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Last week I was in Belgium where I made a track visit to Spa-Francorchamps and Nivelles-Baulers, to make some pictures for this website. Here my report.
Track visit Spa-Francorchamps
Tuesday I made my track visit to Spa-Francorchamps. In contrast to the last time I was there (1997), the weather was beutiful. Arriving at the circuit a setback, the Grand Prix circuit was closed. This was a dissapointment for me, because I was looking forward to enter the Raidillon again. Later I discovered that the circuit was permanent since 2000.
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.
The photos I made can be found on the page “A lap at old Spa-Francorchamps“.
Track visit Nivelles-Baulers
Thursday I made my track visit to the remains of Nivelles-Baulers. Where once Emmerson Fittipaldi was flagged as the winner, are now trucks to deliver their cargo by the companies. You can recognize the old straight only on the elevations and the remains of the old pits. On top of the hillock 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. So I continued my way by foot. 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 2003 British 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 came back to my car.
A tribute to the Big Loop
Driving back I see a dragline on the site of ex Turn Four. It seemed like a symbolic picture, a dragline who destroyed 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 so called “Big Loop”, to my surprise in the same shape as the circuit!
The Big Loop was the most challenging part of the circuit. Two very long and fast right-hand corners after each other. The first one was uphill and the second downhill. You can see this new road as a kind of tribute to these beautiful corners.
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