Anyone who’s familiar with Victoria’s picturesque Phillip Island knows its the perfect family getaway.
They probably also know it’s the home of round thirteen in the worldwide MotoGP™ and a place that spectators and riders alike look forward to every year.
In fact, over 83,000 people visit this classic event.
But did you know that there are also lots for kids at the Phillip Island circuit? Plus, kids under 14 are free!
Here’s a run-down to fill in your time at this weekends MotoGP™ at Phillip Island’s legendary circuit…
While the main attraction is always track activity including the international categories in the MotoGP™ Moto2, Moto3, and the domestic and national classes in the Superbikes and Supersport 300, there’s plenty for family to do off-track, too.
- GP Expo showcasing a host of incredible exhibitors featuring contemporary motorcycles and some older, historic bikes. It’s a little urban and edgy.
- Autograph stages to get signatures from racing heroes
- The Urban Alley is decked out again, with the Urban Chop Shop, (a super-cool barber shop!) Urban Artists creating live street art and the Vic Roads Urban Garage.
- A BMX stunt show will thrill onlookers, and fans will be flocking to the Fan Forum stages to meet their heroes and receive the highly anticipated signatures and photos with the stars of MotoGP™.
- And we can’t forget the Royal Australian Air Force flying high with aircraft displays each day along with Roulettes, the FA18’ fast jets, and all sorts of other enjoyable sky-high entertainment.
Each year the Australian Grand Prix Corporation host ‘Learn Curbside’ where they invite schools from around Victoria to listen to talks from race engineers and riders. This is particularly great for kids studying STEM subjects including science, technology, engineering, and math so they can learn about where this career path may take them in the future.
Kids can also have a ride on the back of a MotoGP™ bike with an ex-GP rider.
Kids can get amongst the racing action with go-karts, race simulators, and slot car racing, too.
Here’s what’s new at the Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit!
- New covered areas, grandstands and upgraded campgrounds will have fans enjoying an unforgettable getaway across the three-day event.
MotoGP™ fans are covered this year with six brand new weather-protected areas positioned near Bass Straight and Lukey Heights grandstands, Turns 1 and 8, as well as more in the Highside and marshals’ campgrounds.
New for 2018, the Gardner Premium grandstand is also getting a makeover, offering undercover seating in a prime position. Overlooking the start/finish line and Pit Lane, fans are in the hot seat with superior views of the bikes as they roar out of Turn 12 and along the Gardner Straight, before disappearing over the horizon.
- For the ultimate camper, watch the stars come out at night and ramp up your experience with Pre-Pitched Tents! Located in the Family Friendly Highside Campground, your tent is set up and waiting for you – choose from a Single, Twin, Triple or Quad share.
- The campgrounds are also getting an upgrade to a brighter look and feel overall, with more amenities and showers, as well as improved ground protection. Live local music will also bring the campgrounds to life over the three nights.
There’s a family friendly campground, so families can camp out right next to the ultimate motorcycling track and plenty of accommodation options down at the Island, now is the time to grab your kids and your mates and head down for an epic, adrenalin-fuelled weekend away!
History of Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit – a history of top thrills and spills:
So you think you know your Island history? Take a trip down memory lane and relive ‘The Island’s’ top Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix moments.
- In 1989, the first year of World Championship racing at Phillip Island, Spaniard Alex Criville won the 125cc race. When the Australian GP returned to the Island in 1997, the same Spaniard won the 250cc race.
- In 2000, Olivier Jacque won a thrilling 250cc Australian GP by 0.014 of a second, ahead of Shinya Nakano.
- Casey Stoner claiming top spot on the podium in 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011 and in 2012.
- In 2012, there was an Australian on all three podiums, with Arthur Sissis, Ant West and Casey Stoner all taking out the chequered flag.
- 2015s MotoGP™ was one of the most thrilling races EVER with Marc Marquez snatching the lead from Jorge Lorenzo during an epic final lap to take home his first win at the Phillip Island Circuit.
- Who could forget that moment at the MotoGP™ (2015) when Gavin the seagull flew into Andrea Iannone at precisely the wrong moment.
The Phillip Island Circuit – a little history…
The picturesque Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit has hosted some of the most iconic and gripping motorcycle racing the world has ever seen, producing the fastest motorcycle racing on the planet across Moto GP, World Superbikes and national classes.
Motor racing on Phillip Island dates back to 1928 with Australia’s first Grand Prix held on the 6.5 mile cordoned off local road circuit. Motorcycle racing was introduced to the Island in 1931 when the circuit was expanded to a 12 mile public road course.
In 1952, the current Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit site was selected by six local businessmen who recalled the massive economic benefit motor racing brought to Phillip Island in the pre-war years. They formed the Phillip Island Auto Racing Club (PIARC).
The site was perfectly suited for a motorsport circuit with elevated slopes, ideal for spectating and set against a stunning ocean backdrop. The circuit design was based on the Zandvoort circuit in Holland and took four years to build, lasting for only three years before the surface broke up and became unsuitable to race on, forcing the closure of the circuit.
A successful bid for the International Motorcycle Grand Prix saw the very first race held on Phillip Island in 1989, and a 3 million dollar renovation program was put into place to get the circuit ready.
Phillip Island Motor Sports went on to develop the track to become one of the finest permanent motor sport facilities in Australia.
The Motorcycle Grand Prix was again held at Phillip Island in 1990 but moved to NSW from 1991 to 1996. The event then returned to the Island in 1997 and has been a permanent feature ever since. Other major events include the International Superbike World Championship, the International Island Classic and the Supercars Championship. The circuit currently hosts 14 public events.
A Few CircuiPit Lane 1954t Facts…
- The current 4.45km Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit features 5 right-hand and 7 left-hand corners including Gardner Straight, named after World Champion Wayne Gardner, one of the fastest straights in the world due to its length. Stretching over 820 metres, the straight allows bikes to achieve top speeds of just over 340km.
- The first Grand Prix held on the circuit was won by Australian hero Wayne Gardner in front of 100,000 cheering Aussie fans.
- Turn 1 is now commonly known as Doohan Corner after Former World Champion, Mick Doohan.
- Previously known as Turn 3, Stoner Corner was named on the Thursday prior to Casey Stoner winning his sixth consecutive Moto GP race at Phillip Island in 2012.
- The closest World Superbike finish at Phillip Island was in 2010 when Briton Leon Haslam, aboard his Suzuki, crossed the finish line a mere 0.0004 seconds ahead of Ducati’s Michel Fabrizio.
- The outright World Superbike lap record at Phillip Island is held by Spaniard Carlos Checa at an extraordinary average speed of 177.725km/h.
- The 2015 Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix was declared one of the best Moto GP races of the modern era by race winner Marc Marquez, who clinched the win 0.249 seconds ahead of eventual season champion Jorge Lorenzo on the last lap.