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Thousands turn up to witness Bern's race into the past

One of Sunday's Grand Prix Revival competitors Keystone

Fans of "the golden age of motoring" turned out in their thousands on Sunday to cheer on competitors and admire the vintage vehicles taking part in Bern's Grand Prix revival.

This content was published on June 24, 2001 - 21:38

Encouraged by the scorching temperatures, around 50,000 spectators attended the race in the Swiss capital.

The nostalgic gathering marked the second time such an event has been held since the government banned motor racing 46 years ago.

More than 200 entrants tested their vintage cars and motorcycles on the seven- kilometre circuit around the Bremgarten forest on Sunday in the blazing sunshine.

But unlike their modern day counterparts who were zooming around a track in Nuremberg for the European Grand Prix, these Oldtimers had a speed limit of 80km per hour.

This year's event was made possible due to the large interest shown during the first revival of the race in 1998. Some 70,000 spectators showed up at that time to cheer on the old Mercedes, Ferraris and Bugattis.

The revival recalls an era when the Grand Prix Bern was a fixture on the racing circuit. It was staged on the same Bremgarten course between 1931 and 1939 and in the post war years until it was banned in 1955 following a tragic accident on the track at Le Mans.

Switzerland was the only country to stop all further Grand Prix meetings as a result of the accident which killed 37 people.

Most victories in those years were chalked up by drivers for Mercedes and Ferrari, and Bernd Rosemeyer set the fastest lap record of 169.633km/h in 1936.

swissinfo with agencies

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