CIRCUITO DI ALESSANDRIA
Alessandria-Valenca-Castelletto (I), 8 May 1927.
8 laps x 32.0 km (19.88 mi) = 256.0 km (159.1 mi)
Gaspare Bona wins at Alessandria
by Hans Etzrodt
There were 21 cars at the minor race on the Alessandria Circuit. They were divided into three categories, in each of which the lap records and distance records were broken. Bona (2300 Bugatti)
won unchallenged ahead of Valpreda (1500 Chiribiri), Valle (1500 Bugatti), Clerici (1100 Salmson and Brivio (1100 Derby) in fifth place, followed by seven other finishers, while nine cars retired.
The Alessandria race had been held annually since 1924 and this was the fourth in the series, all of which were organized by the Automobile Club di Alessandria held on the Circuito di Alessandria.
The winding 32 km circuit started in Alessandria leading through twisting curves to the Valmadonna suburb and then through a fast and difficult climb to Valenza Po. The circuit then led through
San Salvatore and Castelletto Scazzoso, and back to Alessandria. Driving eight laps, the cars completed a total of 256 km. The 32 entries were divided into three categories: up to 1100 cc,
from 1101 to1500 cc and over 1500 cc. The popular race at Alessandria on May 8 was on the same day as the Coppa Messina for the Coppa Vinci, which was part of the newly introduced Italian
Automobile Championship. Many Italian drivers entered at this more important event including the Maserati team.
From 32 entries, all Italian drivers, only 21 made it to the start. The favorites were Bona in the large supercharged Bugatti while Pugno and Alverà were in other large Bugattis but not supercharged.
A list of all 32 entries is at the beginning of this report. Some race numbers could be identified from photographs.
Thousands of spectators were scattered along the circuit. Just before the beginning of the race a rain shower interrupted proceedings, and at times returned during the race, annoying both the public and the
Cars started at intervals.|
Shortly after 2:45 PM the cars were assembled at the start and were quickly covered when rain began to fall persistently and violently. As soon as the rain had stopped, commendatore Felice Nazzaro, the great
retired race driver who was the starter, released the five cars of Category III over 1500 cc with 30 seconds intervals between each car. Bona in the #2 Bugatti started first, followed by the other four
large cars. Category II for 1500 cc comprising nine cars followed next ahead of seven cars in Category I for 1100 cc cars.
At the end of the first lap, Bona in the large blue Bugatti finished in 21m42s, Valpreda (1500 Chiribiri) passed his opponents in 21m32s, Serboli (1500 Chiribiri) with 22m05s and Cirio (1500 Bugatti) with 22m26s.
After the second lap Bona was leading in 43m09s followed by Ceratto (Alfa Romeo) in 46m52s. Alloatti was leading the second category in 43m02s, while Valpreda's Chiribiri was about 40 seconds behind.
On the third lap Alloatti had an accident in front of the press and time keepers stands when his car skidded on the slippery road and it seemed as if he would hit a roadside post but he avoided it. The light
car rolled over on its side at 90 km/h, spun round repeatedly sliding fast on the ground, without turning over. It finally resumed its normal direction while the spectators, freed from their horror burst
into deafening and prolonged applause. On the third lap at Valenza, Alloatti had another accident when the car skidded and crashed with both the driver and his mechanic Certana shaken. While the driver was
uninjured, his mechanic was in hospital for thirty days.
On lap six Pugno in the 2000 Bugatti drove the fastest lap in 19m15.2s. Ignition problems had delayed him at first, but he then drove in furious pursuit, however it was to no avail as he crashed on the
Bona finished first, eight minutes ahead of the second placed Valpreda in the Chiribiri who won the 1500cc class, which was characterized by battles between five drivers each of whom appeared from time to
time as major candidates for success. Eventually Valpreda won by over four minutes ahead of Valle's 1500 Bugatti.
