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Bern

Bremgarten

Rudolf Carraciola once said that the "Bremgarten Circuit" was together with the Nürburgring his favorite race track.

Take a tour along this lost track with my comparisons of then (1934-1954) and now.

Please note, that the pic's are best viewed on a desktop.

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Start to the 2. Grand Prix Switzerland 1935 in Bern and same spot today.

 

#6 Achille Varzi, Auto Union

#10 Rudolf Caracciola, Mercedes

#4 Hans Stuck, Auto Union

#2 Bernd Rosemeyer, Auto Union

 

Although the last race was held 62 years ago, that part in my home town is still known as "Die Rennstrecke".

 

©René Häfeli, Verstummte Motoren, Benteli

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Start to the Grand Prix Switzerland in Bern 1949 and today. The pits are a bus station today.

 

Prinz Bira, Maserati

Alberto Ascari, Ferrari

Raymond Sommer, Talbot

Toulou de Graffenried, Maserati

 

Although the last race was held 62 years ago, that part in my home town is still known as "Die Rennstrecke".

 

©René Häfeli, Verstummte Motoren, Benteli

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A proud parade of the four Mercedes W25C starting at the Swiss Grand Prix 1936.

The impressive wooden construction of the grand stand was demolished in 1971 to be replaced by an industrial cleaning company operating world wide.

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Ready for the start to the 1948 Grand Prix with the grandstand in the background, an industrial cleaning company building today. #50 is Christian Kautz who fall to death in the Tenni Kurve with his Maserati. Sadly he will be the second victim after Achille Varzi's death that weekend.

 

©René Häfeli, Verstummte Motoren, Benteli

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The start to the 1950 Grand Prix viewed from the grandstand which today is a laundry company building.

 

 

©René Häfeli, Verstummte Motoren, Benteli

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Can you hear it roaring? The 1949 Grand Prix starts in front of the wooden built grandstand. Today there resides an industrial cleaning company building.

 

©René Häfeli, Verstummte Motoren, Benteli

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Juan Manuel Fangio immediately takes the lead in the last Grand Prix 1954 ahead of Froilan Gonzales (#20) and Stirling Moss (#32). Where they travelled at a speed of 250km/h there is a limit of 50km/h today... In the background you'll see the Autobahn Geneva-Zürich crossing.

 

©Adriano Cimarosti, Grand Prix Suisse, Hallwag Verlag

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Alberto Ascari during the 1950 Grand Prix dives into the first corner after the start/finish straight which leads through a gravel quarry.

 

The farm house doesn't exist anymore and was replaced with a apartment block in 2018.

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What a beautiful colourful photo taken by Louis Klemantaski ©The Klemantaski Collection @klemcoll. It depicts the Red Baron, Manfred von Brauchitsch steering his Mercedes W154 during a practice session of the Swiss Grand Prix in 1938.

 

This section leads into the gravel quarry which is closed for public traffic today. 

Read more about The Red Baron.

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Shortly after the start of the 1949 Swiss Grand Prix Emanuel "Toulo" de Grafenried on Maserati 4CL/48 (he won the British Grand Prix in Silverstone two month earlier on this car) leads Luigi Villoresi on a Ferrari 125 into the gravel quarry.

Today this is an intersection where the main road crosses the original race line.

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Juan Manuel Fangio observes Giuseppe "Nino" Farina in the apex of the first corner after the start/finish straight during the 1950 Grand Prix.

 

Today this road is not public anymore and is crossed by a new main road.

 

©René Häfeli, Verstummte Motoren, Benteli

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Hans Stuck, Autounion Type-D leading Nino Farina, Alfa Romeo into the gravel quarry.

The quarry is still there, fully operating, but the road leading into it is a private road.

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Three Maseratis driven by Prince Bira, Reg Parnell and "Toulu" de Graffenried push into the gravel quarry chasing Alberto Ascari during lap two of the 1949 Grand Prix.

 

This road has preserved the original outline but is closed for public traffic. Only heavy gravel trucks are seen here nowadays.

 

 

©René Häfeli, Verstummte Motoren, Benteli

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Due to the heavy rain during the 1938 Grand Prix, the local photographer Hans Steiner found a dry place under the gravel filling station of the quarry to take this fantastic snapshot of later winner Rudolf Caracciola in His Mercedes W154.

 

The filling station is still there, being modernised and servicing two trucks at a time.

 

©René Häfeli, Verstummte Motoren, Benteli

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And now full throttle through the gravel quarry! Can you believe that?! Richard Seaman in a Delage leads two ERA with Pat Fairfield and Prinz Bira during the Prix de Berne (the smaller event) in 1936.

 

The quarry is still in operation with newly rebuild filling station. The road is closed for public traffic for obvious reason. 

