GOOD RACING IN SWITZERLAND SEAMAN WINS THE PRIX DE BERNE FOR THIRD TIME ROSEMEYER GAINS GRAND PRIX OF SWITZERLAND FOR AUTO-UNION
Favoured by glorious weather, the day of motor-racing on the circuit of Bremgarten near Berne was a complete success, and some fine racing was witnessed by a vast crowd.
In the morning the Prix de Berne race for 1,500 c.c. cars was held, and the question on everyone’s lips was whether Richard Seaman would be able to pull off the hat-trick. Two years ago he won the race on an M.G. Magnette ; last year his mount was an E.R.A. This time he was to drive the marvellous ” Voronoff ” Delage which has proved to be the sensation of the season.
The opposition was not as strong as it might have been, for the works Maseratis of Count Trossi and Tenni were not ready in time for the race. Frank McEvoy, the Australian, had the most dangerous Maserati, an independentlysprung car which should have done well, while the Swiss driver Hans Ruesch had his by-no-means-new car. For the rest, there were the official E.R.As. of Earl Howe, Raymond Mays and Pat Fairfield, several privately owned E.R.As., an old Talbot-Darracq, and Walter Baumer’s o.h.c. Austin, handicapped by virtue of its smaller engine.
The works E.R.As. were Zoller-blown, and had proved extremely fast in practice, Fairfield making the fastest lap of all competitors at 92.97 m.p.h. The history of the E.R.A. team for winning races, or should we say losing them, did not encourage people to believe in their chances of victory.
Seaman inevitably went to the front at the start, his black Delage being closely followed by Fairfield’s black E.R.A. and Birabongse’s blue E.R.A. Earl Howe stalled his engine on the starting-line, and lost valuable seconds before he got away. Round the 4i-mile circuit the cars roared, and then Seaman streaked past the stands once more with a nice lead over Fairfield, Birabongse and Mays, with the Maseratis nowhere.
Fairfield’s E.R.A. began to falter, and he was passed by Birabongse, and then soon afterwards by Mays and Embiricos, who was being hotly chased by Reggie Tongue. On the third lap Seaman put the field well behind him with a record circuit in 2 min. 5S.7 secs., at 91.15 m.p.h. He obviously had the measure of his rivals, and from then on was content to keep them at a distance without overstressing his own engine. Birabongse’s E.R.A. proved unequal to the strain of hanging on to the flying Delage, and a burnt-out valve put an end to the Siamese driver’s run. Embiricos, who had got the better of this fight with Tongue, was now in second place, albeit some distance behind Seaman. Earl Howe was slowly reducing the time lost at the start, but he was still behind Tongue. And so it went on to the end, and the gallant Delage came home a
most popular winner. Seaman has endeared himself to the Swiss spectator by his fine driving and calm demeanour.
Ruesch’s old Maserati was fifth, the first of its make to finish, and special praise is due to Balmier and his little Austin which finished sixth, in spite of having to stbp for refuelling. McEvoy could do no better than seventh after delays at the pits.
28 Laps : 126 miles
L. Seaman (Delage) lh. 26m. 30.43. 87.88 m.p.h.
2. Embiricos (E.R.A.) lh. 27m. 53.8s.
3. Tongue (E.R.A.) lh. 29m. 43.6s.
4. Earl Howe (E.R.A.).
5. Ruesch (Maserati).
6. Baumer (750 c.c. Austin).
7. Plate (Talbot).
9. Herculeyns (750 c.c. M.G.).
10. Bianco (laserati). The field in the big race presented the usual motley array of Auto-Unions, Merced e.s-B en z, Alf a-Romeos, Maseratis and Bugattis. The Germau teams consisted of four cars each, but the Scuderia. Ferrari had only three cars in the race, Nuvolari and Dreyfus driving 12-cylinder cars and Farina an “eight.” Among the independents were Sommer’s Alfa-Romeo, Earl Howe’s 8.3-litre Bugatti and
Etancelin’s Maserati. Great interest centred on the new 4.7-litre Bugatti, complete with single-seater body and cowled radiator, but Wimille had received the car from the works only the previous day, and the car was obviously not an point. Mercedes-Benz were going to make a great effort to win this race, having concentrated on it since the German Grand Prix. It was encouraging for them to see Caracciola leap away at the start, with Rosemeyer, the Auto-Union star,
hard on his heels. Then came the Mercedes” coming man,” Hermann Lang, and Nuvolari, who had nipped into fourth place in spite of a starting position in the middle of the field. A few minutes later the cars reappeared, the leaders in the same order, and every
one going hell for leather. Nuvolari’s blood was up, and on the second lap he passed Lang to take third place. The Italian champion found that the pace was too high for his Alfa, for the Bremgarten circuit allows very high speeds, and he gradually fell back to sixth place. Meanwhile a terrific struggle was going on between Caracciola and Rosemeyer. The latter was intended to be the pace maker of the race, but it took him some time to pass ” Carratsch.” For many laps the two silver cars went round with only a length between them. Rosemeyer cut down his time on every lap, until on
the fifteenth circuit, he got round in a new record of 2 min. 34.5 secs., representing the amazing speed of 105.42 m.p.h. At this stage the race had not developed into the runaway affair it was to become later. Caracciola had by no means given up the struggle, and now he was being pressed by Varzi, Von Brauchitsch and Lang, who were having a glorious scrap. Hans Stuck was far behind, handicapped by an arm in bandages. That he managed Speed
to drive at all was a gallant effort, for his elbow had been crushed against a chicane the previous week at Pescara.
The Bugatti had soon retired from the fray, the gear-lever having come adrift. The Alfas, too, were out of the race, Farina being the first to go with engine trouble and the two 12-cylinder cars refusing to restart after a pit-stop.
At half-distance the cars were due in for refuelling and tyre changes. Rosemeyer was the first man to stop, and he got away in the astounding time of thirty-five seconds, having taken on fuel and changed the rear wheels. MercedesBenz made a great error at this point of the race by deciding to risk running right through without having a wheel change, only fuel being taken on. The very next lap Von Brauchitsch lost a tyre tread, and all the cars had to be called in for the rear wheels to be changed. It did not materially affect the result, however, for Caracciola’s car broke a bracing in its rear suspension shortly afterwards, and Fagioli had already
retired with a broken oil-pipe. Other retirements were those of Earl Howe, who had run off the road into a field, escaping, as usual, • without injury ; Etancelin, who had broken a throttlecontrol ; and Biondetti, whose Alfa had developed transmission trouble.
For some time Lang had been in great pain with the finger he had broken at the Nurburg Ring, and now he came in to hand over his car to Fagioli. The latter came in soon afterwards with a rear tyre flat, and thus lost third place to Stuck, who was driving a magnificent race considering his injury. Rosemeyer out in front was continuing his regular progress, no longer at such high speed for he was nearly a minute ahead of Varzi.
The end drew near, and the only change was that Fagioli managed to catch Stuck. Almost immediately his engine began to misfire, and the Auto-Union driver took third place once more, completing a one, two, three victory for the most successful racing team of the year.
RESULT 70 Laps : About 315 miles
70 Laps : About 315 miles
1. Rosemeyer (Auto-Union) 3h. 9m. 1.6s. 100.53 m.p.h.
2. Varzl (Auto-Union) 3h. 9m. 54.2s.
3. Stuck (Auto-Union) 2 laps behind.
4. Lang-Fagioli (Mercedes-Benz) 2 laps behind.
5. Hasse (Auto-Union) 4 laps behind.