By DAISY SAMPSON
MIGUEL PRAIA, Parkalgar Honda team rider, will be showing members of the public how they can ride like a pro at the first track days to be held at the Algarve Motor Park on November 29 and 30.
The Supersport rider and Portuguese racing star told The Resident about the days and his hopes for the future of motorsport in Portugal.
The opening weekend of the Parkalgar racetrack was particularly stressful for local star Miguel Praia, who still lives in Albufeira: “It was a hard weekend for me, knowing that all my friends, family and fans were in the stands. It was very special and by far my best race of the year but I knew expectations were high.
“There is a lot of pressure on me being the only racer from Portugal and it is hard having nobody to share the responsibility with but I will always do my best for me, my team and for Portugal.”
The Algarve motor park is the home of Parkalgar Honda racing team and Miguel Praia describes the track as a “real challenge for riders”. “You need a big heart to ride here,” he said. “There are many ups and downs and blind corners. It is a track you feel you can try to go a bit faster each time and push yourself.”
Despite the track being so challenging, he believes that all levels of rider will enjoy the track days which are planned to be held monthly. “We want track days to be fun but we will also incorporate technical tuition into the day and have talks from the mechanics here on how to get the best from your bike and to improve general driving ability” he said.
Miguel Praia hopes that the new motor park will help foster a new generation of Portuguese and local Algarve riders. “My biggest problem when I began my career was the lack of a training facility in the Algarve. With the forthcoming race schools, academy, karting track and mini bikes we hope that in the future there may be a Portuguese world champion.
“Riding a motorbike in Portugal has become much safer over the past few years and many people ride bikes in the Algarve so the track days should prove popular and also very helpful for riders.”
He added: “Portuguese drivers still need to learn to drive more carefully and pay more attention to motorbikes on the roads, but on the whole the Algarve is a great place to ride a bike and now if you want to go fast you can come to the track and do it here.” Looking to the future, Miguel Praia hopes that he will finish in the top ten in as many races as possible and wants a top five finish when he returns to the Portimão track next year. “I would love the next race at Parkalgar to be the race of my life!”
The cost of the track day is either 380 euros for both days including accommodation and food or 200 euros for just November 30 and the entire weekend will be conducted in Portuguese and English.
Those interested will need to provide their own bike, however future race days will include the opportunity to hire a bike from the track.
SPECTATORS ARE invited to the Algarve motor park tonight (Friday) to enjoy a special stage of the Rallye Casinos do Algarve.
This is an opportunity for motorsport fans to watch some of the best Portuguese rally drivers tackle the difficult circuit at the Algarve motor park.
The event begins at 9pm and entry is free.
For further information please call 289 400 330 or visit www.clubeautomovelalgarve.pt (Only available in Portuguese).