A Full Afternoon of Racing
Senigallia, August 8th.
Originally the Automobile Club of Senigallia had planned to hold a Formula 1 event, but a few weeks before it was due they changed the meeting to one for 750-c.c. racing cars and sports cars of under 2,000 c.c. and over 2,000 c.c. The resultant collection of racing machinery proved extremely interesting and It good afternoon of motor racing was provided.
The Senigallia circuit has a three-kilometre straight running parallel with the Adriatic sea, and halfway along this straight is situated the start and finish line. Just as the road enters the town the course turns left, winds between the houses, past the hospital, and then climbs steadily up to the top of the hills overlooking the sea, there being some quite severe curves in this climb. Reaching the top the circuit turns right again and plunges steeply downhill at right angles to the coastline and joins the main road which forms the straight, one lap measuring 9.3 kilometres.
For most of the season races have been held under dismal weather conditions, but the Senigallia meeting was an exception for, south of the Alps, the sun shone and Italy lived up to its “sunny” title, and on race day the heat was terrific.
The first race was a 12-lap one for racing cars up to 750 c.c. unsupercharged and, while most of the competitors were Italians, the favourite was S. Lewis-Evans with a Mk. VIII Cooper-Norton, while his father had a similar car. There were also three other Formula III cars running, a Cooper-J.A.P. owned by a Greek driver and two Italian Volpinis, which are very like early Coopers, one being fitted with an old Gilera four-cylinder engine and the other with a single-cylinder Gilera engine. The remaining ten competitors had various types of four-cylinder 750-c.c. machines, some single-seaters and others sports two-seaters, most of them being rather nicely built. In particular the single-seater Bandini, named after the driver-constructor, and a single-seater Moretti, driven by Recchi, were perfect little Grand Prix cars, scaled down to 750-c.c, size, both using their own design of o.h.v. four-cylinder engine. Another single-seater was that of Taraschi, being a Giaur with four-cylinder o.h.v. engine, while Bondi had a similar car fitted with a two-o.h.c. four-cylinder engine, both these also being of 750.c.c. capacity.
Lewis-Evans and Taraschi leapt away at the start and t hey were followed by Antonelli in the four-cylinder Gilera-Volpini, but at the end of the first lap the leading pair had outstripped the field, though still almost side by side. Although Taraschi did his best to hang on to young Lewis-Evans it was obvious that the Cooper-Norton could out-perform the 750-c.c, racer and the English driver soon built up a strong lead. These little 750-c.c. racing cars are a cult in Italy and while being heavier and stronger than the average Formula III car they have some very good racing amongst themselves. They are all built us small Grand Prix cars, rather than four-wheeled motorcycles, and in some ways it seems a pity when a freak-machine such as a Cooper-Norton is pitted against them, for on their own they provide some interesting miniature Grand Prix racing. However, entries of Formula Ill cars are accepted in these 750-c.c. events and no one grumbles when the “500” runs away from them, for that is just what Lewis-Evens did, though his father was less fortunate and lasted only three laps. In winning the event completely unchallenged, Lewis-Evans put up fastest lap, which was also a new record for the 750-c.c. class.
The second race was for sports cars up to 2,000 c.c. and naturally produced a goodly collection of Maserati A6G models. Musso and Perdisa were driving cars that were being cared for by the factory mechanics, who also found time to keep an eye on the A6Gs of Cacciari, Sbraci and the Swiss driver Musy. Opposing these five were three Mondial Ferraris, two being new ones identical in chassis to the 750S models, using de Dion rear end with high-mounted transverse leaf spring. One of these was a factory car and was being handled by Sighinolfi, while the other had only been finished two days before and had been purchased by the American driver Said, his being painted white with two blue splashes on the bonnet and tail. The third Mondial was an earlier one and belonged to the Scuderia Guastalia, being driven by Musitelli. The equal of these cars was the 2-litre Gordini owned by the Scuderia Cordial Italiana run by Franco Bordoni and this car was being driven by Casella. An unknown quantity but very interesting was the 2-litre six-cylinder Osca of Sgorbati, being outwardly identical to the production sports 1,500-c.c, model but having an engine as used in last year’s Formula II car. To complete the twelve runners was Margulies with his streamlined Lotus, rather handicapped by being only 1 1/2 litres, and a Greek-owned TR2 Triumph that was pathetically standard amongst all these racing/sports cars.
