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Grenzlandring today - bordering on disbelief

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The German Grenzlandring oval, situated near the Dutch border, close to Roermond, is among the more mysterious race tracks in Europe. It was built during World War II, for reasons hitherto unknown, and saw a brief period of use in the immediate post-war period until a violent crash by Helmut Niedermayr, killing 13 spectators and injuring 42 people including himself, brought about the track's closure. Its construction between 1940 and 1942 was clouded by so much secrecy that it spawned apocryphical stories such as the mayor of nearby Rheydt circumnavigating the oval time and again until he noticed that he was about to pass the same cyclist for the third time - only then is he supposed to have realized that he was travelling in circles! The fact that bulldozers lined the enclosed villages for some two years should easily persuade the cynics into instant disbelief but the only fact concerning the construction of the Grenzlandring that is undisputed is that we still don't know why it was built in the first place.

Today, all that remains is a 9km circular road around the villages of Wegberg and Beeck, much too big for the amount of traffic that it would have handled in the forties and fifties, and even now. There are no obvious remains of what was once a blinding high-speed track. There are no derilict grandstands, no pit buildings, and the road - originally paved with concrete - has been resurfaced with tarmac. Also, the flow of the Beecker-Kurve, the Roermonder-Kurve as well as the Erkelenz straight has been cut up by junctions which follow the exiting roads rather than the main oval course (see above). In two of these places houses, an earth banking and a small forest have covered the original track, so it would be impossible to re-create the old track. If anyone would, they would create a Northern version of Enna-Pergusa as it is today - flast blasts disrupted by pesky chicanes...

After Bissen junction, right after the start-and-finish line, on the approach from the village of Klinkum

Coming from the start line towards Uevekoven junction

The blast down the Erkelenzer-Gerade

The Holtum junction on the Erkelenz straight

Looking back on the entry to the daunting Beecker-Kurve

The main road now follows the right turn towards Erkelenz

An earth banking (on the left) is shielding the villas built on the original track, from the noises of the cars going by

The "chicane" lay-out is clearly visible here

An opposite view on Beecker-Kurve

A look on the earth banking and the villas behind it

The exit of Beecker-Kurve

Starting the run up to the ultra-long Rheydt straight

Coming out of Beecker-Kurve, near Beeck-Ellinghoven crossroads

The start of the Rheydter-Gerade

At high speeds, the tree-lined straight must have created tunnel vision

Just like the Mulsanne straight, it even has its own bump

At the top, a fast car will lift off momentarily

Crashing the suspension before sweeping into Roermonder-Kurve

Like its Beeck twin, the Roermond turn also follows the exiting road now to make it a safer traffic situation

Joining the traffic coming from Niederkrüchten, in the middle of Roermonder-Kurve

The ever-continuing turn goes into the most unspoilt section of the track, with two solemn grassy bankings at each side

After passing a modern bridge the track finds the Steinbrücke on its way, a lovely old railway bridge - somewhere past the bridge Helmut Niedermayr's Reif-Meteor left the road with dire consequences

A look back on the third and final intersection where the main road goes off the track - the Steinbrücke is found coming from the right, the trees are covering the oval track