Sunday, 22 September 2013

Gedinne - we will be back that's for sure!

Gedinne – Namur / Circuit de Gedinne-Gribelle / 1947-1949, 1951-1955 and 1979-1986 / motorcycles
Location: 49°59'7.42"N / 4°57'27.04"E
Gedinne initially hosted motorbike races between August 1947 and July 1955, although the 1950 race was cancelled. A further race was announced for July 1956, but it seems this did not go ahead either. The beautiful circuit, undulating and winding through the Ardennes landscape and passing through the village of Gedinne itself, was initially believed to be 7.760 km long, but the length was later given as 7.527 km, presumably after the course had been remeasured. Known fastest laps are: 4.04 (1947), 3.51 (1948), 3.41 (1949), 3.42 (1951), 3.23 (1953) and 3.22 (1955) - note the 1949 time is for the 350cc class, as that year's race report for some reason omitted the best lap of the 500cc race.
Surprisingly, the circuit's history did not stop there: racing resumed on the old course from 1979-1986 - more than twenty years after the last race had been held! The circuit was the same as before, except for a new location of start-finish and the change from clockwise to anti-clockwise direction. Its length was now again given as 7.760 km, in 1979 best lap of 2.46,8 = 167.5 km/h.

Gedinne – Namur / Circuit de Gedinne / 1987-2006 / motorcycles
Location: 49°59'29.54"N / 4°57'19.78"E
A new layout of 5.050 km was introduced in August 1987. This was very similar to the older course and in fact included a section of it, but avoided contact with Gedinne itself. Two chicanes were later added to slow down the motorcycles on the very fast downhill section at start-finish: the first circa 1989, the second somewhere in the 1990s. This brought the length to 5.063 km. The last road races in Gedinne with contemporary motorcycles took place in August 2006. Since then, the circuit has been used only for an annual meeting for vintage machines titled Belgian Classic TT. Known fastest laps: 2.07,16 by Michel Siméon (1988), 2.05,42 by Alain Kempener (2000), 2.05,351 = 145.033 km/h by Louis Wuyts (2002), 2.13,557 by Didier Jadoel (2005).