HIGHER SPEEDS AGAIN IN THE MILLE MIGLIA
BRIVIO (2.9-LITRE ALFA-ROMEO) WINS AT 75.57 M.P.H., PINTACUDA SECOND. SPECIAL CLASSES FOR CARS USING HOME-PRODUCED FUELS
Sanctions and the Abyssinian War were not allowed to break the continuity of the Italian 1,000-mile Races, and the tenth of the series was run off last month amidst the usual popular excitement. The entries were down to eightyfive, and of these there was only one from abroad, the Aston-Martin driven by Clarke and Falkner, winners of the 1+-litre class in last year’s race. The Ferrari stable takes a serious interest in the Mille Miglia, and this year entered a team of three cars driven by Brivio, Pintacuda who was last year’s winner, and
Farina. Their mounts were three of the new 2.9-litre sports model, with independent suspension all round, and fitted with pointed 2-seater bodies reminiscent of the new 4-litre Grand Prix cars. The engines developed 220 h.p. at 5,400 r.p.m. and the cars complete weighed 750 kg. (14+ cwt.). The most formidable rival to the Ferrari cars was Biondetti’s 8.2-litre Alfa-Romeo, a monopost° modified to take a 2seater body. It was, incidentally, the car on which Pintacuda
won last year’s race. Of the other cars in the large supercharged class, Cortese’s 2.6 Alfa was considered very quick, other Alfa drivers being Salice, Santinelli and De Rahm. Not a single Maserati challenged the Alfas in the class over 2-litres, but it was a different story in the smaller categories. Tenni’s 11-litre car was strongly fancied to winlithe 2-litre blown class and, in fact, a car of this type was actually third in the general classification last year. Bianco and Bergamini, with their Maseratis, were favourites in the 1,100 c.c. class. There were also classes for unblown cars which produced nothing, other than the Aston, of great inter est. The Ferrari team
est. The Ferrari team were amongst those running on home-produced alcohol-80 per cent. alcohol was, in any case, their normal fuel—putting them in competition with semi-touring cars running on the same fuel. Under these circumstances there was no doubt as to the destination of that prize. Six cars in all actually ran on gas generated from charcoal, headed by Professor Ferraguti, the fuel expert, with his 2.8-litre Alfa. The first car was due to leave Brescia at five in the morning, and, needless to say, it was raining. There were seventyeight starters, and in spite of the weather, there was a good crowd to cheer the competitors as they left at twominute intervals. By the time the last and fastest of the Alfa contingent had left, the sky was quite bright, promising fast times along the astonishingly straight
roads leading west and south. Biondetti at once made use of the superior speed of his 3.2-litre motor and reached Bologna in the remarkable time of 1 hour 24 mins. 30 secs., an average of 103.1 m.p.h. This beat Pintacuda’s last year speed by 4 m.p.h., and Borzachinni’s record made on the old course by 2.6 m.p.h. This was going to give the Ferrari drivers something to cope with. Pintacuda was 1 min. 34 secs. behind,
Brivio, 2 mins. 49 secs., Biondetti’s teammate De Rham, 4 mins, 56 secs., and Farina, who did not seem to be hurry
ing overmuch, 5 mins, 45 secs. In the 2-litre class Tenni lost time through going off the road and Calamai, on a 1,750 c.c. Alfa, was first in at a speed of 92.5 m.p.h. while Bianco, on the Maserati, had his usual duel with Gazzabini on the M.G., their speeds being respectively 89.5 and 85 m.p.h. Bologna lies on the very edge of the Plains of Lombardy and in a few miles the road begins climbing the formidable barrier of the Appenines, the highest point being the Raticosa Pass, 3,700 feet above sea level. On these sinuous roads and the no less twisty drop down to Florence, the independently-sprung cars of the Ferrari team might have been expected to show up to greater advan tage, but Biondetti did not allow this idea to encourage him, and driving at the very limit the whole time, braking, swerving and accelerating with every ounce that last year’s winning mount could give him, arrived at the Tuscan capital with 2 mins. 18 secs. in hand. Farina had now come up to third, 4 mins. 20 secs. behind Biondetti, Brivio had been delayed by having to change tyres. De Rham was next and Tenni„ on that swift “fifteen hundred,”
sixth. At Siena the position of the leaders was unaltered, but Bianco had passed into seventh position with his 1,100 “Maser” and was pressing hard on Tenni.
