RACING ROUND ITALY

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RACING ROUND ITALY PINTACUDA AND MAMBELLI WIN TEE MILLE MIGLIA FOR FERRARI—BRITISH COMPETITORS CRASH

The Mille Miglia shows no signs of declining in popularity, in spite of rumours that the race was losing its grip. This year 150 entries were received, a number which the ordinary race organiser would regard as beyond the realms of possibility. In any case, such a field would cause indescribable congestion on even the longest road-circuit. Although generally referred to as the “Italian 1,000 Miles Race,” the course this year was actually 1,111 miles in length. Starting from the Venetian Gate, Brescia, the :cars are immediately faced with a very fast rim to Bologna, and on this stretch average Speeds of well over 100 m.p.h. are frequently recorded. Then follows the crossing of the rata Pass to Florence, after which the cars head for Rome. On the outskirts of the capital the cars turn north-east to the east

coast of Italy and Venice. Then the route takes the cars back to Bologna, from where, instead of returning straight to Brescia, a loop is made by way of Padna, and thence back to the original starting point. Officially, the roads are supposed to be open to normal traffic, but in actual fact the police and military see to it that all LS clear for the speeding competitors. On the other hand, the possibility of meeting a bullock cart adds a zestful touch of uncertainty to fast driving

round blind corners. In the main, of course, the Italian peasants do not require any dragooning to keep them off the road, being dyed-in-the-wool race-fans to the last man, woman and boy. This year’s race differed from its predecessors in that the regulations as to the eligibility of the cars were considerably tightened, with a view to eliminating some of the slightly disguised GI’. cars that have appeared in the past. There was a special class added for touring -cars

driven by Italian drivers. The prize money, . incidentally, was the highest in the history of the race, amounting to £2,130. The 1,10 cars which lined up at Bologna in the early hours of Sunday, 4th April, were divided into eight classes. The smallest cars started first, gradually working up to the fastest cars, which had the whole field to pass. The 750 c.c. touring class was filled by thirtythree Fiats, variously modified in order to obtain more horses from their willing little engines. Sonic well known drivers were to be seen in these tiny cars, among them Dusk), Malaguti, and the ex-Ferrari driver, Renato 13alestrero. Fiats also predominated in the 1,100 c.c. touring class, where 24 products of the Turin factory Opposed three Lancia Augustas. One of these Fiats was to be driven by Vittorio Mussolini, son of II Duce. Faster cars were seen in the 1,100 c.c. sports class, which was to be contested by five FiatS and twO Maseratis, one of which was entered by Count Lurani in partnership with Luigi Villoresi as

the Scuderia Ambrosiana. The 1,500 c.c. had attracted three Lancia,s and fifteen Alfas, the latter including the Scuderia Ferrari driver, Seven, and the Scuderia Volta pilot, Cortese. The 2-litre sports class contained a dozen AlfaRomeos, four Maseratis, and a British Aston-Martin driven by the Dutch driver, Hertzberger. The “winner ” of the race, irrespective of class, would undoubtedly come from the over 2-litres sports class, and it was these cars which attracted most attention at the start and en route. Seven Alfa Romeos were to defend the Italian colours against a foreign opposition consisting of three French Delahayes, two French Talbota, and a solitary British 2-litre M.G. The Ferrari Alfas driven by Pintacuda, Farina, Gazzabini and Biondetti were strongly fancied to win, but the Talbots were credited with a good chance of a place. The Talbot drivers were

Comotti, Rosa, Cattaneo and Le Begue. The Delahayes, too, had their backers, and were to be driven by Dreyfus, Schell, Carrh re and Delorme. Finally, the 2-litre M.G., being an nusupercharged saloon in competition with near-racing cars, was regarded by everyone as a most

sporting effort. The drivers were Mr. and Mrs. Tommy Wisdom, both of whom

have had vast experience with ears of all sorts and descriptions in races, record attempts, rallies, trials, and in fact every kind oi motoring competition. From 1 a.m. until 9.30 a.m. on the Sunday morning the long string of

cars was dispatched at intervals, the last man to leave being Mario Pintacuda, the Ferrari driver who won the race in 1935. The race, as a race, was impossible to follow. Indeed, little attempt is made

by the authorities to keep the spectators informed as to what is going on, This does not lessen their enthusiasm in the least, however, and they are quite happy cheering their favourites as they hurtle past.

Heavy rain made the drivers’ job an unenviable one, especially as the road surfaces were by no means of the nonskid variety with which racing-drivers are pampered on the ordinary roadcircuit. The pave in towns and villages quickly took on a slimy surface which was difficult to deal with at high speed, while the mountain roads were slippery and soft. One of the earliest retirements was that of Vittorio Mussolini, who blew up his Fiat on the fast stretch to Bologna. The M.G. was going well as far as Florence, taking the long straights at 90 m.p.h., and giving every satisfaction to its drivers. Then, in Florence, a pedestrian stepped off the pavement just as the M.G. entered the difficult “Corner of Aces.” Wisdom trod on the brakes to avoid the man, and the car slithered across the road on the greasy cobbles. Wisdom made a mighty effort to recover, but the back of the car swung into -a tree, which sent the whole car ricochetting across the road once more, Straight into another tree. The car was wrecked, but by the greatest good fortune neither of the occupants was seriously injured. Both of them came into violent contact with the windscreen, Tommy breaking his nose and getting a nasty gash on his knee,

which struck the dash-board. ” Bill ” was cut and bruised, and the pair of them were considerably Shaken. They were hurried away to the Orthopedic Institute in Florence, where their convalescence was reported to be a matter of days. Meanwhile a great duel was going on between the Ferraris, Pintacuda and Farina. Gradually Pintacuda drew aheai, and at last, 14 hours 17 minutes and 32 seconds after he had left Brescia, he returned once more, having covered the 1,111 miles at an average speed of 71.305

m.p.h. It was not until 18 minutes. 11 seconds had elapsed that Farina roared in, second in the race-. These two Alfas. had outdistanced the French cars, but Schell and CarriEre put up a magnificent performance in finishing third with their Delahaye, twenty minutes behind Farina.

Mussolini’s chauffeur, Boratto, atoned for Vittorio’s retirement by winning the 1,500 c.c. touring class in partnership. with the Ferrari head-mechanic, Guidotti. Their car was the attractive new 1 )-litre supercharged six-cylinder Al(a-Romeo.

RESULT

123 Cars Started : 80 Finished

1, Pintaeuda (single-handed) and Mambelli (2.3-litre Alfa-Romeo). 14h. 17m. 32s. 71.305 m.p.h. 2. Farins tsingle-handcd) and Mcaza (2.3-litre Alfa). 1Ih 35rn. Its. 69.80 m.p.h.

3, 8!71t1I-i ,! micro (3.5-11tro Delahaye). 14h.

51m. 5:46. iX33 m.p.h.

4. Boratto-Guidotti (1,500 c.c. Alta touring). 15h. 40m. Is. 65.05 m.p.h.

5. Ventidue-Ventorm (Ails); 6, Cortese (Ails); 7, Crivellarl (Alfa) ; 8, Tcaguo (Alfa) ; 0, Seven (Alfa). 10. Contini (Alfa).

CLASS WINNERS

1,509 o.o. touring : Roratto (Al(a). Law 0.0. sports : MLnnio (Plat). 1,103 c.o. touring •. Brat& (Fiat). 1.100 ex. sports :Colirmi (Mat). 2-litre sports : Contini (Ails-Romeo).

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