In preparation for the upcoming round of the Canadian Superbike Championship on July 8-10, Autodrome St-Eustache in Quebec has been completely resurfaced.
The track surface had gotten into a sad state over the years and had been partially repaved in the fall of 2009. In November of last year, the remaining surface was repaved, making the entire road course, once again, motorcycle friendly. The repaving is complete but there is still some construction going on at the track.
We sent Costa Mouzouris to ride the course, but since he didn’t have an appropriate track bike, he drove the course in his car during an ASE track day. He reports that the course is indeed smooth, and grip seemed quite good. There were some minor irregularities at the seams between the different sections of pavement, though they weren’t at critical areas of the track and really not an issue.
He did spot one new area of concern at the track for motorcycle riders, and that is at the far end of the circuit, in the left-hand turn called the Carousel. A tall dirt wall has been erected outside the entire length of the turn as a sound barrier. The wall was a necessity, as local residents have been complaining about the noise for years.
This wall has completely changed the dynamics of the Carousel and although the track itself has not been altered at that spot (aside form the fresh asphalt), the turn seems much tighter. Run off through the turn has been reduced to a few metres so it will likely need some air fence installed during a race weekend.
You can do a lap with Costa and see the new track surface in the video below.
Now we know where all the asphalt has gone, that was supposed to be on the Quebec roads.
Seriously though, the blacktop in Quebec is a disgrace.
Thanks for the sneak-peak Costa.
I was speaking to superbike racer Mike Leon last weekend, who visited the track recently. He is appalled at the “sound barrier” wall, saying he believes it makes the track 10x more dangerous than it was … even more so because the pavement improvements mean you’ll be coming in there faster than ever before. After seeing the video I agree. As for superbikes racing there … frankly, I thought my GS550 vintage bike was too fast for the place. As far as I’m concerned anything faster than a supermotard shouldn’t be there.
As for dangerous, now that the Carousel has been elevated from “watch out” to “death trap” level, I’d say by comparison the rest of the place looks pretty safe. I think the quick right before the last turn (when you’re pointing into the wall, the one Blackie thinks is dangerous) is the worst spot. Make a mistake there — it’s fairly quick — and you’re into a concrete block instantly.
An appropriate bike for a track day is at least a sporty bike that is properly prepared by replacing the coolant with water, etc. I didn’t have one so I took my car. Also, because a car doesn’t lean into corners it offers a better camera view of the surface than a bike. No worries, I’ll be there on a bike sooner than later.
As for the wall outside the last turn; it’s a slow, hairpin turn and bikes coming off that last corner don’t carry enough speed for the wall to be an issue. I’ve seen many guys fall at the exit of that turn (I think I may have too, during a race) and they never reached the wall.
There is a national Superbike round scheduled there on July 8-10.
Hang on just one secong there, partner. I just looked at the video again and the shadow of your test car looks distressingly like a…..Volkswagen Beetle!
Confirm or deny and forever live with the shame if I’m right.
Seriously? You think it’s any less embarrassing admitting to owning a Toyota Echo?
Are you kidding me? A Beetle is a huge step up on an Echo.
“…but since he didn’t have an appropriate track bike…”
Just for the record, an appropriate track bike is anything with two wheels. I know that Mr. Mouzouris can ride so a lap aboard anything would have been entertaining.
To me, it looks like the concrete wall in the final turn might be more concerning than the dirt berm to which you refer. Lap times in the sub-minute area, I’d guess.
Is there a national bike race there this year?