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Rhodesian circuits


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#1 Hieronymus

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Posted 07 March 2006 - 05:59

Can anyone please perhaps tell us more of the racing circuits that were used in Rhodesia (Zimbabwe) over the years? Any old Rhodesians or Zimbabweans lurking on this forum?

On the Internet we find a couple of Rhodesian circuits that are common knowledge for most, i.e. Belvedere, Donnybrook, Kumalo, Falls Road and Marlborough.

In my own files I also have circuit maps of places like Cranborne (Salisbury), Heany Junction (Bulawayo) and Saxon Wood (Umtali).

What about places like Chikurubi, Coronation Park and Umgasa?? I believe the latter two were Speedway ovals or dirt tracks, while the first mentioned was a hillclimb???

Any other circuits perhaps??

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#2 M Needforspeed

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Posted 07 March 2006 - 21:15

Sry, can t help much here... but ....

an historic infos only : Bulawayo track is the place were for the last time a Ferrari 330 P4 entered a race ...(if we dont take account of historics races )

#3 gary76

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Posted 08 March 2006 - 08:23

A few snippets:
Coronation Park was a dirt track(sand!), a miiror image of the Brands Hatch short circuit as I recall. The club used to collect old engine oil from all the garages in Salisbury to spray onto the circuit to keep the dust down!
Belvedere Road Circuit: this used the public roads which around the 'old' Horse Race Coarse. This was lined with trees and ditchs and also very fast. The rain storm ditchs which used to traverse the roads were filled in before the races. I remember John Love in the ex Stirling Moss Cooper 500 racing there as well as a multitude of MG and Riley engined specials. A lot of South African drivers and motorcycle riders used to visit. All the meetings were mixed motorcycle and car events.
Belvedere Airfield: This used the 'old' Salisbury airfield which was only a stone throw away from the Belvedere Road Circuit above. It used the main runway and the airfield taxi strips.
They held the 1st Rhodesian GP on this circuit in 1959 or 1960 (memory!). Again mixed meeting the main car race being a Formulae Libre race, a handicap race in effect in order to accomodate the various types and capacities of cars entered.
Good days and a wonderful country (then!) Rhodesia bred some wonderful motorcycle racers, Ray Amm, Jim Redman, Gary Hocking, Bruce Beale to name a few but not many car racers, apart from John Love who made a name for themselves in Europe.
Keep on adding to the thread it may jog the memory.

#4 Hieronymus

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Posted 08 March 2006 - 09:05

Yes, indeed Belvedere was actually two circuits with the same name...Belvedere Aerodrome and then also the street circuit.

Rhodesia's most famous racing sons: John Love, Sam Tingle, Jim Redman and Gary Hocking. Hocking and Tingle breathing their first air in the UK, though, and not Africa.

I am sure that one can write a decent book on Rhodesian motorsport. Some brilliant stories of true enthusiasts. Not sure if it will be ever possible to do it. Trying to track down old Rhodesian drivers or even there families will be a major task. They must be scattered all over the globe...

#5 gdecarli

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Posted 19 March 2006 - 21:50

The only circuit I have in my website is Bulawayo:

Posted Image
(click to open the page on my site)

Racingcircuits.net and The GEL Motorsport have more maps. Do you have any more info and/or maps?

Ciao,
Guido

#6 Hieronymus

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Posted 20 March 2006 - 05:41

Guido

The map that you show here is the Falls Road Circuit near Bulawayo.

I do have maps for basically all the Rhodesian Circuits. About eight in total.

#7 gdecarli

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Posted 29 March 2006 - 22:01

Finally I could upload 4 more Rhodesian circuits on my website, so now I have the following 5:
Any more info is welcome!

Ciao,
Guido

#8 gary76

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Posted 30 March 2006 - 20:15

Cranborne, as far as I recall, was an airfield circuit. It was on the old RAF WW2 training airfield. The straight was the runway and the rest was aircraft taxi strips.

#9 gdecarli

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Posted 30 March 2006 - 21:55

The map I have is quite confused, it could be a car parking too, so I can't say anything more than I have on my website.

