A successful tradition of car racing in Buzet dates from the early fifties, when a group of enthusiasts decided to organize a racing event. Taking into consideration that in those days you could number the car owners on the fingers of a hand, this was a courageous move. Along a few “Topolinos”, the majority of cars belonged to local firms and were used for business trips.From those days people remember a carting race which included drivers from five European countries. Furthermore, Buzet was mapped put as the place with skill-driving regional championship. Apart from frequent racing events, Buzet had a very successful racing-car “crew” which included Đani Sverko, then one of the most known drivers, Zvjezdan Nezic, Serđo Sverko and Mario Poropat.
HILL CLIMB RACE
Up to 1972, when Auto-Moto Society of Buzet was founded, car enthusiasts beneath Cicarija worked in various inadequate conditions, which demanded additional involvement in preparations of events. Nevertheless, they always strived to do their best and fulfil the given tasks. The end of the seventies marked the coming of the new, young generation, potential competitors and organizers, who began taking care of the events anew, within the event of “Buzetski dani”, the Days of Buzet. At first, the events had the nature of touristic, rally ones, of both national and international character. The races took place all around Buzet and were open to everybody. Little by little, the small events were replaced by one – bigger and more significant. As it was estimated Buzet had the best possibilities for organizing such an event, the local race took over.
THE GOLDEN GENERATION
The golden age of Buzet car racing were the mid-eighties, when the event became known on the international racing scene and other drivers came to race here. Also, drivers from Buzet were successful in events across the country. The Golden Generation – Branko Basic, Silvano Vivoda, zarko Bauman and Dubravko Bosnjakovic – won bronze three times in a row in ex-Yugoslav championship. These accomplishments were even richer by Branko Basic’s solo career; twice the champion and twice the runner up in ex-Yugoslavia. Buzet was always his special track. He had won beneath Cicarija in 1982, on the first race with the popular “Fico”, a 1000 cheering his victory, then consequently in 1984 and 1985. In the first five years he climbed the throne 8 times. His “Fico” brought him the title of the Champion of Yugoslavia in 1982, 1984, 1985 and in 1986. In 1983 the title was taken by his fellow townsman, Dubravko Bosnjakovic. Zarko Bauman and Dubravko Bosnjakovic won the Republic Championship in 1987, Branko Basic in 1989, 1990 and in 1992 and finally Silvano Vivoda in Class N1 and Valter Nezic in “Autocolor” Cup, Skoda Felicia competition in 1999. Branko Basic was voted Sportsman of the Year in 1993 and Valter Nezic in 2000.
Youth and experience at work
In October, 1981 at the meeting of the Sports Committee and the local Presidium in the rooms of Narodni dom, the idea was debated seriously for the first time. Present at the meeting were the then President of AMK “Buzet”, Ivan Prodan, Members of the Presidium, Branko Basic, Miljenko Nikolic and late Mario Poropat and Members of the Sports Committee, Zarko Bauman, zeljko Hren and Damir Rupena. At that meeting of “youth and experience”, after a somewhat long discussion, the decision was made to enter the race for the official competition of the State Championship.
Along with the “higher dosage of enthusiasm”, which is very often necessary in organizing such an event, the team from Buzet left nothing to improvisation. They visited the event on Pohorje, Slovenia, which was famed as the best organized event in ex-Yugoslavia, and witnessed the challenge first-hand. They remembered well all they had seen and transferred the knowledge on their home-town.
The firts hill climb race
On the 5th September, 1982 the first hill climb race took place on the track 4209 metres long, from Most to Svi Sveti. For the Buzet Car Club, this was the best prize for their ten-year work. There were 105 drivers in four classes, which was quite a number for the then- championship. That year, the newly organizers got a prize for organising a successful event. The Yugoslav Car Federation gave prizes to Buzet organizers again in 1983, 1984 and in 1985. To this day, the organizer’s shelves are full of cups and medals, the last one to arrive for the last year’s event.
Europe in Buzet
An extremely critical financial situation nearly delayed the seventh Buzetski dani event in 1988. Furthermore, the war threatened it in 1991. Nevertheless, a humble organization continued the tradition. The troubles did not affect the event so Buzet, once again, proved to be the Mecca of Croatian motoring. The pages of racing tradition in Buzet are, nonetheless, painted in much brighter colours – the year which particularly stands out is the 1990. Two races took place then: the scheduled one in September and the Alpe-Dunav Cup (the Alps-Danube Cup) in May, which gathered the European racing car elite.
During following years, the Buzet event was one of the most visited in the area, so the candidature for the European Hill Climb Event was quite understandable. For the same reason, the track changes its length for the first time in 2000 – it is extended to the village of Penicici to 5001 metres.
Alongside home drivers, Buzet spectators remember the few other drivers who tried beating the record of the track – a matter of prestige. The first record-to-beat was set by a Slovene driver, Silvan Lulik in his Opel Kadet; by driving at 85,360 km/ph he passed the 4209m track in 2.57,51 mins. The following year he beat his own record for almost 10 seconds. In 1984, the record holder was Stojan Pirjevec, member of Slovene Donit Olimpija Club in his Fiat 131 Abarth car. In 1985 the record was categorised for the first time and the Cup went to Austrian driver, Ernest Prieger in his Lancia Stratos (time: 2.40, 00). In 1998, Josef Zajelsnik beats the record in his Formula to 2.18, 02 and the following year he drives even faster: 2.12, 47. To this day he is the absolute track record holder. With the track longer, the new record in 2000 was set by the Czech Republic driver, Jirzi Micanek, 2.31, 251 minutes. In 2003 new record was beat by Denny Zardo (time: 2.15,338).