Jump to content


Photo

The original Spa-Francorchamps circuit


  • Please log in to reply
80 replies to this topic

#1 Tenmantaylor

Tenmantaylor
  • Member

  • 8,304 posts
  • Joined: July 01

Posted 08 September 2008 - 12:32

http://maps.google.c.....40/Route de l'Eau+Rouge&hl=en&geocode=FcB8AQMdsDVbAA%3BFedxAQMdV5BbAA%3B%3BFY8dAQMdEsxaAA%3BFT6BAQMdwOlaAA&mra=dpe&mrcr=1&mrsp=2&sz=15&via=2&sll=50.410842,5.967121&sspn=0.014933,0.02605&ie=UTF8&ll=50.423448,5.970984&spn=0.014929,0.02605&z=15

(May need to copy paste entire link)

Old spa route circa 1967 IIRC.

Has anyone driven these roads recently? If so what are they like now? Any speed cameras? :) Id love to a do a track trip round europe and this would definately be on high on my list as its not too far from the old nurburgring which is priority no1 for me. Just have to make sure I dont cut any corners...

Advertisement

#2 GeoffE

GeoffE
  • Member

  • 152 posts
  • Joined: March 07

Posted 08 September 2008 - 12:43

Here's a more manageable link http://tinyurl.com/56gxlh

#3 P. Dron

P. Dron
  • Member

  • 99 posts
  • Joined: June 08

Posted 08 September 2008 - 13:20

There was an interesting thread on this in the Grand Prix Legends section of Racesimcentral a while ago. Someone had done just such a recce and published some good photos. I cannot trace it at the moment, and it is often difficult to find things on that website, especially since they suffered a massive electronic crash some months ago.

The old circuit as shown in those photos seems to have been very narrow; and then of course, the hazards for getting it wrong included barbed wire at driver's head height, farm buildings, trees, etc. I think GPL's version of the circuit is reasonably accurate in plan view, but apparently they got the elevations rather wrong in places, particularly at Malmedy. So you are perhaps more likely to crash, even if you do not die.

That second google-map link gives a clear view of the old Spa. At Les Combes (where Hakkinen passed Schumacher), the old circuit turned left towards Burnenville, from where you follow the N68 on the google-map. You can clearly pick out the Masta Kink, and then the fast righthander at Stavelot, where you leave the N68 and pass through la Carriere onto a long straight, rejoining the modern circuit some way before Blanchimont.

#4 Cirrus

Cirrus
  • Member

  • 1,533 posts
  • Joined: February 03

Posted 08 September 2008 - 13:32

It's possible to drive much of the old circuit today, but some of it is very bumpy and poorly maintained. There are still some single-row Armco barriers to be seen, and it's easy to visualise how the circuit must have looked in the past.

If you're racing at Spa, and your vehicle is too big for the tunnel, then you have to use the Blanchimont entrance which is accessed via the old circuit. Some of us have been promised a tour of the old track at the Six Hour meeting later this month.

#5 lil'chris

lil'chris
  • Member

  • 512 posts
  • Joined: January 07

Posted 08 September 2008 - 21:45

Originally posted by P. Dron
I think GPL's version of the circuit is reasonably accurate in plan view,


I think the biggest error in the GPL track is that they have modelled the section after Kemmel as per the new circuit ie straight all the way up the hill to Les Combes/Haut de la Cote, whereas during the days of the old circuit, this featured several very fast curves as the hill was ascended.

When I visited in 1999 it was possible to drive from Les Combes / Haut de la Cote down to Malmedy where a new junction had been built just after the start of the Masta Straight meaning that only traffic coming towards Malmedy from the Masta kink could use the old road for the first 1/4 mile or so of the straight. From the point at which the old and new roads merged, it was possible to drive all the way almost to Blanchimont, though the road was very rough from Stavelot onwards. As far as I'm aware all of the old roads used for the new circuit are now no longer driveable having been incorporated as permanent parts of the new track

#6 Barry Boor

Barry Boor
  • Member

  • 10,834 posts
  • Joined: October 00

Posted 09 September 2008 - 06:50

Expect a current situation report next week as members Roger Clark and Kingsley Rob are going to that very place this week.

