THE BOL d’OR
1′ 1 A I L1) ENT R) IN POPUL A I? FRENCH EVENT.
THE Bol d.’Or race for small cars is undoubtedly one of the most popular events of the French season, and in view of its characteristics this is hardly surprising. It is run in the Forest of St. Germain only a few miles from Paris, and its date is Whit Sunday and Monday, so that all and. sundry can be present, and. pleasant summer weather can usually be counted on.
The circuit over which the cars race is in the centre of the forest and is only just over 24 miles round, so that the cars are passing continuously. The cars themselves are an extraordinary collection. Glancing down the entry list one sees hardly a name one knows as far as cars which are produced on a commercial scale are concerned. But the names of the individuals who have entered them are often familiar, and these cars are in fact the products of the many enthusiastic inventors and mechanics which abound in France who have prepared them for the Bol d’Or often with more ingenuity than money in the hopes that they will gain fame and thus induce someone to put up the necessary capital to allow them to exploit their cars commercially. A 24-hour race is at any rate a very good test, and as the same driver has to stay at the wheel the whole time, it is also a good test of human endurance. When the cars were marshalled for the start this year on Sunday, 8th June, some forty machines presented themselves. They ranged from 350 c.c. 3-wheelers to 1,100 c.c. racing cars, and were of all sorts and types. The smaller 3-wheelers (350 c.c. and 500 c.c.) were all rather spidery looking machines with motorcycle engines, but in the 750 c.c. division there was a very neat looking 4-cylinder d’Yrsan, which incidentally had the class to itself. The biggest 3-wheelers were a Sandford, which is the French Morgan and Meuet’s machine of his own construction, both of which had 1,100 c.c. engines The smallest 4-wheelers were’ the 350 c.c. racing cars which consisted of a single seater Antony and a Duguesclin driven. by Dugue. A Sima-Violet, which is familiar to English readers ran in the 500 c.c. division and was matched against a car entered by Berthelon. In the 750 c.c. sports class there were a couple of Rosengarts, the French edition of the Austin Seven, one of which driven by Mare Chauvierre had a saloon body and was the actual car which scored a clean sheet in the recent Tour de France
Among the largest cars the most pleasing looking were the four Cabaus in the 1,100 c.c. racing division. These cars were entered by their manufacturer, Giraud-Cabautons, who eventually proved the victor. There was also a Donnet racer which proved exceptionally fast, one or two B.N.C.’s a Tracta, two Scaps and various other machines of different makes and types. Towards 6.30 on the Sunday evening the thirty-nine starters were all collected
and their drivers addressed by the organiser of the race, M. Mauve. Then the engines were got going and amid a tornado of sound in which the splutter of single-cylinder 2-strokes was mingled with the roar of the multi-cylinder 1,100 c.c. racers, the field got away. As soon as the racing machines got really going it became apparent that the fastest car on the cciurse was the Donnet racer driven by Girod. Trennet’s B.N.C., which was running in the racing class and Sirejors car of the same make in the sports class were also fast, while the Cabaus were all going well with the car driven by their manufacturer, the fastest. In the 3-wheeler division the Sandford was proving itself as fast as any of the cars. After four hours, as darkness was falling, the positions were as follows :
The night was fine, and the position of most of the competitors remained unaltered. In the 1100 c.c. racing division however Trennet fell out with the B.N.C. and Giraud-Cabautons succeeded in passing Girod on the Donnet and taking the lead in the whole race, while the other Cabaus occupied the next three positions with Vallon on the La Licorne in the sports car class not far behind. Among the three wheelers the Sandford fell out, but the other leaders were still in their same position. In the 750 c.c. sports car
division the first of the Rosengarts driven by Louis had got ahead of Violet.
Monday proved to be extremely hot which had the effect of making the tar surface of the road rather soft and a good many of the cars turned completely round at some of the corners. Girod on. the Donnet had a considerable amount of trouble and gradually fell back, but most of the other cars continued serenely on their way until promptly at 6.30 in the evening they were stopped by M. Mauve. The final results were as follows :