De Graffenried’s and “Bira’s” 4CLT Maseratis Follow Him Home. Moss Heads the “500s”
The racing at that 2.7-mile circuit on the sand dunes at Zandvoort, which the B.R.D.C. popularised last year, was, on July 31st, very good. As before, we had two heats, of 15 laps or about 63 miles each, followed by a 104mile Final.
Rain rendered the rather sand-strewn course tricky when the cars were flagged away for the first heat. The contestants comprised Farina (two-stage 4CLT Maserati), Villoresi (single-stage Ferrari, underslung rear suspension, variable rear wheel camber), Harrison (C-type Jamieson E.R.A.), Rosier (Lago-Talbot), “Bira” (4CLT Maserati), Claes (Lago-Talbot), Horsfall (Bell’s mended B-type two-stage Jamieson E.R.A.), and Hampshire (modified 1934 E.R.A.).
Villoresi had secured a decent lead after a lap, followed by Farina and Rosier. The Talbot had caught “Bira” but the Siamese soon re-passed. Not only was Villoresi’s Ferrari steadier than Farina’s Maserati, but the latter began to misfire, so the thing became a procession, “Bira” slowed by thoughts of a new piston fitted to his Maserati’s engine the night before, and Hampshire stopping for a fresh plug So Villoresi won very easily, averaging 75.92 m.p.h. from Farina, “Bira,” Rosier, Harrison, Horsfall, Claes and Hampshire. Villoresi also lapped fastest, to the tune of 78.6 m.p.h.
The second heat saw the following come to the line: Ascari (Ferrari, like Villoresi’s), Etancelin (Lago-Talbot), Parnell (4CLT Maserati — his own), de Graffenried (4CLT Maserati), Whitehead (Ferrari with “overhead” rear suspension and fixed rear wheel camber), Gerard (B/C type Jamieson E.R.A., now with another new front end incorporating an oval air aperture), Sommer (1,440-c.c. Simca), and Crossley (1949 G.P. Alta, with neat air-filter and shock-absorbers adapted as steering dampers). After a lap we saw that Reg. Parnell had passed Ascari and led by four lengths. Next round, however, after a bit of neck-and-neck, Ascari passed Reg., and after five laps led him by 13 sec., with de Graffenried third, close up, then Etancelin, Whitehead and Gerard. The Baron caught Parnell but Reg., really driving, got by and closed to within 23 sec. of Ascari, whose Ferrari wasn’t absolutely in full tune. Then the rain came down heavily, but Parnell drove well and rapidly, so that after 19 laps he went past the leading Ferrari. He won at 74.44 m.p.h., from Ascari, de Graffenried, Etancelin, Gerard and Crossley, while Whitehead’s Ferrari retired with one magneto useless and Sommer with a broken throttle control.
So to the Final! Villoresi, Ascari and Parnell occupied the front line. Horsfall, worried by a stiff piston, had scratched Bell’s E.R.A. Alas, Farina crept off before the flag fell and Parnell followed him, but after a lap, although Farina still led, Villoresi was now second, Ascari third. “Bira,” displaying his customary skill, was soon in third place, however, and Villoresi and Ascari were comfortably in front and playing that passing and repassing game they showed us at Silverstone last year. Hampshire was again in trouble, with escaping fuel pressure, and the G.P. Alta went out with water inside as well as outside the engine, while “Bira” lost revs. and Harrison retired. So it was Ascari, Villoresi, Farina, until the last-named found his Maserati very sick and Ascari had a front wheel fall off his Ferrari, luckily depositing the car in the sand without personal injury. So de Graffenried took third place, and that is how they finished — Villoresi, at 77.12 m.p.h., Farina, de Graffenried, “Bira,” Parnell, Etancelin (ahead of Villoresi on road position but lapped), Gerard, Rosier, Claes and Hampshire. When Parnell and Farina had been penalised one minute each for false-starting, the result became Villoresi, de Graffenried, “Bira,” Farina, Etancelin, Parnell.
This racing was interspersed by a 26-mile 500-c.c. race. Moss, who lapped at 61.5 m.p.h. in practice, won, so comfortably, at 66.92 m.p.h., in spite of bowling over a mechanic who shouldn’t have been on the track, at the start. Moss slowed to come in, but was waved on. He is not only an exceptional driver, but is earning admiration for a happy knack of doing the right thing in any particular circumstance. Behind him Aston, Beels and Brandon fought out a very close finish in that order, 0.1 and 0.2 sec. separating their cars. Beels, the Dutchman, made fastest lap, at 69.1 m.p.h., Dryden was fifth, Coldham sixth and Habin seventh. All drove Coopers. A very good meeting.