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Any and all Rouen-les-Essarts photos


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#1 lfcjari37

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Posted 26 April 2006 - 08:20

Hi all

I was wondering if anyone had some photos from Rouen during its racing days:) I'm putting together a website on its history so any photos people have would be much appreciated:)

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#2 MCS

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Posted 27 April 2006 - 09:47

Look forward to seeing it. :up:

By the way, if you find out who was responsible for the disgraceful destruction of the pits, do let us know, won't you?

#3 Pedro 917

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Posted 27 April 2006 - 11:50

I took some pictures in June 1996. You can check them out here
Go to Rouen and Luc Ghys tour.
The pitlane and entrance of the paddock were fenced in.
I saw a guy and asked him if I could take some pictures of the buildings and he was kind enough to let me in. I asked him if they were going to restore the site but he laughed and said they were preparing the demolition. He said the politicians were behind it (green party). I believe it took another year before the job was done. They even asphalted the cobblestones in the Nouveau Monde hairpin. I know a guy who has a couple of them, took them out the night before.

#4 MCS

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Posted 27 April 2006 - 12:30

Apart from Luc's pictures (and others), there is this website http://motolesessarts.site.voila.fr/ which I had never seen before.

Excellent, but so poignant. Why destroy such a wonderful place?

#5 Rob Semmeling

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Posted 27 April 2006 - 13:39

Thanks a bunch for that link, MCS! I, too, had never seen that website before, but there's some brilliant stuff to be found. What an incredible circuit it must have been.

#6 MCS

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Posted 27 April 2006 - 19:18

Originally posted by Pedro 917
...They even asphalted the cobblestones in the Nouveau Monde hairpin...


I still find this single act not just depressing (and it certainly depressed me when I saw what had been done), but disturbing.

One can only assume that the person who sanctioned this (and the other "works") must really hate either motor racing or the circuit or, more likely, both.

Even though the visits are becoming sadder I plan to stop by in early July - on my way elsewhere - for my customary blast down the sweepers and I'll take some pictures and post them here if you like.

#7 Barry Boor

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Posted 27 April 2006 - 22:01

Not hate - simply indifference.

#8 lfcjari37

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Posted 28 April 2006 - 04:45

Thankyou all, I have actually been in contact with the president on Moto les Essarts and he has been very helpful. On June 25 there will be a demonstration of cars and bikes there if anyone can make it:) MCS I would love it if you could take some pics and post them, be great to use for my site. If anyone else could help with some photos from the glory days, i'd be very grateful. Especially non-F1 races, ive managed to source enough of them.

#9 Kpy

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Posted 28 April 2006 - 08:07

lfcjari37 - thanks for the information. I shall try and be there on June 25th. If so I'll take some photos and post them here.
In the meantime you will find quite a few photos on this:
http://forums.autosp...&threadid=75439 thread.
;)

#10 lfcjari37

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Posted 28 April 2006 - 08:45

That would be superb KPY cheers. I only wish I could go:) Thanks for the link as well:)

#11 LittleChris

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Posted 28 April 2006 - 23:46

IFcajari37 - KPY is THE expert on Rouen. :clap:

#12 lfcjari37

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Posted 29 April 2006 - 06:30

Great, I will need to pump you thoroughly for information KPY :lol:

#13 No brain no pain

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Posted 29 April 2006 - 18:01

Hi


I'll recommend this site as well: http://groups.msn.co...esessarts1.msnw

You may have to sign up, but this is a really nice site, with very knowledgable members.

Good luck :)

#14 MCS

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Posted 29 April 2006 - 19:49

Originally posted by Barry Boor
Not hate - simply indifference.


With all due respect, Barry, I think it's much, much more than indifference.

Malice aforethought comes to mind...

#15 Kpy

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Posted 29 April 2006 - 21:51

Originally posted by MCS


With all due respect, Barry, I think it's much, much more than indifference.

