I° GRAN PREMIO DI TRIPOLI
Circuito Tripolitania (I), 16 - 18 April 1925 (Saturday).
3 laps x 71.10 km (44.18 mi) = 213.3 km (132.54 mi)
Balestrero wins the Tripoli Grand Prix with OM
by Hans Etzrodt
The 1925 Tripoli Grand Prix on the Tripolitania circuit was held for 15 starters which were divided into two categories. The five large cars over 2000 cc started on April 17, including Trivero (Fiat)
Gaia (Lancia) and Grasso (Cottin Desgouttes) who finished in that order as two other cars retired. The ten 2000 cc and 1500 cars raced two days later. Balestrero (OM) won ahead of Platè (Chiribiri)
and Calò (Amilcar), followed by Mazzacorati and Varaschini in 1500 Fiats. Five other cars retired.
The first Circuito Automobilistico della Tripolitania took place in Libya, which had been under Italian rule as a colony since 1911. The newly founded Automobile Club di Tripoli staged their first race
on April 15 for motorcycles, won by Giovanni Massa riding a Sarolea. For the actual Tripoli Grand Prix all makes of cars were admitted driven by civilian or military personnel stationed in Tripolitania.
The race was held on April 16 as scheduled but without the smaller cars which were coming per ship from Italy but had been unloaded by mistake at Benghazi and had not yet arrived in Tripoli. As a result, they were
going to race separately two days later.
It was a national event staged on the 71.1 km Tripolitania dirt road circuit. The start was in the south-eastern residential part of Tripoli, passed the Ben Gashir gate, Fonduk Ben Gashir, through Aziza,
Suani Ben Adem and back to Tripoli, 3 laps for a total of 213.30 km.
On April 16th the five large cars over 2000 cc started in their own race. The cars were in use by the military but some were driven by local drivers. The starter was Captain Bertuzzi who sent away the first
car, Major Babini in a Fiat 3A military model. After a short delay Lieutenant Trivero also in a Fiat 3A was started, ahead of Lieutenant Gaia (Lancia), then Grasso (Cottin Desgouttes) and last
Peruzzi (Fiat 505). Babini's Fiat broke a connecting rod on the first lap and the Fiat driven by Peruzzi burst simultaneously all 4 tires after hitting a barrier at the entrance of Sciarra
Ricardo. After changing the tires, the steering column mounting broke loose causing Peruzzi's retirement. The Winner was Trivero with his Fiat 3A ahead of Gaia in the Lancia and Grasso third without a time recorded.
|1.||..||Alberto Trivero||Lt. A. Trivero||Fiat||3/A||4.4||S-4||3||2h52m32.6s|
|2.||..||Vittorio Gaia||Lt. V. Gaia||Lancia||Lambda||2.1||V-4||3||2h57m04.0s||+ 4m31.4s|
|3.||..||Ignazio Grasso||I. Grasso||Cottin Desgouttes||3.8||S-6|| 3||-|
|DNF ||..||Enrico Peruzzi||Mustafà Mizran||Fiat||505||3.5||S-4||steering column|
|DNF||..||Valentino Babini||Maj. V. Babini||Fiat||3/A||4.4||S-4||0||connecting rod|
Fastest lap: Vittorio Gaia (Lancia Lambda) in 47m57.4s = 89.0 km/h (55.3 mph).|
Winner's average speed: 74.2 km/h (46.1 mph).
On Saturday, April 18th, the cars coming from Italy finally arrived in Tripoli, two days late. As the ten cars lined up Captain Bertuzzi served again as starter. At 3:00 PM, as a cannon fired, he
released the first car, Baron Sillitti in his 2000 Bianchi, to the great applause of the crowd. The drivers were started in 5-minute intervals with Balestreo in the 2000 OM next, followed by Di Marco's
2000 Bianchi. At 3:15 PM Gigi Platè's 1500 Chiribiri Monza took off with his beautiful wife Mrs. Platè as riding mechanic. Then followed the smaller cars in 3-minute intervals, Calò (Amilcar), Ghio (Fiat),
Mazzacorati (Fiat), Recchia (Ansaldo), Varaschini (Fiat), and Turrini (Ansaldo).
