Switzerland – Trackchasing Country #33





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Trackchasing Country #33



From the travels and adventures of the 

“World’s #1 Trackchaser”


The EventVideo PlusPhotos





My trackchasing hobby takes me all over the world. It really does.  Long ago I moved into the #1 trackchasing position in both the number of different racetracks seen as well as the number of countries where I’ve seen racing.  



Today’s adventure was one more of the 2,000 trips that have taken me up, down and around the long and dusty trackchasing trail. If you would like to see where I’ve been and experience those adventures here’s the link:



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Randy’s Complete Track List



If you’ve got a question, comment or whatever please leave it at the bottom of this report.  It’s very easy to do.  Or you can visit me on Facebook.  Thanks!




Randy on Facebook















Some of you, primarily folks I have met on my international travels, may only be receiving my INTERNATIONAL Trackchaser Reports. Of course, I do go trackchasing a good deal domestically (for me that means the United States). If you would like to be added to my domestic Trackchaser Report distribution list, just drop me a line at





Greetings from Hoch Ybrig, Switzerland



Carol and I finished up our racing in Hungary on Friday afternoon.  We then drove through Austria and Lichtenstein before arriving into Hoch Ybrig, Switzerland for a Saturday afternoon event.  This is what transpired during day #5 of this international trackchasing trip.



Switzerland will be forever known at “Trackchasing Country #33“.  Growing up in a small industrial down, “without a pot to piss in” a phrase I commonly heard, I never would have guessed I would travel the world as I do.  International travels are the very best.  There’s so much to see and do in addition to the racing.  As a friend once told me, “For you it’s the chase not the race”.  She was right in that analysis.  Let’s get started with how Switzerland came down.













Randy Lewis Racing Lifetime Trackchasing Countries




# 1 – UNITED STATES OF AMERICA – Peoria Speedway (Mt. Hawley, oval) – Track #1, Peoria, Illinois – circa 1954 (age 5)



# 2 – CANADA – Cayuga Speedway (oval) – Track #174, Nelles Corner, Ontario, Canada – July 31, 1988 (Dick Trickle winner)



# 3 – AUSTRALIA – Parramatta City Raceway (oval) – Track #180, Granville, New South Wales, Australia – November 17, 1989 (accompanied by Carol)



# 4 – UNITED KINGDOM – Northhampton International Raceway (oval) – Track #378, Northhampton – June 26, 1999 (accompanied by Carol, Kristy, Jim)



# 5 – NETHERLANDS – Driesum Racetrack (oval) – Track #839, Driesum – May 5, 2005 (accompanied by Roland Vanden Eynde)



# 6 – BELGIUM – Bellekouter oval (oval) – Track #841, Affligem – May 8, 2005 (accompanied by Roland Vanden Eynde)



# 7 – FRANCE – Circuit de Croix en Ternois (road course) – Track #843, Saint-Pol sur-Ternoise – May 8, 2005 (accompanied by Roland Vanden Eynde – 2nd new country in one day!)



# 8 – GERMANY – Nurburgring (road course) – Track #844, Nurburg – May 13, 2005 (accompanied by Carol, Roland Vanden Eynde)



# 9 – NEW ZEALAND – Western Springs Speedway (oval) – Track #1,134, Western Springs – December 26, 2006 (accompanied by Carol)



# 10 – MEXICO – Triovalo Bernardo Obregon (oval) – Track #1,281, Tiajamulco de Zuniga, Jalisco – October 14, 2007 (accompanied by Carol, J.J., Roger Ward)



# 11 – BARBADOS – Bushy Park Racing Circuit (road course) – Track #1,296, Bushy Park – December 9, 2007



# 12 – THAILAND – Bira Circuit (road course) – Track #1,300, Pattaya – January 19, 2008



# 13 – SOUTH AFRICA – Durban Grand Prix (road course) – Track #1,315, Durban, KwaZulu-Natal – February 24, 2008 (accompanied by J.J. and Will Van Horne)



