marina

117 months ago

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- Story

Top Fuel Indoor Racing: It's not possible to have more fun on a 100cc 4-stroke

Vignate, Lombardia, Italy

It wasn't supposed to be this much fun. Recently, while in Milan, we took the opportunity to race our hearts out at an indoor racetrack. Finally, I was going to don a pair of racing leathers and get transported into the world of racing.

Me in my leathers looking very racey

Me in my leathers looking very racey

The indoor race track at TopFuel with high traction surface

The indoor race track at TopFuel with high traction surface

TopFuel Racing Arena is a modern and awesome indoor motorcycle and karting racetrack outside of Milan, Italy. It can be tricky to get to from the city centre but worth the ride. The owner, Giovanni Vicenzi and his team opened the facility 4 years ago, "they thought we were crazy" he recounts.

In 2007 due to zoning changes the space stood empty. And so the idea was born both from a love of racing and business ingenuity. The full experience is considered in the vast space. On the lower level you have the track, on the upper level there's a bar with facility for catering, a shop, a recreational area and of course a podium. (I couldn't get anyone to pose on it.) The locker rooms are huge, clean and have showers.

The bike you get is a zippy 100cc 4-stroke automatic, purpose built for the track and designed in Asia with a custom exhaust and silencer. The suspension is set for the average rider. Delivering 8 hp, you wouldn't think it much but according to the guys, "it's more power than you need to get around the tight track". I concur and I probably only used 4 horses. Regardless, despite being lapped twice, I still had a huge grin on my face the entire time. Soon Giovanni expects to bring in electric motorcycles to replace the 4-strokes. Can you imagine riding a little Husky electric on the circuit?

Owner Giovanni, explains how the racing will work

Owner Giovanni, explains how the racing will work

Alex looking a little snug in the leathers at TopFuel

Alex looking a little snug in the leathers at TopFuel

The track is 485 meters long (1600 feet) and about 7 meters (22 feet) wide. By moving the sand filled interlocking barriers, it can be arranged and redesigned daily to increase difficulty. Some days the track is clockwise racing only, some it's counter clockwise. Giovanni tells me riders partial to one direction of the circuit, only come on those nights.

The race surface looks like polished concrete in the photos but it's a rugged, non-slip surface providing incredible traction with just enough slide if you know how to take it.

Derreck on no. 8, note the duck tape on the leathers

Derreck on no. 8, note the duck tape on the leathers

Alex on lucky no. 3 taking the right-hander carefully

Alex on lucky no. 3 taking the right-hander carefully

It's the cult of racing at TopFuel and it feels great to be apart of it. They run 180 training courses per month for kids and adults. Anyone with or without riding experience can come by and race against their mates or take lessons with racing coaches of notable talent. Every Saturday, from 10 am to 1 pm, riders take the circuit on their own bikes where you'll see proper getting-the-knee-down on the track. So civilized.

Alex and Derreck talking about motorcycles at TopFuel

Alex and Derreck talking about motorcycles at TopFuel

How it works

We arrived with nothing. First we filled in our info and got our racing profile pictures (mug shots) done at the touch kiosks. It's a good thing, I used my real email because TopFuel sent me my speed and lap times as soon as came out of the locker room. TF keeps track of your stats so when you come back, progress is charted automatically. Using a Facebook app, times can also be shared with friends on TopFuel's Facebook page.

Signing in/up at TopFuel is very fast using the touch displays

Signing in/up at TopFuel is very fast using the touch displays

We were quickly set up with race leathers, a back brace and gloves. Then instructed to meet in the briefing room for our helmets. Admittedly, Alex and Derreck had a bit of trouble getting into their leathers and the helmets could use a refresh but it was way better than shlepping our gear. It's only the tourists, of which there aren't many, who rent leathers and helmets. Locals bring their own.

Briefing room and helmet pick up at TopFuel

Briefing room and helmet pick up at TopFuel

Disposable under helmet thingy goes on first

Disposable under helmet thingy goes on first

For added safety, race flags and bikes are remote controlled by the desk so things don't get out of hand.

On the track, a race group races against each other. It's not the kind of place where you arrive and race strangers except on specific nights or special events. This keeps the riding safe. On any given day, the track alternates between karts and bikes depending on the reservation. At track level, our team waited on deck until it was time to take the track.

Good times!

The guys at race control looked nice but you don't want to cross'em

The guys at race control looked nice but you don't want to cross'em

Lap times at TopFuel... I was so close

Lap times at TopFuel... I was so close

Getting there

The hidden gem that is TopFuel Racing Arena is 15 kilometres east of Milan in a district called Vignate. Nestled in an industrial park, the arena is reachable from the SP103 highway at around the 10 Km mark.

Take SP103, after the 8 km mark get ready to take the collector lane. You'll see a small TopFuel gas station. Parking is just behind. Take the outdoor stairs to the second floor entrance.

By taxi from Milan, we paid 40 euro but on the way back be prepared to pay for the driver to come from the metropolis or ask they wait about 60 minutes for you.

Details

TopFuel is open daily from 5pm to 1am. Ride and gear is 30 €/driver for 20 minutes. Call for a reservation at +39 (0)2 40 70 73 01 or email: info@topfuelracing.it. Find the Topfuel Racing Milan Arena at S.P. 103 Cassanese, Km. 10, 20060 - Vignate (Milano), Italy.

Using the EatSleepRIDE app, open Go Ride > Nearby to see the location on the map.

Arrived at TopFuel and ready to race (get my ass kicked)

Arrived at TopFuel and ready to race (get my ass kicked)

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Jordan

116 months ago

That looks like a lot of fun!

alex

117 months ago

If you're in Italy, it's well worth a trip. It takes some acclimatization to ride on that floor as it looks like it's polished but it feels like shark skin.

The best story Giovanni told us was that he had one guy on a 600cc supersport go around on a "ride what you want" day. Not sure I'd want to try that as the bikes at TopFuel are just perfect for the circuit.

marina

117 months ago

I'd like to go to a meeting in race leathers.