Clerici's victory with the Salmson in the 1100 class was expected. However, the best lap time was made by Brivio with the fast Derby on the last lap in 22m02.4s, finishing second in class.
|1.||2||Gaspare Bona||G. Bona||Bugatti||T35B||2.3||S-8||8||2h47m19.4s|
|2.||18||Federico Valpreda||F. Valpreda||Chiribiri||Monza C||1.5||S-4||8||2h55m37.2s|| + 8m17.8s|
|3. ||Francesco Valle||F. Valle||Bugatti||T37||1.5||S-4||8||3h00m00.0s|| + 12m40.6s|
|4.||31||Abele Clerici||A. Clerici||Salmson||GSS||1.1||S-6||8||3h00m55.4s|| + 13m36.0s|
|5.||Antonio Brivio||A. Brivio||Derby||Scap s/c||1.1||S-4||8||3h04m15.4s|| + 16m56.0s|
|6.||22||Pio Borgatta||P. Borgatta||Bugatti||T37||1.5||S-4||8||3h07m22.0s|| + 20m02.6s|
|7.||Gino Cassone||G. Cassone||Fiat||509||1.0||S-4||8||3h07m47.6s|| + 20m28.2s|
|8.||Luigi Beccaria||L. Beccaria||Ceirano||S 150||1.5||S-4||8||3h10m27.0s|| + 23m07.6s|
|9.||Giorgio Ceratto||G. Ceratto||Alfa Romeo||RL SS||3.0||S-6||8||3h12m20.0s|| + 25m00.6s|
|10.||Ogniben Alverà||O. Alverà||Bugatti||T35A||2.0||S-8||8||3h14m12.8s|| + 26m53.4s|
|11.||Elio Pistarino||E. Pistarino||Fiat||509||1.0||S-4||8||3h17m23.0s|| + 30m03.6s|
|12.||Aldo Crosti||A. Crosti||Salmson||1.1||S-4||8||3h18m42.6s|| + 31m23.2s|
|DNF||6||Umberto Pugno||U. Pugno||Bugatti||T35||2.0||S-8||6||crash|
|DNF||Giovanni Alloatti||G. Alloatti||Bugatti||T22||1.5||S-4||2||crash|| |
|DNF||Giovanni "Nino" Cirio||G. Cirio||Bugatti||T37||1.5||S-4|| || || |
|DNF||Umberto Capello||U. Capello||Fiat||509||1.0||S-4|| || || |
|DNF||Virgilio Cavanna||V. Cavanna||Sénéchal||GS||1.1||S-4|| || || |
|DNF||Carlo Tonini||C. Tonini||Maserati||26||1.5||S-8|| || || |
|DNF||Roberto Serboli||R. Serboli||Chiribiri||Monza C||1.5||S-4|| || || |
|DNF||Luigi "Gigi" Platè||L. Platè||Chiribiri||Monza S||1.5||S-4|| || || |
|DNF||Paolo Pavesio||P. Pavesio||Ansaldo||4 CS||2.0||S-6|
Fastest lap over 1500 cc: Umberto Pugno (Bugatti) on lap 6 in 19m15.2s = 99.7 km/h (62.0 mph).
Fastest lap up to 1500 cc: Federico Valpreda (Chiribiri) on lap 7 in 20m50s = 92.2 km/h (57.3 mph).
Fastest lap up to 1100 cc: Antonio Brivio (Derby) on lap 8 in 22m02.4s = 87.1 km/h (54.1 mph).
Average speed of over 1500 cc winner, Bona: 91.8 km/h (57.0 mph).
Average speed of up to 1500 cc winner, Valpreda 87.5 km/h (54.3 mph).
Average speed of up to 1100 cc winner, Clerici 84.9 km/h (52.8 mph).
Weather: intermittent rain showers.
Primary sources researched for this article:|
ACI - rivista, Torino
La Gazetta dello Sport, Milano
La Stampa, Torino
L'AUTO ITALIANA, Milano
Special thanks to:
Ms. Paola Masetta
CIRCUITO DEL SAVIO
Circuito del Savio - Ravenna (I), 15 May 1927.
