WorldSBK will compete in one of its most important events on the calendar: Portimao SBK. The Portuguese Algarve circuit will be a key stage in the final stretch of the championship. Álvaro Bautista will have the first opportunity to mathematically become World Champion, an identical situation for his future Aruba.it Ducati teammate, Niccolò Bulega, in World Supersport. And, if that were not enough, Portimao SBK will be the last race of the year for WorldSSP 300, also with the title to be decided.
Thus, Portimao SBK promises to be one of the highlights of WorldSBK 2023. If you want to enjoy the show live on one of the most spectacular circuits on the calendar, this is your destination guide to attend the Portuguese Round.
Portimao SBK and the Portuguese Round
Portimao is one of the favourite circuits of almost all WorldSBK riders. A true roller coaster, whose ups and downs make its layout even more interesting. This generated praise since the first time WorldSBK came to Portimao, in 2008.
In fact, WorldSBK was the first major international event that the circuit hosted. It was inaugurated in October of that same 2008 and on the weekend of November 2 it hosted the Portuguese Round for the first time, as the final event of the season. Troy Bayliss, already crowned WorldSBK champion for the third time, took victory in both races; It was the culmination of his last full season in SBK. That same day also saw the debut in the queen category of a young Jonathan Rea, who finished in a notable fourth position in Race 1.
Since that inaugural event in 2008, Portimao has been a fixture on the WorldSBK calendar. Only in 2016, the World Cup omitted its appointment in the Portuguese country. In total, until 2023, there have been 14 WorldSBK visits to Portimao.
Although Portimao is the SBK circuit par excellence in Portugal, the Portuguese Round has had another location: Estoril. The veteran circuit was one of the original Rounds of the initial WorldSBK season in 1988, repeating in 1993. Many years later, Estoril again hosted WorldSBK, between 2020 and 2022, under the name 'Estoril Round', while Portimao retained the original 'Portuguese Round'.
Portimao SBK and the Algarve
With the official name of Autódromo Internacional do Algarve, the circuit is popularly known as Portimao due to its proximity to said town. It is a city of about 50 thousand inhabitants that had been a port center and now has beach tourism as its main attraction. It is located about 20 minutes south of the circuit.
La Praia da Rocha forms the southern limit and is very popular thanks to its rock formations. The rest of the city extends along the mouth of the Arade River. To the west of Portimao we can find the beautiful beaches of Alvor, Vale da Lama and Meia Praia. This entire area that connects Portimao with the town of Lagos is not built on and we will enjoy a much less crowded space to enjoy the sea.
In Portimao itself there are numerous shops selling local goods and the riverside along the Arade River is the ideal place to enjoy the terraces of its cafes and bars. It can be a good place to enjoy the gastronomy of the Algarve, where the prominence is for the products of the Atlantic. Grilled fish and seafood are the great specialty, but it is also worth trying the rice and stews from the region, as well as the dishes called 'cataplana' because of the instrument with which they are made.
The town of Lagos, also about 20 minutes from the route, is a historic town. With more than 2000 years of history, we will find a historic center with traditional Portuguese architecture from the Age of Discovery. The beaches west of Ponta Piedad are rockier and more rugged, but also of great beauty.
The Algarve is also a reference point for surfing and kitesurfing. You can rent boards and there are beginner's schools, for those looking for new sensations. It is also full of golf courses, also the result of the great tourist offer of large complexes.
Motorcycle routes in Portimao SBK
The Algarve region, with its sunny climate for much of the year and mountainous routes, invites you to do motorcycle tourism. Starting from the circuit, we can find winding routes that take us to places of interest, whether cultural and historical or to enjoy the beach and nature.
The small inland town of Silves is 30 minutes from the circuit if we follow an inland national road. Silves was the ancient capital of the Algarve and we will find the typical Portuguese town of the south, with its white houses, steep narrow streets and fortress. A good opportunity to discover the less touristy Algarbe.
Portimao and the Algarbe are located at the southwestern tip of Europe. At the westernmost tip of the region is the small town of Sagres. It is located about 45 kilometers by motorcycle from the circuit. In Sagres we can visit its fortress, as well as the Cabo de Sao Vicente Lighthouse to have extraordinary views.
This entire area is a plateau above the sea, creating a 'balcony' to the Atlantic Ocean in its entrance area to the Mediterranean. For this reason, around Sagres there are large cliffs that, in some points, create beautiful coves where you can enjoy the sea.
Faro, capital of the Algarve
If we follow the coast in the opposite direction, towards the border with Spain, we will head towards Faro. It is the current capital of the Algarve region; The circuit route from Portimao to Faro is about 50 minutes by highway, but we can extend it if we take the national roads.
For many bikers, Faro is known for hosting one of the largest motorcycle rallies in Europe in summer. It is located at the foot of the Formosa River and we will also find classic architecture of the area in its historic center. Between the city and its beaches, there is a protected natural reserve formed by the wetlands of the mouth of the river to the Atlantic. Thanks to this, the beaches of Faro have a coastline free of constructions where nature is the only protagonist.