ALFA-ROMEO and E.R.A. SHARE DIEPPE HONOURS
ALFA-ROMEO and E.R.A. SHARE DIEPPE HONOURS
Dreyfus and Fairfield win their races. Many British visitors at a highly successful meeting ITHE Circuit de Dieppe has been ad
mired for a number of years by many British motor-racing followers, for it provides the spectacle of real Continental roadracing within easy reach of these law-ridden shores. At no time in its history, however, has the organising committee had so much cause for self-congratulation as on the occasion of the races held there last month.
In addition to the usual race for Formula cars, which always attracts a vast crowd even from so far afield as Paris, a voiturette race for x,54ao c.c. cars was included in the programme this year. The demands of the motor-cycling fraternity prevented this junior race from being held on the Sunday, with the result that it was but poorly attended by spectators in comparison with its elder brother. The cold, rainy weather kept many away. If spectators were lacking, the same thing cannot be said for the entrants, who numbered the magnificent figure of 27. The race began with a tense duel between the British E.R.A.s and the Italian Maseratis, at a pace which proved too much for the four leading cars. This debacle gave Fairfield a just reward for his wise restraint, and the young South African romped home an easy winner on the only t ,ioo c.c. E.R.A. in the race. The weather made full amends on the following day, and a great crowd witnessed a thrilling race which had attracted many British drivers to its ranks. If no British cars were present, we had at least the satisfaction of seeing R. 0. Shuttleworth finish fourth, the first of the independent drivers in the race. The first three places were taken by the Ferrari Alfa-Romeos :And Wimille’s “works ” Bugate •
On the Saturday morning we made our way to the course at the over-rated hour of six to witness the final practice session. Practicing had already been held on the two previous mornings. Thursday had been a quiet day, with the E.R.A.s taking it seriously, while Friday had seen the record for the course shattered by five drivers. The existing figure stood at 3 mins. 41 secs, made by Lehoux (Bugatti,) in 1933. This time had been bettered by Chiron (Alfa-Roemo), 3 mins. 32.2 secs., Dreyfus (Alfa-Romeo), 3 mins.* 33.8 secs., Lehoux himself (Maserati), 3 mins. 37.6 secs., and Farina (Maserati) 3 mins. 40.9 secs. The British contingent had suffered a severe loss when the Bugatti driven by Brian Lewis suffered multiple injuries when the driver applied the brakes on the descent to Val Gosset. Of the voiturettes, the fastest lap had been covered by Fairfield (E.R.A. r,too) in 3 mins. 52.2 secs.
Nothing illustrates better the widespread enthusiasm for motor-racing on the Continent than the crowd which watches the practicing. Most of them have to pay to enter the freqouse and stands, although the majority are poor peasants and workpeople. They all take a close interest in the proceedings, and the announcement of a particularly fast lap is applauded by hand clapping and animated conversation. Chiron did not turn out, as he was still suffering from an attack of influenza. His fellow Ferrari driver, Rene Dreyfus, was the star turn of the day, and in the course of three or four whirlwind laps set up a new record of 3 mins. 29 secs. His cornering at the Maison Blanche hairpin
was terrifically fast. Earl Howe put in a lot of practice, as did Shuttleworth and Raph on 3-litre Alfas. The official Bugattis had not arrived, but both Wimille and Benoist were at Dieppe. Just before 7.30 Benoist put in a couple of laps on Lord Howe’s 3.3, but the rain prevented him from going fast. The smaller cars were in action at the same time. Fastest of all was Richard Seaman, whose black E.R.A. chased Mays’ green car for several laps. Seaman’s best was 3 mins. 42 secs., amazingly good for
a one-and-a-half-litre. Heavy rain put an end to further practice, and we drove back to Dieppe for a very welcome breakfast.
