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A Picturesque Lap - Lobethal today


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#1 Ray Bell

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Posted 23 January 2001 - 15:57

This is intended to be a fairly long thread, and to take a long time to unfold.
The reason for this is so that everyone has a chance to comment (if they feel the need) at each step along the way.
Additionally, I am going to leave room at each step for comments from the two or three or four drivers who raced at Lobethal to have a say, most of this to come from Allan Tomlinson and John Crouch when Barry and I get together with them in March.
The photos as posted will cover the individual sections of the course, with the first two being the starting area and the commencement of the long leg that followed the railway line between the Mt Torrens and Kayannie Corners, and through the town of Charleston.

First we'll start with a map of the circuit, drawn by Terry Walker in 1985/6 for the AGP book:

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Then we have the first two photos:

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The last stretch of the circuit comes in from the right, the cars starting the race (handicaps, remember) come in from the left, rushing away to this straight:

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And this is how the cars lined up for the start, from the opposite direction, Tomlinson in the silver car on the left:
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#2 Ray Bell

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Posted 23 January 2001 - 16:19

This post is for the purpose of inserting comments from Tomlinson and Crouch later.....

#3 fines

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Posted 23 January 2001 - 19:08

I have to say the track map already looks gorgeous: Lots of fast and sweeping corners! Mouth watering...

#4 Bernd

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Posted 23 January 2001 - 22:22

In the tree to the right of frame in picture one we located what appeared to be the Commentators perch. Pretty surprising that it was there after 60 years or so.

Fines as for fast & sweeping corners....... you have no idea ;) and yes mouth watering describes Lobethal quite well I think.

#5 jrosenzweig

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Posted 24 January 2001 - 00:25


Ray, i estimate the road to have been 7-8m wide. perhaps this is a little exaggerated but its hard to tell. the road in front of my place is your regular SA type country road and its 6m wide. Most of the road going over the bridges at Lobethal left a gap between the road and bridge.

Some may be jealous, i went to Adelaide on Monday and on the way down my brother asked about Lobethal so on the way home we did 1 lap. I took particular notice of that strainer post at Kayannie Corner. Indeed it has been there for over 60 years. The white ants must be treating it nicely :) Ray once you get to Kayannie with your photos please scan that photo out of the book. Maybe if we are lucky we can see that strainer post in one of your photos. The photo btw shows Kleinig driving close to the post in the dirt.

#6 Ray Bell

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Posted 24 January 2001 - 00:31

I was going to comment on the bridges a little later, when we have a photo up, but as you mention them now it's interesting that the fences are back further than the kerbing, by about a foot from memory. It seems to me that the bridges haven't been widened, but the road has by just a little and the fences have gone back to give a bit of clearance...

Of course, it wasn't all beer and skittles, some had to work at getting their cars going... this is the supercharged Q-type MG of Peter Vennermark being towed... Note the screen wire because of the grasshopper plague that was a problem for competitors in 1948.

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#7 Bernd

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Posted 24 January 2001 - 01:22

Why is it at 130KPH+ it seems a lot narrower than 7-8M :eek:

#8 jrosenzweig

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Posted 24 January 2001 - 09:20

Ben, the road now is about 6m wide. Back then Ray said it was wider. How much wider is anybodies guess. I only hope that it was about 8m wide otherwise i fear Lobethal for Grand Prix Legends would be far too narrow to be enjoyable with those wide F1 cars :(

The only passing spot would then be through the main street at Lobethal. not much really. ah well we'll wait and see i guess. Hope the thunder storms tonight don't wash anything away...

#9 Bernd

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Posted 24 January 2001 - 09:28

It probably went to the verges I would guess. Ray there must be some more solid data than this speculation?

#10 Ray Bell

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Posted 26 January 2001 - 04:24

Get the movies from Kevin Shearer... oops! What am I saying?

I don't think it was wider, I hope I didn't give that impression. I do think it a foot or two wider today than it was, and that the bridges are as original, but the fences moved back a little... the fences on the bridge, that is...

Anyway time for the next pictures:

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...a fast right and left, nice quick esses.
Note the constant elevation changes, even small ones, that make it more interesting.

#11 Ray Bell

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Posted 26 January 2001 - 04:48

I think the speed the quicker cars had up by the time they got to these corners would have made them exciting enough. Again, this post is to make space for comments from John Crouch and Allan Tomlinson.

#12 C F Eick

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Posted 26 January 2001 - 11:51

Ray, where on the circuit are those esses? Are they the very first small kinks after the start, the kinks ending where the O in Onkaparinga River starts or the larger kinks below Charleston?

