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ONE-TRACK MIND Find your inner Jonathan Rea with a three-day motorcycle track experience on the continent and beyond

Fly, then ride, as track specialists Motocraft transport your motorbike and kit in advance so it’s ready when you arrive in the paddock

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Participants take part in the Motocraft track event in Portimao, Portugal, last weekend

Participants take part in the Motocraft track event in Portimao, Portugal, last weekend

Your bike and kit awaits you in the paddock

Your bike and kit awaits you in the paddock

Riders on the starting grid in Portimao

Riders on the starting grid in Portimao

Meet old friends and make new ones at Motocraft track weekends

Meet old friends and make new ones at Motocraft track weekends

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Participants take part in the Motocraft track event in Portimao, Portugal, last weekend

Fancy finding your inner track god? If so, this might be the perfect opportunity to give yourself an early Christmas present.

Irish motorcycle track day company Motocraft has partnered with UK track day specialists No Limits to offer a choice of outings at the end of this year and all through next year at the sunnier end of Europe.

Last weekend, we joined the crew for a sold-out event over three glorious days in everybody’s favourite World Superbike circuit, Portimao.

The company’s philosophy is simple; they believe that we all have a deep spiritual need to ride really rather quickly, yet very safely, in like-minded company on race tracks where we’ve watched our heroes winning a MotoGP or WSBK round a week or so previously. As a concept we’re all the way into it, not least because the company manages all of the logistics.

The system is simple. You bring your bike, whatever kit you need including clothing, tools, spare tyres and even extra wheels. You then pack the lot on a custom-made stillage and it’s loaded on to a truck in Dublin before being sailed over to the continent and driven on down to whichever circuit we’ll be gracing on this trip. This usually happens a week before the event.

You, the rider, then follow your steed a week or so later by air. Many of the company’s very loyal customers pool rental cars to get to the track, while Motocraft also provides local centralised accommodation. The whole thing runs like clockwork, probably because someone else does all the hard work.

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Your bike and kit awaits you in the paddock

Your bike and kit awaits you in the paddock

Your bike and kit awaits you in the paddock

The fun starts in the hotel on the first morning, where participants are generally more excited than when they were kids waiting for Christmas Eve and that visit from the Man in Red. It really is that good. Once we get to the track on the Algarve in Portugal, the bikes are waiting for us in the paddock. The very helpful staff have already spent the morning unloading them from the tractor trailer units.

It’s then a relatively simple process of unpacking the bikes and making the necessary adjustments to get them track ready. One of the things I would have expected was a certain amount of machismo. This couldn’t have been further from what was actually delivered. The paddock is a friendly and exceptionally inclusive place where people help each other out, the banter is friendly and new friends are met as old ones are re-acquainted with.

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Riders on the starting grid in Portimao

Riders on the starting grid in Portimao

Riders on the starting grid in Portimao

Then there is the briefing. This is an important one as we’re all out on the same track, albeit in three different groups. The advanced riders go out first. In last weekend’s Irish contingent there are luminaries such as Derek Sheils as well as the immensely talented Thomas Maxwell. The boys are joined by a host of talented racers and two-wheeled track enthusiasts and the pace is hot, yet very safe.

The safety comes, in large part, from the fact that the numbers on circuit are limited. In short, there is a lot of space to ride. The other helpful piece is that the organisers use transponders. If a rider is either slower or faster than the rest of the group, then the organisers simply move them to a more appropriate one. This keeps everyone safe and keeps the groups moving at a predictable pace.

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Meet old friends and make new ones at Motocraft track weekends

Meet old friends and make new ones at Motocraft track weekends

Meet old friends and make new ones at Motocraft track weekends

And how much does all this cost for a weekend? Not as much as you’d think, I’d suspect. The price is €1,199 and includes accommodation, bike and kit transport to and from Ireland, three days of track time, and pit lane, garage and paddock facilities. You simply pay for your flights, your transport to and from the circuit, and refreshments.

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Add in all the supports – including photography, tuition and kit hire – and this really is the perfect three-day weekend. Monteblanco is confirmed for March 11 to 13, with Estoril, Portimao, Mugello and Aragon all being scheduled curently. You can find out more at www.motocraft.ie

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