Welcome to Who? What? Where? When? Why? on the World Wide Web. Your comments, criticism and suggestions: editors#8w.forix.com (replace # with @).
8W is forix.autosport.com's motorsport history section and covers the drivers, cars, circuits, eras and technology that shaped the face, sounds and smells of motor racing.

Rouen-les-Essarts: France's forgotten treasure remembered
1994-98 – The desecration of a legend



Back to 90s index page

Following the closure of the track for the final time as a racing circuit in 1993, it went into a sad decline. The grandstands, pits and paddock had all fallen into disrepair before the track’s closure, and now vandals and the elements were left to do their worst on the site.

By 1996, it was agreed that the pits and the grandstand opposite were in a very dangerous state. These were fenced off from the public. However the timekeeper’s tower with its distinctive clock were still in a reasonable state. The permanent part of the track from 1972 had never been a public road, and it too began to fall apart due to its lack of use.

Luc Ghys and Alan Cox have kindly donated the following photos, which give a very good idea of the state of the track and its buildings during this time.

The Automobile Club Normand were now invited to draw up a viable proposal to save whichever buildings or parts of the circuit they wished to keep as a memorial to the great circuit. While the pit buildings and grandstand were too far gone and required demolition, the timekeeper’s box was certainly saveable. However the ACN failed to come up with a plan, and as a result the local authority had to make a decision on what to do. The authority announced that it had no alternative but to implement an agreement dating from 1954 between the State and the French equivalent of the Forestry Commission, which ceded ownership of the site back to that commission. Unfortunately, that decision meant everything had to go.

The lack of will and finance on the part of the ACN, coupled with the local authority’s decision to follow the letter of the law, meant demolition of every landmark was inevitable.

The following photos by Roger Lund were taken in 1996, and when he tried to take pictures of the pit complex, large dogs were guarding the area...