THE TARGA FLORIO.
By OUR SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT.
I. Emilio Materassi (2-litre Bugatti), 7h. 35m. 55s. (ay. 44.15 m.p.h.).
2. Count Conelli (1 -litre Bugatti), 7h. 39m. 5s.
3. Alfieri Maserati (2-litre Maserati), 8h. lm. 36s.
4. Andre Boillet (4-litre Peugeot), 8h. 27m. 35s.
5. Palaccio (2-litre Bugatti), 8h. 33m. 52s.
6. Andre Dubonnet (2-litre Bugatti), 8h. 37m. 59s.
WHEN the well known Italian driver, Materassi, dashed home a winner of the 1927 Targa Florio, he secured the third win running in this race for Bugatti, and incidentally completely vindicated the principles of the Molsheim manufacturer. Ettore Bugatti has always adhered to his principle of building racing cars to sell to the public, and entering these cars, and these cars only, in races. Everyone will agree to the excellence of this principle, but it has its difficulties in practice. The cars must be able to be sold at a reasonable price, for one thing, and Bugatti has therefore had to avoid certain features which add greatly to the cost of production. His racing cars, for instance, have only one camshaft ; and generally they do not reach quite the heights of volumetric efficiency achieved by his rivals. Of late years Bugatti has therefore been considerably handicapped in the Grand Prix races, which have been held for the most part on tracks, where the engine is always to the fore. In 1925, however, Bugatti entered for the Targa Florio ; and since then he has won every one of these races. On the Madonie circuit, as everyone knows, every part of a car, such as brakes, transmission systems, suspension and road-holding qualities, are tested to the limit, and Bugatti has shown that in this field he is supreme. He has the distinction of three wins in a race for real cars and where there is no hope for first cousins of the American track racer.
This year there were 22 starters in the Targa, of which no less than 11 were Bugattis. Of these, only one, driven by a lady amateur, Madame Juneck, was of the 2,300 c.c. type introduced for last year’s race, and was fitted with a supercharger. There were 6 2-litre cars in the race, of which three, driven by Materassi, Minoia and Dubonnet, formed the official team ; and the other three were driven by the amateurs Palaccio, Lepori and Balestrero. The other 4 Bugattis were in the 1,500 c.c. class, and were driven by Count Conelli, ” Salipa,” who won the 1926 Italian Grand Prix, Coliri and Eckert. These were 4-cylinder cars, of which Conelli’s and Salipa’s were supercharged. Of the bigger Bugattis all had superchargers except. Palaccio’s car. The largest car in the race was Andre Boillet’s Peugeot, which has a 1919 Indianapolis chassis and a standard 3,826 c.c. sleeve valve engine, and which is now well known on the Madonie circuit. Owing to his engine
size, however, he had to carry a lot of ballast, which was a considerable handicap on the tortuous course. Next came Caudrille’s 6-cylinder Steyr ; Voldes had a 2-litre Diatto, and Alfieri Maserati a 2-litre racer of his own manufacture. The only rivals to the Bugattis in the 1,500 c.c. class were Ernesto Maserati and Count Maggi on straight-eight Maseratis, and Marano on a 10-15 h.p. Fiat. The 1,100 c.c. class had only to cover three rounds, as against five for the Targa, and attracted Fagioli and Borzacchini on Salmsons, Staralba on an Amilcar, and Zubiaga on a B.N.C. The Bugattis took the lead from the start, and at the end of the first circuit the order was as follows :
Madame Juneck (Bugatti).
Everyone finished this round except Cohn, whose Bugatti broke its oil pump, and ” Salipa (Bugatti), whose car fell 50 ft. down a ravine, fortunately without injury to the driver. On the second circuit the leader, Minoia, went out with a broken universal joint, and Madame Juneck suffered a broken steering rod ; Materassi then captured the lead, which he never lost till the end of the race, the order being as follows :
Alfieri Maserati (Maserati).
Conelli (Bugatti). Lepori (Bugatti).
On the third circuit Conelli and Maserati changed places, and thereafter the order of the first three remained the same. Balestrero retired with a broken piston, Ernesto Maserati broke his front axle, and Candrilli (Steyr) a back wheel.
