AUTO-UNION WINS THE “FINAL” AT BRNO
LAST BIG RACE OF THE YEAR WON BY HANS STUCK, WITH FAGIOLI (MERCEDES) SECOND AND NUVOLARI (MASERATI) THIRD. JUNIOR RACE GOES TO FARINA (MASERATI), WITH M.G.’S THIRD AND FOURTH
THE Grand Prix of Masaryk can rightly be termed the final round of the battle’ waged between the leading teams in various parts of Europe throughout the season. Auto-Union. Alfa-Romeo, Mercedes-Benz, Bugatti and Maserati were all represented there on September 30th, as well as some famous independents. It was too much to expect an Alfa, a Bugatti or a Maserati to win, but the struggle between the German rivals was certain to be intensely exciting.
A Voiturette. Race was also to be held, and attracted no less than 21 entries. Of these, more than half were 1,500 c.c. Bugattis, two of which, driven by Burggaller and Sojka, were strongly favoured to win. They would be strongly opposed, however, by Farina’s extremely quick 1,500 Maserati and the smaller M.G. Magnettes handled by G.E.T. Eyston and R. J. B. Seaman. The Masaryk circuit is long by modern standards, having a length of nearly 20 miles. Half of it is made up of the national route through Ostrovacice, Bosonohy, Veselka and Novy Liskovec, and the rest is the district route through Brno (Pisarky), Kohoutovice, Zebetin, and Ostrovacice. The road rises and falls about 750 feet during the lap, with a maximum uphill gradient of 7 per cent. and downhill gradient of 9.5 per cent. It can be very tricky when wet,
as it was last year when Moll. Mme. Fritsch, Decuroli, Landi, Ripper, Veyson and Hamilton all came to grief. It is somewhat disturbing to recall, by the way, that three (int of these seven drivers have since been killed.
The prize money was splendid The first man home received 80,000 crowns and a gold plaquette ; the second 40,000 crowns and the third 20,000 crowns. There were lots of special prizes, one being donated by the finest woman road racing driver of all time, Mme. E. Jimeck, who will be remembered for her classic drive in the Targa Florio one year.
With typical German thoroughness the Auto-Unions and Mercedes teams were first on the scene. Von Stuck, on one of the former cars, soon broke the lap record, and gave the impression that the race would be run at an exceptionally high speed. On th’s day young Josef Brad au crashed in the peculiar circumstances described elsewhere in this issue. The second day’s practice saw Von Stuck get round in 13 mins. 45 secs., and Nuvolari also piloted an Auto-Union for several laps. His best time on the German car was 14 mins. 15 secs. Later he went out on the 3,500 c.c. Maserati and did sonic very fast laps. Another surprise came when Von Stuck appeared at the wheel of a Mercedes-Benz, and clocked a lap in 14 mins. 5 secs.
The weather was perfect on the day of the races, a clear sky, sunshine and summer heat. A tremendons crowd collected all round the course, coming from far away parts of Czechoslovakia and even from Poland, Austria, Hungary and Jugoslovia. The official estimate of the crowd was 100,000, and the parks contained 20,000 cars. Great excitement prevailed everywhere, and the Czechs were obviously making the race a national ” day-out.” The start was as impressive as usual, and a great cloud of blue smoke went up as the 17 cars roared away. They were made up as follow : Auto-Unions, Stuck, Momberger and Prince Leiningen ; Mercedes-Benz, Caracciola, Fagioli and Henne; Bugattis, Benoist and Wimille (team), Hartmann, Bjomtad, Pohl, Holesak and
Pa vlicek ; Alfa-Romeos, Varzi, Comotti and Chiron ; Maserati, Nuvolari. Von Stuck’s slim Auto-Union shot into the lead, followed by Fagioli (Merc&lesBe n z) , Nuvolari (Maserati) , Caracciola (Mercedes-Benz), Varzi (Alfa-Romeo). The first few laps were covered in this order, and then Fagioli made a mighty effort and passed Stuck. Only about 100 yards astern thundered Nuvolari, grimly determined to stick with the leaders even if his new Maserati was not quite so fast as the Germans. Another two hundred yards behind howled Caracciola’s Mercedes-Benz. The Alfas were going well, but were outpaced, while the Bugattis were having a bad day. Wimille had to retire early in the race, and he was followed by Benoist on the 8th lap.
