MotoGP Germany: a bit of Sachsenring history …

Very often, it is forbidden to start a permanent circuit in road races due to fatal accidents. The Sachsenring is no exception to this rule …

It all began on May 26, 1927, when a motorcycle race called the Badberg Viereck rennen (Badberg Rectangular Race) was held in Hohenstein-Ernstthal, near Chemnitz, Saxony. The approximately rectangular route of 8,731 kilometers, in place of the current circuit, offered a bit of everything: straight lines, fast curves, passage between houses, tight forks, all in a mountainous and green landscape.

The success was huge with over 140,000 spectators lined up on the field and the 1928 edition was no less popular. However, it proved to be exceptionally dangerous, with no less than 41 falls along its route, leading local authorities to close the competition.

It was not until 1934 that racing resumed, this time hosting the prestigious European Motorcycle Grand Prix in 1936. Unfortunately, the dangers were still present and three riders were killed, including the 1933 European champion. Gunnar Kalen and the 1934 champion Pol Demeuter. But this time the event has taken on a national dimension and is no longer banned.

Pol Demeuter

In 1937, after the closure of the Grillenburger Dreieck course in the Tharandter Forest, the Hohenstein-Ernstthal road regains its name Sachsenring.
The Scots Jimmie Guthriewinner of the “Grand Prix d’Europe” in 1935 and 36, he committed suicide but the success was undeniable and, three years later, only the war could end the competitions, so the enthusiasm (and propaganda) were so popular. far…

Once peace returned to a region under Russian tutelage, the races resumed with a doubling fervor in 1949, the 1950 edition of the German championship even constituted a high point with 480,000 visitors on Sunday alone! Did you say “popular fervor”?

Photo: FIM / Maurice Büla

The sixties did not deny this success, on the contrary, viewers were always fascinated by the performances of local productions of Zschopau, the MZ with 2-stroke engines of the wizard. Walter Kaaden led among others by Ernst Degner until 1961, before the latter passed west of the Iron Curtain, bringing to Suzuki the secrets of East German technology …

From this date, the Grand Prix of the German Democratic Republic becomes a test of the World Motorcycle Championships and the world stars of the motorcycle competition pay an annual visit to Saxony, such as Mike Hailwood, Giacomo Agostini, Dieter Braun and Angel Nieto... but more Ernst Degnereagerly awaited by the Stasi!

Here, in 1963, the invincible Navy Suzuki in 125 (which even “stole” the original colors of MZ, blue and silver), with from left to right Hugh Anderson, Frank Perris and the Austrian Bert Schneider. At the far right, the MZ # 143 of Laslo Szabothen behind the number 144 of Werner Musiol and the # 150 of Dieter Krumpholz.

Another audience favorite, British 125cc world champion Bill Ivy, became another tragic addition to the death list in 1969, when he was kicked off his bike by a tight piston.

The immense popular success has gradually generated intelligent intelligent ways of seeing the races in spite of the crowds …

In the 1970s, things got worse as local machines and drivers were overtaken by competitors in the Western world. In 1971, the turning point came when West Germany Dieter Braun gets the 250cc victory in 1971: in protest of the prevailing conditions in the country, someone cuts the speakers playing the national anthem of the GDR and the crowd sings the Deutschland über Alles !

This obviously displeased the East German communist authorities, who immediately withdrew the “Großer Preis der DDR” from the world championships …

The Großer Preis der DDR then Großer Preis des ADMV der DDR thus survived with events reserved for drivers in the Eastern States until 1990, when three fatal accidents occurred and caused the closure of the old circuit.

After the reunification of Germany (October 3, 1990), it will take another six years for the new circuit, drawn in place of the previous one, to host the Sachsenring-Rennen Internationals, then two more years for the Grand Prix. . of Germany counting for the world championship takes place again definitively in the current circuit of the Sachsenring.
Note its location on either side of the old route, with a common line and an exit line. The “waterfall” added later is the only one located within the old route.

Meanwhile, the Saxony circuit was opened in 1995, as an ADAC Sachsen driver training center had been expanded in 1998, its direction of rotation changed, its pit lane change to the opposite side of a main straight line lengthened in 1998 and some smoothed curves to be FIM approved.

142,000 spectators will welcome this new formula.

Further changes took place in 2000, when the chicane that led to the original section of the route was removed. The circuit authorities were not yet fully satisfied and major new changes took place before the 2001 season, when Hermann Tilke developed a new final stretch, as well as the realignment of the pit line, with new pits and a paddock created. within the new loop.
Tilke’s designs include a spectacular descent to the right into the new section, which quickly earned the nickname “The Waterfall.” These changes also cause the circuit to be completely closed for the first time, making it a truly permanent facility separate from the entire public thoroughfare.

For the record, the old control tower dating back to 1960 had to be removed during the first major renovation of the field in 1997 for the World Championships.

First dismantled, then stored for about a year and rebuilt about 200 m from the original, it is still part of the landscape today, outside the last bend.

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