Malice aforethought comes to mind...


I'm inclinded to agree with Barry.
The demolition was carried out in the autumn of 1996. At that time everyone agreed that the old grandstand opposite the pits were a danger to the public. The pits were hardly attractive either. The timekeepers' tower, however, was a building which could and should have been preserved. I believe that it would have been saved if the Automobile Club Normand had come up with a viable proposal. They were invited to draw up a viable plan, but failed to do so. As a result the local authority announced that it had no alternative but to impliment an agreement dating from 1954 between the State and the French equivalent of the Forestry Commission, which ceded ownership of the site back to that Commission.
No element of malice was noticeable. it was just a lack of will and finance on the part of the ACN coupled with the local authority's decision to follow the letter of the law. A sad affair.
An even sadder affair took place in 1988, when plans for the Norman circuit which would host the French Grand Prix from 1991 onwards were dashed by the intervention of Francois Mitterand on behalf of Magny Cours, but that's another story.

#16 Alan Cox

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Posted 29 April 2006 - 21:52

Here is a selection of Rouen taken in September 1997. I feel fortunate to have visited before all traces were lost for ever.

Posted Image Posted Image

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These two show the entry to the top section running west-east, which wasn't part of the public road.

#17 lfcjari37

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Posted 29 April 2006 - 22:01

An even sadder affair took place in 1988, when plans for the Norman circuit which would host the French Grand Prix from 1991 onwards were dashed by the intervention of Francois Mitterand on behalf of Magny Cours, but that's another story.


KPY can you tell me what the detail was on that? I knew plans for a new track were drawn up but didn't know why they weren't followed through.
Alan can I use those great pics for my site please?
Thankyou all.

#18 Alan Cox

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Posted 29 April 2006 - 22:32

If you send me a PM with your e-mail address, I could send you some jpegs.

#19 lfcjari37

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Posted 29 April 2006 - 23:27

PM sent, thanks Alan.

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#20 LittleChris

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Posted 30 April 2006 - 00:50

Originally posted by Kpy


The demolition was carried out in the autumn of 1996. At that time everyone agreed that the old grandstand opposite the pits were a danger to the public. .


The pits were still there in 1999 when I visited for the first time but had gone a year later

#21 lfcjari37

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Posted 30 April 2006 - 04:44

I did wonder about that chris cheers:)

#22 MCS

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Posted 30 April 2006 - 07:54

Originally posted by Kpy
I'm inclinded to agree with Barry.
The demolition was carried out in the autumn of 1996. At that time everyone agreed that the old grandstand opposite the pits were a danger to the public. The pits were hardly attractive either. The timekeepers' tower, however, was a building which could and should have been preserved. I believe that it would have been saved if the Automobile Club Normand had come up with a viable proposal. They were invited to draw up a viable plan, but failed to do so. As a result the local authority announced that it had no alternative but to impliment an agreement dating from 1954 between the State and the French equivalent of the Forestry Commission, which ceded ownership of the site back to that Commission.
No element of malice was noticeable. it was just a lack of will and finance on the part of the ACN coupled with the local authority's decision to follow the letter of the law. A sad affair.
An even sadder affair took place in 1988, when plans for the Norman circuit which would host the French Grand Prix from 1991 onwards were dashed by the intervention of Francois Mitterand on behalf of Magny Cours, but that's another story.


Mmmm, maybe I'm just being too subjective and emotional (as usual :rolleyes: )...

Great pictures, Alan. (Wish I could find mine and the Reims ones as well!)

#23 lfcjari37

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Posted 30 April 2006 - 08:35

Mattijs at Forix has kindly agreed to host the site, the 1st intro page will hopefully go up in the next day or 2, and the other pages will follow as I finish them. I will advise the site address when its up.

#24 Kpy

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Posted 30 April 2006 - 16:30

Originally posted by lfcjari37
Mattijs at Forix has kindly agreed to host the site, the 1st intro page will hopefully go up in the next day or 2, and the other pages will follow as I finish them. I will advise the site address when its up.