# 14 – JAMAICA – Dover Raceway (road course) – Track #1,322, Brown’s Town St. Ann – March 24, 2008



# 15 – SWEDEN – Sturup Raceway (road course) – Track #1,335, Malmo – May 10, 2008 (accompanied by Carol)



# 16 – DENMARK – Ring Djursland (road course) – Track #1,336, Tirstrup – May 11, 2008 (accompanied by Carol)



# 17 – CZECH REPUBLIC – Automotodrome BRNO (road course) – Track #1,381, Brno – September 13, 2008



# 18 – AUSTRIA – Lambrechten Stock Car Track (road course) – Track #1,382, Lambrechten – September 14, 2008



# 19 – IRELAND – Tipperary International Raceway (oval) – Track #1,388, Rosegreen – October 26, 2008 (Carol and I visited this track earlier in the year)



# 20 – GUYANA – South Dakota Circuit (road course) – Track #1,390, Timehri – November 2, 2008 (accompanied by Carol)



# 21 – CHINA – The Guia Circuit (road course) – Track #1,392, Macau – November 16, 2008 (accompanied by Carol)



# 22 – COSTA RICA – Autodromo La Guacima (road course) – Track #1,398, La Guacima – November 30, 2008



# 23 – ANDORRA – Grandvalira Circuit (road course) – Track #1,404, Port d’Envalira, Andorra – January 17, 2009



# 24 – ARGENTINA – Circuito Efren Chemolli (oval) – Track #1,406, Buenos Aires, Argentina – January 31, 2009



# 25 – QATAR – Losail International Circuit (road course) – Track #1,408, Doha, Qatar – February 13, 2009



# 26 – BAHRAIN – Bahrain International Circuit (road course) – Track #1,410, Sakhir, Bahrain – February 27, 2009 (accompanied by Carol)



# 27 – UNITED ARAB EMIRATES – Dubai Autodrome (road course) – Track #1,411, Dubai, United Arab Emirates – February 28, 2009 (accompanied by Carol)



# 28 – COLOMBIA – Autodromo de Tocancipa (road course) – Track #1,415, Tocancipa, Colombia – March 22, 2009



# 29 – SPAIN – Motorland Aragon (road course) – Track #1,416, Alcaniz, Spain – March 28, 2009



# 30 – PORTUGAL – Circuto de Murca (road course) – Track #1,417, Murca, Portugal – March 29, 2009



# 31 – ICELAND – Kapelluhraum (road course) – Track #1,420, Hafnafjorour, Iceland – April 25, 2009



# 32 – HUNGARY – Hungaroring (road course) – Track #1,426, Mogyorod, Hungary – May 8, 2009 (accompanied by Carol)



# 33 – SWITZERLAND – Hock Ybrig (road course) – Track #1,427, Hoch Ybrig, Switzerland – May 9, 2009 (accompanied by Carol)






Full country name: Swiss Confederation, which is Confoederatio Helvetica in Latin, hence its ISO country code is CH and CHE. I often wondered what the derivation of those country codes were based upon the informal country name of “Switzerland”.



Capital City: Bern



Official language: German, French, Italian and Romansh



Population (2008): 7.7 million



Currency: Swiss Franc (CHF)



Geography: Switzerland is a landlocked alpine country. It is bordered by Germany to the north, France to the west, Italy to the south and Austria and Lichtenstein to the east.



Economy: Switzerland has a modern, stable and one of the most capitalistic economies in the world. The nominal per capita GDP ranks #6 in the world behind Luxembourg, Norway, Qatar, Iceland and Ireland.



Politics: The country has a long history of neutrality. It has not been at war since 1815. Switzerland is not a member of the European Union.



Sports: Skiing and mountaineering are much practiced by Swiss people. The Swiss also follow soccer and ice hockey. Swiss tennis players like Roger Federer and Martina Hingis has brought international attention to Switzerland.



Demographics: Italians are the largest single group of foreigners with 17.3% of the total foreign population.



Religion: Switzerland has no official state religion. Christianity is the predominant religion of Switzerland divided between the Catholic Church at 41.8% of the population and various Protestant denominations at 35.3%.



* Some of this info comes from my research at Wikipedia.










I will maintain my policy of affording anonymity to readers who send in interesting bits of information or who provide cutting edge analysis.



From a reader in Michigan.

