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Obscure places for races: Asmara, Antananarivo


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#1 ensign14

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Posted 28 May 2003 - 13:04

Reading through Simon Lewis' book on the Alfa 2.3, he makes references to Christmas Day races in Asmara (Eritrea) in the late 30s. Does anyone have any more details?

Also, in Hans Tanner's book on post-war GP cars (a Clymer production, which has a photo of Castellotti in a Lancia numbered 35, but we won't go into that!) he gives a track plan of a circuit in Antananarivo (Madagascar). Someone mentioned Madagascar's racing colours were white with green stripe, which may have been used there; but it does beg the question, what races did they have in that far-off spot?

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#2 Vitesse2

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Posted 28 May 2003 - 13:11

Not sure what sort of racing there was in Madagascar, but Jo Schlesser was born there and raced and rallied before moving to France.

#3 Ray Bell

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Posted 28 May 2003 - 13:16

There have been mentions...

http://www.atlasf1.c...=&postid=255997

That's one of them.

#4 Jimmy Piget

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Posted 29 May 2003 - 20:10

Antananarivo was called Tananarive when Madagascar was a French colony (up to 1960). There have been there some sportscar races and even 1 or 2 Monomill meetings.

By the way, it must be said that Jo Schlesser never was from Madagascar, definitely.
He was from Lorraine and spend some time (around 1954-1959) in this country only to make money and return racing in France.

#5 ensign14

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Posted 29 May 2003 - 20:51

Originally posted by Jimmy Piget
Antananarivo was called Tananarive when Madagascar was a French colony (up to 1960).

I think it is actually pronounced Tananarive, and the French changed the spelling to match the pronounciation (as if we renamed that place near Dublin 'Dun Leary', or that place near Silverstone 'Toaster'). Something to do with dropped initial syllables in the Malagasy language.

#6 BRG

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Posted 30 May 2003 - 12:20

Eritrea was under Italian rule in the 30s and as we know from races in Libya (Tripoli), the Italians took their enthusiasm for motor-racing with them. So racing in Asmara undoubtedly must have happened.

Even now, Eritreans remain very keen on cycle racing, another legacy of Italian rule.

#7 Vitesse2

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Posted 30 May 2003 - 12:35

Asmara's come up before: looks like there were some pretty decent cars out there -

http://www.atlasf1.c...&threadid=31744

Originally posted by David McKinney 19 Nov 2001
In 1943 a bunch of British army officers requisitioned six Italian cars and organised a race for them over a 4.5-mile street circuit in Asmara, Eritrea. A single-seater Maserati 4C won from the ex-Howe 8C-2300 Alfa Romeo after a 6C-1750 Alfa was forced out following an encounter with a donkey which had strayed onto the track. The other starters were a newer 8C Alfa, a second 1750 and a small sports Maserati, but the drivers’ names remain hidden by the security in force at the time.
The above extracted from an article in Classic & Sports Car a year or so ago.
The sports Maser in question, a 4C, has been restored by Tony Merrick and was on display at one of the Silverstone meetings last year.


Also some details of another in this thread started by Bugatti Bourgogne -

http://www.atlasf1.c...&threadid=47784

and I think he's probably still looking for this -

http://www.atlasf1.c...&threadid=48207

#8 Bugatti bourgogne

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Posted 19 August 2003 - 23:10

YEs, I'm still looking for information about that guy who lives in Asmara...
Does A certain Romeo Paoli ring you a bell ?

regards,

#9 crozier74

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Posted 08 May 2005 - 18:52

Was searching around the net and came across some interesting stuff, so thought I'd dig this one up.

This site has some VERY interesting pictures at the bottom of it. Although it's labelled as 1952 - was there perhaps another race held post-war, or is that a mistake? (ie., what are the cars in the pictures?). And who is Dick Lillienthal?

Also, a very nice war-time map can be found here

Dave McKinny's circuit length seems to clash with this post. Not sure which to believe, depends on the sources involved.

Incidentally, any chance of posting the map of Antananivo Ensign? :)

#10 ensign14

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Posted 08 May 2005 - 19:21

No scanner at present, and am working away, but from memory it was trapezoidal with 4 long straights and near right-angle turns.

#11 Joe Nix

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Posted 31 October 2005 - 19:21

I joined the forum today and one of my points of interest is as follows:

I believe my next race watching experience was when I was stationed in Asmara, Eritrea, 1954-55.
I photographed one in Massawa

http://users.mo-net....it/MASSAWA.html

and some other U.S. Army veterans emailed me photos of Asmara street races. At the bottom of the following page:

http://users.mo-net....it/kagnew4.html

to which I added 6 more street racing pics today.

