Racing Around The World – Lelystad, The Netherlands.

Lelystad or the Midlands Circuit is quite easy to find as it is next door to Lelystad airport but do not let this fool you into thinking that no noise restrictions are in place for the F1 Stock Cars. It is quite hard to believe that not only do the aircraft drown out the F1’s but so do the MotorX bikes on their track next to the oval. Lelystad itself is 5 metres below sea level and prior to 1967 never existed as a land mass at all.

Photo Stephen Cording

Arriving at the track, organised car parking is available in front of the main gate where all race competitors must arrive and be booked into race no later than two hours before race time. Failure to do this results in a refusal to race. This applies to all classes and all grades, no ifs or buts or maybes.

Once through the main gate where you pay (it was 10 euro’s adult admission) you enter the top end asphalt pit area (all the pits are asphalt) the track is to your Left, turns 3 and 4.

The track viewed from turns 3 & 4. Photo Stephen Cording

Unrestricted viewing is available for the entire track with a covered grandstand on turns four and one. Along the home straight and either side of race control are US style ‘open stands’. If you wish to use your own chairs, this can be done on the grassed banking on turns 1 and 2 and the entire back straight which is free of any structures.

The pit area stretches behind the entire home straight and stands, apart from a holding area for the next race that is just behind race control and where the pit gate is located where cars are lined up in race order while the previous race is being run. Toilets can also be found in this area. Also within this holding area is a notice board displaying the meeting running order as well as the grids for each race.

The track as viewed on exiting turn 4 looking down home straight. Photo Stephen Cording

The track it self is an asphalt track with long straights and tight turns at both ends and at the time of writing it is mandate that F1 Stock Cars run Hoosier Racing Tyres on every wheel. The racing is fast with spectacular ‘locking up’ going into the turns as the drivers battle with the speed Vs braking dilemma. Don’t let that fool you into thinking this a hot-rod track as only the slightest of contact is needed in order to totally unsettle the car in front and send them off line at great speeds. There is not a fence around the track unlike most stock car tracks, but big grassed run off areas between the track and catch fencing.

Photo Stephen Cording

On our visit the drivers were putting the bumper in aplenty, and at the speeds the cars got up to, even a slight touch was enough to send the car in front off over the grass and along the outer ring before getting back in the race or pulling off by the pitgate. The infield is clear of any obstacles except for two marshall points at either end.

Photo Stephen Cording

We viewed from the US style open stand on the exit of turn four and were treated to full unrestricted viewing at the point where the drivers put the power back on. Another quirk of the track is a slight rising of the track on the outside just by the start / finish line. Drivers are deemed out of bounds if they use this part of the track and can be excluded from the results if they do not pass directly over the start / finish line. This makes for exciting jostling for track space under full speed from the exit of turn four to the start / finish line. With cars bumping over the slightly raised area to get back in the race.

Photo Stephen Cording

Typical Dutch track food is available from various outlets and was reasonably priced. It is also worth considering taking warm, windproof clothing as a Tree-wind break that used to run parallel with the track has been removed and quite a cross wind can come across the spectating areas. The format on our visit which I believe is the normal race format was two all-in heats and a Final. After each class had completed their first and second heat there was a short 15 – 20 break before racing commenced again.

Photo Stephen Cording

Lelystad makes a perfect Sunday meeting when on the mainland and well worth a visit before heading home. In ‘our’ perfect Stock Car World it would be underlights, with no noise restrictions and with a more traditional format. Sadly that is not the case but don’t let that put you off.

Stephen Cording

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