I’ve been in contact for some time with Vern Naley, a long-time crewmember of my all-time favorite racing driver, Darrell Dake. Vern sent me a DVD of Darrell and others racing from 1983. I’ve uploaded that footage on to YouTube. You can see the output on the Darrell Dake tribute page of my site.  Here’s the link:


Darrell Dake at Sterling Speedbowl circa 1966. (Andy Hampton photo collection - Rock Falls, Illinois)


Darrell Dake – My all-time favorite driver






Would ill health or possibly death get in the way of today’s trackchasing objective?……………….more in “The Objective”.



What would you consider a long road tunnel? …………..details in “The Trip – Saturday, May 9, 2009”.



Regula rocks! Learn why …………..details in “The People”.









The Objective 



What would it really take for me to miss a race?




When I awoke this morning (Saturday), Carol was sitting on the edge of the bed. As I opened my eyes, she said simply, “I’m taking you to the hospital. Your breathing all through the night was about three times as fast as normal. You’re not well”.




Here we were in Austria. We had already been in Spain, Italy, Slovenia, Croatia and Hungary, just to get my 32nd trackchasing country. We had come all this way and now were within a yodel or two of my 33rd trackchasing country, Switzerland.



Our dilemma brought this question into play. Exactly how sick would I have to be to miss a race, or a new country’s race? I had not eaten much of anything on this trip so far. I had a stomachache, a headache as well as alternating fever (that soaked my clothes) and chills that made me feel I was visiting Austria in the middle of ski season.




In addition to all of this, my body ached from head to toe. Yes, the Swine Flu self-diagnosis passed through my mind. When I stood to get out of bed, for some reason, I could not walk. My feet felt like someone had taken a hammer and pounded on my heals. I could take one painful step, wait a few seconds and try to make a second painful step.



However, I could not lose sight of the objective.

We had come all the way to Europe to trackchase. Switzerland has two racing weekends each YEAR. It would not be easy to get back here again for a race. It was almost now or never.



I appreciated Carol’s concern. However, I could not honor her wishes. First, it would probably take a long time to find a hospital in Austria and see a doctor. The doctor would likely want to admit me and that meant no more trackchasing for the balance of the trip. I really had no choice, did I? I am a trackchaser. I was “as sick as a dog”, a favorite saying of my grandmother. Was I close to death? Who really knew?




I knew this. I had not “crossed over the line” with my ill health, whatever that means. I would drag myself out to the car. Carol would drive our Mercedes over the cobblestone streets and take us to Hoch Ybrig, Switzerland. It was really the only choice I could make.





The Trip



FRIDAY, MAY 8, 2009




It is not always easy getting a room.

Following our race in Hungary on Friday afternoon, we headed east towards Switzerland. By 10 p.m. or so, we had reached Austria. It was time to find a hotel. Tonto, my GPS unit, volunteered a place called Gasthaus Weissl. I was attracted to the name that was similar to that of Pennsylvania trackchaser Paul Weisel, one of the few semi-sane Eastern based trackchasers I know.



The bed and breakfast hotel was located in a small town a few miles off the main highway. When we pulled into the gravel parking lot, the only light on in the place appeared to be one of the guest rooms. I knocked on the main door and received no response. I did not fancy driving all over (actually having Carol drive all over) trying to find another place to stay at this late hour. I yelled up to the second floor to get the guest’s attention. Finally, I did. He didn’t speak English but did come down to open the door to the hotel for me. From there I had made enough racket to get the hotel’s proprietor up. Yes, they had a room.




The unusual thing about getting hotels like this in Europe is the “check-in” process is so informal. The hotel manager simply gave us the key. We didn’t have to provide any identification, no payment, no nothing. It was simply, “here’s your room key, see you in the morning for breakfast”. Contrast that with all of the rigmarole required to check-in to some American hotels. This can often include needing to record your car’s license plate number, make, model and color as well as name, phone number, email address, mailing address and form of payment.









Despite the current state of my health, the show must go on.

I had just one bite of breakfast. This was a great way to continue to lose weight! Carol did all of the driving. She is quite the trooper. She covered another 329 miles. We stopped for gas and she was puzzled to see the gas station convenience store only selling Lichtenstein based post cards. She asked me if we could be in Lichtenstein and I told her, “Of course not. Our drive takes us from Hungary to Austria to Switzerland”.



In 1990 I added just two new tracks to my list....but my family and I traveled the world.

