A Racing Suicide.
So far as my memory serves me, cases of people committing suicide by crashing a car have so far been confined to the pages of Michael Arlen’s ” Green Hat “and the Earl of Cottenham’s ” Sicilian Circuit.” But a genuine suicide of this nature actually took place during the practising for the Grand Prix of Czechoslovakia, at Masarvk. A 30-year old Czech mechanic named Josef Bradzil, who lived at Pressburg, turned up at the course with a new Maserati of the same type as that raced by Tazio Nuvolari in the Italian Grand Prix, i.e., 6-cylinders, 3,500 c.c. capacity. It appears that he had just bought the car at the Bologna factory, with money given to him by his manager, a man named Marcie. In turn, this individual had borrowed the money from his fiancee. So far, so good.
The trouble started when the engagement was suddenly broken off, and the lady in the case was so infuriated that she issued a summons against Marcie and Bradzil for the return of the money. Apparently the police were satisfied with her claim, for on the Tuesday before the race Bradzil was arrested. Two famous drivers who name’s shall be a matter of guess work, thereupon intervened with the authorities and asked if Bradzil might not be allowed to practice on the Wednesday, return to gaol, race on Sunday, and return for his proper imprisonment afterwards. It seemed a pity to waste a good car.
Very sportingly, the authorities consented to this course, and Wednesday morning saw Bradzil at the wheel of his Maserati, setting off on a practice lap of the 20-mile circuit. After a few minutes he approached a corner at 125 m.p.h. . . . The crash was terrific. The Maserati leaped across a ditch and chopped down two full size trees. In doing so the car itself broke into two pieces. Bradzil was hurled out of the cockpit and was killed instantaneously by the impact of striking the ground.
At the inquest it was proved that everything pointed to suicide, bearing in mind the speed of the car and the angle of the corner. Truth and fiction seem to have nothing on each other when it comes to strangeness.
Drivers and Their Plans.
Now that the season is over—except for the Grand Prix of Algeria at the end of October–the Annual crop of rumours is running round as to the plans of drivers for next year. Here is what I have heard so far, but don’t be surprised if things turn out rather differently later on ! Nuvolari, about whom a hundred tales were told last year, is likely to remain a “free-lance.” He has not had anything like such a successful season as in 1933, but this was due to a large extent to his accident, at Alessandria, which laid him up for some time. He will continue to drive for Maserati in many races, having a choice
of the two rear-engined 4-litre cars now being constructed at the Maserati factory. Then there is a strong probability that the great Italian will pilot an Auto Union in the National Grand Prix races of France, Germany, Italy, Belgium, Spain and Switzerland. Certainly he covered several laps of the Lasarte circuit before the Spanish Grand Prig at the wheel of an Auto Union, but whether the resulting negotiations have matured into a contract is not yet confirmed. A possible snag lies in his nationality, for the Auto Unions are Hitler’s ” babies,” so to speak. There is no news of his driving for Bugatti.
Chiron is giving us plenty to talk about. It is qute likely that he will sign up with Mercedes-Benz, an action which will deprive the Scuderia Ferrari of one of its two best drivers. Chiron actually tried out a Mercedes before the German Prig this year, so that he has evidently been in touch with the factory for some time. There is a friendship of longstanding, of course, between Chiron and Caracciola, and if the present rumour becomes fact, these two will be in the same camp.
As for the other Ferrari “ace,” Achille Varzi, he has renewed his contract for another season with the Italian stable. Bugatti has had to engage a new driver, for Rene Dreyfus has apparently signed a contract with Ferrari, as also has Antonio Brivio. The newcomer to Molsheim is Pietro Taruffi, the brilliant ex-Maserati driver. Wimille is staying with Bugatti, and after his magnificent drive at San Sebastian, will be a man to watch next year. There was a rumour that he might join Ferrari or Auto Union, but nothing came of it. Robert Benoist will also remain under the Bugatti colours.
That Whitney Straight will continue to race next season is certain, in spite of his selling the entire team of Maseratis, complete with lorries and spares. One hears talk of his running Mercedes, or possibly Auto Unions, but nothing has been definitely settled yet. As for his drivers, Featherstonhaugh has shown that he has the makings of a first-class driver by his performance at Albi, while Seaman has graduated most successfully on the Magnette. Marcel Lehoux drove for Straight at San Sebastian and will do so at Algeria, but he has not signed up for next year at the time of writing. Soffietti drove one of Straight’s Maseratis at the Montreux-Caux hill climb, and will pilot the same car at Algeria, so he too may be a recruit to the Straight syndicate for next year. Of the independents, Philippe Etancelin cannot decide what to do. His Maserati is not nearly fast enough to compete with the Mercedes, Auto Unions, and Bugattis. Sommer, too, is undecided as to his plans. He has sold his Maserati-cum-Sefac to the ex-Salrnson driver, Chambost. The small Ecurie Braillard will continue to compete in smaller events with their
Maseratis, the drivers remaining Falchetto and Brunet.
That’s about all I know, at the moment.
Next Year’s Cars.
