Sommer Time


The Belgian Grand Prix of 1950 was my first experience of continental motor racing. Driving a trials special we had built ourselves, on an Austin 7 chassis fitted with a Shorrock supercharged 1172cc Ford sidevalve engine, two of us set out to cover three races on consecutive weekends.

We were hoisted on and off the Folkestone/Boulogne ferry and set off for the Swiss border to the Circuit of the Vosges. Our plan was to drive from Switzerland to Spa-Francorchamps to arrive in time for practice. Getting into the pits was no trouble and I still have a collection of candid camera pictures which would be impossible for any fan to take today. During the race we sat just above Eau Rouge. Watching Sommer gradually pick up places on the three Fs until he led had the spectators on their feet on every lap. The commentators were giving us everyone's speed through the trap on the Masta straight. From where we sat you could see the worry in the Alfa pits as each car came in to refuel and change the tyres. When Sommer finally blew up, the race effectively ended.

The following weekend we went to Le Mans where Louis Rosier drove the same car he'd driven at Spa to victory but that is another story.

I am, yours, etc. Frank Sweatman, Marlow, Bucks