©René Häfeli, Verstummte Motoren, Benteli

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Luigi Fagioli on Alfa Romeo getting out of the gravel quarry section during the Swiss Grand Prix in 1950.

 

Today the original track is still visible but closed and unmaintained.

 

With kind permission of ©The Revs Institute for Automotive Research, Inc. A great place dedicated in connecting the past, present and future of the automobile.

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A short straight leads out of the quarry at Betlehem. Louis Chiron is followed by Prinz Bira both on Maserati, then a Ferrari with Luigi Villoresi during the 1950 Grand Prix.

 

The section is today an exit of an industrial area and also used as parking lot.

©René Häfeli, Verstummte Motoren, Benteli

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The great Rudolf Caracciola in the beautiful Mercedes 300SL during the practice of the small Prix de Berne at the Eichholz section with a footbridge.

 

This will sadly be Rudolf's last race as he suffered a career-ending crash in the Fortshaus corner in the race. He hit one of the many trees which fell on the track. The following cars had a bit of a waiting time but the race continued without the need for yellow flags, virtual or real safety car... The elevation of this section has been significantly lowered as it dives through under the Autobahn.

 

©Adriano Cimarosti, Grand Prix Suisse, Hallwag

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1948 was a tragic year. The Italian maestro Achille Varzi was falling to death in the downhill S called Jordan Rampe with his Alfa Romeo during the training with heavy rain. 

Alfa wanted to withdraw from the race but Achilles widow insisted that Alfa must race and win! The Italian Conte Felice Trossi did as commanded an won the race in Sunday.

 

It has to be noted that before Varzi's death also the Italian motorcyclist Omobono Tenni perished the same day (in the renamed Tenni Kurve). In that very same corner the Swiss Christian Kautz had his deadly crash during the race on Sunday. Sad weekend!

 

Today a tree at the Jordan Rampe still holds the memory of Achille Varzi. Someone still remembers Achille with fresh flowers in July. 

 

In 1978 I meet the 1952 winner Piero Taruffi here laying down a mourning wreath for his friend.

 

©René Häfeli, Verstummte Motoren, Benteli

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The great Juan Manuel in his Mercedes W196 focusing the apex of the Jordan Rampe (where Achille Varzi found his death in 1948) leading from start to finish in the -last -1954 Grand Prix.

 

The road still has the original outline and is a public main road.

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Juan Manuel Fangio leads Karl Kling, Mercedes and José Froilán Gonzáles, Ferrari and Stirling Moss, Maserati through the Jordan Rampe into Eymatt during the - last - 1954 Grand Prix.

 

The is a main public road but the turn into Eymatt isn't any longer. The road goes now straight ahead and the part into Eymatt is a small pedestrian pathway.

 

©René Häfeli, Verstummte Motoren, Benteli

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After the Jordan Rampe Mike Hawthorn on Ferrari is being closely followed by Harry Schell, Maserati into the small farmer village Eymatt during the 1954 Grand Prix. 

The section has been reduced to a pedestrian pathway in 1982.

 

With kind permission of ©The Revs Institute for Automotive Research, Inc. A great place dedicated in connecting the past, present and future of the automobile.

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Viewed from the opposite we see the local driver Rudolf Fischer on Ferrari in front of Prinz Bira, Gordini driving into Eymatt during the 1952 Grand Prix.

 

Since the main road had been straightens, this part has been reduced to a small pedestrian pathway.

 

©René Häfeli, Verstummte Motoren, Benteli

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Mike Hawthorn on his Ferrari hunted Onofre Marimon's Maserati through Eymatt during the 1953 Grand Prix.

 

The section is today a quiet urban quarter. The big farm house had the move for single family homes. 

 

©René Häfeli, Verstummte Motoren, Benteli

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Alberto Ascari, Ferrari takes Juan Manuel Fangio in a breathtaking manoeuvre in the Eymatt during the first lap of the 1953 Grand Prix.

 

The part is today a small, quiet village. The originally significant building is still there but just one of many.

 

©René Häfeli, Verstummte Motoren, Benteli

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The view down to the last corner in the Eymatt during the 1953 Grand Prix. 

The small gardens in the background were built during WW2 and are still there. Being in Switzerland, you will have to pay for the parking in that corner.

 

 

With kind permission of ©The Revs Institute for Automotive Research, Inc. A great place dedicated in connecting the past, present and future of the automobile.

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Juan Manuel Fangio, Mercedes with high speed into the last Eymatt corner leading Karl Kling, Mercedes; José Froilán Gonzáles, Ferrari; Stirling Moss, Maserati and Maurice Trintignant, Ferrari during the last 1954 Grand Prix.

 

This road has a speed limit of 30 km/h today and has a dead end. The wood left had to be planted to compensate for the straightened main road in 1982.

