THE PARIS NICE TRIAL
GORDINI, WINNER OF THE BOL D’OR 24-HOUR RACE, RUNS OUT EASY WINNER WITH HIS SIMCA FIAT
THE Paris-Nice Trial organised by the Automobile Club de Nice is a real test, not only of the drivers but also of the competing cars. We, in England, may perhaps feel that our trials have gradually tended to become contests of skill between drivers mounted on specially developed vehicles which may not be particularly suitable for normal use on the road. Trials courses too have included sections quite unlike any road that even the most intrepid and adventurous tourist would be likely to encounter. Hence the feeling among many enthusiasts that trials, as we have known them, have become divorced from the realities of motoring. Not so the ParisNice Trial however. Figure to yourself, as they say on the Cote d’Azur, a trial which starts with a timed flying lap of the Montlhery track, followed up with a road section of over 500 miles (including the Col de la Croix Haute and the Col de Leques) which has to be covered at an average of 40 m.p.h. At the final control (only 15 minutes late margin allowed) there are special tests for slow running, flexibility, acceleration and braking. And, finally, there is a hill climb on the famous la Turbie bill. This is a real trial which is carefully designed to test the really useful features of a motor-carreliability, speed, flexibility, acceleration, hill climbing and braking. The Paris-Nice is more than a trial ; the French call it an ” epreuve tech
nique.” The cars have to be genuine standard catalogued chassis, made since 1634, and they have to carry full equipment, hood, lights, windscreen wiper, self-starter and horn. Moreover, all this equipment must still be in working order at the finish. Before the start certain vital parts, such as the chassis frame, back axle, engine, cylinder head, are marked with special paint to prevent their being changed during the trial. Bodies have to be of certain minimum dimensions and even the driver and
passenger must weigh more than a minimum of 60 kilogrammes. The regulations are very carefully planned to ensure that only genuine
touring cars compete, and the officials are given wide p.wers to see that the competitors comply with the spirit of regulations. However, as everyone knows who has competed in Continental motoring events, regulations are made to be overcome, and some of the French ParisNice competitors had certainly exercised great ingenuity. The proceedings opened on 31st July and 1st August at Montlhery where the cars were weighed and certain vital parts marked with special white paint. Gear ratios and body dimensions were checked_ Competitors were then sent out to do their timed flying laps of the “circuit
de vitesse.” It was an extremely hot day, and in spite of a cool wind the drivers of some of the closed cars found that they got too warm for comfort after a lap or so flat out. Mme. Rouault’S streamlined Delahaye saloon had the side windows sealed up with some black mastic, the only ventilation being provided by small hinged windows in the tail. She suffered from clutch slip at full throttle and during her flying lap the body filled with acrid blue smoke which must have been extremely unpleasant. In spite of this handicap however she managed to get round the 2i-kilometre ” concrete saucer” in 58f seconds. Hampton’s new type 57S Bugatti coupe, which was scarcely yet fully run in, had experienced magneto trouble. He had managed to get another magneto fitted in Paris but he was afraid the timing was too much retarded. McKenzie (Riley Nine saloon) was also completely out of luck. After having had his bodywork damaged he had got it very quickly and skilfully repaired in Paris in time to present himself at the weighing in, only to be put out of the trial almost immediately by a broken connecting rod. Mrs. Petre and Mine. Hier with the little Austin (one of the trials cars but imblown) were also in trouble. On being weighed they were found to be less than the regulation 60 kilogrammes each. Ballast had to be obtained to make up the difference. The body of the Austin was then found to be too small but however the difficulties were eventually overcome after some little discussion. The recollection of Mine. Itier bringing all her powers. of persuasion to bear on M. Portal, the President
of the Automobile Club de Nice, will remain with us for many a day. Lord Waleran and L. CaHingham were driving the same twelve-cylinder Lagonda that competed in the Scottish Rally. It attracted a good deal of favourable comment at the weighing in. The H.R.G., driven by Yarburgh-Bateson, was the same car that ” Bira ” drove in the L.C.C. 3-Hour Sports-Car Race. It lapped in 1 min. 9 secs., putting up the best speed in its class. Rene Dreyfus, who examined the H.R.G. with interest, was heard to comment : ” une tres jolie auto.” The fastest car was Le Begue’s red 4-litre Talbot with neat workmanlike
streamlined two-seater body. He put in the fastest timed lap at 117 m.p.h. ! Gordini’s and Mme. Largect’s 1,500 c.c. Simca Fiat had very light, long tailed body work which covered in the wheels. They showed a surprising turn of speed, Gordini beating all but a few of the very fastest 4-litre cars. After an official reception of the competitors given by the A.C.F., the road section started from Boissy St. Leger, just outside Paris, at 10.15 p.m. on the night of Tuesday, August 2nd. The Saurer motor coach (there was a special class for ” voitures multiplaces “) driven by sturdy M. Lamberjack, and the cars under 1,500 c.c. were sent off first, followed by the larger cars an hour later. All open cars had to run with their hoods up until the Breakfast control at Pontde-Claix just beyond Grenoble. Marks were deducted if they arrived damaged. The route to Grenoble was via Troyes, Dijon, Beaune, Bourg, and the run was uneventful for most of the competitors. The Saurer motor coach rumbled along at 80 m.p.h. and Savoye (Singer) and Gordini (Simca Fiat) had quite a scrap for part of the way. The Talbot Ten driven by Stanley Barnes and R. Hughes retired, due, we understand, to part of the dynamo having come adrift, damaging the radiator. Brunot’s Hotchkiss went off the road but all except six competitors arrived safely with time in hand at the Pont-de-Claix control which was operi from 7.15 to 8.45 a.m. Here ” la Societe Dunlop,” to celebrate their jubilee (18881938), offered a welcome breakfast to the
drivers. It is to be hoped that other people may decide to celebrate their anniversaries in an equally practical and generous manner !
