Sunday, 5 January 2014

The Centre of My Hometown As a Race Course 50 Years Ago

Every gearhead loves the thought of living close to a racetrack. Not quite as close to be bothered about the noise, just a comfortable distance away to enjoy a weekend joyride from time to time. And there are street courses.

Street courses are of course just links of public roads serving as a temporary racetrack. There are some very famous ones, like in Monaco, Macau, Long Beach, Singapore, Surfer's Paradise, etc., there are pretty awful ones, and there are plenty lesser known or totally forgotten ones.

I live in a small town, featuring a large ex-military airbase nearby that is used for drag racing, drifting and gymkhana events once a year. I had believed this was the single closest racing facility near or far until I stumbled upon a Facebook account posting images of my hometown from the past among which there were ome showing motorcycles starting off, racing through the town centre in the mid-60's:

A narrow street that virtually looks nothing like it today:

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I skimmed through the comments and found a description of the course that looked like this:

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I'm quite familiar with these streets, but I never thought of them as a racing circuit and I tried to come up with the best and most interesting sections from a racer's point of view. I'm not a biker though, thus my ideas would not necessarily correspond with one's. Anyhow, let's see:

The field started up on the A/B spot marked on the map above, depicted on the old photo. They raced in North-West direction slightly uphill:

Heading to the main square (above), then through a fast left-kink the road slightly dropping.

The kink as it looks nowadays - the bikes went through the left of that block in the middle:

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Continuing straight towards a 90-degree right-hander:

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A short straight following the 90, then another 90 to the right, now heading uphill:

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The street ends in a T-crossing with a fast 90-degree left-hander and a short straight:

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This is immediately followed by yet another 90-degree right-hander in a narrow one-way street:

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This is the fastest part of the circuit, being an arrow-straight street for 750 metres. I cannot estimate top speeds before the braking zone as the field was mixed with 250, 350 and 500ccm machines, but should have been pretty scary.

The wild ride ended in a 90-degree right hander followed by a relatively short straight and another right-hander, now riding downhill on the second longest straight with a slight right and then left kink in it:

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Then we arrive to one of the most interesting and most challenging corners of the course. A sharp 90-degree left-hander steeply downhill, almost as long as the previous straight:

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Following 300 metres speeding downhill the course arrives in its final corner, a sharp, right-hander hairpin turn around a statue:

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Another angle of the hairpin:

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Bikes arrived from the left from behind the statue, getting around the triangular kerbing on the right, heading this way, as depicted on the old photos:

Getting the braking zone right for the hairpin was crucial as it was easy to run off track following the long, downhill race. No danger of crashing though as the street follows straight, but much time could be lost if not done right.

The hairpin leads to the main straight to the finish line and that is one 2.8km-lap of the Kaposvár Circuit.

The commenters to the pictures say the event took place each year in the mid-60's, except one or two occasions when the main street was renovated, then the race was moved a few blocks away to a completely square circuit:

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So how about you? Has your surrounding ever been a race course? Share your recollections or findings.

This article appeared on Oppositelock, too.

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