Upon later review, we WERE in Lichtenstein. The Lewis family has a history in this country. Before I started trackchasing internationally, our family did a good deal of international travel. One summer we were in Lichtenstein and just happened to be there on the biggest holiday of the year. We actually got to meet the Prince of Lichtenstein and see the best ever fireworks the family had ever seen.  Above is our official 1990 Lewis family Christmas card.




Managing local currencies.

Of the eight countries we visited, four use the Euro and four do not. We had only Euros and credit cards. Everywhere we went people accepted one of the two forms of payment we had. That made getting around financially fairly easy. I was surprised that 50% of the countries didn’t use the Euro.




Roads and tunnels.

I was more than pleasantly surprised at the quality of roads during our trip. We drove (mainly Carol drove) 3,071 kilometers (about 1,920 miles) during this trip. All but about 30 miles were driven on beautiful four and six-lane highways. This is not a great way to see Europe. Two-lane highways are better. However, we had to make time. Our destinations were spread out. There was a very large amount of truck traffic on these roads.



We were driving in mountainous regions. That meant we would be driving through lots of tunnels. I am conservatively estimating we drove through more than 100 tunnels. The longest tunnel we encountered was 10.3 kilometers (6.4 miles). Have you ever heard of a tunnel of this length?




Our drive through Austria and then Switzerland was breathtaking with snow covered mountains and lush green valley landscapes. So far, in my European travels, Austria and Switzerland are the most beautiful countries I have seen.



The last few miles of our drive were through small Swiss towns. The final portion of the drive was up a winding two-lane road with plenty of blind curves. To make this part of the trip a little more challenging for Carol was the presence of many bike riders. The road was making a 90-degree turn about every 100 meters, cars and trucks were coming down the mountain and every Tom, Dick and Harry was riding his bike along the narrow road. This created a problem for Carol. She does better on six-lane roads with big hairy truckers.




It was just about at this point, when we were passing through one last small village, that a farmer came running down the middle of the small road with his heard of cows! There were about eight of them and they seemed out of control. It was at this point that I wished I had bought the “collision damage waiver” insurance for our Mercedes-Benz rental car. The cows missed us and I think I detected a swear word or two from under Carol’s breath.





The People






Regula and her race team rocks.

A couple of months ago, I was surfing the net trying to find information about new trackchasing countries. I came across a team of Swiss racing drivers that each had their own webpage. I emailed them asking about Swiss racing.




It wasn’t long before I heard back from “Regula Sieber”. Regula was the girlfriend of one of the racers I had contacted. She spoke and wrote English well and volunteered to serve as my “on the ground” Swiss contact. Regula works for Dow Chemical in Switzerland. She was quite familiar with Dow’s recent purchase of Rohm and Haas, which sent loyal and ardent Trackchaser Report reader Mike Skonicki info financial orbit.




From there, Regula proceeded to give me all kinds of information leading up to the race. She provided a map of the track’s location, race starting times, and even tickets to the race. She offered to introduce me to the track’s promoter as well as help with accommodation for Carol and me.




I wanted to meet Regula and her race team.

Once Carol and I arrived at the track, we began to walk around the paddock area. I was looking for the MC Chrystal’s Racing Team. We weren’t having much luck finding these folks but had one more area of the paddock to explore.



It was just at this point, that I heard a young woman yelling, “Randy, Randy”. It was Regula. She had spotted us. Regula was a lovely young blonde woman with an infectious smile. She welcomed us with open arms.




Soon we were being introduced to the rest of the MC Chrystal’s Racing Team including Regula’s boyfriend and team driver Marty Heinz. Regula then served as our personal tour guide. When it was time to get some refreshment I offered to buy. However, we only had Euros. Regula told me they would only accept Swiss Francs and therefore she would pay. I secretly think they would have accepted our Euros, but Regula was simply being a great host.




Regula to the rescue.

We were at the track for a few hours. Most of the time we were standing. I was really beginning to lose energy and asked to sit down. Regula made sure I had a comfortable chair where I could still see most of the action.



We had a very difficult time purchasing and cold and flu medication during the trip. It turns out products likes Tylenol are not sold in grocery stores or convenience stores. You can only get these types of products at pharmacies. Of course, pharmacies are not nearly as easy to find as convenience stores or grocery stores. Pharmacies have much more limited hours of operation as well. Carol and I had exhausted our limited supply of cold and flu remedies. We had no more meds.