/Christian

#13 jrosenzweig

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Posted 26 January 2001 - 12:18


The esses you can see is the esses where the railway gets closest to the circuit after the s/f. its about 1.2 km from the pits

#14 fines

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Posted 26 January 2001 - 20:44

Boy, what a sweeper! I think I may end up a converted...

#15 Ray Bell

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Posted 26 January 2001 - 21:04

We've got a long way to go yet, FEE-nes, in fact, this is the lesser stretch.

#16 Ray Bell

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Posted 26 January 2001 - 22:09

Time to move along a little, to a more difficult part of this flat-out blind alongside the railway line. Heading ever closer to Charleston we find:

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This one should draw the odd comment...

#17 fines

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Posted 26 January 2001 - 22:18

Looks like a fast car should get airborne over that bridge...

Ray, do you have pictures of racecars at this particular spot?

#18 Ray Bell

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Posted 26 January 2001 - 22:20

Doug Whiteford
Winner of the main event, 1948, also entered in 1940, both times driving Ford V8 Special 'Black Bess'
"There was a hump-backed bridge with a curve after it, and the spectators used to sit in the gutter on the edge of the road with their legs dangling in the gutter. If you'd lost it there you would have killed a lot of people and wiped out dozens of legs."

Allan Tomlinson
Winner of the 1939 Australian Grand Prix, also entered in 1940, both times driving a highly developed MG TA offset single seater Special
Comment to come...

John Crouch
Drove an Alfa Romeo in the AGP in 1939
Comment to come...

Maybe someone can get some comments from Tony Gaze, who ran there in 1948?


#19 Ray Bell

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Posted 26 January 2001 - 22:22

Sorry, fines, to my knowledge there are no pictures of this spot, but I'd be delighted to hear of any... cars of the ilk of the Monza and P3 would certainly have been getting very light!

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#20 Ray Bell

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Posted 27 January 2001 - 16:17

One photo I do have of this initial stretch, and I think it's very close to the start, is this one:

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This is the Barrett Monza when it pulled off to the side after fuelling up off the line... not a good start, but he made up a lot of the time later.

Two things to note here... first is the size of the crowd, second is the lack of trees. All the photos seem to show more trees than were present in 1939.

#21 Ray Bell

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Posted 28 January 2001 - 03:15

The next photos:

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Another fast corner... and closing in on the village of Charleston.

#22 Ray Bell

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Posted 28 January 2001 - 03:21

Allan Tomlinson: "It was about three miles along the railway straight, and there was just a wall of people on both sides of the road the whole way."

John Crouch: comment to come.

#23 jrosenzweig

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Posted 28 January 2001 - 13:32


I should change that 100 km/hr sign to 130mph/hr :) Nice fast stretch this. I wonder if the Charleston pub had a drive-thru...

#24 Bernd

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Posted 28 January 2001 - 22:26

Yeah this stretch is where a workhouse old Pug can really stretch its legs :lol:

Charleston came and went really quickly on a flying lap that is for sure.

#25 Ray Bell

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Posted 29 January 2001 - 11:38

The sign is actually 80kmh... waste of time really....

Want some more pics, ever closer to that pub?

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#26 jrosenzweig

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Posted 30 January 2001 - 11:16


well if the road is 6m wide, then the bridge is about 7m. maybe this photo solves the track width riddle. Its interesting they never made this section of road straight. It has a lot of small kinks. No wonder they had a pass on the right (or was that left) rule :) would have been hard to pass a car or similar speed.

#27 Ray Bell

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Posted 30 January 2001 - 12:27

This is just before Charleston, very fast sweepers, must have been good to watch Barrett through here in the Monza.

#28 Ray Bell

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Posted 30 January 2001 - 22:25

Now into the village of Charleston. Here we have to imagine hordes of people on the edges of the road, indeed, crossing the road!

And the boozer doing a great trade.

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#29 Ray Bell

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Posted 31 January 2001 - 01:59

Again, providing space here for the interviews to be used.

Somewhere here Crouch reckoned he had to drive over the spectators' feet to force them back so he could take his line... that might be for the left hander coming up next, it's got a Speed Advisory sign of 75kmh on it, but they went through there flat...

#30 jrosenzweig

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Posted 31 January 2001 - 07:05


The corner after Charleston was i think, the tightest corner from the pits to Kayannie Corner section of the circuit.

#31 Ray Bell

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Posted 31 January 2001 - 07:28

Yes, I'm sure you're right there, Jamie, but still Tomlinson assures me he didn't back off on that whole run along there. 130mph and maybe a little more for that stretch, and this corner was surely an 'all the road and then only just!' job.

Here it is:

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#32 Ray Bell

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Posted 31 January 2001 - 23:58

I'm sure there will be comments on this one, so here's the space for it...