Even though there were seven nonstarters, the magnificent total of twenty cars lined up in front of the grandstands and pits for the voiturette race on Saturday afternoon. While they were taking their positions the 3.3 Bugattis arrived on the scene from Molsheim, and Wimille and Benoist proceeded to put in a couple of practice laps. Thus encouraged, Rovere and Berrone set off on their x,soo Maseratis for a similar practice spin, by which time the officials decided that the thing had gone far enough and erected a fence at the head of the pits, thus barring the progress of the offending drivers. The start was a magnificent spectacle, and we experienced an all-too-rare thrill of patriotic elation at the sight of two British cars streaking into the lead as the whole pack roared up the long straight past the aerodrome. At the kilometre post, where we were standing, Mays and Seaman were clearly in the lead, followed by Lord Howe (Delage), Veyron (Bugatti), Rovere (Maserati), Berrone (Maserati), Fairfield (E.R.A.) and a squabbling, jockeying mass of multi-coloured cars. In less than four minutes the boom of exhaust notes could be heard as the leaders tore up the slope to the Maison Blanche Corner. One by one little specks swung into sight, accelerated tremendously past the flag-bedecked tribunes, and tore up the straight towards us as if released from some gigantic catapult. The green E.R.A. of Mays was some distance ahead of Seaman’s black car, while both of them had outdistanced the rest of the field. Third to pass by was Lord Howe, who has probably competed at Dieppe more
times than any other driver. Pressing him hard was Gino Rovere on that beautiful little Maserati which holds the t,too c.c. class record, but this time fitted with a 1,500 c.c. engine. Veyron was next, and then came ” Bira ” (E.R.A.), Cook (E.R.A.), Berrone (Maserati), Rayson (Bugatti), Hertzberger (M.G.), Fairfield (E.R.A.), Guilbaut (Bugatti), Eccles (Bugatti) in a cloud of smoke, MaillardBrune (M.G.), Baumer (M.G.) and Dubois (Bugatti). Thorpe’s single-seater FrazerNash had dashed into the pits for a plug on its first lap, while two luckless drivers had already retired. They were Mrs. Stewart, whose attractive single-seater Derby had developed the most chronic form of clutch slip imaginable, and Breillet’s Salmson, which droned dismally up the straight to Val Gosset on its first lap long after the others has disappeared and was seen no more. As the laps were ticked off it was seen that the major struggle was between the E.R.A.s and the Maseratis, as had been the case at the Eifelrennen a few weeks previously. Rovere and Berrone were out for blood, but try as they might they could make no real impression on the British
cars. Rovere actually passed Seaman on the third lap, but the black car was ahead on the next circuit. The pace was terrific, quite as fast as the big-car race of two years ago. Someone was bound to crack up, and Seaman was the first to go. His E.R.A. developed a serious lack of co. ordination in its transmission, and he pulled up just before the Esses to retire for good. Rovere was the next to suffer, and a long pit stop put him right back among the slow runners at the tail of the field.
Mays continued his terrific progress, showing that the t,soo c.c. E.R.A. places an entirely new aspect On voiturette racing. A strong cross-wind had sprung up and worried the fastest cars on the straight. There was one place in particular, whet,: they emerged from the lee of the hangars, that sent them into a series of sickening lurches and made passing at this point a matter of extreme difficulty, in spite of the plentiful width of the road. With Seaman and Rovere out, second place was taken by the Siamese “Him,” who was handling his blue E.R.A. well and had been scrapping heartily with Howe’s Delage. Behind these two Veyron and Fairfield were watching proceedings with a close interest. After 16 laps of
magnificent speed, Mays pulled into the pits with a misfiring engine. In addition the oil tank had worked loose, so that the car lost many valuable minutes at the pits.
The engine was stilll misfiring when he restarted, and Mays retired on the next lap. Now it was the turn of the believers in the adage about more haste and less speed. ” Bira had been passed by Fairfield and Veyron when he stopped for a quick plug
change, so that the white t,loo c.c. E.R.A. now serenely led the field, followed by Veyron at an appreciable distance, then ” Bira,” Cook (E.R.A.), Berrone (Maserati), Rayson (Bugatti), and Hertzberger (M.G. Magnette). Lord I-10MM had found the brakes of his Delage be
coming hopelessly out of adjustment, and after a stop for investigation he finally withdrew from the fray. There had been other casualties, too. Lindsay Eccles fractured a piston of his Bugatti, with which he has yet to get a ” break.” Thorpe’s Frazer-Nash experienced transmission trouble after a run which confirmed the promise of this car for future events. Baumer’s single-seater M.G. Magnette was pushed off the road at the Esses after it had misfired steadily for many laps, and Maillard-Brune’s Magnette went out with engine trouble. Both Cook and ” Bira ” were holding their places well in view of the fact that they had made pit-stops. Fairfield appeared to be unassailable, partly owing to his manner of driving, which has now developed into a sad technique of cool deliberation. Veyron was fairly hurling his 8-cyl. Bugatti round the corners, and was easily the fastest at the Esses, which he took in long power-slides. His car had neither the speed nor the acceleration of the E.R.A.s, however, and soon he began
to be menaced by “Bira.” Hundreds of stop-watches now checked the gap between the two blue cars on every lap, and it was found that if ” Bira” could keep up the present pace he would snatch second place from the Bugatti before the two hours of the race had elapsed. He was gaining about 8 seconds per lap—a splendid performance against so experienced a driver as Veyron. But the little Siamese never made a mistake, and had achieved his object two laps from the end.