Sweeping on furiously after Siena, Pintacuda lost any hope of catching Biondetti when his fuel feed pipe choked, delaying him half-an-hour. Biondetti’s tyres were wearing down at an alarming rate with the heavy usage he was giving them, but he maintained his furious pace and gained Rome just 1 min. 16 secs. ahead of the unflurried Farina, with Brivio 1+ mins. to the rear.
Half the race was now completed and Biondetti had won the Duce’s Prize for the fastest car from Brescia to Rome. Now for what was usually the decisive part of any Mille Miglia, the tortuous road north-eastwards from Rome to the Adriatic. With a tyre change all round Biondetti’s advantage was a matter of seconds only. The Ferrari drivers evidently had orders to “get him ” between Rome and Temi, where the roads were comparatively wide and well-surfaced, and were so far successful in piling on speed that Brivio was 1 min. 10 secs. ahead of Biondetti, after a hectic hour of driving ; Farina headed him too, though only by 40 sees. By Spoleto
the Ferrari drivers had two minutes in hand and Biondetti lost further time at Perugia through bad fuelling arrangements. The order was then Brivio (73.75 m.p.h.), Farina 1 min. behind, Biondetti 4 mins, and then De Rham, Pintacuda,, Tenni and Bianco on the 1,100 c.c. Maserati, Clarke and Falkner were still leading the unblown 11-litre class, but their car was held up later with fuel trouble and they had to give up a few hours later near Fano, on the Adriatic coast.
Brivio decided to make certain of his chances on the Macerata sector, and in spite of twisting roads, increased his lead over Farina to 5 rains. Flat out he continued his run, averaging 157 k.p.m. from Ancona to Bologna, his overall average being in the neighbourhood of 74 m.p.h. The last 150 miles across the Plains of Lombardy, north to Treviso and west to Brescia are comparatively straight and free from tricks, though the surface is often treacherous in sudden rain. Brivio had covered nearly half this distance, driving with undiminished speed when suddenly, near Padua, there was a break in the exhaust note. There was something wrong with the electrical system. Another stop later on. The battery lead had broken and the mechanic had to hold it together with his bare hands. Yet another stop at Vincenza to have the break soldered, then at Verona, twenty-five miles from the finish, the mechanic found the headlamps completely smashed and filled with mud, and there was nothing to do but to forge ahead with no lights at 50 or 60 m.p.h., and pray that the lead that had been built up would keep them still in the lead. A hair-raising run it must have been, peering through mud and rain and braking heavily for those unexpected corners with which the fast straights usually end. At last the weary pair sighted the blazing avenue of light which signifies the end of the race. Even then they were no trelieved from their suspense. Farina started 14 mins. after Brivio and could yet win if he appeared within that time. At last his lights flashed at the end of the road, but he was just half-a-minute too late. So the honours of the Tenth Mille Miglia passed to the favourite, while a last-minute spurt by Pintacuda put him ahead of to
Biondetti and gave a 1-2-3 victory the Modena colours.
121.622 RESULTS General Classification 1. Brivio (Alfa-Romeo) 1311. 7m. 51s.
1. Brivio (Alfa-Romeo) 1311. 7m. 51s. k.p.h. (75.57 m.p.h.).
2. Farina (Alfa-Romeo) 13h. 8m. 23s. k.p.h. (75.27 m.p.h.).
3. PInta.cuda (Alfa-Romeo) 13h. 54m. 37s.
4, Biondetti (Alfa-Romeo) 13h. 59m. 21s.
6. Tenni (Maseratl) 1st in 1,100 c.c.-2,000 c.c. class : 14h. 18m. 40s. 111.591 k.p.h. (69.34 m.p.h.).
6. Blanco (Maseratl) 14h. 55m. 10s. 7. Biagini (unsupercharged Fiat) 1st In 1,100
c.c. class : 16h. 38m. 21s. 95.262 k.p.h. (59.19 m.p.h.).