#33 Ray Bell

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Posted 01 February 2001 - 00:02

We're rushing headlong for the braking area at Kayannie Corner now, the railway at our left, just one more feature to be encountered, and it seems interesting to me, especially for those faster cars:

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This sharp rise took the cars over a crest, just before the braking area... down the other side:

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#34 Bernd

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Posted 01 February 2001 - 00:37

Ray those last two pictures are not working???

Hang tight folks the stretch from Kayannie into Lobethal is quite amazing! Goofy smile on the face stuff.

#35 Ray Bell

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Posted 01 February 2001 - 01:37

That's got them fixed... had a recurring problem with geocities, posted and then expected to upload the pics straight away and I couldn't..

Note that the downhill rush to the braking area after the crest takes in yet another kink to the right... this is the only photo which shows that, a bit of a shortcoming in my coverage overall..

Anyway, to satisfy other needs, here's a picture of Tim Joshua, and all the body language says he's in the braking area... note the absence of foliage in the background!

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We have more photos to fit in from this point on, including the one that Jamie is pleading for... coming soon!

#36 Ray Bell

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Posted 01 February 2001 - 13:11

Here again for comments after our discussions....

#37 Ray Bell

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Posted 01 February 2001 - 13:30

And now onto the stretch into Lobethal.. As I said, not much of a photographic description of what Kayannie Corner is really like, but from the map and what we have you can get a clear idea.

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You can see here how the road drops slightly to the river, then climbs the hill opposite, heading towards Lobethal township.

And, as requested by Jamie, but necessarily added anyway, Kleinig rounds the corner. Again, note the lack of trees in the background.

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#38 Ray Bell

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Posted 02 February 2001 - 13:06

I'm sure that there'll be talk about the old Hudson going up the sandbags on this corner... maybe somebody somewhere has a picture of it? It was actually in the newspapers at the time.

#39 Ray Bell

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Posted 02 February 2001 - 13:10

Now for the quick run up the hill... over the bridge first, of course:

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Then on the quick run up through a couple of kinks, with the undulations that would have made the high-speed run a little bit more than ordinary...

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Just to show that photos are deceptive, here's another, just over that little hump in the right hander that leads to the final stretch up the hill:

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#40 Ray Bell

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Posted 03 February 2001 - 11:12

For now, a post for future comment... and on the next page will come the next photos...

#41 Ray Bell

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Posted 03 February 2001 - 11:27

We're still climbing the hill, and we reach the top... about to descend through the esses into Lobethal...

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Looks innocent enough, but you get airborne here...

And although it's a bit poor and maybe hard to see, after that left kink in the second pic, you're heading into the esses with a lot of speed to wipe off...



#42 Bernd

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Posted 03 February 2001 - 14:10

The sheer brilliance of this section is not possible to convey with photography unfortunately.... The road just seems to flow like a river almost sucking the vehicle along. Sorry if I have waxed lyrical a bit here but I'm very VERY drunk :D

#43 fines

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Posted 03 February 2001 - 14:24

:drunk: on a Saturday afternoon? You Australians never cease to amaze me, staying up all night and sleep through the afternoon and early evening, and all that with your feet high up in the air! :lol:

#44 Ray Bell

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Posted 03 February 2001 - 14:47

Not me, FEE-nes, not me! It's 0144 here at the moment, and I'm going to do the normal thing and go to bed soon.

Of course, I can't speak for Bernd, except to say he's in the same time zone.

Are you converted yet, by the way, or are you hanging on until we get to the real drivers' section?

#45 fines

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Posted 03 February 2001 - 15:24

Why Ray, you can't fool me. It's four in the afternoon and you should be having tea, not go to bed!;)

And yes, I think I am converted, awestruck as well seeing those pictures of a very FAST and demanding road circuit. How wonderful it would be if the 2001 AGP would be held there instead of Yawnbourne!

#46 Bernd

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Posted 04 February 2001 - 02:06

:lol:

Yeah right! JV would smile and go balls out until he met his maker courtesy of a 50FT Gum Tree. The rest of em would huddle into a little mothers meeting and refuse to drive!

#47 Nikolas Garth

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Posted 04 February 2001 - 16:35

How long is one lap of the Lobethal circuit????

#48 david_martin

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Posted 04 February 2001 - 16:42

13.9 kilometers by the odometer in my Mazda 121 rent-a-car.

#49 Nikolas Garth

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Posted 04 February 2001 - 16:44

Thanks

#50 jrosenzweig

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Posted 05 February 2001 - 06:52


Hmmm. seems i shall have to go back and take a camcorder. Bernd you are the first to receive a copy...

BTW, back to the Klenig photo rounding Kayannie, that corner post that you can see... it's over 60 years old. You can see it in Ray's modern circuit photo. I like the way the drivers had to hit the dirt to cut the corner to take the racing line. Great stuff