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Hungaroring was opened 34 years ago!

2020. June 15. 11:35

Hungaroring was officially opened exactly 34 days ago - with the participation of forty thousand fans - by organizing a motor race in memory of János Drapál and the Cup of Peace and Friendship for cars. The circuit was built within a record-breaking time, only eight months, and was originally constructed for the first Hungarian GP, the first ever Formula 1 race behind the Iron Curtain. We had no idea back then, but now it is great pleasure for us to say that our race has been part of the F1 World Championship since then, and now Hungaroring is second behind Monza to have continuously featured in the calendar.

But now, let’s see what happened during the first and so significant race weekend, at which

Hungaroring was officially opened. Here is the report on the event by the Hungarian national sports daily, Népsport published on the 16th of June, 1986:


The nearly forty thousand fans, who chose to do an outing to Mogyoród this Sunday, were certainly not disappointed, as the organizers and directors - who were preparing for F1 Race which was held on the 10th of August that year - worn together so well during the rehearsal, and the first day of the Cup of Peace and Friendship, like the spur gears of a newly assembled gearbox. The event started, with incredible accuracy, all the programs went according to the schedule. The János Drapál Memorial Race started exactly at 10 o'clock. The 1st place at the grid was left empty by the directors, in memory of the four-time World Championship race winner. It would be wonderful, if one of the race track’s turns would later be named after the legendary motorcyclist. Like in our “neighbourhood”, the Österreich-Ring has a Jochen Rindt turn in memory of the Formula 1 World Champion.

At the beginning of the 20-lap endurance test of the fully leather-dressed racers, the Czechoslovak Jan Bartumen performed the best getaway. With a great sense of rhythm, he took the lead after starting from the third row, but halfway through the first turn, the English Tuxworth led the race, who was driving an Amstrong motorbike. At the beginning of the sixth lap, the English competitor was overtaken by Neumair and Hörnhager. Afterwards, the two Austrian switched positions lap after lap, making the more and more enthusiastic crowd dazzled, who brought European Championship type of atmosphere to Hungaroring.

It increased the excitement that the Soviet Galaszkij and the Hungarian Árpád Harmati, who both started from the last row, gradually increased their positions. Harmati even came up to third position by the middle of the race. However, after two laps he was overtaken by some competitors, this was the point when the supporters, managers, and supervisors started to fear for the young talent of the Zalka Máté MK team. There was a specific reason for this behavior: yesterday, in the 250 cc machine class of the Cup Peace and Friendship, he had a terrible accident while driving at a similar position. But this time was different, the young driver kept his cool, and what’s more, after all that bad luck, luck was finally on his side. Halfway through the last lap, the chain of Neumair's Rotax broke, while preparing for an overtake at second position…

After the Austrian national anthem was played in honor of the Winner Hörnhager, Árpád Harmati opined:

-- Yesterday's accident made me somewhat more calm. I consciously came up from the last positions, and I had already observed the turn combination, where others drive slower, therefore I have the chance to overtake. Today, the surface was not as slippery either. After all, I'm incredibly happy that I’m the first ever Hungarian racer to step on the podium of Hungaroring.

After the Drapál Memorial Race, the highly celebrated inauguration of the Hungaroring Circuit took place. During this event, István Hetényi, the Minister of Finance, László Somogyi, the Minister of Construction and Urban Development, and the Minister of Transportation, Lajos Urbán were all present. Other participants included representatives of other ministries interested in the construction, as well as party- and state leaders of Pest County. Following the diverse programs, Györgyi Auth, the Ministerial Commissioner for Construction Management, provided a report on the completion of the first and most important phase of the construction to the Minister of Transportation, Lajos Urbán, who later officially declared the Hungaroring Complex open, after cutting the red-white-green ribbon.

In the early afternoon, in the sultry heat, low-pitched sounds took the place of the voice of motorbikes, which indicated: now the car race of BBK is coming. The Czechoslovak Vanicek had the second fastest time at the qualification - who therefore started from second position - and he left no doubt about the final outcome of the race. All the way from the green lights to the chequered flag, he led the race with his 130 type Škoda. Behind him drove his compatriot Peter Bold for quite a long time, but his Škoda suffered a “heat stroke” and the Czechoslovak competitor fell back to fourth position. There was a surprise at the end of the 23-lap race, Hahnelt from the GDR was flagged down at second position, while the Hungarian András Szabó - who raced for the first time after a break of one year - took eight place, finishing the best from the country.

After the race of the Formula Easter cars, the Czechoslovak anthem sounded again. Vaclav Lim, the oldest member of the grid who is already in his 40s, won the race after starting from pole position, while achieving a gorgeous 206 km/h on the main straight of the track with his cigar-shaped car. László Oroszlán followed clever tactics, to distribute the power of his car in the second half of the race, caught up to the leading group and finished in seventh position.


That’s the story of the first race weekend which has been followed by many events, including 34

Formula 1 GP. During these weeks the circuit is preparing for the 35th edition of the Formula 1 Magyar Nagydíj, to be held on 17-19 July, unprecedentedly behind closed doors due to the pandemic situation.

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