Report and photos by Csaba Kiss
Velodrome – according to the dictionary definition, it is an arena for track cycling, which features steeply banked oval tracks, consisting of two 180-degree circular bends connected by two straights. Just like in the case of the more than hundred years old Millenaris Sports Center in the heart of Budapest, but with one major difference – recently, this specific velodrome was discovered by some Hungarian classic vehicle enthusiasts, who instantly imagined how historic cars and motorcycles could circulate on the oval track.
Their dream came true in 2011 with the first two editions of the Velodrom Millenaris event – a friendly gathering of classic vehicles, their owners and anyone interested. The main difference from the other hundreds of events like this is the fact that everybody with an eligible classic car (for security reasons, curb weight of maximum 1000 kilos) or motorcycle can speed up on the oval track – for their own and the spectators’ pleasure.
The 2012 edition of the Velodrom Millenaris, which in short time became one of the most interesting classic car events in Central Europe, was held on 1 May. The almost 100 track eligible vehicles were divided in 18 categories, and every vehicle had two occasions to make 8-10 rounds each time on the track, when their category was on. Meantime, similar to last year, in the inner area of the velodrome, an ad-hoc “open air” museum was created, with other interesting, but “overweight” classic cars.
Although Hungary gave to the world some important mechanical engineers like Joseph A. Galamb, Vittorio Jano or Bela Barenyi, the country itself never had a considerable car industry. This is why the pre-war cars category was especially interesting, including the only functional Unitas Tatra in the world. Between 1928 and 1933, the Unitas coachbuilder from Budapest produced approximately 500 cars on Tatra chassis – to present, only three units are known to exist and among them, the car that appeared at the Velodrom Millenaris is the only one in working order.
The highest speeds were achieved by the FIVA-approved historic rally cars, and another rarity of the event was one of the first working prototypes of the Lada VFTS rally car. Based on the Lada 1500, the VFTS homologated in 1982 quickly became a cult race car in the ex-communist countries, and in Budapest the vehicle was driven itself by its constructor, the Lithuanian pilot and engineer, Stasys Brundza.
Another special guest of the Velodrom Millenaris 2012 was the former three times world champion motor racer, Luigi Taveri. The 82 years old Swiss racer – who despite his age made some really fast tours at the Millenaris – is the only pilot in the world who finished with points in all the five classes existing in the Grand Prix road racing championship: 50, 125, 250, 350 and 500 cc.
Velodrom Millenaris 2012 – Photo Gallery (click image for larger picture and description)
[Source: Csaba Kiss]