Jump to content


Photo

Grenzlandring (aka Grenzland-Ring)


  • Please log in to reply
25 replies to this topic

#1 rx-guru

rx-guru
  • Member

  • 255 posts
  • Joined: September 06

Posted 28 February 2008 - 16:57

We used to live from 1974 till 1989 in the hometown of my wife, Wegberg. In the mid 1970s I started to work as a freelance motorsport journalist. For the issue no. 24 (December 2 1977) of the former German magazine "Rennsportwoche" (just a little later merged with the still existing Swiss newspaper MOTORSPORT aktuell) I did quite some research at Wegberg and its surrounding area about the Grenzlandring and a story called "Geschichte einer Rennstrecke – Der Grenzlandring" about its tragic history. BTW, I was born just half-a-year before the fatal accident on August 31 1952 happened and when I first saw and later drove myself on the old Grenzlandring (with still its concrete surface by then) there was nothing left that reminded in any way on its five years as a race track. However, some time ago I did a story about the Grenzlandring for the German speaking Wikipedia (http://de.wikipedia....i/Grenzlandring) as well as contributing some information to the English language article (http://en.wikipedia....i/Grenzlandring), based on my old researchs and story as well as some new researchs.

Today I’ve got a copy of "ADAC Motorwelt", 1950 October issue. From that old mag I’ve learned for the first time that the Grenzlandring was at least for the 1950 event clockwise driven. I was always told the races were driven anti-clockwise. Does any of the TNF members know if that happened only in 1950?

Advertisement

#2 fines

fines
  • Member

  • 9,647 posts
  • Joined: September 00

Posted 28 February 2008 - 17:06

Wasn't it always run clockwise...? :confused:

#3 GeoffE

GeoffE
  • Member

  • 152 posts
  • Joined: March 07

Posted 28 February 2008 - 18:44

Originally posted by fines
Wasn't it always run clockwise...? :confused:


In GPL it's always clockwise :) ... here too http://www.silhouet....s/grenzlan.html

#4 rx-guru

rx-guru
  • Member

  • 255 posts
  • Joined: September 06

Posted 28 February 2008 - 18:49

Originally posted by fines
Wasn't it always run clockwise...? :confused:


AFAIK there are only very few (good) pictures available, which can show the direction used. However, in this TNF thread http://forums.autosp...?threadid=73398 the second picture shows the start of the 1952 accident race. As a local can easily see roofs of houses at the village of "Watern" it is no doubt about anti-clockwise. Picture three shows the "Friedhofsbrücke" in the background, no question, anti-clockwise.

#5 philippe charuest

philippe charuest
  • Member

  • 701 posts
  • Joined: March 01

Posted 28 February 2008 - 19:07

Originally posted by GeoffE


In GPL it's always clockwise :) ... here too http://www.silhouet....s/grenzlan.html

sorry but no in GPL so as in the map its anti-clockwise

#6 rx-guru

rx-guru
  • Member

  • 255 posts
  • Joined: September 06

Posted 28 February 2008 - 19:11

Originally posted by GeoffE


In GPL it's always clockwise :) ... here too http://www.silhouet....s/grenzlan.html


Please use your own link. Click on "Click here for another map". If you click on the square in the right below corner you’ll got that map a bit bigger. See the figures 1, 2, 3 till 8 for the marshall posts. No doubt, anti-clockwise. ;)

The 1952 accident is always referred to had happened at the "exit of the Roermonder Kurve". Clockwise would make the spot, which is exactly here http://de.wikipedia....lstelle1952.jpg, to the "entrance of the Roermonder Kurve".

#7 Paul Rochdale

Paul Rochdale
  • Member

  • 1,281 posts
  • Joined: September 04

Posted 28 February 2008 - 19:23

In the 1970s I was a soldier based at nearby Moenchengladach and also drove around the circuit. At the time I wrote to Denis Jenkinson to ask about it and he returned my map with the direction of the races as ANTI-CLOCKWISE. He described the pits as being on the inside of the circuit, just before the railway bridge, near Harb. Jenks raced sidecars there in 1950/51/52.

Somewhere I have a small book on Grenzlandring written in German and well illustrated.

#8 GeoffE

GeoffE
  • Member

  • 152 posts
  • Joined: March 07

Posted 28 February 2008 - 19:54

Originally posted by rx-guru
Please use your own link. Click on "Click here for another map". If you click on the square in the right below corner you’ll got that map a bit bigger. See the figures 1, 2, 3 till 8 for the marshall posts. No doubt, anti-clockwise. ;)


For some reason, I said exactly the opposite of what I was intending to say ... profuse apologies Posted Image

#9 rx-guru

rx-guru
  • Member

  • 255 posts
  • Joined: September 06

Posted 28 February 2008 - 23:12

Originally posted by Paul Rochdale
In the 1970s I was a soldier based at nearby Moenchengladach and also drove around the circuit. At the time I wrote to Denis Jenkinson to ask about it and he returned my map with the direction of the races as ANTI-CLOCKWISE. He described the pits as being on the inside of the circuit, just before the railway bridge, near Harb. Jenks raced sidecars there in 1950/51/52.

Somewhere I have a small book on Grenzlandring written in German and well illustrated.


Hi Paul, :wave: Between 1974 and 1980 I used to work as a driver inside the 37th Rhine Workshops at Mönchengladbach, moving everything from Minis and Escorts across Stalwarts (Amphibious vehicles) up to Rolls Royce engined Thornycrofts and even (but rarely) Centurion tanks. From mid 1980 on my work as a motorsport journalist ensured me enough money to pull out eventually.

So far I did not think about the pits at all as I expected them being very close to the Start/Finish area, that was always situated half-way between the roads going to Tüschenbroich and Uevekoven. So if the pits have been at Harbeck, just before the railway bridge, they must have been about 1 mile away from Start/Finish… I wonder if Jenks raced already in 1950 there as only the 1951 and 1952 Grenzlandring races were officially open to foreigners, AFAIK.

The small book you mention is possibly the one called "Der Grenzlandring 'die Avus' des Westens" by Dietmar Schmitz and Folkmar Pietsch (the long time editor-in-chief of the "Rheinische Post" for the Erkelenz area), or its forerunner "Der Grenzlandring – Die (un-)vergessene Rennstrecke 1948–1952" by Achim Froitzheim. I got a copy of the one done by Schmitz/Pietsch myself, but never saw the one done by Froitzheim. However, the book contains a lot of information, but its layout is really useless and one cannot read it page after page, but must jump forwards and backwards all the time to understand or associate things mentioned.

As I’ve already mentioned in my first post till today I was sure ALL FIVE EVENTS were driven anti-clockwise. But the ADAC mag 1950 race report reads: […] "Die Streckenverhältnisse waren in diesem Jahre so grundsätzlich anderer Natur, daß sie eigentlich überhaupt keine Vergleiche zulassen. Einige Beispiele: Rechtskurs statt Linkskurs (für Räder langsamer, für Wagen schneller)." […] Simple English: The conditions at the circuit were so much different this year that comparissons are actually useless. Some examples: clockwise course instead of anti-clockwise course (for bikes slower, for cars faster). I understand from those words that the 1948 and 1949 races were driven anti-clockwise and in 1950 there was clockwise racing. According to different 1952 pics that year saw also anti-clockwise racing. But what about 1951? :confused:

#10 rx-guru

rx-guru
  • Member

  • 255 posts
  • Joined: September 06

Posted 28 February 2008 - 23:48

Apropos: http://cgi.ebay.de/w...:MEWA:IT&ih=018

Not bad at all, 70 Euros for a 1949 Grenzlandring programme… :eek:

#11 Twin Window

Twin Window
  • Nostalgia Host

  • 6,611 posts
  • Joined: May 04

Posted 29 February 2008 - 00:19

I'm in possession of several original negatives of the aftermath of the infamous 1952 accident, including pics of Helmut Niedermayr in the paddock talking to folk afterwards, looking somewhat shocked and carrying superficial injuries.

#12 rx-guru

rx-guru
  • Member

  • 255 posts
  • Joined: September 06

Posted 29 February 2008 - 01:32

Originally posted by Twin Window
I'm in possession of several original negatives of the aftermath of the infamous accident in 1952, including pics of Helmut Niedermayr in the paddock afterwards looking shocked and carrying some superficial injuries.


Perhaps you got the right stuff… Over here just a few lousy pics available or known, or have better pics never been published? In 1977 I had the private album of "Mister Grenzlandring", Teddy Vorster himself, for some weeks at my home and even he (but actually his widow, a quite famous German actress by the name of Ruth Lommel http://www.cyranos.ch/smlomm-e.htm) had only a few lousy action pics from all the five races.

#13 canon1753

canon1753
  • Member

  • 619 posts
  • Joined: March 03

Posted 29 February 2008 - 04:43

I played this track on GPL. Amazingly fast. I wish someone had made it for Grand Prix 2, but that is so old a sim that no one probably would make it now. Still is fun to play...

The track was built IIRC as a ring road for a military factory, which would explain the workshops there years later. Too fast for bikes and cars even in the early postwar period.

#14 Paul Rochdale

Paul Rochdale
  • Member

  • 1,281 posts
  • Joined: September 04

Posted 29 February 2008 - 09:17

Posted Image
Posted Image

This shows Jenks' markings on my map. Let me transcribe part of his letter -

"The Grenzlandring runs round the village of Wegberg. I think the concrete road system was built during the war and racing took place on it from about 1948-1952. I recall racing there in 1950/51/52. It ended in 1952 when a Veritas sportscar went into the crowd. Racing took place ina lefthand or anti-clockwise direction and the pits and start were in a cutting just before the railway bridge if I remember rightly. I drove round it last year (1971) for old times sake and recognised the start area which I think is where I marked it on your map. In those days Wegberg was a fine old world village and the Ring was way out in the fields; now it is virtually in the town. The racing headquarters was in Rheydt. Early 500cc cars raced there and up to 2 litre sportscars and pre-war BMW and post-war AFM and Veritas cars were the usual runners. In those days Germany was still banned from international racing so ran undfer their own rules and sportscars could run on alcohol fuel so that the streamlined 328 BMW-powered Veritas was very fast. I seem to recall Tony Ulmen making a lap record at 128mph. Other drivers I recall were Reiss, Lang, Helfrich, Kling, Klenk, but I don't recall other drivers other than Germans or amateurs from neighbouring belgium and Holland. The road was always narrow and tree lined, in fact it is all exactly as I remeber from 1952 when I last raced there, part from the encroaching houses at certain points. I assume you appreciate the name Grenzlandring? "Frontier, country, circuit" translated literally."

During the 1970s I was a LCpl draughtsman (Royal Engineers) attached to 79 Railway Squadron RCT at 17 Base Vehicle Depot and returned there during the 1990s. Not a lot had changed with the exception of Moenchengladbach. The main street had altered drastically and the main railway station had a lot of grafitti on it's walls, something, I was told, to do with the large influx of out-of-work immigrants.

#15 rx-guru

rx-guru
  • Member

  • 255 posts
  • Joined: September 06

Posted 29 February 2008 - 10:24

Paul, there was something wrong with Jenks’ memories and marks on that map. The Start/Finish area was always very close to the Grenzlandring exit for "Tüschenbroich". On the bottom of your map one can see the villages of "Watern" and "Uevekoven". Below the road (and thereby outside the ring) is these white space without buildings. That was always the true Start/Finish area with temporary buildings and grandstands. On the opposite side (and thereby inside the ring) one can see the road that looks like a W with a lid. I was told, and the above mentioned book reads also, that the pits/paddock were about there. And if Jenks participated already in the 1950 race it was not according to the international sporting rules, as the first international race took place in 1951. ;)

Apropos: On the right hand side of the point of that left arrow done by Jenks one can see inside the ring a little pond. Right below that pond is the spot of the 1952 accident.

#16 just.sportscars

just.sportscars
  • New Member

  • 6 posts
  • Joined: November 06

Posted 29 February 2008 - 11:13

rx-guru:

I have an old programm (would have to check the year) and somebody had put also some newspaper-articles in there... all in german...
in case you're interested in copies or so, shoot me a mail to just.sportscars@web.de
will be glad to help yr. research!

#17 RS2000

RS2000
  • Member

  • 2,413 posts
  • Joined: January 05

Posted 29 February 2008 - 12:41

Looks like a good edition of the BAOR Road Map "Approaches to Rheindahlen"!
Heard stories (from a then resident of the RAF Officers' Mess) of getting in cars at end of the evening and driving round what was known to them as "the Wegberg Ring". Co-incidently, I am shortly to contact the individual concerned in Kent.
The Grensland Rally was across the border in Belgium (and a round of the Belgian National championship up to mid 80s at least).

#18 rx-guru

rx-guru
  • Member

  • 255 posts
  • Joined: September 06

Posted 29 February 2008 - 13:07

Originally posted by just.sportscars
rx-guru:

I have an old programm (would have to check the year) and somebody had put also some newspaper-articles in there... all in german...
in case you're interested in copies or so, shoot me a mail to just.sportscars@web.de
will be glad to help yr. research!


