SINGLE HANDED FOR 24 HOURS
CLASS VICTORIES FOR FIAT, M.G. AND ASTON-MARTIN IN THE BOL D’OR
THE annual Bol d’Or Race is a real test of both the cars and the drivers. Any small car that can come through twenty-four hours of high-speed racing on Montthery has acquitted itself well, while the drivers, who must pilot their cars single-handed for the whole distance, can well regard themselves as minor heroes at the end of their long journey. The race used to be held on a circuit in the Forest of St. Germain, but nowadays a short course, measuring five kilometres,
is utilised at Montlhery. It embraces the piste-de-vitesse and part of the circuit-routier. Twenty-three cars faced the starter at 5.80 p.m. on Sunday, June 6th. The new class for 1,500 c.c. sports-cars attracted only three entries ; a Frenchdriven Riley and Aston-Martin opposing a Bugatti. The 1,100 c.c. racing class
consisted of nine cars, the only British machine being an M.G. Magnette which won the race two years ago. On that occasion it was driven by Maillard-Brune, but this time De Burnay was the pilot. There were seven 1,100 c.c. sports-cars, all of them Simca-Fiats, and in the 750 c.c. sports class three Simca-Fiat ” 500s” were opposed by a home-made machine driven by its constructor, Danvignes. A few years ago, of course, the Bol d’Or was notable for the number of what British motorists call” Shelsley Specials,” but this year the Danvignes was the only one of this type. Judging by the way the cars got off the mark and proceeded to indulge in dog-fights, one would have thought that the race was one of a few laps, rather than
twenty-four hours. Your Frenchman, of course, is not one to take a beating lying down, and the mere fact of being passed is an invitation to a fiercely fought struggle. As is the way with all classraces, there is a reasonable amount of kudos attached to the honour of leading the entire field, irrespective of categories, in the Bol d’Or, and the first few hours saw the lead in the race and various classes changing hands. Then the sun went down and the long
night run was begun. Breillet passed Gordini to take the lead in the 1,100 c.c.
sports class. Simultaneously came the news of two retirements, Viossat broke a piston on his 1,100 c.c. racing Salmson, and Grignard found that the petrol tank of his Amilcar had cracked so badly that he could not repair it. Another Salmson, driven by Tronquet, had been stationary at the pits for a long time, following an encomiter with the hank at the side of the Quatre-Bourns corner, but now it got going again. Half an hour before midnight the quarter distance was reached, and it found (*Anita (Riley) comfortably leading the whole field, being four laps ahead of Breillet’s smaller Simca-Fiat. The class leaders were as follows :
1,500 o.e. Sports :1, Contet (Riley) 127 laps ; 2, Polledry (Aston-Martin) 116 laps ; 3, Constantin (Bugattl) 109 laps.
1,100 c.c. Racing : 1, Ignace (B.N.C,) and Venot (Pintade) 107 laps ; 3, De Burnay (M.G.) 103 laps.
1,100 c.c. Sports : 1, Breillet (Simca-Flat) 123 laps ; 2, Gordini (Simcit-Flat) 122 laps ; 3, Molinari (Simea-Fiat) 120 laps.
750 c.c. Sports : 1, Levy (Shwa-Fiat) 102 laps ; 2, Horvilleur (Simca-Fiat) 100 laps ; 3, Bussin ( Shnea-Fiat) 87 laps.
Everyone was glad to see that it was going to be a fine night, for the wretched motor-cyclists had had a frightful time the night before, battling with the driving rain. Contet kept up his steady progress in the lead, lapping at about 66 m.p.h. and his average was a good deal faster than the previous record for this distance. A certain amount of mechanical trouble was being experienced by various people, but only one other retirement was announced, that of Rossignol (Robail).
In the early hours of the Monday morning De Burnay pushed his M.G. into the lead in the 1,100 c.c. racing class, and Gordini passed his team-mate, Breillet. Then Levy lost his lead in the 750 c.c. class to Horvilleur, and Contet pulled into the pits for a refuel. He lost a couple of laps on Gordini, but got back again into the lead after some furious driving. And so, as dawn broke on the heights of Montlhery, the half-distance mark was reached, and the following positions were recorded :
1,500 ce. Sport! 1, Contet, (Riley) 246 laps ; 2, Polledry (Aston-Martin) 234 laps ; 3, Constantin (Bugatti) 212 laps.
1,100 c.o. Racing :1, De Burnay (M.G.) 228 laps ; 2, Venot (Pintade) 198 laps ; 3, Chotard (Andlcar) 190 laps.
