Circuit Jules Tacheny Mettet - ninety years of racing tradition
The Circuit Jules Tacheny Mettet is a permanent racing circuit in Mettet, Belgium, which serves as a regular host to the FIA World Rallycross Championship since its inauguration in 2014. The circuit was opened in 2010, as a replacement for Mettet street circuit which was in use in various forms since the 1920s. The main competitions at the old circuit were the Motorcycle Grand Prix (1928-2006) and Formula Two races in the 1950s.
The circuit is named after motorcycle racer Jules Tacheny (1907-1984), who was the president of the Royal Union Motor Entre Sambre et Meuse (RUMESM) after the World War II. RUMESM was the operating body of the circuit for decades.
The second race track in Belgium after Spa
The street circuit in Mettet was the second race track in Belgium after the iconic Spa-Francorchamps, which was opened in 1921. The first motorcycle Grand Prix Entre Sambre et Meuse at 2,800-meter long circuit was held in 1928. Since 1932, the circuit was 8,500 meters long.
Mettet was hosting motorcycle races regularly until 1937 when the World War II stopped motorsport activities. The racing resumed in 1946. Juley Tacheny was one of the winners in the first post-war race, winning the Senior category. In that time, he was appointed a president of the Royal Union Motor de l’Entre Sambre et Meuse.
In 1953, the FIM (Federation of International Motorcycling) decided that each country could only host one Grand Prix. The Belgian motorcycle Grand Prix took place at Spa-Francorchamps, so the race at Mettet was renamed to Grand Trophy.
John Surtees and Jacky Ickx were among the winners
In the following years, Metter continued to host world’s best riders. One of the winners was a legendary motorcycle and Formula 1 champion John Surtees, who won two times in 1956 and 1958. In 1958, he won both in the 350cc and 500cc classes.
The young Jacky Ickx, who started his career with motorcycles, also scored a victory at Mettet, winning the 50cc class in 1962.
Formula 2 came to Mettet in 1950 and 1951
Besides motorcycle races, Mettet hosted Formula 2 races twice, in 1950 and 1951. In 1950, the first edition of Grandee Trophee Entre Sambre et Meuse was held at the 7.387-km street circuit. Robert Manzon won the final race in a factory-entered Simca-Gordini Type 15. Stirling Moss and Lance Macklin finished second and third in HW Motors cars.
The street circuit was in use until 2006
Mettet was hosting Motorcycle Grand Trophy for decades, with only four interruptions during the 1960s. One of the world’s famous riders Giacomo Agostini won two times at Mettet, in 1976 and 1977.
Between 1972 and 1979, the street circuit was used for an endurance motorcycle race with a distance of 1000 kilometers. The motorcycle races were on a schedule at Metter until 2006, when the street circuit was used for the last time.
The permanent circuit was opened in 2010
The new 2.280 meters long permanent circuit was opened in March 2010. The circuit featured ten turns, with some bearing names of famous drivers, such are Surtees, Findlay, Agostini, de Radigues, Paquay, Chambon, Mertens etc. In the initial years, the circuit was mostly used by motorcycle racers.
The track was first used in the FIA European Rallycross Championship and FIA World Rallycross Championship in 2014. The inaugural rallycross event took place in July 2014, both for the Euro RX and World RX competitors. Robin Larsson (Euro) and Toomas Heikkinen (WRX) were the winners. In 2015, Heikkinen repeated a World RX victory. Swedish drivers Mattias Ekstrom and Johan Kristoffersson added their names to winners’ list in 2016 and 2017.
Address: Circuit Jules Tacheny, 6 rue Saint Donat, B-5640 Mettet, Belgium
Phone: +32 71 71 00 80
Official website: www.circuit-mettet.be