#7 Pedro 917

Pedro 917
  • Member

  • 1,767 posts
  • Joined: August 02

Posted 09 September 2008 - 09:09

There's a roundabout now between Les Combes and Burnenville and another one on the Masta straight towards the kink.

#8 Rob Semmeling

Rob Semmeling
  • Member

  • 831 posts
  • Joined: December 02

Posted 09 September 2008 - 09:16

The old section between Stavelot and Blanchimont (up to the new circuit) was completely repaved last year or so. It used to be a very poor quality and bumpy road, but it's not anymore.

#9 wolf sun

wolf sun
  • Member

  • 483 posts
  • Joined: September 05

Posted 09 September 2008 - 09:26

My annual trip to the Six Hours is coming up as well :clap: - I´ve visited Spa more or less regularly during the last ten years or so, and usually I drive a couple of times from Les Combes to Blanchimont (and back). It always strikes me how much changes from year to year, while at the same time many things still look almost exactly like they did in period.
I did take quite a few pictures of the old circuit two or three years ago, but my scanner´s not working at the moment, so I can´t post them. I´ve gone digital this year, though, so I will probably do another photo tour in late September.

A few things of note:

The road from Stavelot up to Blanchimont ("the spooky section") has been completely resurfaced, in 2004 I think. Before that, the tarmac was in incredibly bad condition, but rather more 'historically relevant', I suppose...


I think the biggest error in the GPL track is that they have modelled the section after Kemmel as per the new circuit ie straight all the way up the hill to Les Combes/Haut de la Cote, whereas during the days of the old circuit, this featured several very fast curves as the hill was ascended.



Apparently so, yes, as everybody who´d been there back in the days points this out - I´d love to see old overhead shots of that section. I´ve only ever seen trackside views, so I´ve no idea where exactly these curves were located.



traffic coming towards Malmedy from the Masta kink could use the old road for the first 1/4 mile or so of the straight.



I´ve never been sure if this is really the old road. There´s another thread, where two pictures - from the seventies and the noughties, respectively - are compared, which seem to suggest that the whole area around that junction has been altered. I will see if I can find it later.

#10 wolf sun

wolf sun
  • Member

  • 483 posts
  • Joined: September 05

Posted 09 September 2008 - 09:27

Oops, Rob beat me to it. :wave:

#11 pkenny

pkenny
  • Member

  • 198 posts
  • Joined: March 05

Posted 09 September 2008 - 21:55

I lived in Belgium from 2003 to 2006. Drove around the old part a good few times, especially at the 2005 GP weekend. The old stone bridge section at Stavelot, now a connecting part between the two parts of a v in the road, was in very poor condition. I didn't get the impression that the return back to Francorchamps via Blanchimont had been repaved at that stage.

There were some photos of the Masta kink here a few years ago - from the siding for milk trucks. How anyone ever exited this corner at full speed driving straight at a large house is still beyond me.

#12 Barry Boor

Barry Boor
  • Member

  • 10,834 posts
  • Joined: October 00

Posted 09 September 2008 - 21:57

It's the old lack of imagination thing again! :)

#13 wolf sun

wolf sun
  • Member

  • 483 posts
  • Joined: September 05

Posted 10 September 2008 - 10:21

Originally posted by pkenny
I lived in Belgium from 2003 to 2006. Drove around the old part a good few times, especially at the 2005 GP weekend. The old stone bridge section at Stavelot, now a connecting part between the two parts of a v in the road, was in very poor condition. I didn't get the impression that the return back to Francorchamps via Blanchimont had been repaved at that stage.


That´s very well possible - it might have been done in 2005 or 2006.

#14 dinosaur

dinosaur
  • New Member

  • 8 posts
  • Joined: September 08

Posted 10 September 2008 - 11:01

Originally posted by wolf sun


That´s very well possible - it might have been done in 2005 or 2006.


