The Circuit of Caserta.
IT Whardly surprising in view of the fact that the Italian motor industry is situated almost entirely in the North of the Peninsula, that, with the exception of the Targa Florio which is run in Sicily of which Vincenzo Florio, its enthusiastic founder, is a native, the Southern part of Italy, formerly comprising the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies, has not in the past played a larger part in the motoring sport of the country. Enthusiasm for the sport of ” automobilismo ” however seems now to have spread to Naples, and the automobile club of that town decided that on the 18th May this year it would organize a big road race. A circuit was chosen near Caserta, measuring about 18 miles in circumference, two sides of which consisted of fast, straight roads while the third was of mountainous character and brought into play to the full ability iu cornering brakes and acceleration. This circuit had to be covered 10 times, making a total of 180 miles. A good entry list was secured for the event and more than 30 cars presented themselves at the starting line. The fastest machine in the race was the gigantic 7-litre supercharged racing Mercedes driven by Caftisch, which was quite 10 m.p.h. faster on the straights than any of its competitors. Among these the fastest were the team of 2,300 c.c. Targa Florio 0.M.’s driven by Morandi, Rosa and Gazzabini ; the 2-litre Maserati handled by Fagioli and the 21-litre car of the same make driven by Pastore ; the Alfa-Romeo team of 1750 c.c. and 1500 c.c. racers captained by Campari ; and
the 2-litre Bugatti from the Materassi stable which was driven by Biondetti. An interesting entry was two Italas of the sports type 65, with the capacity of the engines increased to 2,300 c.c., two overhead camshafts and superchargers. These cars which were driven in the race by Facchetti and Bellingeri ran with remarkable regularity.
As soon as the start was given Caflisch took the lead closely followed by Pastore and Fagioli on the Maseratis, Campari on the first of the Alfa-Romeos and the 0.M.’s, with Biondetti’s Bugatti not far behind. The speed of the Mercedes on the straightaways was terrific and was sufficient to keep it ahead of the other cars although its size handicapped Caffisch somewhat on the mountainous section of the circuit. The next fastest car was the 2flitre Maserati, but Pastore was held back by a number of minor troubles which gradually caused him to lose his place among the leaders. This new Maserati made an excellent impression and its victory at Rome a week later confirmed this first impression. Fagioli on the 2litre car of the same make was also extremely fast and hunted the Mercedes hard after Pastore had fallen back. He would almost certainly have finished second if he had not had to stop on the last lap owing to a stoppage in his car’s petrol pipe, and he actually set up the fastest lap of the day on his seventh circuit. The O.M. team lost their great protagonist Mol andi in the early stages as he ran off the road on his first lap and had to
retire. Rosa, however, took up the running and kept hard on the heels of Fagioli throughout. The 2,300 c.c. 0.M. is really remarkably fast when it is remembered that it is developed from the standard production. Rosa was throughout faster than Campari on the first of the Alf aRomeos, the latter driver not appearing to be quite at the top of his form. In the end however he finished third and won the special prize for cars up to 2000 c.c. Biondetti on the Bugatti would undoubtedly have finished in better position had he not run off the road during the course of the race. His car was not damaged but the incident caused him considerable delay. Try as they might the Italian cars could not catch the gigantic Mercedes, which passed every time in a most impressive manner, beautifully handled by its driver, Caflisch, who finally roared home the winner, beating Rosa on the O.M. by rather more than a minute. Campari was third, being separated from the O.M. by seconds only, while Fagioli after his stop on the last lap could only finish fourth. Of the 31 starters, only 15 finished, which gives some idea of the severity of the race. The final results were as follows :-
1. Federico Caflisch (7000 c.c. Mercedes), 2h. 55m. 19 1-5s. Average 65.12 m.p.h.
2. Archimede Rosa (2,300 c.c. 0.M.), 211. 56m. 48 3-5s.
3. Guiseppe Campari (1,750 c.c. AlfaRomeo), 2h. 56m. 55 3-5s.
4. Luigi Fagioli (2,000 c.c. Maserati).