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Racing in the Middle East


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#1 scheivlak

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Posted 30 March 2004 - 11:37

We all know the Tripoli GPs of thirties and the stories surrounding them, there was that unique race for the 'Cisitalia circus' in 1947 (see Allesandro's excellent story http://8w.forix.com/italy47.html and scroll down a bit), there was that Ashkelon F2 race in 1970 (http://forums.atlasf...ighlight=Israel) - how much more open wheel racing was there in this part of the world before the historic 2004 Bahrein GP?

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#2 Mihai

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Posted 30 March 2004 - 11:43

Morocco GP in Casablanca 1958. A driver died sustained burns in the race and died days later due to lack of appropriate medical attention. And the fact that no airplane could fly him to Britain. I can't remember his name, but he was Bernie Ecclestone's good fried.

Such experiments (F1 races in exotic but under-developped countries) didn't occured since then.

#3 scags

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Posted 30 March 2004 - 11:58

beat me to it. also, he was flown out in a chartered jet, but died in England. Another mid east race was the chaotic Israeli gp, as disscused here last year.

#4 Richard Jenkins

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Posted 30 March 2004 - 12:03

Originally posted by Mihai
Morocco GP in Casablanca 1958. A driver died sustained burns in the race and died days later due to lack of appropriate medical attention. And the fact that no airplane could fly him to Britain. I can't remember his name, but he was Bernie Ecclestone's good fried.

Such experiments (F1 races in exotic but under-developped countries) didn't occured since then.


Err. hold on...
Since when has Morocco EVER been part of the Middle East?? :confused: Last time I looked it was in North-West Africa.

Even Libya is a bit debatable as a Middle Eastern venue. My understanding of the Middle East is Egypt, all the countries surrounding or near Palestine, ie. Jordan, Lebanon etc. - Israel, Iran & Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Yemen, Oman, Bahrain, Qatar, UAE etc, etc.

Morocco may be an Arab state, but it's not by any stretch of the imagination Middle East.

#5 Rob29

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Posted 30 March 2004 - 12:03

There was quite of lot of racing in french north african colonies pre-war.The only meeting I know of in the Persian Gulf area was a one off Dubai GP in late 1981. Races for Touring cars & historic sports.

#6 Mallory Dan

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Posted 30 March 2004 - 13:15

Originally posted by scags
beat me to it. also, he was flown out in a chartered jet, but died in England. Another mid east race was the chaotic Israeli gp, as disscused here last year.



Chartered jet in 1958 ???

#7 Vitesse2

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Posted 30 March 2004 - 13:35

Originally posted by Mallory Dan



Chartered jet in 1958 ???


Next best thing. GAV had chartered a BEA Vickers Viscount to get the team and "friends in the trade" to Morocco. It returned earlier than planned, with Lewis-Evans on a stretcher. At a refuelling stop in Madrid, Vandervell announced to Lofty England that he intended giving up racing.

#8 Richard Neale

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Posted 30 March 2004 - 21:53

Turbo Prop then not Jet ?

#9 Mihai

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Posted 31 March 2004 - 10:08

Originally posted by Richie Jenkins

Since when has Morocco EVER been part of the Middle East?? :confused: Last time I looked it was in North-West Africa.

Morocco may be an Arab state, but it's not by any stretch of the imagination Middle East.


A bit cranky for this relaxed forum, don't you think ? : The starter of this thread mentioned Tripoli/Lybia and the discussion was about exotic muslim countries in open wheel racing.

scheivlak ? Am I talking non-sense here ?

#10 scheivlak

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Posted 31 March 2004 - 10:39

Originally posted by Mihai


A bit cranky for this relaxed forum, don't you think ? : The starter of this thread mentioned Tripoli/Lybia and the discussion was about exotic muslim countries in open wheel racing.

scheivlak ? Am I talking non-sense here ?

Well, I wouldn't count Israel - see my mention of the Ashkelon F2 race - among the "exotic muslim countries".....
Must say that to me, Morocco isn't exactly Middle East and I wavered about Libya - but I thought it has more in common with Egypt than with the Maghreb countries, so I included the Tripoli GPs in my original post.

#11 Ray Bell

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Posted 31 March 2004 - 10:58

Originally posted by Richard Neale
Turbo Prop then not Jet ?


Indeed, with four engines...

I wouldn't have been surprised if it had been one of those Bristol Airfreighters, but I will bow to Speedy's superior reading on the subject.

What about the races in Egypt in 1946? Was it 1946 or 1947?

#12 scheivlak

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Posted 31 March 2004 - 11:11

Originally posted by Ray Bell

What about the races in Egypt in 1946? Was it 1946 or 1947?

March 9, 1947 - that's the one I referred to as the "Cisitalia circus" in my first post.

#13 D-Type

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Posted 31 March 2004 - 11:23

I don't know about racing. There has certainly been a 'Middle East' (and Cyprus?) rally circuit.

There was talk of building a circuit in Qatar, but I don't know what happened to the idea.