Ciao,
Guido

#10 David McKinney

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Posted 31 March 2006 - 05:14

But either way, Guido, it's not a street circuit ;)

#11 gdecarli

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Posted 31 March 2006 - 08:52

Originally posted by David McKinney
But either way, Guido, it's not a street circuit ;)

The name is written exactly in that way in the original way. I simply copied it. A wrong name or are we talking about two different circuit?

Ciao,
Guido

#12 David McKinney

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Posted 31 March 2006 - 09:22

No, I think we're all talking about the same circuit
The site describes it as a street circuit, though the plan is fairly clearly not of a street circuit, but of an airfield circuit

#13 gary76

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Posted 03 April 2006 - 13:23

Cranborne WAS an airfield circuit, I was there!!!
Gary

#14 gdecarli

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Posted 03 April 2006 - 21:26

Thanks for your help.
I have just updated my page, by adding "Airfield circuit, even if original map call it "Road Circuit".

Ciao,
Guido

#15 David McKinney

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Posted 04 April 2006 - 04:59

Originally posted by gdecarli
I have just updated my page, by adding "Airfield circuit, even if original map call it "Road Circuit".

Now you're confusing me further, Guido. Your last post says the original map called it a "road" circuit, but earlier you said the site called it a "street" circuit. There's a big difference :lol:

#16 gary76

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Posted 04 April 2006 - 10:22

My 'two pence' for what its worth. We called anything with tarmac on a road race, helled if I know why. The rest were 'tracks'. Again I don't know why since we used the same tyes for both!

#17 David McKinney

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Posted 04 April 2006 - 11:18

I agree that 'road circuit' could be a broad defintiion covering street circuits and airfield circuits as well as true road circuits
But you can't use 'street circuit' instead of road circuit or airfield circuit

#18 gdecarli

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Posted 05 April 2006 - 22:05

I never wrote in this thread that Cranborne is a street circuit, but I wrote Road Circuit. meybe I wrote it on my website before the update, but I don't know as I don't have any copy of the old page.

If so, it's only a mistype and I apologize for it. I perfectly know the difference between "Road Circuit" and "Street circuit", but I have to pay attention because sometimes I confuse the two words because the Italian translation of "road" and "street" is nearly the same and we have another way to distinguish them.

Ciao,
Guido

#19 Tony Kaye

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Posted 26 August 2007 - 23:21

There were a number of Rhodesian circuits which have not been mentioned on this thread, though I know very little about them.

In the early fifties there was Marlborough Stadium, which had a dirt surface. The name suggests that it was a short circuit more suitable for motorbike races than cars, though both took part in joint meetings. Later, in about 1956, there was a new ‘macadamised’ racing circuit which was referred to simply as Marlborough, at which time the word ‘stadium’ seems to have been dropped from the title. This probably implies that it was a completely new venue. I believe Peter West (MG-Ford Special), Chris Annesley (MG Special) and Jimmy Shields (Ford Special) won the three car races at the first event on the ‘new’ track. Each of these races was run on handicap, as were almost all races in Rhodesia at the time.

Does anyone know anything about the Bennett Speedway at Kitwe? It was described as a ‘mile-and-a-quarter dust circuit’ and was mainly used for motorbike races, though at least one joint meeting was held in which there were seven races for cars. The safety fence had been moved back 30 feet for this event.

Khami Stadium was situated in or near Bulawayo. This was definitely a motorbike-only venue, with the exception that races were also held there for 197cc midget racing cars, The track must have had a chequered history as my only reference to it mentions it re-opening under new management in July 1957 following a period when it was out of use. At this time the track was given a layer of granite!

At Hartley there was another track for these ‘micro-midgets’, which they again shared with the bike racers. At one event the organizers managed to squeeze 60 races into a single day!

Another Rhodesian circuit of the fifties was the half-mile Freddie Franklin race track at Umtali, which is South East of Salisbury close to the Mozambique border. (Incidentally, since this thread is about racing in Rhodesia, not Zimbabwe, I find it more convenient to refer to the old colonial town names.)

The annual Heany ‘100’ was run at the Heany circuit (surprise, surprise!) at Bulawayo. However, I get the impression that the venue may have been switched to the local Heany airfield from 1956 onwards.. Is this the same circuit as ‘Heany Junction’ on Guido’s web site?

