It’s the first new road race planned on public roads in modern times. BikeSocial rides the Diamond Races circuit on the Isle of Wight to bring you the world’s first circuit guide...
Length: 12.2 miles
Corners: 42 (approx.)
Longest ‘straight’: 1.7 miles
Pubs: 2 (poor effort)
Phone boxes: 2
Badgers: for 1 mile
Course map on Google Maps: https://goo.gl/maps/11iSr86jGfdWpQpU6
The start line has yet to be determined because it depends on the final location of the paddock and pit facilities. But the Chale Parish recreation ground must be favourite; it has plenty of space, is grassed but mown flat, and feeds directly onto the circuit. It’s situated at the far end of the Military Road, just before the 40mph speed limit signs at the entrance to the Wright Mouse Inn, just outside the village of Chale (the proposed circuit is called the Chale course).
At Chale Bay Farm, as the road swings left, a Velociraptor looms over the hedge. So we’ll call this first corner Raptor Bend.
The circuit continues to roll left, into the village of Chale. Past a red phone box and with St Andrew’s church on the inside of the corner (so we’ll call it St Andrew’s), we take a left at the junction onto the B3399. The road feeds gently past the back entrance to the Wright Mouse Inn, and past a Gulf garage on the left.
The road drops away to the left, with the Scout Hall on inside and an island on the right at the junction with Upper House Lane, but it’s steeply cambered.
After a short, narrow straight through a tunnel of high hedges the road sweeps gently uphill to the right, past a line of chalet-style houses. It rises over a crest, runs straight, then drops into a long, open left hander before rising gently again to the left, then dropping to the right. So far so good – this will a fast, curving run but nothing too challenging. The road is pretty much lined either with hedges or the driveways of houses.
At the 30mph zone at Gotten Lane, the road narrows even more and funnels between stone walls – on the left is and old church (now a house). The course winds past houses on the left, which are set back from the road and have driveways cut into steep banking. It’s a formidable sight, with them lined up like saw-teeth, as you enter the right/left combination and drift out towards them. Not a place you want to put a wheel wrong.
The road suddenly opens out with a straight into Chale Green, with lawns on either side of the road (and a few trees). At the red phone box on the right, just before Chale Green Stores and opposite a bus shelter, the course peels left onto...
A crazy little back lane that climbs between stone walls with a blind apex on the left just as the kerb stops – it won’t quite be shoulders-rubbing-on-the-stone-wall type stuff, but it’ll look dramatic.
After a few hundred yards of dashing between a tall hedgerow on the right and more domestic driveways on the left, the course suddenly hauls up with a 90° right hander, called Star Corner. The camber drops on the exit as it climbs uphill – but on a racing line, the exit runs out to the lefthand bank just as it narrows. Might catch a few people out.
The road is marked as a national speed limit, and on a closed lap it’ll be threading a fast straight line as the road winds back and forth. After the closed-in feel of the previous sections, this feels much more open, with a field on the left.
The course peels off to the left onto Kingston Road – blink and you’ll miss it. This is where the circuit starts to get seriously nadgery. It becomes single track, high banking funnelling you into a tunnel of trees, arching over the road in a green canopy. It’s incredibly narrow, the sensation of speed though here will be intoxicating. It’s not straight, either – the road jinks to the right and then left, bursting out into blinding sunlight to run through open fields and rolling farmland.
The road rises and crests, dropping to the right opposite the entrance to Buck’s Farm. The road then drops downhill, racing towards a couple of giant cedar trees on the left, and gentle lefthander. With the rolling hills off to the right, it doesn’t even look like England, let alone the Isle of Wight. This is California.
Fairly hair-raising part of the circuit – it’ll definitely raise the front wheel. A long rise in the road followed by a crest will become a wheelie at race pace – but as the road drops downhill it’s followed by a sharpish left hander, with a farm opposite and a white fence on the inside. Getting the bike stopped for the bend will be interesting.
The entry to Shorewell village is downhill, through 30mph signs, funnelling down a narrow path past houses and driveways – then a sweeping right hander with a garden wall to greet the unwary, as the camber (again) drops off on the exit.
Into the centre of the village, turning left at the mini-roundabout and immediately cutting back right to sweep past the Crown Inn, the corner of its white walls jutting out into the road on the right, and picking the bike up to avoid clattering into the bus stop on the left.
Leaving Shorewell, the road sweeps past yet more houses, gardens and front drives – there’ll be no shortage of places to watch the racing from – then a lovely long left hander sweeps uphill past the ‘Badgers’ road sign. The next few bends – long climbing right over the hill, then another section of gently straight-lining a series of lefts and rights.
Tricky little S-bend with a 90° left (facing an inviting stone cottage), then a greasy little 90° right, with horrible camber, a stone wall on the inside – but at least there a field on the outside of the exit.
Home of the Isle of Wight MP, Bob Seely, the circuit enters the village of Brighstone with a nice series of lefts and rights, turning into a sharper left at the 30mph signs. The exit is populated with small trees.
The road narrows between hedges and walls into a sharp right, and runs down alongside St Mary’s church, turning sharp left at the junction with a war memorial on the inside. An open sprint runs down towards a right jink with a dip in the road at Galley’s Lane, then up and over to the left climbing a rise again. An open kink feeds into a small complex of bends before arriving at the junction with the Military Road.
The Military Road (A3055) will be a fabulous place to race and spectate. Right at the start, Brighstone viaduct is 360ft of narrow, low walls with a fast right hander at the end. Considering riders will be outbraking each other into the corner onto the Military Road, there could be some serious side-by-side action here as they out-drag each other. A good drive from the corner will be important.
Flat stick for 1.4 miles, just before the farm entrance on the left is a crest, followed by a gentle right curve. Taken at race pace, the riders will have to come over the crest, keep the front wheel on the ground and steady the bike, then tip into the right hander. At road pace – 60mph – it’s barely noticeable; flat out on a Superbike it’ll be epic.
Another 1.5 miles of flat out – with a couple of changes of direction – through the crossroads at the campsite at Chine Lane, then up to the last set of sharp corners on the lap. It’s a gentle set of S-bends on an open road – on closed roads it’ll straightened out as much as possible, but still a challenge to work out entry speed after such a long time flat out.
More high speeds with a 1.7-mile run to the finish line, with a couple of gentle corners – at race pace they’ll be scary fast.