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I wonder if they know......


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#1 Barry Boor

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Posted 09 January 2022 - 14:18

Putting together a slot car version of the circuit at les Sables d'Olonne for a 1952 F.2 race, I thought I would have a stroll around the circuit (thanks to Google Earth street view).

It was quite a surprise to see a lot of residential properties along the roadside. Houses and flats which may well not have been there back in the early 1950s - much of it looked quite new.

This led me to wonder how many, if any, of the residents of those properties are aware that Ferraris and Maseratis, not to mention Gordini and H.W.M.s actually raced along the roads right outside their front doors?

I imagine that there must be thousands of people living right next to old race circuits, particularly in France and Italy, who are totally oblivious to the fact that history unfolded right there in front of their homes.

Just musing......

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#2 Ray Bell

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Posted 09 January 2022 - 14:54

As you know, Barry, I've driven a lot of these myself...

 

Unless there's been a modern event to bring the matter to mind, you'd be right in thinking that they are oblivious of the fact.

 

For instance, Longford, Lobethal and Gnoo Blas have seen modern events held to commemorate the glory days. But Parramatta Park, Albury (Wirlinga-Thurgoona), Strathpine, Southport and Middle Ridge would never have seen such a thing. So many new houses adorn some of the places, as you mention, on all of these except Parramatta Park. Parts of Southport went through dairy farming country, now it's all fancy homes.

 

Bari is another place where there'd be few with actual memory of the racing events. And I found when looking for the Rouen circuit that the people at the town's tourist office had never heard of racing there!

 

The long stretches of the Savannah US Grand Prize circuits were quiet long before anyone in the town was born, but there is a museum of sorts (I think mainly online) to try and keep the events 'alive' in people's minds.

 

Unfortunately, the day I was there, they weren't!

 

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#3 Rob G

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Posted 09 January 2022 - 22:29

I visited Savannah about ten years ago, and it wasn't until my second day there that I realized that my hotel was located right where the circuit had been.



#4 Ray Bell

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Posted 09 January 2022 - 22:42

Savannah:
 
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Quiet waterfront setting. Except when the big cars thundered by, raising the dust, in the US Grand Prize.
 
Elkhart Lake:
 
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Town Centre. It's a 'playground' town so racing was a natural extension of that in the fifties.
 
Bari:
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Up-tempo. The sight of 4.5-litre F1 cars and the sound of the 158/9 Alfas is at odds with the present-day quiet of the Via Napoli.
 
Brno:
 
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Full throttle! The F3 cars of the sixties would have relished the downhill start to the 'main straight' of the Brno circuit. A far cry from this traffic jam.



#5 Gary Davies

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Posted 10 January 2022 - 04:07

Hello Barry! I owe you a letter. And, if the Voldemort disease permits, a visit during 2022. 

 

As these holidaymakers drive along Port Elliot Road, I wonder how many know they are driving along what was known, on December 26 1936, as Chiton Straight. One local, with a notoriously busy back yard which features what has to be the world's tattiest wind sock, has recently provided a large hint on the side of his shed. It is, of course, a photograph featuring Les Murray in his victorious MG P-Type during the South Australian Centenary Grand Prix. As many know, this race was commonly known as the 1937 Australian Grand Prix and the whole hoo-hah over the date and name took on Djokovician proportions at the time.

 

Chiton-straight.jpg

Shed-art.jpg

 

 



#6 john aston

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Posted 10 January 2022 - 05:37

Not just abroad . Julian Hunt's 's wonderful Motorsport Explorer book enabled me to track down , both physically and virtually many lost venues , within  an hour of  my door step. I thought Yorkshire had only ever had  two circuits ( Croft and Rufforth ) but we've actually had 8 venues used for racing , and many , many hillclimbs . Ironically , I've often thought the A 170 Sutton Bank ascent , 6miles from home , would make a stonking hillclimb - but I learned I was far from the first person to have had this thought ...

 

I recently wrote a piece on returning to Rufforth after a 50 year gap . This was  the famous 'pop up' circuit near York  - if anybody wants a copy let me know 



#7 Rupertlt1

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Posted 10 January 2022 - 07:59

I recall telling a gentleman in western New York state that in 1954 Holland Hill Climb started from close to the intersection outside his house on Sanders Hill Road. Quel surprise! That was the only year, as the event promptly moved to Vermont Street for 1955-1958. (I have written a history if anyone is interested.) Glenwood Hill climb, not far away.

In the tracks I have visited now gone department: Rattlesnake Point hill climb, Hockley Valley hill climb (started a revival), Rockwood hill climb, all in Ontario. North Wilkesboro speedway, Rockingham, NASCAR tracks down south. Alberni Valley, Mount Douglas, Observatory hill climbs on Vancouver Island. Firle hill climb, Sussex, (started a revival).

RGDS RLT  

 


Edited by Rupertlt1, 10 January 2022 - 08:05.


#8 Steve99

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Posted 10 January 2022 - 08:57

 Julian Hunt's 's wonderful Motorsport Explorer book 

 

Yes, enabled me to try my hand at both Cawkwell and Tetford Hills in the Lincolnshire Wolds. My MR2 was quite at home, but I can't imagine the challenge they would have put up for a 1907 Daimler! Fascinating book. 



#9 RCH

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Posted 10 January 2022 - 10:13

Some years ago when I owned an Antiques Centre I delivered something to an address in Berkshire. Not quite sure how the subject came up but the lady of the house told me that Great Auclum hill climb ran at the bottom of her garden. I had always thought it was in Scotland. 



