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Closure of Chimay


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#1 Alan Cox

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Posted 09 June 2006 - 20:32

Just received the attached news about Chimay via Top Hat Racing:


Following much recent speculation, the sad news has arrived that the famous Chimay road racing
circuit in Belgium will now be forcibly closed to motorcar racing, after an illustrious 79 years.

The Chimay Grand Prix circuit has hosted many spectacular events since Jules Buisseret came up
with the idea of creating the Grand Prix des Frontieres in 1926. From that bold inception, the
original 11-kilometre Chimay road circuit went on to forge a reputation as one of the most daunting
challenges in the international racing calendar.

After an 11th-hour circuit inspection by the RACB (the Belgian governing body) -- just eight weeks
before their flagship 80th Anniversary event was due to be staged (on 21-23 July) -- the organisersof the Chimay Historycar Festival have found themselves without a permit with which to run their event under a National licence.
In an extraordinary meeting convened by the RACB on Thursday 1 June, the RACB also dictated that the organisers of the Chimay event may not even run their event via the alternative route of a Provincial licence. This draconian action by the RACB will therefore prevent any form of car circuit racing from taking place at this historic road-racing venue, leaving Belgium with just Spa and Zolder to accommodate the loss of this unique and evocative meeting in the future.

Ironically, circuit permits have been granted for Chimay's other main motorsport events, so the Toyo "King of Europe" Dragster Show (23-25 June) remains unaffected by the RACB's decision, as does Chimay's impressive Classic Motorcycle Festival (14-16 July).

Top Hat's long-standing partnership with Chimay will not cease. Top Hat has been called upon by the Chimay organisers to help lobby support for the re-instatement of this evocative circuit's track
licence, to safeguard the both the future of the Chimay Historycar Festival and historic racing in this
region of Belgium.

Top Hat Racing are organising a lobby aginst its closure at
Tel+Fax: +44 (0)1926 885835.
Email: julius@tophatracing.co.uk
Website: www.tophatracing.co.uk

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#2 Gary C

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Posted 09 June 2006 - 21:17

bluddy hell, no!! I hope something can be done to rectify this. Why has the RACB done this? Do they think the circuit is unsafe?

#3 Coogar

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Posted 09 June 2006 - 23:01

Is this the same governing body which - I'm told - issues one- day race licences to enable 'walk in' drivers to compete at Spa ? Surely not !
Just wondering.......

#4 Antoine Pilette

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Posted 11 June 2006 - 13:01

RACB...clueless since decades :up:

#5 Racer.Demon

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Posted 13 June 2006 - 13:52

Originally posted by Alan Cox
Top Hat's long-standing partnership with Chimay will not cease. Top Hat has been called upon by the Chimay organisers to help lobby support for the re-instatement of this evocative circuit's track licence, to safeguard the both the future of the Chimay Historycar Festival and historic racing in this region of Belgium.


TBH, there is not a lot that is evocative about the current Chimay track. There is only history in its name, and fairly, the state of the track, its chicanes and its pit complex was absolutely horrible when I visited it in May, only weeks before the two classic events were due to run...

#6 Mark A

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Posted 14 June 2006 - 07:05

Originally posted by Racer.Demon


TBH, there is not a lot that is evocative about the current Chimay track. There is only history in its name, and fairly, the state of the track, its chicanes and its pit complex was absolutely horrible when I visited it in May, only weeks before the two classic events were due to run...


I can understand that point of view. I have visited Chimay when it is just public roads and as you say it looks a bit rough, however visit a number of permanant race circuits on a day it's not being used and they don't look that impressive.

However the thing about Chimay was that there was the old great circuit, but for me the most important thing is that it was still a public road circuit. There are less and less of these places used for racing nowadays, but this is what motorsport was all about in the past, and I had always planned to get over there at some point to watch the Top Hat meeting but have never had the time, now it looks like I am too late.

It does seem strange that the bike racing is allowed to continue, I wonder if they have the same issues at Mettet?

#7 Racer.Demon

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Posted 14 June 2006 - 10:11

Originally posted by Mark A


I can understand that point of view. I have visited Chimay when it is just public roads and as you say it looks a bit rough, however visit a number of permanant race circuits on a day it's not being used and they don't look that impressive.

However the thing about Chimay was that there was the old great circuit, but for me the most important thing is that it was still a public road circuit. There are less and less of these places used for racing nowadays, but this is what motorsport was all about in the past, and I had always planned to get over there at some point to watch the Top Hat meeting but have never had the time, now it looks like I am too late.

It does seem strange that the bike racing is allowed to continue, I wonder if they have the same issues at Mettet?


Interesting that you mention Mettet. I also had a look there and it looked much more well-kept than Chimay. As a circuit - a basic triangle - it is similarly uninteresting as the new Chimay track - a basic rectangle - but I could see a race being held there the next day if it were needed, whereas at Chimay a lot of the basic things weren't even taken care of.

But it seems that road racing is on its last feet at Mettet as well, as a simple Google search leads to a new Circuit Jules Tacheny being constructed in the old track's "infield".

Of course I can see your point of heritage being lost, but failing to maintain that heritage - witness the demolition (instead of reconstruction) of the control tower at Chimay - has more to do with it than the RACB simply sticking by modern safety regulations...

#8 Mark A

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Posted 14 June 2006 - 18:22

I've visited both Chimay and Mettet twice while in Mainland Europe playing at either the ring or Spa.

Mettet does a couple of historic bike races every year (the original circuit was 2 triangles) and the banked corners on the 2nd one are still there, see below. I have read about the 'new' circuit to be constructed there but AFAIK nothing has happened yet and the plans have been around for years.

Mettet is better kept I agree and I was surprised to hear they had demolished the timing hut at Chimay. I hope the situation can be resolved but I don't hold out much hope. As for safety I felt Chimay was a place that you didn't want to make a mistake at but I didn't really think it was dangerous.

Mettet

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Chimay
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Chimay - Pilette Chicane ;)
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