Just as I was bemoaning this fact to myself, even though none of the medication taken so far had made a dent in how I felt, Regula came to the rescue. I looked up to find her smiling face offering me a bottle of water and two much needed aspirin. Yes, Regula rocked!



Our day was winding down. Just before we were ready to head out, Regula and her teammates presented me with a sharp looking black MC Chrystal’s Swiss Racing Team race shirt. I will wear it proudly.




One last track activity.

The final event of the day was an interview with the track’s announcer. Again, Regula working with promoter Joseph Marty set this up. The announcer was an enthusiastic and friendly chap. He interviewed me in English and then translated our conversation, most likely in German, to the fans at the track. We spoke for nearly ten minutes and then it was time for us to leave.  To this day Carol often references this interview.  She will say, “You were the sickest I’ve ever seen you but when it came time for the track interview you came alive”.  What do I say to that?  The show must go on!



I am very lucky in establishing foreign country contacts. Without them, our trips would never be as successful and fun as they are. Regula joins a list of several others who have gone out of their way to make my visits memorable. Simply saying thank you doesn’t seem like enough. Nevertheless, thank you!!




Regula follows up with some trackchaser publicity.

Check out this site,, to see some trackchaser coverage the MC Chrystal’s Racing Team has provided for my trackchasing.












They don’t race very often in Switzerland.

My Swiss contacts told me there is racing in Switzerland other than just two weekends each year. At today’s location, Hoch Ybrig, they race just one weekend a year.




I asked why racing is so limited. The reply I got centers around Swiss politics and the “green” movement. They also told us that a major racing accident at the 1955 24 Hours of Lemans (more than 80 people were killed) had nearly stopped all Swiss racing. On June 7, 2007 Switzerland lifted a 52-year-old ban on any form of motor racing in the country.




Today was a “mixed” surface race.

Today’s race was held on a road course layout with a “mixed” racing surface. I’m guessing the track was about 0.7 miles in length. About half of the track was asphalt (tarmac) and half was dirt (shale). The track was located at the base of the Hock Ybrig ski resort. The entire area was ringed in snow-covered mountains and waterfalls brimming with melting snow runoff. Don’t miss the pictures.  There’s a separate tab in this report for that.




Spectators had full run of the place.

The MC Chrystal’s Swiss Racing Team had provided our tickets. We were allowed to visit every part of the track including the paddock area. I was able to get several close up photos of the varied racing machines.




Each race was short at about 5-7 laps. Most races had 10-15 cars. The races were begun from a standing start. The course had a major elevation change that had the cars racing up a steep dirt hill of some 100 feet or more. At the crest of the hill the raced straight down the dirt road onto a flat asphalt surface.



The temperature was cool at about 65 degrees amidst clouds that made it feel chillier. The P.A. was strong but spoken in a foreign language. There were a couple of concession stands. We had some good tasting, bigger than I have ever seen brats.




Overall, the racing was fun to watch. Switzerland was my 33rd trackchasing country and Carol’s 16th. You probably know she is in a classic struggle with trackchasing’s unofficial commissioner, Will White. They are both trying to see racing in 30 different countries before the other does. I don’t like to see too much competition in the hobby of trackchasing, but if this is what Will and Carol want to do with their free time who am I to complain.




Yes, the racing was fun, but meeting the people including Regula, Marty, the rest of the MC Chrystal’s Swiss racing team, promoter Joseph Marty and the track announcer made this for an over the top experience.










Only three other people have been credited with seeing races in Switzerland up until today. They include driver Sterling Moss (3), Roland Vanden Eynde (2) and Will White (1). Carol and I have now joined this somewhat exclusive club.








Milan, Italy – Thursday/Monday

Carol and I would be driving the Hertz Rental Car Racing Mercedes C230. Actually Carol would do most of the driving.





Coming soon!

How do fellow P&G retirees really think?




Why I fear Ed Esser (coming very soon).



Thanks for reading about my trackchasing,


Randy Lewis

Alberta’s #1 Trackchaser

All we’re trying to do in life is get food.