#10 Gary Davies

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Posted 10 January 2022 - 10:54

Here's one of which I was unaware at the time. For about 10 years from the mid-fifties, our family spent two weeks in July at the delightful bay Lydstep Haven, Pembrokeshire. For all of that time I was a schoolboy motor sporting nut (I recall my father preferred the word bore). And for all that time, I no idea that the Pembrokeshire Motor Club ran hillclimbs on the very piece of (private) road we traversed to get to Lydstep House. Cor!!! Even more, cor!!.... DSJ himself competed at least once in his Porsche 356. 

 

Here's a map of the course - http://www.peoplesco...s/items/1680991

 

Here's the Google Maps link - https://goo.gl/maps/yaqqLvjtYMqUi4qP8

 

And here's Jenks' article from the May 1959 edition of Motor Sport - https://www.motorspo...eed-hill-climbs

 

... plus a part of his report: "With the Continental racing season being late in starting, and the Editor covering the British National racing events, I took the opportunity to visit two out-of-the-way hill climbs during the month of March. Both are very well known in club circles, but have not warranted an official visit in preference to larger events, so always believing in combining business with pleasure I entered the Porsche for both events and went as both a competitor and a reporter.

The first was at the far end of South Wales, near Tenby, and was the Lydstep Hill Climb, run by the Pembrokeshire Motor Club on March 21st, open to saloon, sports and racing cars and held in the grounds of Lydstep House by the kindness of Mr. H. V. Thomas. Lydstep is a tiny village some four miles west of Tenby and on the edge of the coast, overlooking a delightful little bay, and the hill starts from the very edge of the beach. It is 880 yards long and climbs continuously, not unlike Shelsley Walsh, and after a fast take-off up an 80 m.p.h. straight the hill winds in a series of fast bends that call for some pretty skilled driving in a fast car; most decidedly a driver’s hill...."

 

80 mph, eh? I don't recall my dad topping 20 mph on the long drive from the gatehouse down to Lydstep House. 

 

 



#11 MCS

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Posted 10 January 2022 - 12:51

Not just abroad . Julian Hunt's 's wonderful Motorsport Explorer book enabled me to track down , both physically and virtually many lost venues , within  an hour of  my door step. I thought Yorkshire had only ever had  two circuits ( Croft and Rufforth ) but we've actually had 8 venues used for racing , and many , many hillclimbs . Ironically , I've often thought the A 170 Sutton Bank ascent , 6miles from home , would make a stonking hillclimb - but I learned I was far from the first person to have had this thought ...

 

I recently wrote a piece on returning to Rufforth after a 50 year gap . This was  the famous 'pop up' circuit near York  - if anybody wants a copy let me know 

Motorsport Explorer is an excellent book as you say, John.   Keen to see your piece on Rufforth.  I can remember the last meetings during the 1977 season.  Will drop you a PM.



#12 LittleChris

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Posted 10 January 2022 - 14:24

My daughter attends a monthly nature group at an old barn just outside Hemel Hempstead and I'm always happy to take her since it means we have to drive up 95% of the old hill climb course at Westbrook Hay.   Pretty certain no one else there knows of its motor sporting history.  Similarly if we visit Wendover Woods, we get there via the hillclimb at Aston Clinton. 

 

We have French friends who've lived in Tours pretty much all their lives and they were very surprised the first time they came across me in an East London boozer to find that I knew of the villages of La Membrolle and Semblancay as they had no idea that the French GP had ever taken place near their city ( nor did they particularly care  :lol: ).  

 

Going back to Barry's post regarding Les Sables D'Olonne, at least they haven't built the  houses over the track unlike the Puits D'Enfer circuit around mile away on the southern outskirts where the northern loop is now partly  covered by holiday homes who probably curse the occasional noise from what's left of the circuit to their south east



#13 arttidesco

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Posted 10 January 2022 - 21:57



My daughter attends a monthly nature group at an old barn just outside Hemel Hempstead and I'm always happy to take her since it means we have to drive up 95% of the old hill climb course at Westbrook Hay.   Pretty certain no one else there knows of its motor sporting history.  Similarly if we visit Wendover Woods, we get there via the hillclimb at Aston Clinton. 

 

We have French friends who've lived in Tours pretty much all their lives and they were very surprised the first time they came across me in an East London boozer to find that I knew of the villages of La Membrolle and Semblancay as they had no idea that the French GP had ever taken place near their city ( nor did they particularly care  :lol: ).  

 

Going back to Barry's post regarding Les Sables D'Olonne, at least they haven't built the  houses over the track unlike the Puits D'Enfer circuit around mile away on the southern outskirts where the northern loop is now partly  covered by holiday homes who probably curse the occasional noise from what's left of the circuit to their south east

 

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Visited Aston Hill on my New Years Day drive exploring my new neighbourhood.

 

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Took in Kop Hill too ....

 

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Thanks for the Westwood Hay tip  :clap:



#14 Ray Bell

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Posted 10 January 2022 - 23:17

Lots of people live here on the outskirts of Brno...

 

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It all made those little 1-litre F3 screamers look small.



#15 Ray Bell

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Posted 12 January 2022 - 22:49

Only sixty years ago and I doubt anyone living there today remembers Middle Ridge racing:

 

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The same house the day the first Ford Falcon ever raced:

 

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#16 BRG

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Posted 13 January 2022 - 11:15

Are you sure it is the same house, Ray?  If it is, there seems to have been some seismic movement as it is now higher than the road.



#17 Ray Bell

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Posted 13 January 2022 - 11:50

Must be some heavy traffic there!

 

Yes, it's the same house.