Take a secret 19th century velodrome in the heart of Budapest, a handful of vintage cars and bikes and a group of petrolheads dressed in revival gear to brave the Siberian chill and you've got yourself a perfect afternoon. We went along for the ride on the terrifying banked oval in a 1967 Autobianchi Bianchina.
You may be forgiven for never having heard of the Millenáris Velodrom, a bicycle arena built in 1896 to celebrate the 1,000th anniversary of the Hungarians streaming across Verecke Pass to colonize the land beyond. I've lived in Budapest 10 years and hadn't heard of it until two weeks ago, and I met many native Budapesters in the days after who were similarly ignorant.
Perhaps due to its low profile, the velodrome is not an easy place to discover randomly. It also explains its vague sense of abandonment. But the engineering seems solid. After 115 years of battled existence -- where "battled" includes politics, real estate schemes and direct artillery hits during the Siege of Budapest -- the track welcomed a ragtag band of veteran cars and motorcycles on a windswept April day....more