San Diego, CA – New York, NY – 2,442 miles

New York, NY – Barcelona, Spain – 3,834 miles




Barcelona, Spain – Milan, Italy – 448 miles




Milan International Airport – trip begins

Mogyorod, Hungary – 715 miles

Hoch Ybrig, Switzerland – 1,044 miles






Hungaroring – No charge

Hoch Ybrig – complimentary tickets











There are no trackchasers currently within 200 tracks of my lifetime total.


  1. Randy Lewis, San Clemente, California – 1,427






Other notables


These worldwide trackchasers are within 10 tracks (plus or minus or more) of Carol’s current trackchaser total.


  1. Kevin Eckert, Indianapolis, Indiana – 460


  1. Carol Lewis, San Clemente, California – 379


  1. Ken Schrader, Concord, North Carolina – 374







Lifetime track totals in ( ).


  1. Bing Metz, Tatamy, Pennsylvania – 48 (359)


  1. Ed Esser, Madison, Wisconsin – 36 (1,199)


  1. Randy Lewis, San Clemente, California – 27 (1,426)


3A. Paul Weisel, Orefield, Pennsylvania – 27 (663)


3B. Mike Knappenberger, Reading, Pennsylvania – 27 (630)








Final 2008 National Geographic Diversity results have been posted.





Upcoming Trackchasing Plans

Hungary and Switzerland are now in the rearview mirror. We’ll pick up one more new trackchasing country before returning home to sunny San Clemente.






Racetracks visited in 2009.

1,401. Death Valley Raceway (oval), Armargosa Valley, Nevada – January 3



1,402. Lake Weyauwega Ice Track (oval), Weyauwega, Wisconsin – January 11



1,403. Marion Pond Ice Track (oval), Marion, Wisconsin – January 11



1,404. Grandvalira Circuit (road course), Port d’Envalira, Andorra – January 17



1,405. Kuna International Raceway (oval), Kuna, Idaho – January 25



1,406. Circuito Efren Chemolli (oval), Buenos Aires, Argentina – January 31



Ozark Empire Fairgrounds (oval), Springfield, Missouri – February 6 (new track for Carol only)



Lake Speed Ice Track (oval), Tilleda, Wisconsin – February 7 (new track for Carol only)



1,407. DeltaPlex (oval), Grand Rapids, Michigan – February 8



1,408. Losail International Circuit (road course), Doha, Qatar – February 13



1,409. Lake Washington Ice Track (road course), Mankato, Minnesota – February 15



1,410. Bahrain International Circuit (road course), Sakhir, Bahrain – February 27



1,411. Dubai Autodrome (road course), Dubai, United Arab Emirates – February 28



1,412. Dunkin Donuts Center (oval), Providence, Rhode Island – March 6



1,413. Fur Rondy Grand Prix (road course), Anchorage, Alaska – March 8



1,414. Perris Auto Speedway (road course), Perris, California – March 14



1,415. Autodromo de Tocancipa (road course), Tocancipa, Colombia – March 22



1,416. Motorland Aragon (road course), Alcaniz, Spain – March 28



1,417. Circuto de Murca (road course), Murca, Portugal – March 29



1,418. High Plains Speedway (oval), Clovis, New Mexico – April 19



1,419. Flomaton Speedway (oval), Flomaton, Alabama – April 22



1,420. Kapelluhraum (road course), Hafnafjorour, Iceland – April 25, 2009



1,421. Monadnock Speedway (oval), Winchester, New Hampshire – April 25, 2009



1,422. Berlin Lions Club Fairgrounds (oval), Berlin, Connecticut – April 26, 2009



1,423. Tri-State Speedway (oval), Amarillo, Texas – May 1, 2009



1,424. Uranium Capital Speedway (oval), Milan, New Mexico – May 2, 2009



1,425. Speedworld Stadium Off-Road Track (road course), Surprise, Arizona – May 3, 2009



1,426. Hungaroring (road course), Mogyorod, Hungary – May 8, 2009



1,427. Hoch Ybrig (road course), Hock Ybrig, Switzerland – May 9, 2009






Click on the link below to see the video production from the racing action today.






Click on the link below for a photo album from today’s trackchasing day.  You can view the album slide by slide or click on the “slide show” icon for a self-guided tour of today’s trackchasing adventure.




The complete photo album from Switzerland….trackchasing country #33












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