Another E.R.A. was fighting for fourth place, and again success crowned its efforts, Humphrey Cook getting the better of Berrone’s Maserati. The remaining Maserati, now running properly, was in the hands of Farina, and the driver made a wholehearted attempt to retrieve his lost position in the last few laps of the race. In doing so he made the fastest lap of the day in 3 mins. 47 secs. He actually passed Fairfield on one lap, but the South African was not to be tempted to indulge in a scrap at this stage. And so Fairfield consolidated the position he had gained when winning the Mannin Beg and the Nuffield Trophy by carrying
THE DIEPPE G.P.—continued.
off. the Dieppe race in classic style, having used his head in a way which must have given much food for thought to some of the early leaders of the race. ” Bira ” shpwed that he has a natural flair for motor-racing in finishing second, Veyron could not possibly have finished higher than third, Cook was a steady fourth, Berrone is obviously a man to watch, Rayson did well to finish sixth with a car that could have been running a good deal better, Hertzberger got the best out of his car in coming home seventh, Farina got his coveted lap-record and eighth place, While Guilbaut’s 4-cyl. Bugatti could not hope for a better position, and Dubois’ similar car spent most of its time at the pits.
RESULT OF VOITURETTE RACE. Two Hours over 8 km., 150 circuit. 1. *Fairfield (E.R.A. 1,100), 243 km. 946: 101,973 2. ” B Bira ” (E.R.A, 1,500), 242 km. 0:.6,
3. Veyron (Bugatti 1,500), 241 km. 502.
4. Cook (E.R.A. 1.500), 238 km. 854.
5. Berrone LMaserati 1,600), 237 km. 640. .6. Rayson (Bugatti 1,500), 232 km. 818.
7. Hertzberger (M.G. 1,100), 230 km. 228. Rovere-Farina (Maseratt), 228 km. 121. 9. Guilbaut (Bugatti), 210 km. 800.
10: Dubois (Bugatti), 163 km.
Also Ran: Mays (E.R.A. 1,500). Seaman (E.R.A. 1,500), Eccles (Bugatti 1,500), Lord Howe (Deluge 1,500), Mrs. Stewart (Derby 1,500), Thorpe (Frazer-Nash 1,590), Balmer (M.G. 1,100). Breillet (Salmson 1,1001, Maillard-Brune (M.G. 1,100), Leitch (Bugatti 1,600).
The r,soo c.c. race had finished in a biting wind, with the sky a lowering mass of clouds. The next morning, however, was a complete transformation, and brilliant sun and clear sky heralded a perfect summer day. The sunshine gave to the scene its true colours; the line of gaily decorated tribunes, and the yellow straw bales at the side of the road matching the corn in the fields.