Balestrero was controlling the race and revealed himself as daring driver. He began the race at moderate speed, establishing a remarkable distance between himself and his opponents. At the end of the
first lap he held the lead as he passed the grandstands at fantastic speed. The spectators admired him as the probable winner of the race. About fifteen minutes later the Bianchi of Sillitti passed the
stands. His car worked poorly and after a few minutes there was news of his retirement due to a broken water pipe. The other Bianchi of Di Marco also retired due to a malfunctioning magneto and a
broken valve. The Chiribiri of Platè was closely followed by Calò's Amilcar as both passed the stands at high speed.
Balestrero continued his fast and regular race on the second lap, followed by Platè's Chiribiri in second place, who was never able to challenge him. The Fiats followed, driving a regular race but not
very fast. On the third lap Balestrero made the fastest lap of the day in 44m29.6s at the average speed of 95.758 km/h. After 2h15m26s, he finished as overall winner at an average of 94.496 km/h ahead
of Platè's Chiribiri, winner of the 1500 cc class. Calò's Amilcar finished third, the only 1100 cc class car, followed by Mazzacorati and Varaschini without any times on record. The non-finishers
included Di Marco, Sillitti, Recchia, Ghio and Turrini.
The 1925 Tripoli report ended up a bit skimpy as we found only two informative sources, the 1925 L'Auto Italiana report and the 1994 Grand Prix Tripoli book by Valerio Moretti.
Primary sources researched for this article:|
L'Auto Italiana, Milano
Valerio Moretti: "Grand Prix Tripoli"
Special thanks to:
CIRCUITO DI ALESSANDRIA
Alessandria Circuit, Alessandria (I), 26 April 1925.
8 laps x 32.0 km (19.88 mi) = 256.0 km (159.1 mi)
Degiovanni wins at Alessandria
by Hans Etzrodt
The 19 starters at the Alessandria Circuit were divided into three categories for the 256 km race running over eight laps. The main battle was between Bona (2100 Lancia Lambda) and Degiovannini (1500 Bugatti)
as seven cars dropped out early on. Up to the last lap the regular driving Bona held the lead but lost time to the fast advancing Bugatti of Degiovannini who passed him on the last lap to win the race.
Bona finished second, Valpreda (1500 Fiat) was third, Clerici (1100 Salmson) was fourth and Malinverni (1500 Bugatti) fifth. There were five additional finishers and nine retirements.
The Alessandria race had been held annually since 1924, so this was the second in the series, organized by the Touring Club Auto Moto Ciclo Alessandra. The race was held on the winding 32 km Circuito di Alessandria
with the start in Alessandria leading through twisting turns to the Valmadonna suburb and then through a fast and difficult climb to Valenza, San Salvatore Monferrato, Castelletto and back to Alessandria. The
cars completed eight laps, a total of 256 km. The 19 starters were divided into three categories: up to 1100 cc, from 1101 to1500 cc and over 1500 cc.
All starters were Italians except the English driver Higgis with an Aurea, who came from Turin. Ceratto in a large 3000 Alfa Romeo and Bona with a Lancia Lambda were favorites. Valpreda with a fast 1500 Fiat 501S
was very familiar with the circuit and had a good chance for one of the front places. Degiovannini in an older Bugatti T22 was also very fast. The correct spelling is Degiovannini as there was also a driver with
a similar name, De Giovannini. A complete list of entries is shown at the beginning of this report.