The fourth circuit caused no casualties, and the order of the first four remained the same. Just as he completed the circuit, however, Lepori (Bugatti), who was in fourth place, skidded on the road, which was wet from a shower of rain, and hit the monument which marks the spot where Ascari broke down in 1924 with only 20 yards more to go to win the Targa Florio. He broke a back wheel and bent his back axle, and had to retire. At the same time Count Maggi withdrew his Maserati with a broken frame. The 1,100 c.c. race was won, as last year, by Borzachini on a Salmson, the result being as follows :
1. Borzacchini (Salmson), 4h. 59m. 3s. (7th in general classification after 3 circuits).
2. Fagidi (Salmson), 5h. 10m. 36s.
3. Zubiaga (B.N.C.), 6h. 12m. 58s.
In the larger class, Eckert (Bugatti) and Marans (Fiat) covered the full distance, but arrived too late to be placed.
FRENCH GRAND PRIX DRIVERS.
ALL the drivers have now been definitely selected for the French Grand Prix at Montlhery on July 3rd. Segrave will, of course, captain the Talbot team, and will have Divo and Williams, who is well known as a Bugatti driver, with him. The Delages, as already announced, will be handled by Benoist, Bourlier and Morel. Bugatti has selected Materassi, who won this year’s Targa Florio, Count Conelli, who is known to most Englishmen as a driver of Sunbeam and Talbot-Darracq card, and Andre Dubonnet, who drove a Duesenberg in the 1921 race, and has driven various cars in recent Targa Florio races. The only English car in the race, the Halford Special, will be driven by its owner, G. E. T. Eyston.
THE SAN SEBASTIAN MEETING.
ALTHOTJGH entries at double fees do not close until June 25th, a number of cars have already been entered for the races at San Sebastian, which will be held this year from July 25th to 31st. The most important event of the meeting is the Spanish Grand Prix for 1500 c.c. cars, and this has so far attracted seven entries, composed of 3 Delages, 3 Bugattis and a Jean Graf. It is to be hoped that the Talbots as well perhaps as the elusive 0.M.’s will be
entered before the final closing date.
The San Sebastian Grand Prix is a free-for-all race, and has so far received 17 entries as follows :—Six Bugattis, five Salmons, three B.N.C.’s, two Gerards, one Hispano and one Bue. All these cars are French with the exception of the Hispano, which is a Spanish 1-litre car. The Bue is a French straight-eight racer of 1500 c.c. with independently sprung wheels and front wheel drive, while the Gerard is also a French 1 litre. It is curious that a race which is open to cars of any size should have attracted such a large proportion of small cars.
The 12-hour race for the Spanish Touring Grand Prix is the third important event of the meeting. England will be represented in this race by a Bentley, and this firm is to be congratulated on its enterprise in taking part in continental events which other manufacturers seem to lack the initiative to do. It will have as its opponents two sleeve-valve Peugeots and a Bugatti from France, an E.N. from Belgium and a Spanish Jean Graf.
This month our cover represents a thrilling duel between F. C. Millar (Zenith) No. 15, and J. S. Worters (Excelsior) No. 8, in the 200-mile sidecar race. Worters led the 350 c.c. class for sometime but broke down, while Millar finished a very close second to Handley but was disqualified for losing one of his silencers.
A Strenuous Trial.
Most British riders consider events such as the LondonEdinburgh or London-Land’s End extremely strenuous, and at the end of the 300-400 miles they turn in and sleep the sleep of the just and weary. In the Swedish May Trial, however, 2,000 kilometres (approximately 1,250 miles) had to be covered in three days, and thus amounted to more than three London-Edinburghs run consecutively. British machines did well, for three Nortons started and gained the highest award and team prize.
The Stock Machine Trial.
Amongst the many entries for this famous event is one of particular interest—that of the little model “
M” Levis which costs 28i guineas only. This would appear to be a definite attempt on the part of the manufacturers to prove that the ultra-cheap motorcycle is a go-anywhere machine, capable of holding its own with others costing three and four times as much.
Enthusiastic Enfield riders will be sorry to learn that Enfields are absent from this year’s Stock Trial. This is by no means on account of failures in the past, for Enfields have been very successful in previous Stock Trials. I hear, however, that they have decided not to enter this year since the trial comes at a time when they are too busy to spare either the machines or the riders.
An Echo of the Victory Trial.
The fallibility of observers is shown by the fact that in the recent Victory Trial, F. Bicknell, who rode a solo Enfield, was penalised for “passenger assisting “and lost a gold medal in consequence. Bicknell has now succeeded in proving his singular status and has been awarded the gold medal to which he was entitled.
A tiny machine has been doing great things during the opening meeting on the Cement Track at Mooburg, Germany. The previous record for the track stood at 86 kilometres per hour, but a rider named Giggenbach on a 1.72 h.p. Bayerland-Villiers broke this record with a speed of 90 k.p.h., and won the 175 c.c., 250 c.c. and 500 c.c. classes.