Once again we walked up the Nlouse beside the straight leg of the circuit, in order to witness the start at a point where the cars are going really fast. As zero hour approached a haze of smoke arose, and then we could see the starter raise his flag. It drooped, and for a moment no sound reached our ears. Then came a mighty roar. At first all we could see was mass of blue and red objects, and then out•of the rut swung three scarlet cars. In Lie ahead formation they howled past, Chiron and Dreyfus on the Ferrari AlfaRomeos and Farina on his 3.7-litre Maserati. Two blue cars followed,Lehoux’s 3.7 Maserati, which he has just acquired from de Vallapadierna, and Wit-nine’s 3.3litre Bugatti. The rest of the field was almost indistinguishable, so closely were they packed. The only change on the first lap was that Wimilie passed Lehoux, and on the next lap he was right on the heels of Farina. The young Frenchman was determined to get by on the straight, and he raised the dust in the gutter for more than 200 yards as he slowly overhauled his Italian rival. Then he went after the
Alfas. Already trouble was occurring. Martin was driving his old 2-litre Bugatti in place of his damaged ” 3.3,” and he stopped at the pits for plugs on his second lap. Chau& was still more unfortunate with his 2.3, and did not get going for three laps. After a half-dozen laps the cars had sorted themselves out into the following order : 1, Chiron ; 2, Dreyfus.; 3, Wimille ; 4, Farina; 5, Lehoux; 6, Shuttleworth; 7, Eccles; 8, Raph; 9, Brunet; to, Ruesch;
Featherstonhaugh ; 12, Clifford ; 43, Leith. Earl Howe lad pulled into the pits for plugs, and Benoist had already retired with a sheared supercharger drive, thus leaving the burden of defending the French colours tO Wimille. Among the leaders, Dreyfus had now passed Chiron, but the latter turned the tables on his team-mate after threequarters of an hour. Wimille was still trailing the Alfas, although his Bugatti had lost its initial crispness of note. Farina was delayed at his pit for some time, and fell right back. Another clthnge oceurreA when Lehoux’s Maserati gave out at St. Aubyn, the driver walking disconsolately back to the pits. Shuttleworth was now fourth, driving a very good race and get
ting decidedly the better of a scrap with Raph’s similar car. For some time Ruesch was engaged in a battle with Brunet, and having disposed of the latter he went after Shuttleworth, but with no
Wimille was always near enough to be dangerous, and the crowd got wildly excited when Dreyfus stopped to refuel and let the Bugatti into second place. Chiron was due in on the next lap, and for a brief, triumphant period the Bugatti was actually in the lead. Dreyfus merely had to unleash a few more horses in order to regain first place, but it took Chiron much longer. Chiron looked a sick man before the start, indeed he was still afflicted by influenza and a prolonged temperature had sapped his strength. Wimille refuelled and changed his plugs. The latter operation gave his motor a new lease of life, and the battle became an open one when Chiron pulled into the pits for a rapid adjustment of his brakes. Wimille snatched the opportunity to take second place, and hopes of his staying there were roused in the hearts of the French crowd. Chiron made up on him on every lap, however, and a cracked piston finally re
ckceti the 13ugatti to a much slower gait. And so the red Alfa-Romeos flashed home in the leading positions, with Dreyfus first as the fitter driver of a fitter car. There was surprisingly little applause and enthusiasm at the end. Everyone’s sympathy was presumably with Wimille, who had made a most gallant fight of it, even though his car was running badly most of the time. Just how he managed to keep up with the Alfas is something of a mystery, but his ” limit” cornering no doubt had a good deal to do with it. In recounting and watching the progress of a motor-race one is always inclined to overlook many excellent performances by drivers whose cars do not possess the same speed as the leaders. Outstanding among the remainder was Shuttleworth, who finished fourth on his 3-litre monoposto Alfa-Romeo. He drove a fine race, throw ing off all challengers and never making
a mistake. Farina after his brilliant start and subsequent stoppage, came back into the picture at the end by passing Brunet and Ruesch to finish fifth. Ruesch’s Maserati, in the red and white Swiss colours, came sixth ; Brunet’s beautifully-finished and greatly modified Maserati was seventh ; Raph’s 3-litre Alfa finished eighth after a bout of misfiring ; the Hon. Jock Leith drove extremely well to finish tenth on a single camshaft 2.3 Bugatti; Clifford was ninth on the Maserati owned by Eric Burt, and raced previously by Brian Lewis and RoseRichards ; Featherstonhaugh was next, but his Maserati sounded very woolly throughout the race and was only a shadow of its former self. Finally came Lord Howe, whose 3.3-litre Bugatti had had the usual crop of trouble expected by British owners of this model. First of all it had been misfiring, and then the brakes worked unevenly at Val Gosset and landed the car in the straw bales, from whence it was only extricated and restarted with great difficulty. Lindsay Eccles, on the remaining British-owned “three-three,” had retired on the fifth lap with brake trouble. (Cortinued on page 462.)