The Phakisa Freeway (Phakisa means “hurry up” in Sotho!) is an international standard, multi-purpose motorsport facility situated in the heart of the Goldfields region of the Free State. Construction of the facility commenced in September 1998, on the site of the old Goldfields Raceway. By late April 1999 the circuits and paddock facilities had been completed and the first National Race event was held a mere 6 months after work had started. The entire facility was completed in time for the penultimate leg of the 1999 FIM Motorcycle Grand Prix held at the circuit on 10th October 1999.
The track boasts a 4,24km road course as well as a 1,5 mile banked oval track similar to the highly acclaimed Las Vegas Motor Speedway in Nevada. The Grand Prix road course was designed in conjunction with officials of the FIM and is rated as one of the safest circuits on the GP tour. It is 12m wide throughout and has 14 turns, 5 left and 9 right-hand. Although the straights are relatively short and the top speed is slower than on many tracks, the circuit has no chicanes, which makes for a fast and flowing ride.
On his first visit to the circuit in late 1999, Alex Barros rated the fast right-hander at the end of the back straight as the best in Grand Prix bike racing! After taking to 500cc crown in the 2001 South African MotoGP, Valentino Rossi said “I love this place – it is one of the most demanding racetracks in the world, and you have to be brave to win here.”
Background to Phakisa Freeway
Phakisa Major Sport Events and Development Corporation is an initiative of the Free State government. In September 1998 construction began on the corporationG+