
|Round 4 Hidden Valley Raceway, Darwin NT 17 – 19 June|
|* With Supercars – SBK Only|
|Round 5 Morgan Park Raceway, Warwick QLD 5 – 7 August|
|SBK, SSPT, SS300, R3 Cup, OJC|
|Round 6 Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit, Cowes VIC 18 – 20 November|
|SBK, SSPT, SS300|
|Round 7 The Bend Motorsport Park, Tailem Bend SA 25 – 27 November|
|SBK, SSPT, SS300, R3 Cup, OJC|
|ASBK Night of Champions Dinner – The Bend 27 November|