Thousands of spectators were scattered along the circuit with rain pouring down just before the start. At 2:47 PM the race Commissioner Ambrosini managed the line-up of the 19 drivers. The timekeeper Del Grano started
the cars at one-minute intervals with the five drivers of the 1501-3000 cc category first: Della Chà (Alfa Romeo), Ceratto (Alfa Romeo), Giudici (Diatto), Bona (Lancia) and Rosti (Bugatti). The nine drivers of the 1500
category followed next: Higgis (Aurea), Tassara (Bugatti), Degiovannini (Bugatti), Pià (OM), Malinverni (Bugatti), Nino (Chiribiri), Valpreda (Fiat), Malvisi (Aurea) and Negro (Chiribiri). Finally, the five drivers of
the 1100 category started: Sartorio (Gar), Brambilla (Gar), Clerici (Salmson), Cervi (Salmson) and Barbieri (Wanderer).
After the first lap Ceratto's Alfa Romeo passed first at the finish, followed by Bona's Lancia who made the best time in 24m55s. Brambilla (Gar), Malinverni (Bugatti) and Della Chà (Alfa Romeo) stopped at the pits for
a short time losing their chance of winning. The elimination was in full swing on the first lap when seven of the 19 drivers dropped out of the race. Rosti (Bugatti), Negro (Chiribiri) and Barbieri (Wanderer) did not
finish as they left the road, fortunately without injuries to the drivers. Tassara retired the Bugatti with a seized bearing which he had replaced just the night before. Nino had an accident when the gearbox broke on
his Chiribiri and retired at the pits, including Giudici (Diatto). When the Aurea of motorcycle champion Malvisi also retired, the field was reduced to 12 cars.
The best time of the second lap was done by Malinverni's Bugatti in 24m14.4s and he was threatening Bona. Degiovannini with his Bugatti was 45 seconds behind in third place. Clerici (Salmson) took the lead in the 1100
category doing the lap in an astonishing 24m17.8s. Higgis (Aurea) and Valpreda (Fiat) passed the finish area at high speed. Baron Sartorio stopped his Gar at the pits. At halfway, Bona was leading at 80.520 km/h average race
speed, with the order of the 12-car field as follows after four laps:
|1.||Bona (Lancia)||1h37m45.6s||3000 cc category|
|2.||Degiovannini (Bugatti)||1h38m19.0s||1500 cc|
|3.||Malinverni (Bugatti)||1h39m23.6s||1500 cc|
|4.||Higgis (Aurea)||1h39m55.6s||1500 cc|
|5.||Valpreda (Fiat)||1h39m55.6s||1500 cc|
|6.||Clerici (Salmson)||1h40m04.8s||1100 cc|
|7.||Brambilla (Gar)||1h44m21.2s||1100 cc|
|8.||Cervi (Salmson)||1h44m22.6s||1100 cc|
|9.||Ceratto (Alfa Romeo)||1h47m25.0s||3000 cc|
|10.||Pià (OM)||1h53m58.2s||1500 cc|
|11.||Sartorio (Gar)||1h57m33.0s||1100 cc|
|12.||Della Chà (Alfa Romeo)||2h13m16.6s||3000 cc 1 lap behind|
On the fourth lap Degiovannini began the chase after Bona when he completed the lap in 23m48.8s at 80.647 km/h average speed; while Bona made this lap in 23m55s. Malinverni's Bugatti in third place had fallen behind
while Sartorio proceeded with three cylinders on his Gar and Della Chà stopped again at the pits.
On the following lap Bona improved his lap time in 23m43.6s but Degiovannini was again faster in 22m55.2s while the other drivers proceed regularly without changing positions.
On the seventh lap Bona's advantage had shrunk to only seven seconds over Degiovannini. Bona had to slow down on the last lap when Della Chà's car was blocking the road and thus compromised his race. Della Chà and
Ceratto encountered several problems with their Alfa Romeos that slowed them down.
At the end of the eighth lap, the fast-paced Degiovannini crossed the finish line as winner among the applause of the crowd. He also made the fastest lap of the race in 22m17s at 80.231 km/h which was a new lap record.