Hi,

during my first visit to Spa this year the tarmac of this section looked still pretty new to me - so probably the resurfacing was done in 2006. I wasn't aware that the road I was driving up to the banked corner was actually part of the old circuit until my mechanic told me so... :

We stayed at the Camping Side "Eau Rouge" which is located at this section, right between Hollowell and Stavelot. We actually entered the circuit through the Blanchimont access.

I have to admit that Spa (the "new course") is a terrific circuit and probably even more difficult than the old one (but very safe) and in my view (although Nordschleife-addicted) the best fun to drive without the insanity required at the Nürburgring.


Anyways, it seems that all connections between old and new circuit are still there - so it would be possible to do a "classic" event on the old layout, wouldn't it?

Would be nice, I guess...

Best,
Dino

#15 Barry Boor

Barry Boor
  • Member

  • 10,834 posts
  • Joined: October 00

Posted 10 September 2008 - 14:27

The roundabouts before Burnenville and on the Masta Straight might spoil it a bit though, don't you think? :(

#16 2F-001

2F-001
  • Member

  • 2,275 posts
  • Joined: November 01

Posted 10 September 2008 - 15:13

Unless something drastic has happened in the last two or three months, there is no roundabout before Burnenville.

The roundabout down near Malmedy is essentially to provide access to the slip-roads to the motorway and the main road into Malmedy town, past all the edge-of-town stores and petrol stations. Around that sweep following Burnenville and onto the straight heading toward Masta, there are two near-parallel sections of road as mentioned earlier. On the ground it is difficult to decide whether one or other is actually where the road was or whether neither is wholly original in its course. Given the slight variations and chicane that appeared there over time, possibly the latter is true. In all the times I've been there (the area has been a favourite holiday haunt for a good many years now) that's an aspect I've not really nailed for myself. It's perhaps the only area of the old circuit where it's not a good idea to park-up and explore on foot. I didn't think the roundabout itself sat precisely where the track went -- or is that where the chicane was sited for a brief time? Chris - have you studied that area closely, or is that your gut feeling (not decrying that, if the latter - just wondered!).

The banked corner at Stavelot has been barriered to a greater or lesser extent in various ways over the years to discourage or stop you from driving around it. The run up from Stavelot, throuh Carrieres and on toward Blanchimont has actually seen a bit more use in recent times since, as mentioned, it is now the "back" way in past the kart track to the paddock for larger vehicles. That section, as noted was resurfaced, but like you others I cannot remember exactly when. It does look as though a central two-lanes-width strip only was done as the fairly wide margins either side are still a much older and more degraded surface. If I've assessed that correctly, then it must have been quite a wide track at that point - although given the speeds they must have been doing, it possibly didn't feel that way from the cockpit.

The Holowell section was mentioned above; the Holowell memorial (a fleeting glimpse of which can be seen in "Grand Prix") has now been restored (to the extent that it looks quite new!) and is now sited on the corner of the road junction at the very top of the road up into Francorchamps outside where the old model shop used to be.

Also-- lil'Chris:
you mention the previously non-straight nature of what we now call Kemmel. I've been convinced of this for some time, from a very few vague photo's, unreliable maps and study on the ground. But it seems to be one of the least photographed sections of the track pre-"new circuit" and does not really figure in what films and video I've seen. Have you reference to pictures or film that shows this?
I hope to go there again next month and like to have a little detail to re-xplore each time with a little new studying done ahead of each trip!

#17 Barry Boor

Barry Boor
  • Member

  • 10,834 posts
  • Joined: October 00

Posted 10 September 2008 - 15:52

I guess this is what lil'chris means:

Posted Image

This is from Paul Frere's book and shows the circuit as it was post-WW2 but I think only very early in the 1950s.

This map still shows the old Stavelot which was a very tight corner.

I'm sure we can find out for certain but my suspicion is that the Eau Rouge - Haut de la Cote section was straightened when Stavelot was eased and that would be well before 1960.