In a similar vein, does anyone know exactly when racing moved from the Belvedere street circuit to the nearby airfield? Likewise, when were Cranborne, Saxon Wood, Falls Road and Umgasa in operation? The name Kumalo seems to appear in Rhodesian racing history in about 1963, but I believe that it is just another name for the James McNeillie circuit.

Hieronymus asked if Chikuribi was a hillclimb. Yes it was. The climb was held (annually?) from about 1952 through 1957 and possibly thereafter, though the 600 yard ‘dust-screened’ surface had by then begun to show distinct signs of wear.

Prior to the establishment of the Rhodesian Grand Prix, the colony’s most important annual event was the Mashonaland ‘100’, which was run as handicap races, one for cars and one for bikes. This meeting always attracted top drivers and riders from the Union. With the advent of the 1.5 litre formula, it became possible to run scratch races. However, as in so many things, Rhodesia was a few years behind her southern neighbour.

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#20 Hieronymus

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Posted 27 August 2007 - 06:30

Tony

The Falls Road Circuit outside Bulawayo was first used in 1969.

Kumalo and James McNeillie is one and the same. McNeillie was a city council member who played a role in establishing the circuit.

Cranborne and Saxon Wood were in operation in the late 1940s and early 1950s.

Here you can find some nice aerial photos of some old Rhodesian and other African circuits:

http://blogf1.co.uk/circuits/africa

#21 275 GTB-4

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Posted 27 August 2007 - 12:50

Reminiscences from a friend.....

Hi Mick,

I cant post on the blog as it has disabled its registering function. All I can say is that I have raced on the Heany Circuit and the Kumalo and came second and first respectively. Of course they were foot races as part of my Army training. Both sites are on Army barracks.

Heany as they call it is in the middle of the dreaded Llewelin barracks where all good conscripts went for their initial training. It hadn't been used in my time as a race track and I never heard talk of it. You can see the large rectangular drill square (thats Irish) and part of the rifle range to the left of the picture.

However the Kumalo Airfield does have a racing history that I know of, as I had seen photo's of Lotus Cortina's dicing Mini's of course. The Lotii had their front wheels off the deck and the Mini's had the rear wheels up in the air. This had all stopped before we went to Rhodesia in 1969. Kumalo Airport, as it was before it was a racetrack, is in part of the Brady Barracks where we did our School of Military Engineering training at SME prior to going to build minefields etc.. On the blog it shows the old track encompassing the detention barracks.

My dads house is in Kumalo suburb just to the right off the picture in the blog. The main road outside was called the Salisbury road and was one of the places for the 1970's night time drags. Fords versus Mini's versus Renaults mainly. We never got caught thank God. The 'Falls Road Circuit' was the best of my memories with full circuit racing, drags, sprints, carts, Bikes and Dirt track.

Bulawayo Trade Fair Show Grounds completed the fest with Stock Cars and Speedway on the oval circuit and monster 750cc carts on the streets of the Trade Fair. My Dad had a stock car for fun and used to win prizes for spectacular rolls. A few times a night they would allow street cars on the track one at a time to attempt a lap record, would you believe it was held by a grey Mini Station wagon. The driver was a dwarf called Shorty Maleverus. He won $50 for his lap. Oh......the good old days!!!!! Jacarandahs in bloom and formula R wafting through the air along with the smell of Real Beef burgers and Hotdogs.

Cheers ***

#22 Paul Rochdale

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Posted 27 August 2007 - 13:06

Whilst Rhodesia did indeed breed some exceptional motorcycle racers, Gary Hocking was in fact born in Wales.

#23 Hieronymus

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Posted 28 August 2007 - 06:01

The Rhodesian circuits that have been identified:

SALISBURY
Belvedere (2 versions)
Cranborne
Marlborough
Coronation Park
Donnybrook

BULAWAYO
Kumalo (James McNeillie)
Falls Road
Heany Junction
Khami Stadium ??

UMTALI
Saxon Wood
Freddy Franklin Circuit

KITWE
Bennett Speedway

Also circuits at:

Hartley
Gwelo
Umgusa Speedway

HILLCLIMBS at:

Chikurubi
Selukwe

#24 David McKinney

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Posted 28 September 2007 - 08:04

Some fascinating stuff here:
http://community.web....com/user/morag
Now, who's going to supply some captions?