As for the cars, the only new machines so far announced are the Alfa-Romeos and the Maseratis. The fOrnaer have been described as having 12-cylinder power units, but there is a rumour of their having 16-cylinders. In size they will be 4-litres—a big advance On the Type 13 Monopostos run this year. Independent suspension will be used both fore and aft, assisted by the de Ram shock absorbers to which Bugatti attributes his good road holding. The Maseratis, as I have already -stated, are to have engines at the rear, in accordance with Auto Union’s practice. They will be rather more than 4-litres in size, and will both be owned by the factory. Nuvolari is to have his choice of them for various events.
The Mercedes-Benz and Auto Unions have now, at the end of the season, reached a splendid state of perfection. In speed they are superior to anything yet seen in road racing, and their road holding is amazingly good. The Mercedes team will be Caracciola, Fagioli and Von Branchitsch ; the latter is convalescing slowly at a clinic in Switzerland after his crash in the German Grand Prix. The Auto Union team will probably be von Stuck, Nuvolari and either Momberger or Prince von Leiningen. I understand that Paul Pietsch, the ” independent ” Alfa driver, has been asked to join one of the two camps.
A Good Party.
Mme. Itier had a pleasant surprise the other day, when a group of friends held a party in her honour at Cap Breton, Landes, where she lives. This frail little lady does not look as though she could handle an 8-cylinder Bugatti in a road race, but this is precisely what she does— and with great effect. Her record in speed trials and hill-climbs this year has been splendid.
Williams to stage a ” come-back ”
The Anglo-French driver W. Williams (I never knew his Christian name), is probably going to return to racing. He has not been seen this season, and in 1933 he was pursued by a series of minor accidents, notably at Dieppe and at San Sebastian—the latter while driving a new 2.8-litre model for the first time. Williams has a likeable personality, and I hope we shall see him in action again next year. On his day, he can drive as well as the best.
Monaco G. P. News.
There was talk last month in Paris of a 1,500 c.c. race being held at Monaco, in addition to the Grand Prix. However good the idea is, it will certainly not come true, for the French organisers of motor races are dead against events for small cars. At the request of several English drivers, I suggested such a race to the
Dieppe people last year, guaranteeing them a certain number of entries, but the story is always the same-” the public are not interested in small cars.”
Incidentally, the Monaco course is already receiving attention, in preparation for the Grand Prix on April 22nd. That’s what I call foresight.
La Course du Kilometre.
Speed Trials over a distance of one kilometre were held at Montlheu on the 14th of last month. There were classes for motor cycles, combinations, threewheelers, touring cars, sports cars (with and without blowers), and racing cars. As each competitor was allowed three runs, you can imagine that a full programme had to be run through. Actilally, a start was made at 8 o’clock in the morning, and the hard-worked timekeepers and marshals were on duty until past 8 o’clock in the evening without a pause.
The official timing apparatus, recording 1 /1,000ths of a second, was in use, so that International Class records could be broken by competitors and receive confirmation. As it turned out, however, the only man to do so was Herkuleyns, with his rapid “Q” type M.G. Midget. His time for the kilometre was 31.654 secs., as against Everitt’s previous best on a similar car of 32.700 secs. Fastest time of the day was made by Cazaux, on a twincamshaft 2.3-litre Bugatti. His time of 25.855 secs. was not quite good enough to beat Ruesch’s record of 25.325 secs., made with a 3-litre Maserati on this same stretch of track last March. stretch Here are the results of the racing classes:
1. Monehague (Alpha M.L. Staub), 59.555s.
1. Herkuleyns (M.G.), 31.645s., record.
2. Lyrnbohc (Salmson), 33.575 s.
3. Delaplace (Rosengart), 36.260s.
1. Vaile (Salmson), 37.395s.
2. Muller (Gueset), 42.35s.
1. Girod (Salmson), 29.940s.
2. Barowsky (Bugatti), 30.815s.
3. Cesare (Bugatti), 37.310s.
1. Rey (Bugatti), 28.810s.
2. Renaldi (Bugatti), 29.185s.
3. Roumani (Bugatti), 30.235s. 4 (*halide (Bugatti), 31.505s.
1, cazaux (Bugatti), 25.858s.
2. Falchetto (Maserati), 27.30s.
Rene Dreyfus is engaged to be married, to a lady named Mlle. Miraton. While wishing the pair our heartiest congratulations, we must add a fervent hope that his marriage will not be the cause of his retirement from racing, as has been known to happen before now. Such a calamity i unlikely, however, for Rene will be seen upholding the Ferrari badge in the big races of 1935.
Hill Climbing in Hungary. The R.A.C. of ‘Hungary organised a hill climb on October 15th. The scene of events was Mount Harmashatar, near Budapest, and the cars were timed over a distance of 3 kilometres 828 metres. There were four English cars, Baumer’s Austin, Farbane’s M.G. Magna ; Moritz’s,
Magnette and Brudes 1 .G. Magnette. Brudes, Baumer and Moritz all got “firsts,” while Farbane was second in his class. The sensation of the day was Brudes’ Magnette, which made fastest time and beat Steinweg’s Bugatti.
Here are the full results :Touring 1,100 c.c.
