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Circuits of the past

Remember the motor racing circuits of the past!

Pescara 2007

Pescara 2007

Pescara circuitThe first time I heard about the circuit of Pescara, actually I read about it, was in an article in the Dutch magazine “Auto Vision”. A street circuit through the Italian hills with two very long straights, passing some small villages and a ride through the suburbs of Pescara. And with its 25.579 km/15.89 Miles length longer than the Nürburgring Nordschleife, which made it also the longest circuit that hosted a Formula One Grand Prix ever. My fascination for this circuit was born...

It was on Tuesday, August 14, 2007. From my hotel in Riccione, I left for a 250 km drive to Pescara over the “Autostrada Adriatica”, a freeway with a lot of nice corners. However, in the evening back in my hotel I saw a program on the Italian TV about this road and they told that this was one of Italy’s most dangerous routes.

Pescara circuitImagine that you would photograph the Nürburgring Nordschleife. That would be a huge job. Let alone a circuit that is even longer, and with a subtropical temperature far over 30° C. And with a stop every kilometre it’s also a hard job for the car. I had to turn on the heating to keep the engine cool! You will understand that the series of photos of Pescara cost me some liters of sweat.

Despite these hard conditions it was fantastic to drive this magnificent former street circuit. In particular the places that where recognizable from old photos where very special to me. For example the house on Start/Finish whose roof in 1957 was packed with spectators. Or the picturesque street in Cappelle. That the circuit has not been forgotten proves a monument in the hills between Spoltore and Cappelle.

Pescara circuitAfter a ride through a nice hilly landscape with many fast corners and some funny jumping hills, I arrived at the first of the two long straights. Unfortunately they build a roundabout in the last corner for the straight. On this 6 km long straight was the so called “Flying Kilometre”. Because the traffic I couldn’t beat Fangio’s 1950 record of an average speed of 309 km/h on the Flying Kilometre Wink

After I photographed the countryside-part of the circuit I decided to give the car a break, so I did the urban area around the railroad station and Start/Finish by foot.

Pescara circuitWalking from the railroad station to Start/Finish, in my hands a camera and a photo from 1957, I asked an older Italian if he recognized the building on the photo. He did not and he told me that a lot of old buildings where demolished. After this not so hopeful message I continued my way. When I stopped for a little beak, which was not a luxury with these temperatures, I looked into the direction of the Start/Finish site and suddenly I saw a nice surprise… There was the house on the picture!

Even the site of the Start/Finish line was easy to find because they painted him on the road again. There was also a temporary grandstand. Maybe a revival or a cycling race on the old race track?

Pescara circuitAfter I made some photos of Start/Finish I went to the site of the “chicane”. In fact it was a detour around the houses, introduced in 1934, to reduce the speed at Start/Finish. It was the first time they made an artificial corner in a circuit to reduce speed, so this was the first chicane ever.

These photos of the chicane completed my lap on this very special classic circuit. Like the old Nürburgring it has an enormous diversity of corners and a lot of elevation changes. But while the Nürburgring is a permanent circuit, Pescara was a street circuit which gave it an extra dimension.

A lap starts and ends in a typical urban setting with right-angle bends and long straights. While the other part of the circuit is a real rollercoaster ride through the countryside. That combination makes Pescara one of the finest "circuits of the past".

 

So that was my story about the photo report of Pescara which you can find on the Pescara pages.. Next week the story about the street circuit of Riccione which I discovered by chance.

If you've enjoyed this report, I would really appreciate it if you leave a comment below.

Herman.

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