#25 LDS

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Posted 28 September 2007 - 08:41

OK I'll start. Cars - Bruce Huntley in the D type followed by Jimmy Shields in his Cooper. Belvedere Race Track is Sam Tingle in his Connaught A4. Number is the Cooper Jap of Geoff Meadows. Car No. 7 is the D type Jag of Jimmy de Villers. Unknown is again Sam Tingle in the Connaught A4. Number one is Syd van der Vyver in the Cooper Alfa. Two old cars - Geoff Meadows chasing. The Gold Anglia #40 is John Love.

#26 Hieronymus

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Posted 28 September 2007 - 11:22

Does anyone perhaps know a publication that was called the RHODESIAN AUTORACING ANNUAL REVIEW? Not sure if this was a book or magazine, but somewhere I have read that reference was made of this particular publication.

I have some difficulty in finding race reports of the following Rhodesian events:

Rhodesian GP (30 July 1961)
Rhodesian GP (2 Dec. 1962)
Mashonaland 100 (4 May 1964)
Marlborough Races (14 June 1964)
Bulawayo 100 (23 May 1965)
Bulawayo 100 (5 July 1967)
Bulawayo 100 (11 May 1969)
Rhodesian GP (10 Sept. 1972)
Bulawayo 100 (10 JUNE 1973)
Rhodesian GP (23 Sept. 1973)
Bulawayo 100 (30 June 1974)
Rhodesian GP (15 Sept. 1974)

If someone can please perhaps help me with any of these, I shall appreciate it very much. I have reports of pretty much all Southern African races for the period 1960-1975, but the Rhodesian races only received sporadic reporting in the South African media.

#27 David McKinney

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Posted 28 September 2007 - 11:23

Thanks LDS - a good start :up:

Originally posted by LDS
Two old cars - Geoff Meadows chasing


The one in front looks suspiciously like a T41 Cooper-Climax with a non-standard engine-cover. The right sort of timing for Mike Harris's Cooper-Borgward?

#28 M Needforspeed

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Posted 28 September 2007 - 20:51

Originally posted by Hieronymus
much all Southern African races for the period 1960-1975, but the Rhodesian races only received sporadic reporting in the South African media. [/B]



Sorry to be a bit out of topic, but ...

I suppose you know what South African mags existed in the sixties ?

Were there weekly, monthly mags and annuals typically issued in South Africa in the 60 s ? If yes, could you
post an appreciation on thier content ( reviews, quality and quantity of motor Racing pics inside )


Thank a lot


Michel

#29 Hieronymus

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Posted 29 September 2007 - 05:57

South Africa never had magazines during the 1960s (even today) that only concentrated on motor racing.

Only general motoring magazines like CAR, SA MOTOR, MOTORGIDS that had reports on major championship races.

Very nice "newsletters" were also distributed by various sponsers:

FORD PERFORMANCE
SHELL RACING NEWS
CALTEX MOTOR PARADE
LUCKY STRIKE RACING
CASTROL MOTOR SPORT BULLETIN

Eventhough, these were given away for free in those days, it is basically impossible to find these days. People just threw it away. I have quite a few, which I find excellent for reference purposes.

#30 275 GTB-4

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Posted 29 September 2007 - 09:43

Originally posted by Hieronymus
South Africa never had magazines during the 1960s (even today) that only concentrated on motor racing.

Only general motoring magazines like CAR, SA MOTOR, MOTORGIDS that had reports on major championship races.

Very nice "newsletters" were also distributed by various sponsers:

FORD PERFORMANCE
SHELL RACING NEWS
CALTEX MOTOR PARADE
LUCKY STRIKE RACING
CASTROL MOTOR SPORT BULLETIN

Eventhough, these were given away for free in those days, it is basically impossible to find these days. People just threw it away. I have quite a few, which I find excellent for reference purposes.


Have you checked eBay lately ;)

#31 Hieronymus

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Posted 29 September 2007 - 15:50

Originally posted by David McKinney
Some fascinating stuff here:
http://community.web....com/user/morag
Now, who's going to supply some captions?


Photo A, shown just above the Belvedere Circuit map, is most definately FRANK BRODIE in a MG Special. Frank was SA Drivers' Champion in 1955. Look at the size of those forearms...it can only be Frank.