Perdisa, Musso and Casella occupied the front row, with Musy and Sighinolfi in row two, and as the field got away down the long straight there was quite a bit of baulking and dodging going on. Reaching the first corner they were still pretty bunched and during the heavy braking there was some bumping and boring which resulted in the Osca being put out, Sighinolfi crumpling the near side of his Ferrari and Musy pushing a front wing back onto a wheel, which delayed him for some time. Casella led from Musso, followed by Perdisa and Musitelli, and these four went by the pits nose to tail, being very well wound up in top gear along the straight. The rest followed with Musy a long way behind due to the bumping that had occurred. It did not take Musso long to get in front of the Gordini and once there he drew away, showing that his claim to this year’s sports-car championship in Italy was not an idle one. The Gordini tried hard for three laps but then stopped out on the course and this let Perdisa into second place. The works Ferrari was still a long way back, after the first lap melee, but Sighinolfi drove hard and worked his way up to fourth place, passing Said and Sbraci who were racing together. First Perdisa stopped with mechanical trouble and then Musitelli got a puncture, and all this let Sighinolfi into second place but too far behind the flying Musso to be able to do anything about it. Said had managed to pass Sbraci, but they were only a few feet apart and as the faster drivers dropped out the American found himself in third place, and the 15 laps finished with a rousing win for Maserati, followed by the two new Mondial Ferraris and then three more Maseratis, Musy being fifth after driving well to make up for his stop. Poor Margulies was suffering from lack of power due to a faulty carburetter and completed only five laps, while the TR2 Triumph plodded steadily along at a ridiculously low speed and finished over two laps behind the winner. Musso recorded fastest lap, knocking nine seconds off the existing record for the 2-litre class, so that when the over-2-litre cars lined up everyone anticipated the out-and-out lap record to be broken as conditions seemed to he excellent. The over-2-litre sports-car event was the last of the afternoon, the weather now being comfortably cool, and an almost certain winner was Maglioli, who was driving a factory Tipo 750S Ferrari. There were ten entries altogether and of these nine were Ferraris, but no two were the same. In addition to the works car, there was Gerini with the V12-cylinder 3-litre Monza that he drove so well in the Supercortemaggiore race, Cortese with an early four-cylinder 3-litre, Landi with a two-seater 3-litre V12, Pezzoli with a somewhat similar car, but an earlier model, Cassini with a V12 coupé 3-litre, Mallucci with an early 3-litre coupé, Pinzero with a very late-type 3-litre coupé, and Bonomi with a 4 1/2-litre V12 coupé, the tenth car in the list being Bordoni’s eight-cylinder 3-litre Gordini.
Maglioli was by far the fastest in practice and with him on the front row were Gerini and Bonomi, the 4 1/2-litre coupé going extremely well, so well in fact that it was leading at the end of the opening lap. However, lap two saw Maglioli in the lead, as expected, and from then on he romped away to lead for the rest of the 15 laps. Bonomi hung on grimly for more than half the race, but on the 11th lap he had to retire with engine trouble and this let Gerini into second place, driving well and keeping up the form he has been showing all the season in Italian national events. The Gordini was no match for the faster Ferraris but did manage to hold onto third place, ahead of Landi and Cortese, who had had a close battle throughout the race, there being very little difference between the two 3-litre engines, one a four-cylinder and the other a twelve-cylinder. Not only did Maglioli record the fastest lap but he broke the existing record, held by Villoresi with a 4 1/2-litre sports Ferrari, by just one fifth of a second, lapping in exactly 3 min. 13 sec., a speed of 169.091 k.p.h.