South Buona Vista Road – many of us travel up and down this road every day, carefully navigating its bends and turns, or just enjoying the scenic ride on (sometimes late but always trusty!) bus service 200. If you’ve sometimes felt that the dense green forests standing sentry overhead hold exciting stories and secrets, you wouldn’t be too wrong.
Commonly referred to as “99 bends” by locals, South Buona Vista Road was once fashionably known as “The Gap” in the 1950s-1970s. This road was famous for illegal drag racing, and was also part of official racing circuits organized by The Singapore Motor Club (“SMC”). Initially, the SMC comprised mainly of British expatriates and British Forces personnel. They organized motor rallies, sprint races and speed trials at the Buona Vista Gap Hill, the Admiralty Road at the Naval Base, the Hill Climb at Bukit Batok and along Lim Chu Kang Road. Later on, many locals joined in and some became legendary racers of that era.
You can see from the video (link below) that the forestry then was less tall and less dense than it is today, providing racers with a clear view of the sea (which was much closer then) while speeding down. Buona Vista means “good view” in Italian – perhaps this is how the road got its name. We’re not sure how the Italian influence came in, if any of you do, please share it with us!