However, the credit was given to the car's owner and entrant Antonio Ugo, who rode in the car as riding mechanic and got all the honors and also was given a huge trophy. Bona in the normal Lancia Lambda was second,
1m23s behind the winner, followed by Valpreda's Fiat in third place and Clerici in the 1100 Salmson finished fourth winning his class. Malinverni was fifth ahead of Higgis and Brambilla. When the spectators invaded
the circuit, the commissioner Ambrosini prudently stopped the stragglers, flagging down Pià, Della Chà, Ceratto and Sartorio.
|1.||8||Massimo Degiovannini||Antonio Ugo||Bugatti||T22||1.5||S-4||8||3h11m16.0s|| |
|2.||1||Gaspare Bona||G. Bona||Lancia||Lambda||2.1||V-4||8||3h12m39.0s||+ 1m23.0s|
|3.||11||Federico Valpreda||F. Valpreda||Fiat||501S||1.5||S-4||8||3h16m04.2s||+ 4m48.2s|
|4.||29||Abele Clerici||A. Clerici||Salmson||AL 3||1.1||S-6||8||3h16m15.0s||+ 4m59.0s|
|5.||9||Roberto Malinverni||R. Malinverni||Bugatti||T22||1.5||S-4||8||3h18m51.2s||+ 7m35.2s|
|6.||18||John Higgis||Fata||Aurea||4000||1.5||S-4||8||3h23m27.6s||+ 12m11.6s|
|7.||23||Cesare Brambilla||Verza Alceo||Gar||Chapuis Dornier||1.1||S-4||8||3h28m01.0s||+ 16m45.0s|
|8.||24||Filippo Sartorio||Iddi||Gar||Chapuis Dornier||1.1||S-4||7||3h23m17.4s, flagged|
|9.||2||Giorgio Ceratto||G. Ceratto||Alfa Romeo||RL SS||3.0||S-6||7||3h37m49.0s, flagged|
|10.||4||Corrado Della Chà||C. Della Chà||Alfa Romeo||RL S||3.0||S-6||7||3h42m43.2s, flagged|
|DNC||19||Luigi Pià||L. Pià||OM||469||1.5||S-4||7||flagged|| |
|DNF||25||"Rino" Cervi||M. Cervi||Salmson||1.1||S-4||4||4 laps or more|| |
|DNF||22||Domenico Malvisi||D. Malvisi||Aurea||4000||1.5||S-4||1|| || |
|DNF||7||Camillo Giudici||C. Giudici||Diatto||20S||2.0||S-8||1|
|DNF||12||"Nino"||Dr. G. Cirio||Chiribiri||Monza S||1.5||S-4||1||gearbox|| |
|DNF||13||Filippo Tassara||F. Tassara||Bugatti||Brescia||1.5||S-4||1||bearing|| |
|DNF||26||Attilio Barbieri||A. Barbieri||Wanderer||1.1||S-4||0||crash|| |
|DNF||17||Giovanni Negro||G. Negro||Chiribiri||Monza S||1.5||S-4||0||crash|| |
|DNF||3||Carlo Rosti||C. Rosti||Bugatti||T35||2.0||S-8||0||crash|| |
Fastest lap over 1500 cc: G. Bona (Lancia) on lap 7 in 23m28.4s at 81.8 km/h (50.8 mph).|
Fastest lap 1500 cc: Degiovannini (Bugatti) on lap 2 in 22m17s at 86.2 km/h (53.5 mph).
Fastest lap 1100 cc: A. Clerici (Salmson) on lap 8 in 23m47.8s at 80.7 km/h (50.1 mph).
Winner's average speed over 1500 cc: 79.6 km/h (49.5 mph).
Winner's average speed 1500 cc, Degiovannini 80.3 km/h (49.9 mph).
Winner's average speed 1100 cc, Clerigi: 78.3 km/h (48.6 mph).
Weather: first wet, later dry.
Primary sources researched for this article:|
La Gazetta dello Sport, Milano
La Stampa, Torino
Special thanks to: