Courtesy of our friend Mandy Alvarez is this track map of Cuba’s answer to the Mille Miglia or Carrera Panamericana, the Carrera Pinar del Rio: A race to Havana from Pinar del Rio 115 miles away.
Archive for the ‘Lost Track’ Category
Yesterday’s post had me craving more of the forgotten Sudschleife and now I’m sure of it: If the Nordschleife weren’t right next door this would have been considered a fantastic track.
It was only the big events that were raced on the combined glory of the North and South loops of the Nürburgring into it’s complete 17 mile configuration. Of course, the Nordschleife got all the fame and left it’s little brother Südschleife to languish away alone: oft-forgotten and little loved (even in its prime) compared to the more challenging technical turns of the Nordschleife.
Today, while much of the public roads remain, the connecting pathways to the Nordschleife were destroyed during the construction of the GP circuit. This Formula Vee race from 1968 though, shows the Südschleife in all its glory. It must be hard to be considered great when the basis for comparison is the Nordschleife but on it’s own this looks like a hell of a track. Also, helicopter footage of the F-V race? Who would have thought….
Let’s hope at the Nordschleife lives on in more than just videos of this kind 50 years from now.
Ok, so it’s a little rough. But this sure looks fun.
Thanks to Eric Wieland for sharing this video on the Greenwood Roadway Facebook Group.
The grass is poking through most of what remains of the pavement; the curbs are crumbled; the entry gates are hanging on by a powder of rust. None of that is stopping an impromptu celebration of the Greenwood Roadway’s anniversary.
June 8, 2013 marks 50 years since the inaugural event at Greenwood, and some dedicated sports car fans are going to head on over to the track to pay their respects. Cars, Motorcycles, and Karts that raced on the track—and their drivers—will be in attendance.
The track only really operated for 3 years starting in 1963, but in that short time the track played host to local races and SCCA events. Despite it’s short history, the track’s mystique lives on. There were precious few tracks in the midwest, so the memory and the legend of them remains so vitally important in this part of the country. Of course, Mid-Ohio and Road America (and a few other wonderful examples) live on, but those that left, left an impression.
The good news is that the bones of the track are there. There’s enough driveable surface that parade lapping is on the schedule for the weekend. I wouldn’t recommend putting much oomph into the go pedal, but it will give some sense of what it must have been like fifty years ago to charge down one of Greenwood’s sweeping turns at speed.
Whenever I happen upon one of these tracks my heart starts to long for its resurgence. Usually it’s just the musings of a romantic spirit but just take a look at this satellite view of the track as she sits today. There’s a damn lot of it still there. I hope that the revivalists that take in the show and festivities of the Greenwood Revival show up the next weekend with an asphalt truck. This is more than just the barely visible foundations of a track that once was… it’s a dare. She wants to come back. She’s just sitting there, waiting for us. Look at that map and tell me that some part of you doesn’t want her back too.
Then again, if our earlier Meadowdale post has you particularly inspired. You could just cut to the chase and buy this available copy of the original blueprints for the track. Grab a few friends, a few shovels, a bulldozer or two, and a whole lot of asphalt. Call me when you’re done.
Meadowdale Raceway may be gone but she remains a much loved and sorely missed track in the Midwest. Although the park that stands on her old bones has a few reminders of the greatness that once was, it’s comforting to look at these photos of Meadowdale under construction. They remind me that tracks may go but new ones can come as well.
Will these new tracks have the nail-biting danger of Meadowdale’s defining feature: the Monza wall? Probably not. Will they inspire such fear and respect that they prompt a timid racer or mischievous prankster to adorn the racing surface with a painted “PRAY” in enormous block text just before the entry to turn 1? Almost certainly not. Will they feature the tight turns and sweeping bends that made Meadowdale so tricky? Maybe. Will they drive racing enthusiasts to painstakingly recreate them a generation later for use in racing simulators? Well.. probably.
More inspiration at Chicagoland Sports Car Club’s Memories of Meadowdale Raceway.
I love the track at Paramount Ranch. That tunnel is so romantic and deadly, and the location in the Santa Monica Mountains ensured that Hollywood stars and starlets made appearances both mixing it up on course and spectating trackside.
A good example of the program for that first race at Paramount in August 1956 has come available on eBay. The price might drive some away, but what a marvelous reminder of the golden era of the California Sports Car Club. Just take a look at the footage of the race from our earlier post on the Ranch. How could you not want a reminder of this kind of immediate, friendly, competitive-as-hell era in motorsport.
Keep your eye on the auction. Thankfully by pointing you to it, I don’t have to be the one to buy it.
Stay strong… stay strong.
Back in May, The San Francisco Chronicle assembled a lovely remembrance of the Golden Gate Road Races held 60 years earlier. Looking at these photos, I’m not sure why the Golden Gate races don’t seem to hold the same fond mystique that other California round-the-house circuits have achieved. Perhaps it was because the event was only run between ’52 and ’54 that it just didn’t have time to build the legend that Pebble Beach or Palm Springs did.
While it may have largely faded from memory, there’s something so appealing about the idea of sports cars thundering through Golden Gate Park that feels so romantic. Walking or cycling the route today must conjure thoughts of Phil Hill’s
Cad-Allard Jaguar C-Type or Bill Pollack’s Cad-Allard Jaguar C-Type (thanks for the correction, Colin) whipping around Elk Glen Lake. It’s marvelous, if bittersweet, to see these images of the Golden Gate Races running while knowing that they’d be almost impossible today.
But if the Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix has taught us anything, it’s that a vintage race in the park can indeed be run in the modern era. What’s more, it can be done in relative safety even while paying tribute to a more dangerous time. Certainly a city park is easier to close down for an event than several blocks of city streets are: They get closed off for foot races or bicycle races or charitable walks all the time. Why not showcase some of the park’s history as a racing venue with a mid-summer weekend revival of the Golden Gate Road Races?
Like our previous support for a Central Park Vintage Grand Prix, I can imagine an entire series of city park or county airport road races—perhaps limited to smaller displacement racers and run with a strict “vintage spirit” rule set. Heck, look to the Detroit Grand Prix as a model for making a marvelous racing course within a city park. If Belle Isle can do it, why not Golden Gate? Why not Central Park? Why not?
Let these images be your guide. Imagine yourself for a moment on 2.7 miles of this wonderful circuit behind the wheel of a mid-fifties racer—or even spectating along JFK Drive—and tell me you don’t want this to happen?
Pretty amazing to see Beetles sharing a field with ’57 Chevys. I’m not turning up much information on the race featured in this latest clip from the George Kehler archives but seeing these big American sedans running a road circuit is something that we don’t see enough of. We’ve all seen clips of the big Jaguar Mark 2s working around Goodwood, but in the States the big cars are largely associated with NASCAR’s ovals. So seeing these big Chevys and Buicks and Fords hang the rear end out or spin in a corner is a real treat.