Old Grenzlandring progs making lotsamoney these days, as one can see following the above eBay link… ;)
PM to follow later, thanx! :wave:

#19 rx-guru

rx-guru
  • Member

  • 255 posts
  • Joined: September 06

Posted 29 February 2008 - 16:33

Although being rated as no five on the list of motorsports most tragic accidents by number of fatalities the true cause of the accident has never been properly investigated nor revealed. According to an eye-witness Helmut Niedermayr was driving very close to the right hand side edge of the concrete surface and was trying to overtake one (or more?) competitors of a group of three. At the exit road for Klinkum (which was later completely removed to extend the current gravel pit) he seemingly over-estimated the width of the track, contacted a bale of straw and subsequently possibly shook his steering wheel. However, his Reif Veritas Meteor shot from the farest outside over the entire track into the innerfield and the crowded spectators. The third pic of this http://forums.autosp...?threadid=73398 thread underlines the statement of the eye-witness to a fair degree.

One thing is IMO absolutely incomprehensible: Neither the town of Wegberg nor any authority, involved club etc. has ever planned to set up a memorial stone or plaque for the 13 (recorded) or 14 (claimed) fatalities… ):

Advertisement

#20 fines

fines
  • Member

  • 9,647 posts
  • Joined: September 00

Posted 29 February 2008 - 16:40

I stand corrected, then! :blush:

#21 HistoricMustang

HistoricMustang
  • Member

  • 4,489 posts
  • Joined: November 03

Posted 01 March 2008 - 11:44

Originally posted by GeoffE


For some reason, I said exactly the opposite of what I was intending to say ... profuse apologies Posted Image


I believe most of us can admit making this mistake at least once. :wave: In my case it has been done numerous times. :blush:

Henry

#22 eukie

eukie
  • Member

  • 244 posts
  • Joined: November 03

Posted 01 March 2008 - 14:49

Hi Eddi, seems that the notorious Ernst Rosemann (author of the Motorwelt-article) was the only one who has witnessed that the 1950 races were run clockwise...;)

Yes, one of the five race meetings at the Grenzlandring was run clockwise, but it was the 1949 edition!

Here's another report from 1950, Automobil-Revue 10/1950 - it clearly states "diesmal gegen den Uhrzeigersinn befahren" (= "this time run anti-clockwise"), and the pictures speak for themselves:

Posted Image

Unfortunately I cannot post a picture from 1949 that gives clear evidence (but there are some ...). The following newspaper article (Aachener Nachrichten 06.09.1949) is only a preview, of course, but it corresponds with those other sources, so it might be enough here: "Der Ring wird diesmal - im Gegensatz zum vorigen Jahr - in der Uhrzeigerrichtung befahren werden." (= "in contrast to the previous year, this time the track will be used in clockwise-direction")

Posted Image

Greetings from Cologne!

#23 rx-guru

rx-guru
  • Member

  • 255 posts
  • Joined: September 06

Posted 01 March 2008 - 15:23

Hi Marco, long time no correspondence. :wave: Yep, that ADAC Motorwelt report is credited to 'eros.'. So they did the 1949 edition as a clockwise test to return back to the old system for 1950, 1951 and 1952? However, I’d lived for 30+ years thinking all five races had been driven anti-clockwise… : Thanx for the enlightenment, tonight I’ll sleep calmly again! :lol:

#24 r.atlos

r.atlos
  • Member

  • 416 posts
  • Joined: June 07

Posted 02 March 2008 - 01:02

Originally posted by eukie
Unfortunately I cannot post a picture from 1949 that gives clear evidence (but there are some ...).

... you mean one like this ?

Posted Image
©Yours faithfully

#25 rx-guru

rx-guru
  • Member

  • 255 posts
  • Joined: September 06

Posted 02 March 2008 - 10:25

Thank you very much Lutz! The pic seems to me taken at the still existing exit to Uevekoven and the church in the background must be the one of Beeck.

One important question remains: If four events were driven anti-clockwise and only the one of 1949 clockwise how much value has the Grenzlandring all-time lap record of Schorsch Meier (BMW 500 Kompressor), 216km/h or 134mph, set in 1949…? :|

#26 Keir

Keir
  • Member

  • 5,235 posts
  • Joined: February 00

Posted 03 March 2008 - 14:55

Counter clockwise for sure !!

One of my fav circuits !!