CIRCUIT OF AIX-LES-BAINS
WITH no works Ferraris entered for the fifth Circuit du Lac at the ideal holiday resort of Aix-les-Bains, the first reaction was that the race would not hold much interest, but by the time that practice was finished it was very obvious to everyone that their absence was really a good thing. Twelve cars were entered and of these only the Osca of Chiron was absent, it still heir”, at the factory for an overhaul, the other eleven consisted of the being trio, Trintignant, Schell and Behra, the three H.W.M.s of Macklin,
Collins and Cabantous, the Ferrari of Rosier, Bayol’s Osca John Fitch driving Alan Brown’s Cooper-Bristol and Graffenried and Marimon with A60 Maseratis, the last-named with a works car in place of his own blue and yellow machine. On a short circuit such as Aix, only 2 Ions. 410 to the lap, the
times were exceedingly close during practice and there was only 6 sec. between the fastest, Trintignant, and the slowest, Macklin. The well-surfaced circuit, roughly triangular in shape, runs along the edge of the Bourget Lake, overlooked by mountains that form the beginning of the Alpine range and both for practice and race day summer was really at its height, a blazing sun causing most people to dive into the lake as soon as activities were over. The form of the race was that peculiar speciality of the French, two heats in which everyone takes part and the addition of the. times to give the General Classification. Each heat was over 50 laps of the circuit, with a break in between the two to allow very hot drivers to cool down and oars to be mended if necessary. The line-up for the first heat was on practice-lap times, with Trintignant, Schell and Marimon n the front row, and to anyone knowing the capabilities of drivers and machines, their skill and reliability, any one of the eleven could prove to he the winner. Had the Ferrari team been present the result would almost have been certain, but the very mixed field of semi-professionals provided an interesting situation for the outcome could not be guaranteed. Marimon led away, soon to be overtaken by Schell and then Trintignant, followed by Behra, Bayol, Graffenried and the rest, with Fitch bringing up the rear. There was not much space to spare amongst the leaders and Schell soon received a dent in his tail that was the shape of a Maserati nose and a little while later Cabantous came round with his tail pushed in, again by Marinion’sMaserati. After only five laps Schell had to stop and have a misfire cured, leaving Trintignant and Marirnon to fight for the lead, which they did until the 14th lap when they both disappeared. Earlier, Graffentied’s Maserati had spewed all its oil out making things very slippery, and trying to catch the Gordini the Argentinian spun on one of the hairpins. Only n few hundred yards farther on Trintignant dropped a valve, the engine spat back and caught the carburetters on fire and he was out. Be,hra, in third place till now, went by into the lead and Bayol, who was following, stopped to give his fire extinguisher to. the driver of the burning Gordini and then carried on in second place. Rosier ran a steady third and the rest gradually fell farther and farther back, with Macklin leading them. After losing a number of laps Schell joined in again with great zest, but ten laps before the end the Gordini went woollyagain, as did the Cooper of Fitch and Collins’ H.W.M. What had started as a cutthroat dice had developed into a dreary procession and Behra had little difficulty in winning the first heat, from Bayol and Rosier. As the winner started off on his last lap Graffenried came out of the paddock, did a searing lap and was then flagged off with the rest,
the object being to qualify as a finisher. While preparations were made for the second heat it was interesting to reflect on the reactions of drivers when they hit the stream of oil deposited by Graffenrictrs Maserati early in the race. From a position overlooking the long left-hand curve past the start, where the oil began, most of the ears were sideways on as they hit it the first time. The second time round only Trintignant and Behra took avoiding action, altering their line into the corner so that they could run round the outside of the slippery section. Marimon continued to motor straight over the oil without being affected in the least, while Macklin endeavoured to keep on the inside of it, taking quantities of straw off the bales with his hub-caps. Rosier, Bayol and Fitch made not the slightest attempt to avoid it, merely slowing down and driving on the same line. After watching Trintignant for a number of laps Marmon ” caught-on ” and changed his line through the curve.
The field lined up for the start of the second heat, with the exception of Marimon and Trintignant, and took up grid positions in accordance with the order of finishing the first heat. Collins was troubled by having a clutch that would not free so the H.W.M. mechanics, and ” patron ” Heath, pushed the car as the flag fell and after three or four goes Collins managed to ” chink ” it into gear and motor off after the rest. From the front line Bayol on his neat little Osca, took the lead from Rosier and Behra, but soon Rosier dropped back, letting Behra and Graffenried past, but Graffenried did not last icing and stopped at the pits with the Maserati feeling rather sick. Bayol was driving remarkably well, the Osca so quiet that its speed was deceptive, and he and Debra kept up a neck-andneck struggle for the lead. Behind, Macklin was having a real go and holding on to Rosier, while Collins lasted only five laps. Fitch was still going awfully slowly, the Bristol engine misfiring badly, which did not help, and Schell’s Gordini had not really recovered itself. For 18 laps the Utica and the leading Gordini kept station and Rosier began to draw away from Macklin as the H.W.M.s brakes got tired. On lap 19 Belize dropped to third place and the next lap stopped altogether with the Gordini’s engine broken, and a few laps later Schell also came to rest with mechanical trouble. Bayol was now quite untroubled and circulated with beautiful regularity, the Osca humming quietly away to itself the while, being so quiet that as it rounded the paddock curve tyre squeal drowned the exhaust note. Both he and Rosier lapped Macklin, who was now third, twice, and as the Ferrari came by for the second time the H.W.M. driver seemed to wake up and hung on to Rosier for a number of laps, until the Frenchman was signalled to ease up and let the H.W.M. go, with the result, that they both slowed up and Rosier settled back into his normal gait, ahead of the green car. With the sun continuing to blaze down upon the circuit and the vendors of liquid refreshment continuing to produce more and more blocks of ice to keep the bottles cool, Bayol reeled off the 50 laps of heat two and finished nearly a lap ahead of Rosier, to win hi* first Formula It race, for his second place in heat one added to the first in heat two made him undisputed winner of the General Classification. Apart from recording his first major victory, Elie Bayol also marked up the first victory for the Formula II Osea, a victory that was long overdue, for these neat little cars, built by the Maserati brothers, have always appeared to possess great possibilities. First introduced at the end of last season, two cars have been built, Bayol having the first and Chiron the second, but neither driver being in today’s top class, one being too new and the other being too old, the six-cylinder Osca has never really been given a proper chance. Frequently, however, both of them have shown their capabilities, but not for long, as at Monza last year, when Bayol was the only one to record a practice time approaching the works Ferraris and Maseratis. With its twin-cam six-cylinder engine, four-speed gearbox in unit with the differential, de Ilion rear axle and double wishbone front suspension, the whole layout of the Formula II Osca is most impressive for its neatness and lack of unnecessary
frills and weight, while its quiet manner of going tends to give an impression of slowness, until lap times are correlated to driver.
ability, when it is soon realised that in the hands of a top-flight driver and with factory backing it could be a menace to the Ferraris and Maseratis.
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