Originally posted by Doug Nye
Sorry, me again, it's 7am and the sun - a UFO in these parts - is streaming in the window. I have driven round the old rural-road Australian GP courses at Nuriootpa, Woodside, Lobethal and Victor Harbour - Lobethal and Woodside both being fabulously evocative, particularly the former - but our stop-off in the boozer at Longford last year was followed by an extremely disappointing look around what's left of the mutilated circuit.
Bernd, when you're there, leave the pub on your right, zoom across the railway level crossing down to the junction with the new major road which crosses left to right. Is this where the old course turned right (i.e. first corner) so that it then followed the track of the new improved three-lane highway, or did it go straight on here where - looking across the new main road - one can see a grubbed-up track curving gently away through the trees, with the river to the right?
Down there across the fields at the end of this overgrown trackway, which looks as if it used to be hard surfaced, it joins another country road at a quite acute right-hand junction. If you take that turn the rural road then bears left before opening out onto a fabulous mile-long straight - which today spears away ultimately to join into the new main road, from the left. What I couldn't work out was whether the surviving rural road is the famous straight - or whether the new main highway follows that line, and has obliterated the old circuit's straigtht????
If you're still with me, at the top of the main road we took the first right turn - but then the roadway runs into settlement and we ended up completely mystified.
We just could not find the return leg heading back towards the viaduct over the river - now long since demolished - and ultimately past 'Mayer's Hump' to the pub. Then we had to leave, or we would have missed our ferry at Devonport.
I'd just love to know how it all worked - we didn't have time there to orientate ourselves at all.
One bloke in the pub told us the Tasmanian authorities had 'maliciously' obliterated the old road network to prevent local ya-hoos racing around the course - mostly at night - and killing themselves and innocent bystanders...plausible, but so sad.
As a travel note to those who haven't yet visited 'Tazzy' - beg, borrow, steal, strive - sometime you just have to drive on that island...
Now, one would have a hard time denying that last bit, to be sure... but that''s not the main thrust of all of this.
I went to Longford three times in the past fortnight. I didn''t find the chance to follow all the way around, but I can clearly explain difficulties people have understanding the place now that I have seen the malicious way in which the circuit has been destroyed.
The location of Mountford Corner is clear, as the big tree that used to be outside it is still there... but the road isn''t. The ''flying mile'' is there and still leads into it, but where that road goes has changed as the road from Perth no longer leads straight onto the ''flying mile''... it curves off towards Longford instead.
So what was the escape road for the end of the straight has been truncated and curved to form a neat intersection with the revised road from Perth.
Importantly, this new road is above normal ground level, well above it, while the original pit straight was definitely on ground level.
So to revisit the circuit, you have to imagine the pit straight linking Mountford Corner and where the new road goes close to the water tower that used to mark the start of the descent to the Viaduct.
There is enough traces of old road further down to see where this all fitted in, but the line of the circuit between the straight and these old bits has been buried forever by the fill that has built up the new road.
After the viaduct, very overgrown but still there, the road proceeds to the edge of the South Esk River and this can be seen from the other side of the river (the town side...) quite clearly.
I suspect that many would look at this next stretch, the run down to Longford Corner, and imagine that there was every reason for Timmy Mayer and Lex Davison to lose their cars under brakes... the hump is huge.
But that's all new topography, and I don''t understand what it's all about. It looks as if they've built a levee bank or something and the road has a hump in it to clear the height required. And it certainly explains why the Mayer plaque has been displaced... it would have been well buried had it not been.
Past the pub and to the level crossing is unchanged, but then it's a matter of the road being built up once again from the normal ground level to make it all look quite different. Of course there is another curve to the intersection with the bypass road, but as has been observed, the old road is clearly visible the other side of that as Tannery 'straight' heads out of town.
As Catalina Park described on the old thread, if you take a right turn a little way further down the bypass road, you can drive in to Tannery Straight and I imagine you'll also find the remains of the approach to the Long Bridge still intact.
Across the Long Bridge is undoubtedly still identifiable, though it's blocked off at Newry Corner by a pile of earth across the road.
This is seen when you come in on the Pateena Road (which used to be the road I used to get from Launceston to Longford) heading for Longford.
What used to be an open spectator area is now filled with some plush homes and gardens. But that's fair enough. There's no reason to spectate there any more... even if the road from Newry to Mountford is essentially unchanged from what it used to be.
Fortunately there is plenty more of Tasmania that is rewarding to the eyes of the visitor so that the trip isn't really wasted if you want to go look at what was once a magnificent circuit.