1,100 c.c. Sports : 1, Breillet (Simca-Flat) and Gordini (Simca-Fiat) 244 laps ; 3, Robert (SimeaFiat) 221 laps.
750 c.c. Sports : 1, Horvilleur (Sims-Fiat), 205 laps ; 2, Levy (Shnea-Fiat) 203 laps ; Aline (SlmeaFiat) 170 laps.
For two hours more nothing untoward happened, but then came the sensational stoppage of the leader, Contet Examination of the Riley’s engine revealed a broken piston, and so that was that. This let Breillet and Gordini on their little streamlined Simca-Fiats into the leading positions in the whole race, a dozen laps ahead of Polledry’s Aston-Martin, which was running like clockwork. And now Gordini decided that he had run in close company with Breillet for long enough. Bit by bit he forged ahead, and as the morning wore on his lead grew steadily longer. De Burnay’s M.G., after a slowish start, was now going great guns, and he passed the Aston-Martin in the general classification. Three quarter distance came with cars in the following order :
1,500 c.c. Sports : 1, Polledry (Aston-Martin)’ 352 laps ; 2, Constantin (Bugatti) 322 laps.
1,100 c.c. Racing : 1, De Burnay (M.G.) 356 laps ; 2, Chotard (Amilear) 288 laps ; 3, Duval (B.N.C.> 283 laps.
1,100 c.c. Sports :1, Gordini (Simea-Fiat) 367 laps ; 2, Breillet (Simea-Fiat) 363 laps ; 3, Robert (SimonFiat) 323 laps.
750 c.c. Sports : 1, Horvilleur (Slmea-Fiat) 304 laps ; 2, Levy (Simcit-Fiat) 292 laps ; 3, Aime (SimeaFiat) 255 laps.
In the closing stages of the race De Burnay made a great effort to get on even.
terms with Gordini. He wiped out much of his deficit, until he was ten laps behind, but then Gordini himself put on speed and held him at bay. De Burnay had the consolation, however, of passing Breillet and getting into second placein addition to leading his own class easily, of course. The long distance began to tell on some of the cars. Venot, once second in the 1,100 c.c. racing class, stopped for a long time, and then retired. The unfortunate Danvignes was more often at the pits
than on the track. Ignace broke his, gearbox on the B.N.C., and Chotard’a Amilcar went out with a seized piston. An hour or so later a similar trouble befell Breillet’s Simca-Fiat.
At last the twenty-four hours were up, and Gorelini’s neat little Simca-Fiat sang over the line an easy winner. This car had put up a magnificent performance, for It had beaten all the 1,100 c.c. sports and racing machines, as well as the 1,500 c.c.
sportswagens. Second in the general classification, and winner of the 1,100 c.c. racing class by a margin of nearly 500 kilometres, was De Bumay’s veteran M.G. Magnette. Third in the general classification, and winner of the 1,500 c.c. sports class, came Polledry’s AstonMartin. The 750 c.c. class winner was Horvilleur’s little Simca-Fiat ” 500,” which covered 2,027 kilometres in twentyfour hours. Probably the most remarkable effort in the whole race, however, was that of Aline, who drove a normal Fiat ” 500 ” with closed coachwork and did 1,714 kilometres.
The records in all classes were beaten.
1.500 c.o. Sports : 1, Polledry (Aston-Martin) 2,326.622 Ions., speed 96.942 k.p.h. ; 2, Constantin (Bugatti) 2,088.371 bus.
1.100 e.c. Racing: 1, De Burnay (M.G.) 2,406.059, Ions., speed 100.252 k.p.h.; 2, Duval (B.N.C.) 1,935.535 Ions.
1,100 c.c. Sports : 1, Gordini (Simon-Fiat) 2,456.334 kiss., speed 102.347 k.p.h.; 2, Robert (Simon-Fiat) 2,147.083 Ions.; 3, Vernet (Sinica-Fiat) 2,135.8 kiss. ; 4, Molinari (Simea-Fiat) 2,073.502 Ions.
750 c.c. Sports : 1, liorvilleur (Simea-Fiat) 2,027.900 bus., speed 84.495 k.p.h. ; 2, Levy (SimonFiat) 1,971.515 kiss.; 3, Aime (Simon-Flat) 1,714.153 Ions.; 4, Danvignes (Danvignes) 1,064.287 kiss.
All the winners ran on Dunlop tyres.