The Belgian 24-Hour Race.

The Ie1gian 24-Hour Race

LF,HENDF,R, the well-known Alfa-Romeo driver, and the Russian Djordjadze, driving together on a big Mercedes won the Belgian 24-hour race for sports cars which was run over the difficult Spa circuit on Saturday and Sunday, 4th and 5th July. Pesato and Felix on a 1,750 c.c. Alfa-Romeo were second in the general classification and Sommer and Delmer on a Chrysler were third. For a long time the lead was held by Sir Henry Birkin and G. E. T. Eyston driving an Alfa-Romeo, but they were forced to retire during the night.

The entries were divided into two groups, one for sports cars and the other for the new" dominant type" machines which were further subdivided into classes of over and under 3-litres, under 2-litres and under 1,100 c.c. In the sports division the starters consisted of Ivanowski and Stoffel and Zehender and Djordjaze on Mercedes, a 2,300 c.c. Alfa-Romeo driven by Birkin and Eyston, a 1,750 c.c. machine of the same make with Pesato and Felix as its drivers, and an old 3-litre 6cylinder model driven by the Ronleau brothers, three Bugattis driven by Ninime and Ano, Reinartz and Andre and Zigraud and Thein, a Chenard-Walcker, driven by Dumonlin and, and an 1,100 c.c B.N.C. with Charlier and Duray as its drivers.

In the "dominant type" category there were seven cars of more than 3-litres capacity, consisting of a trio of 8-cylinder Delages, driven by Ogez and Etourneau, Jacques and Rock, and Fietit and Retz ; a 5-litre Bugatti driven by Thirion and Delzaert ; Narishkine and Ledure on a Graham-Paige ; Nothomb and Boby on a de Soto and Sommer and Delmer on a Chrysler. In the 3-litre division another de Soto driven by Eggen and Vanhove had against it a 6-cylinder Hotchkiss driven by Halaers and Varselle and Hertzberger and Guillaume on a Lancia Lambda. The 2-litre cars consisted of a Bugatti driven by Evrard and Durand, two 1,300 c.c. Rallys driven by Naden and de Turage and Antoine and Antony, a 6cylinder 1,790 c.c. Imperia driven by Thelusson and ranconnier and a 10/30 h.p. Fiat driven by Pons and Jacques. In the 1,100 c.c. class was the only British car in the race, a Morris Minor, driven by Blin and Goemans, and it had against it three German D.K.W. cars driven by Boric and Vandersmissen, Minsait and Orben, and Thimmermann and Roberfiord ; Treunet and Tourbier on a B.N.C. ; Gallez and Meyer on a Tracta ; Cuvellier and Villain on a Rally ; and Billy and Vasipol on a Salmson. The start was given at 4 o'clock on the Saturday afternoon, and the whole of the 33 competitors got away well together. At the end of the first lap, Stoffel on the big Mercedes was in the lead, closely followed by Birkin on the Alfa-Romeo, Zehender on the second Mercedes

and Nimme on the 2,300 c.c. Bugatti. Zigraud on another Bugatti led the second group, but Gallez on the Tracta ran off the road and sustained slight injuries, while at the end of the third lap Nimme broke a wheel and lost some time changing it. Shortly afterwards Zehender on the second Mercedes passed Birkin on the Alfa, who however, seemed to be reserving his strength, and the three leading cars drew well away from the rest of the field. At the end of the second hour Birkin brought the AlfaRomeo in for replenishments which were effected so rapidly that G. E. T. Eyston, who now took over, soon passed both the Mercedes and gained the lead. At the end of the third hour the positions of the leaders were as follows :—

1. Birkin and Eyston (Alfa-Romeo), 353 km. 800.

2. Stoffel and Ivanowski (Mercedes).

3. Zehender and Djordjadze (Mercedes).

4. Pesato and Felix (Alfa-Romeo).

5. Sommer and Delmer (Chrysler).

Among the dominant type cars the Chrysler was, of course, leading the biggest class, the Hotchkiss was first of the 3-litre division, the Imperia of the 2-litre machines and the Morris Minor was leading the baby cars.

During the fourth hour, Eyston on the leading AlfaRomeo put in the fastest lap of the day in 7 minutes 8 seconds, or at 77.9 m.p.h., and succeeded in lapping the second Mercedes driven by Djordjadze. His pit, however, decided that this pace was too great for a 24hour race and hung out the "slow " signal, in spite of which the Alfa kept well ahead of the field.

Early in the race the Rally, driven by Antoine, had gone off the road at the Source hairpin, and during the fifth hour the same fate overtook Ogez on the Delage at the Stavelot corner. The driver hurt his jaw, fortunately not seriously, but as the Delages were running as a team for the King of the Belgians' regularity prize, the other two cars were withdrawn shortly afterwards. A little later the field was further reduced by the disqualification of the 6-cylinder de Soto, driven by Eggen and van Hove for taking on supplies elsewhere than at its pit. Darkness was now falling, but the leading Alfa-Romeo continued serenely and had gained a dozen miles on Stoffel and Ivanovvski's Mercedes which had been held back by a burst tyre. At the end of six hours, at 10 o'clock in the evening, the order of the leaders was as follows :

1. Birkin and Eyston (Alfa-Romeo), 722 km.

2. Stoffel and Ivanowski (Mercedes), 690 km.

3. Zehender and Djordjadze (Mercedes), 687 km.

4. Pesato and Felix (Alfa-Romeo).

5. Sommer and Delmer (Chrysler).

Eyston's Fastest Lap.

A 4 p.m. Start.