MASERATIS BEAT PRIVATE E.R.A.s CONFUSION AND QUARRELS AT FLORENCE. “ROUND THE PARK” AT MILAN
Hailed as the “First Fifteen Hundred Grand Prix/’ the much-vaunted race at Florence was marred by some flaws in. the organisation which caused some heated arguments as to who was the real winner of the race. There was a hint of trouble to come during practice, for Prince Chula and Dreyfus both came to the conclusion that the lap timing was inaccurate. They reported the matter to the organisers, and different men were appointed for
the race. What was needed as well, however, was a new set of lap-scorers. Apart from this, practice was chiefly notable for the unfortunate accident of Embiricos, the Greek driver of an E.R.A. with the Tecna.uto system of independent front suspension which is fitted to de Graffenreid’s Maserati. His crash was not a spectacular one, but he hurt his arm and leg, and the car was too badly damaged to be repaired in time for the
race. J. P. Wakefield, who had just acquired his six-cylinder Maserati, had a lurid skid but kept to the road. The works E.R.A.s were not present, having preferred to support home racing at the Nuffield Trophy. F,mbiricos being out, this left ” Bira,” Tongue and Whitehead to defend the British colours. The Italians were overwhelmingly superior in numbers, totalling thirteen, and
TWO RACES AT MILAN
The story of the 11-litre race at Milan was rather similar to that at Florence. There were no works E.R.A.s, and again it was left to ” Bira,” Tongue and Whitehead to oppose a flock of Maseratis, including one driven by J. P. Wakefield.
There were twenty starters, and their getaway was somewhat ragged owing to poor flag arrangements. The front row were filled with Maseratis, and it was not surprising that half a dozen of these cars came past in a grand bunch at the end of the first lap, driven by Seven, Rovere, Siena, E. Villoresi and L. Villoresi. Then came the imperturbable” Bira,” who had started from the third row. Tongue and Whitehead had both been in the fourth row, and were well back. The hell for leather pace of the leaders obviously could not last, and sure enough after six laps the leader, Seven, and ” Bira ” both fell out of the pack and ” Bira” subsequently retired with engine
including the four-cylinder record-breaking car owned by Furmanik. Trossi was to drive this car in the race, while Rene Dreyfus handled the six-cylinder car which Trossi had driven to victory at Naples some time previously.
Florence was just about as hot as it could be. It was overpowering, and both drivers and cars were obviously in for a strenuous time. Gaily decked tribunes had been erected, and the race attracted a big crowd on the Sunday afternoon.
Trossi, ” Bira ” and Whitehead were in the front row at the start, and the Siamese immediately went into the lead. He stayed there for four laps, and then Trossi got by amid great excitement. Behind him came Bianco and Dreyfus, who was playing a waiting game ready to fill the breach should Trossi, in trying to crack ” Bira, ” crack himself instead. But there was no need. to worry, for ” Bira ” found his brakes weakening, and was passed by Bianco and Dreyfus on the sixteenth lap.
The next sensation was caused by Trossi, who became faint with the heat and slowed right down, being passed by Bianco, Dreyfus, ” Bira” and Durio. Realising that to keep on would be fatal, Trossi stopped, and handed over to Rovere.
trouble. Now Siena got past Rovere, and proceeded to give a very nice exhibition of calm driving. Rovere was the next to drop out of the running, and second place was taken by Marazza, driving the old two-seater Maserati which Lurani used to win a lot of small hill-climbs with. This order was maintained to the finish, and these two were followed home by Cortese and Tongue, who had driven a steady race and well deserved a good
finishing position. Whitehead was eighth and Wakefield tenth.
RESULTS Result of 1,500 c.c. Race
1. E. Siena (Maserati).
2. A. Marana (Maserati).
3. B. Cortese (Maserati).
4. R. 1?.. Tongue (E.R.A.).
5. V. liehnondo (Maserati). O. L. Villoresi (Maserati). . &vett (Maserati).
8. Whitehead (E.R.A.).
9. N. Righetti (Maserati).
10. J. P. Wakefield (Maserati).
11. G. Lurani (Maserati).
12. P. Banilli (Maserati). Meanwhile Dreyfus had taken the lead from Bianco, and was driving in his. usual polished style, neat and precise on every corner. ” Bira’s ” brakes got worse and worse, until, after overshooting a couple of corners, he decided to call it
a day. Tongue and Whitehead were outclassed by the leaders, but were having a most interesting scrap between themselves. After Rovere had driven for ten laps,. Trossi declared his intention of continu
ing. He took over, and immediately proceeded to give one of his virtuoso. performances. Place after place he picked up, and soon he was fifth, behind Dreyfus,. who led, Bianco, Cortese and Seven. Would he catch Dreyfus ? At fifty laps he was third, and a few laps later he
was second. But Dreyfus spurted in time, and held off his team-mate to the end. The Maserati ” works ” team completed a grand slam when Bianco, the remaining member of the team, camehome third.
Tongue and Whitehead made a good race of it, in spite of the intense heat, and the former finished fifth.
As we have said, there was some confusion after the race as to the definite placing of the first three, but eventually it was agreed that Dreyfus was in fact the real winner.
An unusual field turned out for the big race, for only Hasse’s Auto-Union was there to challenge the Alfa-Romeos of the Scuderia Ferrari and a host of privately owned Alfas and Maseratis.
No one really thought that the AutoUnion would be able to match the Alfas. on the short and twisty circuit, especially as the great Tazio Nuvolari was to lead the Italians. This was borne out when the cars came round for the first time, for Nuvolari was leading from Farina, Trossi and Ruesch, with Hasse fifth. Then Trossi passed Farina and began to press Nuvolari—actually passing him when the
latter stopped to change a plug! But the Count then began to notice a certain lack of response in the steering of his twelve-cylinder Alfa-Romeo, so he pulled into the pits once or twice for an examination, dropping back several places. Nuvolari was now in the lead once Continued on page 285
CONTENTS, June 1926
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