That's great news, but can I suggest that you read Roger Biot's definitive book Rouen-les-Essarts 1950-1993? It's available with remarkably low postage charges within Europe from http://www.editions-palmier.fr/ . Where are you based? The book will tell you far more about the circuit than I can ever post here.
If you want some up-to-date photos, I can take some when the weather is good and I'm in the area. I used to work a couple of miles from the circuit, but these days it's a special journey taking up a good slice of the day. The circuit's 50 miles from my house. I may have time on my way to Le Mans, or to Tours on June 10/11 - http://www.grandprixdetours.com/ .

The story of the planned circuit at Mauquenchy is complicated, but in short there was support for a new home for the French Grand Prix both in Normandy and in the Nivernais (Magny-Cours). There was a lot of shilly-shallying in Normandy, as some people thought that Les Essarts could still be the basis of the new circuit (extreme wishful thinking), while Lean-Luc Therier was mighty in supporting the mayor of Forges-les-Eaux in the Mauquenchy plan. Another faction was against Mauquenchy as they saw it as a means of subsidising the Larousse-Calmels team, which would have been based there, by the back door.
All this came to nothing after Guy Ligier and Jacqueline Bernigaud (owner of Magny-Cours) got the backing of President Francois Mitterand and his Finance Minister Pierre Beregovoy (Mayor of Nevers - just up the road from Magny-Cours) for their Magny-Cours project. The result was inevitable, and the Mauquenchy project was abandoned. Last I heard of Mauquenchy was that they were planning a horse racing track there.

Despite the demolition of the buildings there is an upside to this. We can still drive around virtually the whole of the original circuit, seeing much of it as drivers saw it years ago. Take a look at the Le Mans circuit, much of which was on public roads, and see the "improvements" which have been made - including the total destruction of the old pits and stands, all the old "village" buildings and the memorial to Robert Benoist - leaving not one corner untouched in recent years, with the possible exception of Arnage.
Let's enjoy the heritage which is left to us.

#25 rwhitworth

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Posted 30 April 2006 - 17:05

Grand Prix Legends has a lot to answer for. I found myself getting quite emotional and nostalgic reading this topic and following the links and looking at the photographs... despite never having been anywhere near the place. Nevertheless having "raced" there on many occasions I feel as though I know every inch of the circuit. Very odd.

#26 Paul Parker

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Posted 30 April 2006 - 18:49

Modern European bureaucracy and politicos of a certain philosophy have a visceral hatred of history, especially anything that depicts or suggests individual glory, money and excitement.

They are pathologically opposed to pursuits like motor racing for what it represents and the deliberate destruction of historic motor racing sites is inevitable where such political prejudices exist. The recent dramas surrounding Monza are a warning, especially where such sentiments are camouflaged with exaggerated, spurious enviromental and health and safety concerns.

I predict within the forseeable future that the untrammelled use of high speed machinery of any sort in any location will become increasingly restricted and finally banned. I do so hope I am wrong but the way things are going nothing would surprise me.

#27 lfcjari37

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Posted 30 April 2006 - 19:14

Thanks for that KPY. I was under the mistaken impression from the track map I saw that it was going to be built in the confines of the original circuit, using part of the main straight, the 1st corner and the link road built in 1972. Clearly I was wrong:) I'm based in New Zealand so unfortunately its going to cost an arm and leg to get that book, maybe when i'm less financially challenged:)
a question, is the original straight link road from the old Gresil to Paradis as used from 1951-54 still there? I know the 72 bit is in very poor shape. I suppose you can compare it to Spa-Francorchamps, when I went there last year I was very disappointed to see its no longer public roads, and frankly the part from Stavelot to where it joins the GP track is in very average shape indeed. A crying shame you can no longer drive the old track as once you could. http://8w.forix.com/...ow-covered.html
Oh well, thats "progress" I suppose.
rwhitworth I agree with you entirely, i've never been there either, but I will get there one day:)

#28 Barry Boor

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Posted 30 April 2006 - 20:09

The old road from the early 50s was certainly there a few years ago. KPY, Roger Clark and myself walked the length of it, then back down the 'new' link that was used until the circuit closed.

