STRAIGHT BEATS MONT VENTOUX RECORD.
When Whitney Straight drove his Maserati to the top of the Mont Ventoux hill-climb in 14m. 313/5s. he accomplished a performance which will rank as the outstanding achievement of its kind during the 1933 season. To beat the pre
vious record held by Caracciola on one of the famous ” monoposto ” Alfa Romeos by no less than 40 seconds is really astonishing. The road was closed at 7 o’clock in the morning of September 3rd, and by that time a tremendous crowd had already found its way up the hill. At 9 o’clock the first competitor was dispatched, Real
on a Mathis, followed by Vial on a Hotchiss. Then the distinctive note of an M.G. Midget was heard, and Onzarow came up in good style, setting up a new class record with a time of 21m. 3 2/5s. In the 1 litre sports class Rey, a previous holder of the hill-record, made easily the best time, being nearly 4 minutes faster than the next man. Fastest of all the sports cars, however, was Tadini’s Alfa Romeo, which climbed in the remarkable time of 15m. 45 1/5s., not so very far off the record for the hill. Colas, on an Essex Terraplane Eight, took 19m. 58 3/5s. The sports categories closed with a skilful effort on the part of Charles Brackenbury, driving Whitney
Straight’s 8 litre Bentley saloon. Although the car was far from ideal for the rapid negotiation of hairpins, Brackenbury’s time was 19in. 3/5s. Then came the racing cars. Great disappointment was felt when it was found that Albert Divo was unable to
start with the four-wheel-drive Bugatti owing to mechanical trouble in practice. Divo is quite an ” old-timer ” at Mont Ventoux, and is very popular with the crowd. Leurquin had a fairly easy task in the 1,100 c.c. class, his 6 cyl. Amilcar recording a time of 17m. 5 4/5s. Mistral was unopposed in the 1,500 c.c. division,
but made a new class record nevertheless in 16m. 57 4/5s.
At last the ” over 2 litres” category moved to the line, and the real business of the day was begun. The first part of the Mont Ventoux hill-climb is fairly fast, with an easy gradient from the village of Bedoin to St. Esteve. Then come hairpin bends innumerable, up a steep gradient, until at last the Observatory on the summit is reached, which marks the finishing point of the 13i mile climb.
In spite of Divo’s absence the entry was an imposing one, being composed of Falchetto, Braillard, Lehoux, and Stuber, on Bugattis, Etancelin, Moll, Sommer, Zanelli and Siena on Alfa Romeos, and finally Whitney Straight (Maserati). Times of under 16 minutes were the general rule, but it was left to Whitney Straight to make the star performance of the day. His Maserati looked very fast on the lower section to St. Esteve, but it was on the upper hairpins that his superior driving was shown at its best. His cornering was an object lesson in mountain climbing, hairpins being taken with a consistent technique developed by serious practising. In addition, he had fitted twin wheels at the rear, giving a good grip to the tyres. When Straight’s time of 14m. 31 3/5s. was announced all those present, spectators and competitors, were absolutely dumb
founded. No other driver got anywhere near Straight’s record. Lehoux was best of the rest, with 15m. 8 2/5s., beating Caracciola’s 1932 record by 4 seconds. Palchetto was third and Etancelin fourth. Moll had the misfortune to hit a wall soon after the starting point, and the impact threw him out of the car, breaking his
750 c.c. 1, Real (Mathis), 27m. 56 1/5s. 3,000 c.c. 1, Vial (Hotchkiss), 20m. 58 4/55.;
2, Balester (Renault), 23m. 44s.
750 c.c. 1, Onzarow (M.G.), 21m. 3 2/5s., new record.
1,100 c.c. 1, Jourdan (Samson), 20m. 23 1/5s.
1,500 c.c. 1, Rey (Bugatti), 17m. 55 4/5s., new record ; 2, Richter (Rally), 21m. 12 4/5s.; 3, Merindol (Salmson), 21m. 34 4/58.; 4, Challe (Bugatti), 26m. 39 2/5s.
5,000 c.c. 1, Tadini (Alfa Romeo), 15m. 45 1/5S., new record ; 2, Colas (Essex), 19m. 583/55.
Unlimited. 1, Braekenbury (Bentley), 19m. 2/5s.
Racing. 1,100 C.C. 1, Leurquin (Amilcar), 17m. 5 4 5s.,
new record ; 2, Perreol (Rosengart), 19m. 53 3/53.
3, Fenouil (Rosengart), 20m. 25 3/5s. ; 4, La bay (Mathis), 21m. 6 4/55. ; 5, Viossat (Mathis), 23m. 4 1/5s.
1,500 c.c. 1, Mistral (Bugatti), 16m. 57 4/58., new record.
Unlimited. 1, Whitney Straight (Maserati), 141n. 31 3/5s. ; 2, Lehoux (Bugatti), 15m. 8 2/55.; 3, Falchetto (Bugatti), 15m. 13 3/55.; 4, Etancelin (Alfa Romeo), 15m. 20 4/5s. ; 5, Brainard (Bugatti), 15m. 27 4/5s. ; 6, Zanelli (Alfa Romeo), 15m. 32 3/5s.; 7, Siena (Alfa Romeo), 15m. 41 3/5s.: 8, Sommer (Alfa Romeo), 15m. 57 3/5s.