Driving along the Route de Merveilleuse towards the top of the Citadelle of Namur today, it is hard to imagine that this 2 kilometre long road once hosted one of the most important hillclimb races in Belgium. For example there is a narrow chicane on the bottom part of the road, which on closer inspection is actually a fortified gatehouse! But the most extreme part of the track comes right after. Halfway up the hill the drivers must negotiate a 360 degree turn where they have to cross both under and over a 3 metre wide bridge! That must have seemed a little crazy even back then!
The Course de Côte de La Citadelle was part of the very first season of the Belgian Hillclimb Championship in 1957 and it remained on the schedule until 1991. The video below is from the 1990 edition. The winner was Marcel Tarres in front of his French compatriots Christian Debias and Anne Baverey. Gerard de Ville de Goyet steered his mighty Porsche 935 to fourth and was best Belgian driver. With fifth place Hervé Bayard was well on his way to his 8th Belgian Championship (out of 10). Some of the names lower down the order sound familiar even to today’s readers, like Christian Hauser (father of David), Yanick Bodson and Leon Linden. Full results of the 1990 edition can be viewed on the trackpage.