The old road is a usable thoroughfare for vehicles whereas the newer link is certainly not.

#29 Kpy

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Posted 30 April 2006 - 21:06

Originally posted by Barry Boor
The old road from the early 50s was certainly there a few years ago. KPY, Roger Clark and myself walked the length of it, then back down the 'new' link that was used until the circuit closed.

The old road is a usable thoroughfare for vehicles whereas the newer link is certainly not.

Exactly. The '70s link is now reserved for cylists and pedestrians. The "old road" has been resurfaced since we walked it together, whereas they were digging up some of the '70s link last summer, apparently resurfacing it too.
Have you got any photos from that walk that you could post here Barry?

#30 MCS

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Posted 30 April 2006 - 21:11

Why on earth would they be resurfacing the '70s link, having systematically demolished most of everything else save for the main roads up and down either side of the valley ?

#31 Kpy

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Posted 30 April 2006 - 21:16

Originally posted by MCS
Why on earth would they be resurfacing the '70s link, having systematically demolished most of everything else save for the main roads up and down either side of the valley ?

Because it's a dedicated cycle path in part a national forest set aside for recreation.

#32 Kpy

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Posted 30 April 2006 - 21:18

Oops! part of a national forest

#33 MCS

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Posted 30 April 2006 - 21:24

Originally posted by Kpy

Because it's a dedicated cycle path in part a national forest set aside for recreation.


Ah, okay. Not been for a couple of years - I guess it's signposted as such now then.

#34 lfcjari37

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Posted 30 April 2006 - 21:56

Well that sounds nice and positive:) So is the straight from Gresil to Scierie cut off from the rest of the circuit or can you drive all the war around?

#35 LittleChris

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Posted 01 May 2006 - 02:03

It's a Dual Carriageway (& the main reason that they built the 72 onwards link road since ) which forms the main route into Rouen from Caen

#36 lfcjari37

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Posted 01 May 2006 - 04:58

So it was just a standard 2 lane road before then? I thought they changed the track due to the autoroute being built.

#37 Kpy

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Posted 01 May 2006 - 09:38

Originally posted by LittleChris


The pits were still there in 1999 when I visited for the first time but had gone a year later

Yes, come to think of it, the pits were still there in July 1999. Gone in 2000.

Originally posted by lfcjari37
So it was just a standard 2 lane road before then? I thought they changed the track due to the autoroute being built.


Yes. As LittleChris says, the Gresil-Scierie straight was part of the N138 main road. A road which resurfaces in motor racing history as the Mulsanne Straight at Le Mans, since it's the Rouen-Tours road. Today the straight is part of a dual carriageway, and you need to know exactly where you are in order to spot it as you speed to or from Rouen. You can still walk a tiny portion of the old circuit where it bends away from the D132 just after it passes under the motorway bridge. That portion of Grenil ends abruptly at a locked gate on to the N138.

#38 lfcjari37

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Posted 01 May 2006 - 09:57

Ah now I understand, thanks KPY:) How far away was the proposed new circuit going to be built?

#39 Kpy

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Posted 01 May 2006 - 10:44

Originally posted by lfcjari37
Ah now I understand, thanks KPY:) How far away was the proposed new circuit going to be built?


About 35 miles by road. At Mauquenchy close to Forges-les-Eaux.

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#40 lfcjari37

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Posted 01 May 2006 - 11:05

Cheers for that, all this info is very much appreciated :clap: My main issue now is finding pics and info from 1978 onwards. I know F2 finished in 1977 but have little other information on racing up till the track's closure. Can anyone help me with that? :wave:

#41 LittleChris

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Posted 01 May 2006 - 11:14

Originally posted by Kpy

Yes, come to think of it, the pits were still there in July 1999. Gone in 2000.



