Some fifteen years on though, things have changed somewhat.
Having passed Thetford, I was immediately aware that landmarks and familiar terrain were no more. The A11 has moved! It no longer runs by the old circuit, it’s now a dual carriageway with an elevated roundabout that takes you to the “circuit” or, rather, what’s left of it.
Dear God, what happened?!!!
I was absolutely bewildered by the sheer volume of Snetterton Sunday Market stall frames, containers and other market detritus – basically filling the triangle of what was once the old circuit. The remaining track and its entrance is basically a small, enclosed square with a couple of squiggly bits – i.e. the chicane (which it clearly isn’t anymore) and the so-called “bomb hole.”
I found the whole experience thoroughly depressing.
Snetterton wasn’t my home circuit and thus was never going to be one of my absolute real favourites with all due respect, but I can remember very fondly many a summer afternoon there enjoying excellent motor racing. I have some marvellous memories of great drivers and great cars, but it was difficult to put those memories together with where I was on Friday, difficult to re-imagine the big Sports Cars, the F5000 cars the Formula One cars testing and so on with such a place. Very sad. Very, very sad.
I guess it really lost its true identity in the mid-seventies when MCD – in panic mode with the oil crisis - decided to trim Oulton Park and Snetterton and to limit most Brands meetings to the club circuit. Or was it really – as mooted at the time simply a case of not wanting to pay to resurface Island Bend and Esso at Oulton and the Norfolk Straight at Snetterton? Oulton, of course, rediscovered its former glory and is now – despite its dreadful chicanes – a great track once again. There is a discernible atmosphere there, but Snetterton has lost something – for ever now, I believe.
Upon entering Norwich I was interested to see that it was twinned with Rouen, which certainly made me think of a great old circuit and its atmosphere. The disgraceful, wanton destruction of the buildings and structure at Rouen haven’t – to my mind – taken away the extraordinary atmosphere of that place (I did several “laps” last year), but Snetterton is lost as far as I am concerned now…
Who can remember the fabulous races and meetings that once graced this now (to my mind at least) virtually "defunct' Norfolk track?
Edited by MCS, 20 January 2011 - 22:01.