Spa and Nivelles in 2003
Spa-Francorchamps and Nivelles-Baulers in 2003
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We kick off with a piece of pure nostalgia. Short after I started the MSN Group Circuits of the past, on 16 September 2003, I visited Spa-Francorchamps and Nivelles-Baulers to take some new pictures for the site. On 3 October I wrote a report about these visits.
Last Tuesday I was at Francorchamps.
Unlike the last time I was there, it was now beautiful weather. Arriving at the circuit a setback, the Grand Prix circuit was closed¹. And I was so delgihted with the idea to attack the Raidillon again. But in the first place I was there to take photos of the old part, which is now permanently public road. Over a new road, which also looks like a circuit, I drove parallel to the Grand Prix section to old Les Combes, where I started my photo tour.
¹ At that moment I did not know that the track had become permanently now.
Thursday I visited the remains of Nivelles-Baulers.
Where once Emmerson Fittipaldi was flagged as the winner, are now the trucks to get their cargo by the companies. You can recognize the old straight only on the elevations and the remains of the old pits. On the top of the rise before Turn One is now a roundabout and the road to Turn One is closed by a fence.
So I decided to follow the “club circuit”. On the site of the exit of the former chicane I enter the back straight which is a new paved road now. On the end of the road a fence and behind the fence the last remains of the circuit. I continue my way walking. I walk over a piece of faded glory, in my mind I see Formula One cars from the seventies passing me at high speed. I felt a little like the lunatic at Silverstone who walked on the track during the Grand Prix.
The fast right left combination and the last corner, the hairpin, are still there. But it will be a question of time when the companies appear here too. Through the remnants of the paddock I come back by my car.
Driving back I see a dragline on the site of ex Turn Four. It seemed like a symbolic picture, a dragline who destroy the old circuit. I stopped the car and climbed over a hump of ground to the construction site. There I saw that a new road was constructed on the site of Turn Two and Three, the “Big Loop”, to my surprise in the same shape as the circuit!
This was the best part of the circuit, two very fast long right-hand corners after each other. The first one was uphill and the second downhill. Still a bit of a tribute to these beautiful corners.
So this was my first report of a circuit visit ever. But there would follow many. If you like this article, I would appreciate it if you leave a comment below.
See you next week,
NB: All the photos I made during these visits are in the gallery.