There must be someone who knows. I can think of one person I might ask.  ;)

#18 Rob Semmeling

Rob Semmeling
  • Member

  • 831 posts
  • Joined: December 02

Posted 10 September 2008 - 16:00

IIRC, this is the location of the new roundabout:


Posted Image


The Google Earth images are a little outdated, I seem to recall the roundabout was there when I last drove the old circuit, in March 2007.

#19 Racer.Demon

Racer.Demon
  • Member

  • 1,705 posts
  • Joined: November 99

Posted 10 September 2008 - 16:05

Here's a quick tour of the circuit done in 2000, so before the modern circuit was closed off for traffic permanently:

http://8w.forix.com/...a-old-tour.html

When I was at Spa for the Six Hours I also stumbled over the new roundabout after Les Combes - a very bewildering experience if you're not expecting it...

Advertisement

#20 Rob Semmeling

Rob Semmeling
  • Member

  • 831 posts
  • Joined: December 02

Posted 10 September 2008 - 16:05

Also, as you will see in Google Earth, there is no roundabout on the Masta straight, but rather this is located directly next to it. Fortunately, it does not interfere with driving the circuit, at least not when going in the right direction, i.e. clockwise (I'm not sure about the other way round).

The old banked righthander at Stavelot is a one-way section these days, I believe. It is drivable in the correct direction if my memory serves me correctly.

#21 Rob Semmeling

Rob Semmeling
  • Member

  • 831 posts
  • Joined: December 02

Posted 10 September 2008 - 16:10

Originally posted by Barry Boor

I'm sure we can find out for certain but my suspicion is that the Eau Rouge - Haut de la Cote section was straightened when Stavelot was eased and that would be well before 1960.


There's a bunch of aerials taken at the 1970 Belgium GP on LAT and they don't seem to show any swerves on the Kemmel section. So if there were any, they indeed must have been straighted earlier.

#22 Rob Semmeling

Rob Semmeling
  • Member

  • 831 posts
  • Joined: December 02

Posted 10 September 2008 - 16:14

And here are the remains of the chicane at Malmedy, first used for the 1970 GP:

Posted Image


Posted Image


Posted Image

#23 fines

fines
  • Member

  • 9,647 posts
  • Joined: September 00

Posted 10 September 2008 - 16:20

Originally posted by Rob Semmeling


There's a bunch of aerials taken at the 1970 Belgium GP on LAT and they don't seem to show any swerves on the Kemmel section. So if there were any, they indeed must have been straighted earlier.

Old circuit maps are often vague, I wouldn't think that those bends were there in reality. Mind you, not sure about 1925, though!

#24 HEMEYLA

HEMEYLA
  • Member

  • 586 posts
  • Joined: March 08

Posted 10 September 2008 - 17:19

Nice photo tour on theracingline

#25 Rob Semmeling

Rob Semmeling
  • Member

  • 831 posts
  • Joined: December 02

Posted 10 September 2008 - 17:29

Yes Ton, by our fellow TNF members Luc and Carlos Ghys, who never fail to come up with stunning photos!

Michael: I agree, but you never know until you know for sure, right?

Here are two further maps, from 1932 and 1947 respectively, that suggest some swerves at Kemmel:

http://home.arcor.de...ife/spa1932.jpg
http://home.arcor.de...ife/spa1947.jpg

#26 fines

fines
  • Member

  • 9,647 posts
  • Joined: September 00

Posted 10 September 2008 - 17:31

Originally posted by Rob Semmeling
Michael: I agree, but you never know until you know for sure, right?

Right! :up:

#27 HEMEYLA

HEMEYLA
  • Member

  • 586 posts
  • Joined: March 08

Posted 10 September 2008 - 18:05

From my first attend at the Belgium GP in 1973:

Posted Image

Posted Image

#28 Barry Boor

Barry Boor
  • Member

  • 10,834 posts
  • Joined: October 00

Posted 10 September 2008 - 18:09

Surely that map can't be right in 1973?

