The Karlskoga Races

Author

D.S.J

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74

Some Swedish Fare

Karlskoga, August 14th.

Having travelled to Sweden for the Grand Prix.at Kristianstad the opportunity was taken to visit the friendly little meeting some way farther north, at Karlskoga. Although on the International Calendar, this meeting was more in the nature of a National club meeting, such as we see at Silverstone, but, like many such meetings, the organisation and general atmosphere was preferable to some very large events. The circuit used was a specially built one, constructed by the Karlskoga Motor club in a large field outside the town, and was in many ways comparable to our own Brands Hatch circuit, though this one was completely flat. Of only two kilometres in length, it contained a variety of corners and doubled back on itself in the centre of the arena, thereby affording the public an almost continuous view of the cars.

In keeping with the track there were five events of fairly short duration and a very full and varied entry was received, the whole of Saturday afternoon being given to practice. The organising was satisfactorily thorough, though not severe and certainly not complicated, which is one of the attractions of these small meetings to competitors. Scrutineering of the cars was such that the vehicles had to be driven up on to a wooden ramp and the mechanical details of suspension and brake gear was inspected at close quarters, and exhaust systems and shock-absorbers on the standard touring cars were checked against the catalogue. After practice all the more exciting sports cars returned to the local town in convoy and then visited an open-air motor show that was in progress, thereby gaining much publicity for the races.

For the first time in many years Sweden was enjoying a really hot summer and race day was no exception, so that the Formula Ill drivers were already quite warm when they started their 15-lap race to open the meeting. A fierce battle waged between Tyrell, Davis and Loens, all with Cooper-Nortons, followed by Tervooren with one of Lex Beel’s Cooper cars. The three leading cars were having a typical Formula 111 race until Loens had a drive-shaft break and dropped out of the running while he stopped to remove the bits, continuing with drive, to only one back wheel. After squeezing past Tyrell on the last lap Davis later took to the grass, for the fourth time on the same corner, and this let Tyrell through to win. The local boys were quite unable to keep up with this sort of racing.

There followed an awe-inspiring 10-lap race for completely standard saloon cars and the whole entry was composed of Swedish drivers. Many were not only fearless but highly skilled in dealing with modern understeering saloons. A D.K.W. Sonderklasse three-cylinder simply ran away with this race, but a Borgward Isabella and a Peugeot 203 fought desperately for second place. A line of Volvo and Fiat 1,100 cars followed, and the rear was brought up by two M,G. Magnette saloons. In spite of being cornered on the wheel rims these two rather heavy English family saloons were being led by a Volkswagen that was doing everything but roll over.

Returning to more serious racing, a dozen Series sports cars took the track. The Swedish driver Kaiser took the lead with his Porsche Spyder, closely followed by Loens with his A6G Maserati, with Persson driving a 300SL not far behind. A J2 Allard, three more Mercedes-Benz SLs, two 3-litre Ferrari coupés and three Austin-Healeys followed. Had Loens got past the Porsche he would probably have gone away on his own to win with ease, but instead he spun round and had to wait while the whole field went past before I could restart, as this was on the second lap. This let the Porsche get well away, but the Frenchman really livened up the race by fighting his way past car after car on this little track, where there was not a lot of room to pass, until he got back into third place by lap 10, or half distance. He was now tangling with a 12-cylinder coupé Ferrari, driven by J. Kvarnstrom, one of the top Swedish drivers, and in a desperate effort to run round the Ferrari on a long curve the Maserati spun again, dropping back to sixth place. Loens still would not give in and fought his way back into third position, and by the 20th lap was once more ready to have another go at the Ferrari but then the race finished. This display of “ear-holing” by the Maserati driver was so inspiring that he completely overshadowed the rest of the runners, even to the Porsche driver who led from start to finish.

To complete the programme eight “blood-and-thunder” sports cars lined up for a 30-lap race, with a Le Mans start. From the word go Carlsson jumped into the lead with his Monza Ferrari, but the Swiss driver Musy had his 3-litre Maserati tucked well up the tail of the big four-cylinder car. Bonnier, with the 3.5-litre ex-works Alfa-Romeo, was in close attendance in third place, and these three left the rest of the field far behind. As the other five cars were four home-built Ford V8 Specials and an old Talbot-Lago, this was not surprising. The Ferrari and the Maserati ran nose to tail throughout, the Alfa-Romeo dropping back after a while due to a lack of brakes. Try as he might the Swiss driver could not find room to get past the big Ferrari, and the Swedish driver certainly did not intend to move aside, even though the Maserati was being driven faster round many of the corners, though losing ground on low-speed acceleration. Three times Musy closed right up and then struck the tail of the Ferrari with the nose of his Maserati, but still the Ferrari clung to its precarious lead. This went on for 28 laps and on the last but one Musy tried in desperation to round the outside of the Ferrari in an all-or-nothing attempt. It resulted in nothing, for the Maserati spun through 360 degrees, leaving the Ferrari the victor, the Swiss driver restarting and finishing second. The Talbot had not lasted long and the Ford Specials waffled round, getting woollier and woollier, and only two of them were-still running at the end.

After a pleasant afternoon’s sport everyone returned to the town to wash off the effects of hot sun and a dusty paddock, and prizes were given away at a very friendly supper party. — D. S. J.