#12 David McKinney

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Posted 31 October 2005 - 19:59

Brilliant :clap:
Now all we need is some captions :D

#13 gdecarli

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Posted 01 November 2005 - 14:03

I have just added to my website a short reference to all races in Eritrea that I found here on TNF.

Ciao,
Guido

#14 humphries

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Posted 01 November 2005 - 16:10

Guido

In "Autosport" 20 June 1952 Capt. L.Croft, R.E.M.E. provided a brief report, or should that be dispatch, about the 5th Circuit of Asmara. Although there was no circuit diagram included in the report, possibly using the old map of Asmara in the thread or a more recent map you can work out the circuit from his description.

"The Asmara circuit has a lap length of 2.865 kilometres, each race consisting of 40 laps (114.60 kilometres). The start is half way along the straight of a dual carriageway (Viale Roma). From the start there is about 300 metres before a right hand sweep, then a slight left hand curve before taking a very tight left turn on to the 1 kilometre straight back stretch. At the end of the straight (which includes a fairly steep rise and a long downhill) is a tight left hand curve, followed by a steep climb, right hand bend, right sweep and left sweep back on to the straight up to the start."

Asmara is 7,200 ft (2195m) above sea-level and consequently the cars lost a considerable amount of horsepower.

John

#15 gdecarli

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Posted 02 November 2005 - 01:51

Originally posted by humphries
Although there was no circuit diagram included in the report, possibly using the old map of Asmara in the thread or a more recent map you can work out the circuit from his description.

It's very late now and I need to go to bed, but I will give a look as soon as possible!

Ciao,
Guido

#16 Nanni Dietrich

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Posted 12 November 2005 - 10:27

Originally posted by Jimmy Piget
Antananarivo was called Tananarive when Madagascar was a French colony (up to 1960). There have been there some sportscar races and even 1 or 2 Monomill meetings.

By the way, it must be said that Jo Schlesser never was from Madagascar, definitely.
He was from Lorraine and spend some time (around 1954-1959) in this country only to make money and return racing in France.


There is a real mystery Jimmy, about the Jo Schlesser's place of birth:

- the book "The International Motor Racing Guide", by Peter Higham says he was born in Madagascar.

- Grandprix.com says Madagascar too. It says that he moved to France, and studied and lived at Nancy, France.

- the Italian magazine Auto Italiana, issue July 1968, in a complete biography of Schlesser after his death, wrote Liouville (Mosella region) France, and that he spent several years of his life in Madagascar, as you said, and then he lived in Nancy, France.

- Forix says Nancy, France.
Jean-Louis Schlesser, nephew of Joseph Schlesser, was born in Nancy. Perhaps some may be confusing the two to be one person - thus explaining why some people say he was born in Nancy?

Who knows?

#17 gdecarli

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Posted 12 November 2005 - 15:52

Originally posted by humphries
Although there was no circuit diagram included in the report, possibly using the old map of Asmara in the thread or a more recent map you can work out the circuit from his description.

I have been quite busy and I had no time to search for this circuit. However, I have just updated my page adding the description you posted here.

Thank you!

Ciao,
Guido

#18 Nanni Dietrich

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Posted 14 November 2005 - 08:47

According to the good article by Thomas O'Keefe, "Living with the Dead: 13 Kms", in the Atlas/Autosport Magazine's web site about Jo Schlesser, Jo was born in Madagascar.

:confused:

#19 Joe Nix

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Posted 15 November 2005 - 23:45

I have posted to my page a map of Asmara marked with the 1952 race course by Bob Wassum.

scroll down to the bottom of the page at;

http://users.mo-net....it/kagnew4.html

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#20 Joe Nix

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Posted 10 June 2006 - 18:45

Added some pictures and a list of the officials of the May 1952 Asmara streetrace rec'd from Bob Wassum and now on 'their own page' at;

http://users.mo-net....treetraces.html

#21 LotusElise

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Posted 10 June 2006 - 19:22

Wasn't there a track at Lake Nakuru in Kenya in the Fifties?

Also, does Kenya have any motorsport facilities any more?

#22 Vitesse2

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Posted 10 June 2006 - 20:49

D-Type is our resident Kenyan expert ( :wave: Duncan!) but here's a thread on Nakuru.

#23 D-Type

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Posted 10 June 2006 - 20:49

Some details are here . As far as I know, the track closed some years ago and may even have been built over.

It's a good few years since I was in Kenya. I understand the rally scene is strong but racing and hillclimbing has died out. But I'd be delighted to hear otherwise.