The surface of the road was in an appalling state, and all at once the spectators at the town of Ostrovacice witnessed two incidents which had a bearing on the final placings in the race. First of all Caracciola’s Mercedes broke a wheel, which fortunately did not render the car uncontrollable but nevertheless caused him to retire. Then Nuvolari had a terrific skid which landed him in difficulties, but he was fortunately able to continue. The Stuck-Fagioli battle ceased for a moment when the latter came into-the pits to refuel. But he was soon
off once more, driving like the wind to catch the Auto-Union. Two more retirements were announced at this time, both of them affecting the Ferrari stable. Comotti suffered a broken petrol tank from the severe buffeting of the car on the rough road, and Chiron put down his broken oil pipe to the same cause. The independent springing of the German cars was a great advantage at Masaryk.
Nearer and nearer crept the wily Fagioli, and on the 11th lap lie caught up with Stuck and passed him right in front of the grandstands. The excitement of the crowd at this sight was terrific. For three more laps the white Mercedes led, and then it pulled up at the pits for a short stop which deprived Fagioli of his last chance of winning the race. He tried his best, though, and beat Stuck’s previous lap record of 13 mins. 39 secs. with a magnificent lap in 13 mins. 16.2 secs. (133.254 k.p.h.), the fastest of the day.
In third place came Nuvolari, who had carried on after his accident just as though nothing had happened. His new Maserati is a good car, not quite a match for the Germans, but fast for all that. The Junior Race was an interesting affair, for there was great rivalry between Farina’s Maserati, the Bugattis, and the British M.G. Magnettes. Guiseppe
Farina is a newcomer to racing and distinguished himself recently in the Biella race, where he held off such worthy rivals as Comotti on a 3-litre Ferrari Alfa.
At the start of this race he immediately jumped into the lead, and his beautiful little Maserati was going to be a difficult car to catch. Hans Burggaller, the fine German Bugatti driver. was hot on his heels, followed by a Bugatti shared by two Czech drivers, Bruno Sojka and Florian Schmidt, and the Englishmen Seaman and Eyston.
Farina was never headed throughout the race, in spite of the sternest challenge of Burggaller. These two kept up a fight which greatly excited the crowd, and they finished the 270 odd miles less than a minute apart. In fact the first four were all close together, and George Eyston lost third place by 3 seconds to Sojka and Schmidt’s Bugatti. The fastest lap was made by Farina in 14 mins. 55 secs. (118.524 k.p.h.). The finishing position of the M.G.s was particularly good for 1,100 c.c. cars against 14.-litre rivals.
rivals. RESULTS. Unlimited Race.
1. H. Stuck (Auto-Union), 3h. 53rn. 27.9s., 127.320 m.p.h.
2. L. Fagioli (Merckles-Benz), 3h. 56m. 24s. 3. T. Ntwofan (Maserati), 3h. 57m. 14s. ,
4. Prince Von Leiningen (Auto-Union), 4b. 2m. 5s.
5. A. Varzi (Alfa-Romeo), 4h. 4m. Is. 6. E. Benne (Mereedts-Benz), 4h. 12m. 12s 1,500 c.c. Race
I. G. Farina (Maserati), 3h. 58m. 49s., 109.820 m.p.h.
2. E. Burggaller (Bugatti), 3h. 59m. 32s.
3. F. Schmidt-B. Sojka (Bugatti), 3h. 59m. 44s.
4. G. E. T. Eyston (M.G. Magnette), 3h. 59m. 475. S. R. J. B. Seaman (M.G. Magnette), 4h. 1m. 32s.
From the archives with Doug Nye
Son of the Ford GT40 It didn’t race for long, but the Mirage M1’s historic significance is greater than its results imply The weekend after the Goodwood Festival, I spent…
Anyone who saw Siffert driving the STP-March works car in the early part of the 1970 season could not have missed the iridescent glow that emanated from it as it…
News in brief, September 2004
The Bentley Speed Six in which Frank Clement and Dick Watney finished second at Le Mans in 1930 has been sold at auction for close to £2.8 million. The Works…