#32 Gusshoneybun

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Posted 26 October 2007 - 19:21

Hi, If you are interested, I have a picture of an MG K3 fitted with my bodywork which is racing somewhere in Rhodesia probably circa 1950s. Gusshoneybun

#33 Hieronymus

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Posted 26 October 2007 - 19:38

Yes please, we would like to see the photo!

#34 arttidesco

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Posted 10 June 2010 - 19:11

The Rhodesian circuits that have been identified:

SALISBURY
Belvedere (2 versions)
Cranborne
Marlborough
Coronation Park
Donnybrook

BULAWAYO
Kumalo (James McNeillie)
Falls Road
Heany Junction
Khami Stadium ??

UMTALI
Saxon Wood
Freddy Franklin Circuit

KITWE
Bennett Speedway

Also circuits at:

Hartley
Gwelo
Umgusa Speedway

HILLCLIMBS at:

Chikurubi
Selukwe


To this list I can now add

Chingola

Lawrence Allen - located just north of the Chingola mine workings on left of the T3 tarmac surfaced located on Newlands Farm with a dirt oval in the middle, circuit last used 1990's.

Garneton

Garneton Circuit - Said to be scene of the first race (Vic Paulsen Trophy) on tarmac track in NR exact location and configuration unknown

Copperbelt

Kitana Speedway - Cinder speedway for motorcycles exact location unknown

Not sure if these next two came into existance in before or after independence in 1964

Ndola


Ndola Motopark - Tarmac Circuit may have had another name before being turned over solely to off road motorcycle use.

Lusaka

Eureka Speedway - Dirt track oval for 'stock cars'

If abyone can help locate on Google Earth the circuits/tracks at Garneton, Bennett's Speedway or Kitana Speedway your help would be much appreciated.

Thanking you in anticipation :-)




#35 LDS

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Posted 10 February 2011 - 00:55

I lived in Hartley and I was there for the opening races at the track. Sam Tingle opened the circuit with a demo lap in his A type Connaught. I attach a couple of photos showing my father racing his "5 pound special midget with a 350cc Velocette engine" The midget had that nickname due to my father being fined 5 pounds by the police whilst testing his midget on the main road through Hartley... The track itself was about 2 miles out of Hartley on the Gatooma road. It was on farmland opposite the large David Whitehead textile plant and next to the local rugby pitch. Names of drivers that spring to mind are John Gobey from Gatooma, George Sealy from Shabani, Zane Smith and Arthur Cornish from Hartley. Ah happy days

Posted Image
By skrommie at 2011-02-09

Posted Image
By skrommie at 2011-02-09

#36 JohnB

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Posted 20 December 2011 - 21:42

A query (or two) on Kumalo / James McNeillie circuit, Bulawayo WW2 airfield used late-'50s to late '60s.

I'm trying to get to the bottom of two different track lengths I've got for the circuit.

The first is 2.14 miles (3.444km), which I think comes from a 1959 programme as here:
http://community.web....com/user/morag
- look at the race programmes page - the same is also on Darren Galpin's (excellent) world tracks database site here:
http://www.silhouet....cks/kumalo.html

However though the (1959) race programme clearly says 2.14 miles, which is 3.444km, the sillhouet site and a lot of race results also give a lap length of 3.315 or 3.316 km. The ones I've seen with that distance date from the mid '60s-late '60s (for major events the circuit was replaced by one just to the north - Falls Road? - in around 1969 I think).

My question is: In the late-'50s to late'60s period, was the circuit actually changed significantly that would explain this lap length change?

As you can perhaps guess, I'm looking at creating a version of the track for a race sim/game as it was in the second half of the '60s and while not expecting to get things exactly right (which would be nice but...) I'd like to get it as right as possible. So if anyone has any useful info on the question or anything else, I'd be glad to hear it ( mailto: johnblack@freeuk.com ). Any pictures would be especially useful - there's a few out there on the net, but not so many that I've found (and I'm a long way from southern Africa, in chilly England). Any suggestions for further investigation too - I'd hesitate to call it 'research' since I'm not sure I want to take it that seriously, but I do like to get things right if I can.