 

©Adriano Cimarosti, Grand Prix Suisse, Hallwag

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#4 Eugène Chanoud on a Delahaye in front of #2 Roger Loyer's Delage in the last corner in Eymatt during the 1947 Grand Prix.

 

The Kappelen bridge in the background is hardly seen today. This road has a speed limit of 30 km/h today and has a dead end.

 

 

©René Häfeli, Verstummte Motoren, Benteli

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The view out of Eymatt with #46 Alberto Ascari, Ferrari; #32 Juan Manuel Fangio, Maserati; #26 Mike Hawthorn, Ferrari and #Onofre Marimon, Maserati during the 1953 Grand Prix. 

The original road is interrupted since the straightened main road has been opened in 1982. On the left there is a camping ground today.

 

 

With kind permission of ©The Revs Institute for Automotive Research, Inc. A great place dedicated in connecting the past, present and future of the automobile.

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Maurice Trintignant on his Gordini through the Tenni corner that leads back into the long forest section during the 1953 Grand Prix.

 

This corner has been named after the Italian motocyclist Omobono Tenni who has fallen to death here during training in 1948. On the very same weekend the Swiss driver Christian Kautz was also killed here.

 

The road into the deep forest isn't in good condition anymore. Today I learned from an old man that the tree with the marks from Tenni's crash has been cut a few years ago.

 

©Adriano Cimarosti, Grand Prix Suisse, Hallwag

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One of the very rare pics from within the long forest section. Emanuel de Graffenried in Maserati leads a group with Luigi Villoresi on Ferrari during the 1949 Grand Prix.

 

The original road during the forest is only accessible by bike or feet and is in very bad condition. Between Glasbrunnen and the Autobahn it has disappeared completely.

 

©Adriano Chimarosti, Grand Prix Suisse, Hallwag

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The great Juan Manuel Fangio steers into the last corner, the Forsthauskurve, to win the very last Swiss Grand Prix in 1954. 

Nobody knew at that time that this was the very last race. Switzerland still today is the only country having banned closed circuit motor races. Mercedes is back, dominating again…

 

 

©René Häfeli, Verstummte Motoren, Benteli

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The Forsthauskurve changed a bit in those 78 years between the 1938 GP of Switzerland. What a beautiful shot of legendary Tazio Nuvolari on the legendary Auto Union! Found on Instagram @gentlemanpetrolhead gallery.

 

Felt that Tazio deserves to find and document the same spot. It's a special feeling standing at the same spot, closing the eyes to imagine those pure sang machines blazing and roaring by.

 

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Bernd Rosemeyer, Auto Union Grand Prix Switzerland in Bern 1936 in the Forsthauskurve which is an Autobahn intersection (Geneva-Bern-Basel/Zürich) today. 

 

 

©René Häfeli, Verstummte Motoren, Benteli

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Into the Forsthauskurve during the Grand Prix Switzerland in Bern 1947 which is an Autobahn exit today.

 

©René Häfeli, Verstummte Motoren, Benteli

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The Forsthaus which named the difficult corner after the long forrest section into the start/finish straight. The building is part of a recycling yard of the city council today.

 

H.P. Müller, Autounion during the Grand Prix Switzerland in Bern 1938

 

©René Häfeli, Verstummte Motoren, Benteli

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Karl Kling on Mercedes W196 getting out of the Forsthauskurve heading towards the start/finish straight during the last Swiss Grand Prix 1954.

 

The Building - the Forsthaus, which gave that difficult corner it's name - is still there. The road is now a main road which still follows the old track limits. Only the Autobahn junction remodelled the corner.

 

With kind permission of ©The Revs Institute for Automotive Research, Inc. A great place dedicated in connecting the past, present and future of the automobile.

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After the Forsthaus we head onto the start/finish straight. This section is the longest part still following the original outline. Only the pavement has obviously been modernised. It is still today called "Die Rennstrecke"

 

©René Häfeli, Verstummte Motoren, Benteli

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Alan Brown on Cooper after the Forsthauskurve during the Swiss Grand Prix 1952.

 

Today this section is a main road and the significant building is still there.

 

With kind permission of ©The Revs Institute for Automotive Research, Inc. A great place dedicated in connecting the past, present and future of the automobile.

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From the previous spot we look back into the direction of the Forsthaus and see Juan Manuel Fangio in the lead at the 1954 Grand Prix. The great Fangio will never give the lead away and will become the last winner.

 

©René Häfeli, Verstummte Motoren, Benteli

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The great Juan Manuel Fangio majestically blasting along the grand stand in this Mercedes W196 winning the last Swiss Grand Prix in 1954.

 

This section still today follows the original track limits, only the wooden grand stand eventually disappeared and is represented by an industrial building.

 

With kind permission of ©The Revs Institute for Automotive Research, Inc. A great place dedicated in connecting the past, present and future of the automobile.