Bourg-en-Bresse - with photos of a lap now added!
Posted 20 May 2006 - 02:03
From what I know, TNF member T54 raced there on bikes and reckoned it beared comparison with Rouen-Le-Essarts. I've tried a lot of combinations in search engines, but nothing yet. I know they've recently built a new autodrome there, but would like details of the old track since me & 'er will be in the general area ( within 300 km but I can always say I'm off for a swift pint down the local bistro ) during August and I might be able to take a few photos.
Posted 20 May 2006 - 06:43
Posted 27 May 2006 - 00:00
I've pinned it down to a general area south of the town.
T54 - Would love your input here as someone who raced on the track.
Posted 29 May 2006 - 03:44
So now onto Bourg:
Bourg-en-Bresse is a small town about 40km north-east of Lyon. Famous for its fine cuisine if I recall. The racing track called "Circuit des Vennes" was composed of three rather narrow intersecting regional paved roads on a couple of kms on the south of town (not absolutely sure of exact location). The unpaved pits were on the left side of the front straight that climbed up to a near-hairpin right-hand turn on top, through a wooded area. Then there was a downhill straight with a fairly fast 120-degree right turn where another road intersected, down to another near hairpin at the very bottom of the track and back to the front straight. Pretty simple but quite fast. All the turns had "protection" by the usual hay bales, but there was hardly anything behind them so a violent crash still left some chances of survival.
The only pictures I have are from some motorcycle magazines that for some weird reason I kept, and show only the 50cc class race in 1964 (apparently the 12th year in which the race was held), to which I participated but did no good as my own machine seized up and I did not have any spares to repair in time for the actual race.
This is multiple-time French champion Jacques Roca (now retired and living in Spain) winning the race on his works water-cooled 14HP Derbi 8-speed at an average of nearly 60MPH, a lot more impressive of a speed if you would have seen the actual track.
At the same spot (the final corner before the front straight and shot from the pits edge), the future Paris-Dakar winner with a works Rothmann's Porsche 959, Rene Metge on a Derbi production-racer. Victim of his own enthusiasm, he will kiss the dirt on the second lap.
On top of the hill and going downhill at the "Virage de la Foret" are the backmarkers on their first lap: # 8 Hausel (DKW), # 15 Nicholas on a Ducson, a now disappeared Spanish company, # 4 Bustin (Itom), # 5 Albertini (Itom).
An excellent rider was Jacky Onda, here on the home-built 4-stroke twin-cam Nougier, a beautiful little machine that revved at 15000 rpm and sounded great. A bit shy of power against the works Derbis but Onda finished in third place behind Roca and future F3 driver Jean-Pierre Cassegrain.
The same day, Walter and Francesco Villa (who later gained fame later with Mondial, Montesa and Aermacchi-HD) presented the new 50cc Mondial, the world's first motorcycle to be fitted with a front disc brake. It looked wonderful in its pale metallic blue and silver works livery. The brake was built by Campagnolo and was mechanichally activated. It kind of worked but drums were still a better choice then.
The only other thing I remember from Bourg was the great hospitality of the locals who were truly fascinated and very enthusiastic about all this noisy stuff. Even the local girls were being nice. I came back in 1968 but had equally appalling luck. Start-money at least covered some of the expenses.
Hopefully someone will find more information maybe from the town's archives?
There were other similar venues in little towns, like in Trelivan (Brittany) where the money was really good if you would place well.
Posted 31 May 2006 - 01:04
I circled the actual track, that must be overwhelmed today with some kind of housing.
According to the Michelin map on Yahoo.fr, it would be about 2 miles in length.
Hope that this helps...
Posted 03 June 2006 - 16:39
Based on your earlier description, I came to the same conclusion as to the roads concerned. Looks like just the north end has housing so maybe the other parts are much as they always were until it closed
Posted 21 July 2006 - 12:59
Posted 31 August 2006 - 20:37
This is my first time with imageshack so hope it works !! If it does, this picture is of a memorial to Swiss rider Jean Claude Milliet who sadly died during practice for the first races on the Circuit Des Vennes in 1954. The stone is sited on the outside of the left hand kink immediately following the hairpin after the start which connects the Route De seillons and the Chemin des Bouleaux. On the map it is under the 2nd U of BOULEAUX.
Hoorah it worked which means I'm not the technophobe I thought I was. More pics to follow
Posted 04 September 2006 - 22:52
Thanks for the pics!
Posted 05 September 2006 - 20:47
Thanks for amending title Twinny. Off to work out the next photo project !