I. Feledi (Fiat), 3m. 29.73s., record.
2. Farbane (M.G.), 4m. 18.4s.
3. Strauss ( (Fiat), 4in. 46.53s.
1. Biro (Bugatti), 3m. 36.7s.
2. Baumer (Chrysler), 3m. 49.89s.
3. Delius (Rohr), 3m. 51as.
Sports 760 c.c.
&turner (Austin), 3m. 4.5s., record.
Sports 1,100 c.c.
Brudes (M.G.), 21n. 58.96 s., record.
Sports 1,500 c.c.
Bodor (Bugatti), 3m. 43.4s., record.
Sports 5,000 c.c.
Biro (Bugatti), 3m. 34.78s., record.
Racing 1,100 c.c.
Moritz (M.G.), 3m. 6.30s., record.
Racing 1,500 c.c.
Steinweg (Bugatti), 3m. 6.30s.
Mine. Klinger (Lancia), 4m. 14.36s. Mme. Sternischa (La Salle), 5m. 9.90s. Mine. Delmar (Bugatti), 3m. 21 .64s.
Paris-Rouen 40th Anniversary.
An historic motoring event was commemorated at Rouen on September 30th, namely the fortieth anniversary of the Paris-Rouen race of 1894. This classic event was the first motor-race ever held, and was won by Count de Dion, on a 4-seater steam car at the average speed of about 22 m.p.h., for the 80 miles. Peugeots finished second and third, with a PanhardLevassor fourth.
The anniversary this year took the form of a Rally for cars of pre-1905 vintage, and a score of competitors succeeded in reaching Louviers in preparation for the final run to Rouen. This 30 kilometre stretch of road was actually used in the race of 1894, and Sunday morning saw a stream of cars of the same epoch slowly proceeding towards Rouen. There the Quai de la Bourse was densely thronged by an enthusiastic crowd, who swarmed around the arriving machines with applause and cries of admiration. An official luncheon followed at the Restaurant de la Cathedrale, at which the Chair was taken by the Vicomte de Rohan, President of the A.C.F. Among the notabilities present were Count de Dion, winner of the 1894 race, M. Georges Durand, Secretary-General of the A.C.O., Henri Brasier, and Philippe Etancelin, the famous Rouennais driver of to-day. After a good many speeches had been made the scene of activity was moved to the main thoroughfares of Rouen, where a most interesting procession was held. First of all came a motley collection of cars ranging from 1905 to 1922. Immediately behind them followed the old cars that had taken part in the Rally. Then the progress of several makes was illustrated by different models, such as Peugeot 1895, 1900, 1910, 1914, 1920, 1922, 1930, and the very latest 1935 model. The rest of the show was made up by an History of the Taxi, the largest and smallest cars on the market to-day, and finally, specimens of every form of motor
vehicle, ambulances, armoured industrial vehicles, etc.
The C.S.I. Discuss the Formula and the Sporting Code.
The all important matter of the formula for Grand Prix races has been receiving the consideration of the International Sporting Commission. From an original attendance of Herr Fritsch (Germany), Baron Northomb and M. Langlois (Belgium), Messrs. Sparrow and Bradley (U.S.A.), Chevalier de Ku yff and M. Wrouse (France), Col. Lindsay Lloyd (Britain), Grand Officer Mercanti (Italy), Prince Ghika (Roumania), and M. Decrauzat (Switzerland), the following were elected as a sub-committee to consider amendments to the International Sporting Code : M. Perouse, Col. Lindsay Lloyd and Grand Officer Mercanti. At this first meeting, held on September 19th, the International Grand Prix dates were fixed, in addition to a few events of lesser importance. The full calendar for next year, by the way, appears on another page. This business over, a general discussion took place on suggested modifications to the Code, and the following were adopted :
1. No driver can enter for a Grand Prix without the consent of his National Automobile Club.
2. Any driver who starts before the fall of the flag shallbe penalised one minute.
3. The title of Grand Prix shall only be applied to a race fulfilling a certain standard of importance in itself, and in the qualifications of its organisers.
4. Every car competing in race run under the spOrting code must have a fire-proof bulkhead constructed between the engine and the driver. The meeting concluded with an expression of the view that any form of starting money, guarantee, or indemnification to ensure the entry of a driver is opposed to their views on this subject.
The first three of these new rules were suggested by the Italian delegate, and No. 1 is therefore particularly significant. Fagioli already drives for Mercedes, and Nuvolari is probably going to Auto Union ; who is going to handle the new Alias? Without the consent of the R.A.C.I. neither of these two Italian champions start in a big Grand Prix. That’s one way of reading the new rule, anyway.
At the next meeting, on October 12th, the calendar was carried a stage further, and this, in conjunction with the suggested amendments, was held over for final consideration by the General Assembly of the A.I.A.C.R., a few clays later. At this meeting a death blow was dealt to the hopes of those who seek to reduce the speed of modern G.P. cars by enforcing the use Of recognised fuels. This course was formally proposed by the French and Belgian delegates and was turned down flat, before it could reach the consideration of the General Assembly. I understand that the opinions of the manufacturers of cars racing at present was sought, and their answer, of course, was a foregone conclusion.