Yes. As LittleChris says, the Gresil-Scierie straight was part of the N138 main road. A road which resurfaces in motor racing history as the Mulsanne Straight at Le Mans, since it's the Rouen-Tours road. Today the straight is part of a dual carriageway, and you need to know exactly where you are in order to spot it as you speed to or from Rouen. You can still walk a tiny portion of the old circuit where it bends away from the D132 just after it passes under the motorway bridge. That portion of Grenil ends abruptly at a locked gate on to the N138.


Then go another 40 miles or so south and the N138 becomes part of the 1923 French GP track at Tours. Will consult Michelin map sometime to see if it forms part of any other tracks !!

#42 Rob29

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Posted 01 May 2006 - 14:26

Originally posted by lfcjari37
Cheers for that, all this info is very much appreciated :clap: My main issue now is finding pics and info from 1978 onwards. I know F2 finished in 1977 but have little other information on racing up till the track's closure. Can anyone help me with that? :wave:

F2 finished in 1978.I was there,and have some photos if that is of any use.By some coincidence I went there twice,which turned out to be the last F1 in 1968 and F2 in 78.I decided not to go in 88 :)

#43 Kpy

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Posted 01 May 2006 - 17:27

Originally posted by lfcjari37
Cheers for that, all this info is very much appreciated :clap: My main issue now is finding pics and info from 1978 onwards. I know F2 finished in 1977 but have little other information on racing up till the track's closure. Can anyone help me with that? :wave:

The last F2 race was in 1978, not 1977. With the exception of 1979 racing continued at Rouen until 1993.
If you're unwilling to buy Roger Biot's book, you might try and access the archive's of Rouen's daily newspaper http://www.paris-normandie.fr/ for whom Biot was sports editor.

#44 lfcjari37

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Posted 01 May 2006 - 18:58

Thanks KPY:) I will buy the book when I get a chance, but this will help in the meantime. :wave:

#45 Rob Semmeling

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Posted 01 May 2006 - 19:10

You have a PM, lfcjari37. Let us know when the website is up.

#46 lfcjari37

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Posted 01 May 2006 - 20:43

F2 finished in 1978.I was there,and have some photos if that is of any use.By some coincidence I went there twice,which turned out to be the last F1 in 1968 and F2 in 78.I decided not to go in 88.



Yes Rob29 pics would be fantastic! You have a PM.

#47 lfcjari37

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Posted 01 May 2006 - 22:02

Ok the 1st page is up, but it is going to be modified as will the whole site so please don't view it as the finished product. It does give an idea of where i'm going with it but. Any suggestions welcome.
http://8w.forix.com/rouen.html

Has the Normandy Automobile Club gone under? I cannot find any info on them.

#48 lfcjari37

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Posted 03 May 2006 - 19:45

Little chris I saw from you site that the 1972 part was dug up, have you seen the area since?

#49 MCS

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Posted 03 May 2006 - 20:09

Originally posted by lfcjari37
Ok the 1st page is up, but it is going to be modified as will the whole site so please don't view it as the finished product. It does give an idea of where i'm going with it but. Any suggestions welcome.
http://8w.forix.com/rouen.html

Has the Normandy Automobile Club gone under? I cannot find any info on them.


Very promising lfcjari37. I'm sure we all wish you every success in your endeavours. :up:

I was particularly taken by your description of the 1994-2000 period - "The desecration of a legend"

Desecration.

I couldn't think of a better description.

#50 lfcjari37

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Posted 03 May 2006 - 21:28

Yes MCS, its a travesty. At least we can be thankful we can still drive the majority of the circuit, unlike some circuits which have been completely eviscerated from the face of the earth in favour of housing etc.