#29 dinosaur

dinosaur
  • New Member

  • 8 posts
  • Joined: September 08

Posted 10 September 2008 - 18:32

Originally posted by Barry Boor
Surely that map can't be right in 1973?


In addition, Rob's map from 47 still shows the old Holowell layout (without the banked corner). According to http://theracingline...racingcircuits/ , this was changed from 47 onwards. Also, the Malmedy Chicane is (according to the site) existant from 34 - 39. After that, it disapears from the maps...

The layout of Kemmel seems to be slightly curved up until the new layout was implemented. BTW - look at the different proposals!!! :eek:

Ansgar

#30 2F-001

2F-001
  • Member

  • 2,275 posts
  • Joined: November 01

Posted 10 September 2008 - 18:46

Originally posted by Rob Semmeling
IIRC, this is the location of the new roundabout:


Posted Image


The Google Earth images are a little outdated, I seem to recall the roundabout was there when I last drove the old circuit, in March 2007.


Ah - apologies: a traffic island where the old circuit joins the "new" road that runs up the hill bypassing the track... I thought there was some suggestion of a roundabout on the run downhill before the road passes Burnenville itself.

#31 picblanc

picblanc
  • Member

  • 12,529 posts
  • Joined: October 06

Posted 10 September 2008 - 18:47

So then basically Spa bears no resemblance what so ever to the original track, i:e what was seen in the film Grand Prix? Mind you still a great circuit, F1 cars can at least pass on the track, and not in the pit stop strategy!!

#32 2F-001

2F-001
  • Member

  • 2,275 posts
  • Joined: November 01

Posted 10 September 2008 - 19:01

I think the section from where the current circuit rejoins the original road up to the exit of Blanchimont still follows the original 'line', doesn't it?

#33 dinosaur

dinosaur
  • New Member

  • 8 posts
  • Joined: September 08

Posted 10 September 2008 - 19:11

Originally posted by 2F-001
I think the section from where the current circuit rejoins the original road up to the exit of Blanchimont still follows the original 'line', doesn't it?


In addition, virually everything from start/finish to Les Combes is original, too. Well, if you account "L'Ancienne Douanne" as "the original", than that would exclude Eau Rouge (which has been re-modelled several times as well). "Bus Stop" and it's variants were not existing, either in the beginning. However, still the new track feels pretty "original".

Ansgar

#34 h4887

h4887
  • Member

  • 875 posts
  • Joined: July 04

Posted 10 September 2008 - 19:15

According to the programme map the left hander at the top of the hill is Burnenville, whereas the racing line has it as Les Combes, with Burnenville being the right hander before Malmedy

#35 2F-001

2F-001
  • Member

  • 2,275 posts
  • Joined: November 01

Posted 10 September 2008 - 19:24

I don't think so Ansgar - The start and finish straight (the current one) seems to have moved slightly westwards in the last big rebuild and is now a bit more level with a more pronounced rise on the immediate approach to La Source. La Source itself has changed shape slightly in the recent upheavals. Eau Rouge and the swing right into Radillon are different and there seems to a consensus forming among some of us that what is now Kemmel was not always straight.

I do agree, it's a great track even without the qualification 'by modern standards' and it retains some of the grandeur of the original. In bibliographic terms it might be described as a palimpsest of the original Spa-Francorchamps. (And the new is far better than the old for most modern, well-handling racecars and the army of trackday drivers and occasional club and minor formulae racers who must make up most of the circuits clientelle.)



The map in that '73 Bike GP programme is surely a mistake. I've never seen that labelled as Burnenville before. Surely the curve around the village itself has alway been thought of as Burnenville? As someone else pointed out, circuit diagrams have always been notoriously unreliable.

#36 dinosaur

dinosaur
  • New Member

  • 8 posts
  • Joined: September 08

Posted 10 September 2008 - 19:50

Originally posted by 2F-001
I don't think so Ansgar - The start and finish straight (the current one) seems to have moved slightly westwards in the last big rebuild and is now a bit more level with a more pronounced rise on the immediate approach to La Source. La Source itself has changed shape slightly in the recent upheavals. Eau Rouge and the swing right into Radillon are different and there seems to a consensus forming among some of us that what is now Kemmel was not always straight.