Thanks for any help

John Black

#37 SimonR

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Posted 22 December 2011 - 15:23

A query (or two) on Kumalo / James McNeillie circuit, Bulawayo WW2 airfield used late-'50s to late '60s.

I'm trying to get to the bottom of two different track lengths I've got for the circuit.

The first is 2.14 miles (3.444km), which I think comes from a 1959 programme as here:
http://community.web....com/user/morag
- look at the race programmes page - the same is also on Darren Galpin's (excellent) world tracks database site here:
http://www.silhouet....cks/kumalo.html

However though the (1959) race programme clearly says 2.14 miles, which is 3.444km, the sillhouet site and a lot of race results also give a lap length of 3.315 or 3.316 km. The ones I've seen with that distance date from the mid '60s-late '60s (for major events the circuit was replaced by one just to the north - Falls Road? - in around 1969 I think).

My question is: In the late-'50s to late'60s period, was the circuit actually changed significantly that would explain this lap length change?

As you can perhaps guess, I'm looking at creating a version of the track for a race sim/game as it was in the second half of the '60s and while not expecting to get things exactly right (which would be nice but...) I'd like to get it as right as possible. So if anyone has any useful info on the question or anything else, I'd be glad to hear it ( mailto: johnblack@freeuk.com ). Any pictures would be especially useful - there's a few out there on the net, but not so many that I've found (and I'm a long way from southern Africa, in chilly England). Any suggestions for further investigation too - I'd hesitate to call it 'research' since I'm not sure I want to take it that seriously, but I do like to get things right if I can.

Thanks for any help

John Black


I lived in Salisbury from 1957 until 1970, and was taken by the father of a friend to the Marlborough track on several occaisions.
I unfortunately have no photos but remember a few things about the circuit:

The track was run clockwise, with the paddock area on the inside of the track opposite a grandstand at the end of the main straight.
The straight ended with a sharp left followed by a longer right, I seem to recall this combination being referred to as "the esses", though it was more than that as the net effect was a right turn of abojut 90 degrees.
On the far side of the track was "duickers leap" a hill which may have caused some of the motorcycles to get a front wheel off the ground.
Cars and bikes often ran at the same meeting, and a very informal and friendly atmosphere prevailed.

A few memories stand out from those days- BMC introduced the new Austin 1100 by entering a pair of the cars, absolutely standard, in a 10 lapper, where they came last and second last some way behind the field, but seemed to manage the corners pretty well.
GSM Darts, the Ford powered fibreglass sports car from South Africa, were often seen there.
I was amused and impressed by some of the older saloon cars with more modern engines, usually looking rather "budget" and amateur- a Morris Minor with Coventry Climax power and pink wheels and an Austin A90 with Chev 283 V8 had a great battle.
Koos Swanepoel and Basil van Rooyen in the mighty Cortinas were most impressive, as was a 7 litre Galaxie.
Chronometric tachometers on racing Yamaha 2 strokes, probably 250s, amazed me as I had never seen them before.

I also went to a few hillclimbs outside Salisbury, my friend entered his mothers Riley 4/68 without her knowing about it, and won the novice award, a wood plaque which he hid under his bed but which was discovered a few months later!
Thanks for prompting this flood of happy memories!

#38 JohnB

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Posted 24 December 2011 - 11:34

Thanks for prompting this flood of happy memories!


Thanks for the reply Simon, and glad to bring back the memories.

You might be interested in a couple of things I've found while looking around the internet for info on the old Rhodesian circuits.

There's a bit from a newsletter here:
http://www.rhodesian...tion11-2009.pdf
with someone else's memories of Marlborough, and there's some interesting stuff in some photo albums here:
http://community.web....com/user/morag
- quite a few pictures of the Marlborough circuit, as well as some from Kumalo which is the circuit I'm looking for info about.

Merry Christmas


#39 Jagracer

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Posted 19 February 2012 - 18:27

Hi, I can remember going to Bulawayo in 1971 &72 with the Springbok Sports Car series but don't remember any other Circuits being mentioned

In 71 I was with the Canon/Wynns team with Ed Swartz & Jody Scheckter in 72 with Brian Robinson & Tony Clarkson each time with the Chevron B19's

sorry can't help you anymore Phil Bradford