Mrs. Petre and Mme. Itier only paused at the control long enough to have their route cards stamped. That they managed to get their little Austin along over the very sinuous hilly roads between Grenoble and Nice at anything like the required average speed reflects great credit on them.
Just_ after Pont-de-Claix, YarburghBateson narrowly avoided hitting a cart due to his brake adjustment having slackened off. This was soon put right however, and he set off again for the Col de la Croix Haute. The morning air was still cool and the sky overcast, but as the competitors drove southwards through Sisteron, Digne, Castellane and Grasse the day got steadily hotter. On the way up to the Col, Camerano passed us with his Simca Fiat saloon (1,100 c.c.) going very fast and making a
tremendous noise. One of the outstanding features of the Paris-Nice was the astonishing performances that Gordini and his fellow men managed to extract from these little Fiats. A study of Gordini’s times at Montlhery and la Turbie provides considerable food for thought. Admittedly his car is good aerodynamically and no doubt it is as light in weight as it can be got ; but nevertheless his speed was little short of a miracle. Gordini drove through the whole trial single-handed, carrying ballast instead of a passenger. Going over the Col du Pas de la Faye Mine. Rouault passed us in the almost hermetically sealed terra-cotta coloured Delahaye saloon. It appeared to be pretty hot inside. Just beyond Grasse the Talbot team were met by a service van
where the cars were given a last look over before going into the control at Nice and the final tests. At Capes there was a similar depot for the Simca Fiat
drivers. The H.R.G. also stopped to adjust brakes and make sure that everything was working. In spite of the high average speed set most competitors found time to look over their cars and have some lunch before the control opened at Pontdu-Var just on the outskirts of Nice.
From the control the cars were driven to the Quai des Etats-Unis, where they were examined, and all the equipment tested. After this they had to undergo two special tests. The first test consisted of a slow running test in third gear over 100 metres, ‘followed by acceleration in the same gear over a similar distance. An official sat in the passenger’s seat to see that nobody used his clutch or brakes to make the car go slower. Le Begue pulled on a piece of string attached to his accelerator pedal to ensure that the throttle closed fully. The second test comprised 200 metres acceleration from a standing start immedi ately followed by a braking test. Le
Begue (Talbot) and Gordini (Simca Fiat) both put up the same time of 121 secs. for the 200 metres acceleration but Gordini was better in the braking test. These two were running very close for first place in the final classification, so close in fact that the final decision lay with the results of the la Turbie billclimb.
LA TURBIE BILL CLIMB RESULTS Racing-Cars
5,000 to 8,000 c.c.: 1, Stuck (Auto-Union), 8m. 3018.; average 67.04 m.p.h.
3,000 to 5,000 c.o.: 1, Dreyfus (Dolahaye), 3m. 401s.
2,000 to 8,000 c.o.: 1, Raymond (Hotchkiss), 4m. 458.; 2, Vernon (Jaguar), 4m. 531s.
500 to 750 c.c. : 1, Mrs. K. Petre (Austin), Cm. 48s. 750 to 1,000 c.c.: 1, Gordini (Simca), 4in. 491s.; 2, Savoyc (Singer), 5m. 25s.
1,100 to 1,500 c.c. :1, Yarburgh Bateson (H.R.G.), 5m. 51s. ; 2, Glad (M.G.), 6m. 12is.
2,000 c.c. : 1, lanes (Frazer-Nash-B.M.W.), 4m. 451a.; 2, Fothergill (Triumph), 5m. 581s.
2,000 to 8,000 e.o. : 1, Pycroft (Jaguar), 4m. 471a.; 2, Wisdom (Jaguar), 4m. 571s.
8,000 to 5,000 c.c. : Le Begue (Talbot), 3m. 6918.
RESULTS OF THE PARIS NICE TRIAL General Classification
1. Gordini (Simea-Flat), 1,202.8 marks.
2. Le Begue (Talbot), 1,205.3 marks.
3. Trevoux (Hotchkiss), 1,220.3 marks.
4, Madame Rouault (Delete:Lye) ; 5, Sapeltin (Simca); 6, Madame Simon (Hotchkiss) ; 7, MBe. Robert (Talbot)’ 8, Innes (Frazer-Nash-B.M.W.); 9, Wisdom (SS Jaguar)10, Rosier (Talbot) ; 11, Chaboud (Delahaye) ; 12, Camerano (Shwa); 18„ Rossi (Talbot); 14, Lacheze (Talbot) ; 15, De In Celle (Talbot) ; 16, Molinari (Simca); 17, Lard Waterer’ (Lagonda) ; 18, Lege (Talbot) ,• 10, Vernon (Jaguar) ; 20, Yarburgh Bateson (H.R .0.) ; 21. Hampton (1Bugatti) ; 22, Glad (M.(4.); 23, FothergIll (Triumph) ; 24, Huguet (Hotchkiss); 25, Andreany (Citroen); 26, Mm. Petre (Austin) ; 27, be Rue (Peugeot) ; 28, Pycroft (Jaguar) ; 29, Madame Lament (Simon).
Cars below 1,500 c.c. : 1, Gordini (Shwa): 2, Lapchin (Sluice); 3, Camcrano (Simon); 4, Molinari (Simon). Women’s Classification :1, M. Rouault (Delahaye) ; 2, N. Simon (Hotchkiss); 3, Mlle. Robert (Talbot). Auto Challenge Trophy : Trevoux-Simon (Hatch