Was there ever any racing in the Lebanon? Pre- or immediately post- WW2?

#14 Bengt

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Posted 31 March 2004 - 12:56

The fatally burned driver was Stuart Lewis-Evans.

#15 Richard Jenkins

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Posted 31 March 2004 - 13:08

Originally posted by Mihai


A bit cranky for this relaxed forum, don't you think ? : The starter of this thread mentioned Tripoli/Lybia and the discussion was about exotic muslim countries in open wheel racing.

scheivlak ? Am I talking non-sense here ?



Cranky? No, I just speak my mind - I don't see anything cranky about my post at all, more matter-of-fact - I'm also a stickler for accuracy if at all possible :confused: :confused:

First post mentions nothing about exotic Muslim countries at all - he was asking about racing in the Middle East, of which Morocco never has been & never will be part of.

#16 Vitesse2

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Posted 31 March 2004 - 13:31

Originally posted by Ray Bell
I wouldn't have been surprised if it had been one of those Bristol Airfreighters, but I will bow to Speedy's superior reading on the subject.


The cars had preceded the Old Man, since DSJ's book on Vanwall records that David Yorke was already there, with the cars made ready for practice. He was relaxing in the sunshine when he spotted GAV's Viscount coming in to land .... no idea how the cars had got there but a BAF Bristol Freighter would certainly be possible.

But anyway, as Richie says, Morocco ain't in the Middle East. :rolleyes:

Odd that no-one has yet mentioned King Hussein of Jordan, who was a great racing enthusiast and possessed several competition cars which he ran in hillclimbs (presumably within the Hashemite Kingdom?) - AFAIK he is the only reigning monarch to have taken part in a competitive motor sport event. And I think I read somewhere that he was the holder of Jordan competition licence number one.

#17 uechtel

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Posted 31 March 2004 - 14:07

...exotic Muslim countries...


Malaysia??? :rolleyes:

Also I remember, that Sheldon has dug out a couple of "Indian Grands Prix", but I don´t know whether that falls under "Middle East" criteria either. But it is of course much closer from there to Bahrain than from Morocco...

#18 Ray Bell

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Posted 31 March 2004 - 18:23

The Middle East cuts out around the mouth of the Red Sea, surely? Afghanistan is surely the most eastern part? And Libya in the west? Turkey to the north west?

So it would include that race in Israel... wasn't it for F2... Derek Bell was among the runners, we had a thread about it.

#19 anjakub

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Posted 31 March 2004 - 18:33

Hill climb competition started in Jordan in the early 50’s when His Majesty King Hussein and his friends began weekend in the Rumman mountain roads of jerash. This event picked up a more serious attention with the increasing number of participants. Hill climb dominated the race car competition in Jordan until the rallies in the aerly 60’s.


The results of King Hussein in Rumman Hill Climb, now Al Hussein International Rumman Hill Climb (length 3 km, 27 bends, elevation 257 m) :
12.08.1955 - Merceds-Benz 300 SL - place 1 – time 3.30,21
4.04.1956 – Mercedes-Benz 300 SL – 1 – 3.27,34
19.11.1965 – Mercedes-Benz 300 SL – 2 – 2.45,10
15.04.1966 – Porsche 911 – 2 – 2.37,80
21.10.1966 – Porsche 904 – 1 – 2.21,90
21.10.1966 – Matra Djet – 14 – 2.56,20
12.05.1967 – Porsche 904 – 1 – 2.28,20
12.05.1967 – Renault Gordini – 7 – 2.49,70
14.08.1987 – Lotus Esprit Turbo – 12 – 2.28,86
14.08.1987 – Saab 900 T – 39 – 2.41.64
27.05.1988 – Mercedes-Benz 190E 2.3-16 – 2 – 2.08,00
27.05.1988 – Lotus Esprit Turbo – 11 – 2.18,18
30.09.1988 - Mercedes-Benz 190E 2.3-16 – 1 – 2.04,76
1.09.1989 - Mercedes-Benz 190E 2.3-16 – 1 – 2.02,42
16.08.1996 – Ford Escort Cosworth 4x4 – 1 – 1.57,28

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#20 Mihai

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Posted 01 April 2004 - 11:37

:blush:

#21 petefenelon

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Posted 01 April 2004 - 12:52

Originally posted by D-Type
I don't know about racing. There has certainly been a 'Middle East' (and Cyprus?) rally circuit.

There was talk of building a circuit in Qatar, but I don't know what happened to the idea.

Was there ever any racing in the Lebanon? Pre- or immediately post- WW2?


The Middle East Rally Championship used to be pretty good - some top-quality machinery in there (usually last year's/this year's WRC kit), at least on a par with the European Championship. And some of the drivers were pretty seriously quick too - Mohammed bin Sulayem looked awesome on some of the stages. Mind you he did always have the best kit....

(apologies for a plague of deletions of my articles yesterday. Blame the curse of automation, I'd been trying to develop a non-web interface that let me manage my postings to Atlas, and it went out of control! Back to the drawing board ;))