Well - if you go into THAT detail... you're probably right.;) But then again - what circuit is still "original"?

I do agree, it's a great track even without the qualification 'by modern standards' and it retains some of the grandeur of the original. In bibliographic terms it might be described as a palimpsest of the original Spa-Francorchamps. (And the new is far better than the old for most modern, well-handling racecars and the army of trackday drivers and occasional club and minor formulae racers who must make up most of the circuits clientelle.)



I think, it is the better course for all modern cars. It is more technical and still requires some nerve to go e.g. into Pouhon or break late and at the correct apex at Rivage (as new-track examples) or take Eau Rouge or Blanchimont at high speed (although without being sucidal) to make a good lap-time. I've driven the Nürburg-GP, Hockenheim-Sprint or Assen TT Sprint Layouts and compared to Spa (or Nordschleife) they are pretty much forgetable. Still, I would not argue that the old Spa Layout was much more demanding in terms of bravery and error-sensitivity. And I would love to drive and experience it once at least... :)


The map in that '73 Bike GP programme is surely a mistake. I've never seen that labelled as Burnenville before. Surely the curve around the village itself has alway been thought of as Burnenville? As someone else pointed out, circuit diagrams have always been notoriously unreliable.



I guess so, too.

Ansgar

#37 2F-001

2F-001
  • Member

  • 2,275 posts
  • Joined: November 01

Posted 10 September 2008 - 19:57

Originally posted by dinosaur

Well - if you go into THAT detail... you're probably right.;) But then again - what circuit is still "original"?


That's a fair point...!

#38 taylov

taylov
  • Member

  • 604 posts
  • Joined: February 05

Posted 10 September 2008 - 21:17

Originally posted by dinosaur


Well, if you account "L'Ancienne Douanne" as "the original", than that would exclude Eau Rouge (which has been re-modelled several times as well).


The original course that dinosaur refers to had a sharp left hander at what is now Eau Rouge leading to a RH hairpin bend. See http://www.kolumbus.fi/leif.snellman/ for a map.

This version lasted from 1921 to the mid 1930s, last being used for the 1937 Grand Prix.

Tony

#39 HEMEYLA

HEMEYLA
  • Member

  • 586 posts
  • Joined: March 08

Posted 10 September 2008 - 21:38

Originally posted by 2F-001

The map in that '73 Bike GP programme is surely a mistake. I've never seen that labelled as Burnenville before. Surely the curve around the village itself has alway been thought of as Burnenville? As someone else pointed out, circuit diagrams have always been notoriously unreliable.


The map is'nt in a programme but in the supplementary regulations book from the F.M.B., not reliable this time as pointed out.

For sure in 1973 the track was very "bumpy" at some stages, my next Spa-Franco GP was in 1979, the first race at the new circuit, no bumps at all then but slippery like an ice track, never saw "polished" tyres before. :smoking:

A lot of pictures also at Circuitsofthepast

Advertisement

#40 Barry Boor

Barry Boor
  • Member

  • 10,834 posts
  • Joined: October 00

Posted 10 September 2008 - 21:46

There is no doubt - Burnenville is the BIG right-hander!

I just wonder what the lap speed of a modern F.1 car would be around the Spa of 1966-70!

#41 lil'chris

lil'chris
  • Member

  • 512 posts
  • Joined: January 07

Posted 10 September 2008 - 21:59

Originally posted by 2F-001


Also-- lil'Chris:
you mention the previously non-straight nature of what we now call Kemmel. I've been convinced of this for some time, from a very few vague photo's, unreliable maps and study on the ground. But it seems to be one of the least photographed sections of the track pre-"new circuit" and does not really figure in what films and video I've seen. Have you reference to pictures or film that shows this?
I hope to go there again next month and like to have a little detail to re-xplore each time with a little new studying done ahead of each trip!


Tony,

The missing right left right swerves were around the 1km mark according to maps I have seen as well as those on this thread.

Page 214 of Delsauxs Francorchamps 1948-60 has a picture of a number of cars going through what I believe is the missing first right hander with the left hander clearly visible in the background. There is a 1km marker board just about legible on the right hand side of the road to support this being the missing swerves.

On page 44 of Francorchamps 1948 - 60, there is a picture that I believe shows Villoresi taking the left hander in 1949.

Unfortunately I don't have a scanner so can't post these pictures. I have seen other photos of this area but don't have time to search them out at the moment.

Additionally there is coverage on MFQ 2 of the 1961 Belgian GP that IIRC includes footage of this section and there used to be different footage on youtube of the same GP that also showed these corners.

I was in France in 1977 when very short highlights of the recent Belgian Motor bike GP were shown and the coverage centred around these corners hence my being convinced that it was only when the new circuit was built in 1978 that this whole section ws straightened out.



Cheers

Chris





.

#42 wolf sun

wolf sun
  • Member

  • 483 posts
  • Joined: September 05

Posted 11 September 2008 - 09:51

I think you´re right about the swerves on what is now called Kemmel, lil'Chris. For one thing, I´ve seen quite a few different circuit maps that all mark out these kinks. Also, I´ve just re-read Clay Regazzoni`s description of a lap at Spa in "From Brands Hatch to Indianapolis", which was published in 1974.

Here is what he had to say:

„The pits at Spa are on a short descending straight, which on the flying lap is covered in fourth gear at maximum engine speed. At the bottom of the hill there is a bend turning left, then a right which is taken in third gear, in preparation for the climb which follows it. When the road levels out again, there are two very fast fourth gear 'ess' bends and then the Les Combes bend. This is a third gear corner, and after it one changes into fourth, then fifth, for the long straights in the slight descent towards Stavelot, one of the key bends on the circuit.
This long stretch calls for delicacy, in part because the road undulates; the most difficult parts are the bends at Burnenville and Malmédy, negotiated at well over 150 mph, and the Masta, which is a kink rather than a corner. Here there are cottages on both sides and it is not amusing to speed between the rigid safety barriers at over 180 mph! An instant of hesitation, or a slower car to be lapped, can cost dear, while if one releases the throttle pedal too soon or too much one can lose too many engine revolutions. The whole stretch demands complete attention, and there is also the unnerving distraction of a valley on the right.
Stavelot comprises two bends to the right, connected by another short slope. The first is downhill, and the road camber is adverse. There are several traps. Enter the first bend too fast and you can either leave the track, or be badly placed for the second; if one goes in too slowly the whole lap time can be compromised, because after Stavelot there are straights which call for very high speeds, and the faster one comes out of the corner, the better.
From Stavelot up through La Carrière to La Source one travels at about 180 mph, along straights linked by high-speed bends, some of them very fast ess bends. Before the sharp La Source right-hander leading back to the pits straight one has to brake very strongly, for it is impossible to take this at more than about 45 mph. One cannot go faster as this corner is on a road junction, and the two roads join at different inclinations.
That completes the lap, and one descends past the pits again without havning a moment for the attention to wander. Rest is possible only when one stops at the pits to hand over the car to a team mate.“


Note that the text seems to confuse esses with kinks, and vice versa. This is probably due to it having been translated from Italian to English. Oh, and the "two bends at Stavelot" are of course Holowell and Stavelot!

Btw, there is still a kink on Kemmel straight as it is today, shortly before the footbridge. My theory :lol: is that the other kink was located at the marshals` post after that same footbridge. If you look at Google Maps you´ll notice a tiny strip of tarmac blending into a grassy track to the right of the circuit. I might however be completely wrong...

#43 lil'chris

lil'chris
  • Member

  • 512 posts
  • Joined: January 07

Posted 11 September 2008 - 20:35

Originally posted by wolf sun

Btw, there is still a kink on Kemmel straight as it is today, shortly before the footbridge. My theory :lol: is that the other kink was located at the marshals` post after that same footbridge. If you look at Google Maps you´ll notice a tiny strip of tarmac blending into a grassy track to the right of the circuit. I might however be completely wrong...


I agree about the grassy track, and its edge is just the right shape for those swerves I reckon.

I think we need Mozart ( Brian Redman ) to read this thread since he drove there enough times :up:

#44 2F-001

2F-001
  • Member

  • 2,275 posts
  • Joined: November 01

Posted 12 September 2008 - 06:36

I'll follow up the references you cite, Chris, when I get a moment. I do recall a fleeting glimpse on MFQ but didn't think it was conclusive? Must look again...

There are a couple of aeial photographs, I think from the early eighties (and certainly well before the newer bypass road), which were used on postcards - they show the tree line close to the track (just after the footbridge on Kemmel) curving away from the inside of the road in just the right place (don't have them to hand at the moment, though). Haven't noticed those areas of trees being logged and replanted, although it's only a hint rather than 'proof'.

#45 wolf sun

wolf sun
  • Member

  • 483 posts
  • Joined: September 05

Posted 12 September 2008 - 09:10

Originally posted by 2F-001
Around that sweep following Burnenville and onto the straight heading toward Masta, there are two near-parallel sections of road as mentioned earlier. On the ground it is difficult to decide whether one or other is actually where the road was or whether neither is wholly original in its course. Given the slight variations and chicane that appeared there over time, possibly the latter is true. In all the times I've been there (the area has been a favourite holiday haunt for a good many years now) that's an aspect I've not really nailed for myself.


Tell me about it...I keep thinking that all I´d have to do is ask someone from Burnenville or Masta the next time I´m there, but I neither have the bottle nor the french-speaking skills to do so.

Chicanes, kinks and bends apart, I´m quite sure that there are the most amazing personal recollections and photographs lurking in some of the houses along the old circuit...

#46 2F-001

2F-001
  • Member

  • 2,275 posts
  • Joined: November 01

Posted 12 September 2008 - 11:02

A couple of years ago when trying to locate the original site of the Holowell memorial, we decided to walk from Stavelot back to Masta to look for any other remaining details we'd missed on other walks and drives around the area. Armed with some books and copies of old photos we went into a cafe/shop in Masta to seek info re Holowell.

We were sent to the back of the adjoining house where an elderly couple had lived, we understood, for a long time. Their English was non-existent and their French more 'local' than our inadequate version. They understood what we were doing (but not that we were walking most of the circuit!) and knew the Holowell name and the section of track, but we were struggling to get down to details. It was on the way back to our rented house that we found the Holowell memorial now sited in Francorchamps; I think it was installed there the previous year but we'd overlooked it. Quite a striking monument if you haven't seen it before. We worked out were it had been originally, and a fleeting glimpse of it can be seen in the 'Grand Prix' movie.

#47 dinosaur

dinosaur
  • New Member

  • 8 posts
  • Joined: September 08

Posted 12 September 2008 - 13:59

Originally posted by lil'chris


I agree about the grassy track, and its edge is just the right shape for those swerves I reckon.

I think we need Mozart ( Brian Redman ) to read this thread since he drove there enough times :up:



According to here, Kemmel was indeed straighten. http://www.gdecarli....p?var1=2&var2=2

Posted Image

And also according to this map, found in an old thread in this forum: http://forums.autosp...?threadid=57426


Ansgar

#48 Barry Boor

Barry Boor
  • Member

  • 10,834 posts
  • Joined: October 00

Posted 12 September 2008 - 15:41

I am hoping for a reply and a description of the circuit in the 1960s from a chap who once won a race there.

#49 LOLE

LOLE
  • Member

  • 313 posts
  • Joined: August 02

Posted 13 September 2008 - 19:39

Can this map help you?
If you want, I can show a detail of the track...



Posted Image

#50 HEMEYLA

HEMEYLA
  • Member

  • 586 posts
  • Joined: March 08

Posted 13 September 2008 - 20:42

Thats a very nice map, thanks a lot Carlos.

Taste the atmosphere from the 1973 motorcycle GP