20 laps x 14.5 km (9.01 mi) = 290.0 km (180.2 mi)
Bona wins the Savio Circuit while Mario Saetti crashes to his death
by Hans Etzrodt
A field of 23 cars started in this minor event over 20 laps where most drivers raced in Bugattis. The 1926 winner Brilli Peri (Ballot) could not keep up with Bona’s supercharged Bugatti which led from start to
finish. When Brilli retired on lap nine, Bona raced to an unchallenged win. A fierce battle developed for second place between the 2000cc Bugattis of Rosti and Stefanelli which ended when Rosti
had to retire. Presenti (Alfa Romeo) held third place ahead of Alverà and Sansoni in Bugattis, followed by Tonini (Maserati), Ceratto (Alfa Romeo), Geravini and Bartoletti in Bugattis, Fagioli
(Salmson), Brivio (Amilcar), Graziani (Bugatti) and Grossi (Fiat), the last finisher. Amongst the ten retirements were Testi (Maserati) in the fastest Class I car, and Mario Saetti who
tragically lost his life in an accident.
The Savio Circuit race near Ravenna was important because it was the third event counting towards this year's newly introduced Italian Automobile Championship. The Automobile Club di Ravenna
organized the fifth race on the Circuito del Savio. The event was first held in 1923 when Enzo Ferrari won with an Alfa Romeo on a 44.6 km circuit with the start in Savio. Ferrari also won
the 1924 event, which was held over a 14.385 km course south of Ravenna. The start was at the town of Classe leading south through Fosso Ghiaia, further on at Campo Aviazione G. Novelli, the
course turned west with Savio village further south. Next a turn to the right took a road north to the town of Ponte Nuovo where a sharp right turn headed south back to Classe. In 1926 the
triangular route was slightly extended to 14.5 km and the same course was used in 1927, over 20 laps, a total of 290 km. The cars were divided into Class I, from 500 to 1500 cc; Class II from
1501 to 2000 cc and Class III over 2001 cc. At the end of the race the maximum allowable time limit was set at 30 minutes after the first driver for each category.
The prize money was the same for each of the three classes: first place 10,000 lire, second 5,000 and third 2,000. Extra prize money was for the cars up to 1100 cc: first place received 5,000
lire and second 2,000. For the outright fastest lap 1,000 lire, but only if previous year's speed of 129.980 km/h by Brilli Peri (Ballot) was exceeded. The overall winner with the fastest race
time received 25,000 lire. The total prize money available was 84,000 lire.
The Ravenna AC issued race numbers for 40 entries received, all from Italian drivers. The race was part of the 1927 Italian Championship and some of those drivers had raced here previously.
Brilli Peri, the 1926 winner with his eight year old 4.9-liter 8-cylinder Ballot grand prix car, was the favorite. The 3-liter Alfa Romeos RL type Targa Florio of Ceratto and Presenti were also
strong entries. There was the supercharged 2-liter Bugatti of Bona, while the 2-liter Bugattis of Alverà and Stefanelli were not supercharged. Tonini and Testi in 1500 Maseratis were strong
contenders in Class I, which included the Bugattis of Sansoni and Garavini. Fagioli (Salmson) and Brivio (Derby) were the favorites amongst the little cars. Saetti, a former motorcycle champion,
appeared with a newly constructed car, named Alfieri (no connection with Maserati), and entered as a 1100 cc car. A complete list of the 40 entries is at the beginning of this report.
The start began at 2:30 PM with two minute breaks between each Class. Cavaliere Macoratti, the chief time keeper, gave the start to the three drivers of Class III while Pugno and Materassi
did not appear.
After two minutes, the four cars of Class II lined up and were started.
After another interval of two minutes, the 16 cars of Class I lined up in numerical order and were started.
At the end of lap one, Brilli Peri was the first to pass and was cheered by the crowd. Presenti followed at a short distance while Ceratto stopped his Alfa Romeo at the pits but resumed
almost immediately. The Class II cars of Bona, Stefanelli, Rosti and Alverà followed next. Sansoni, Tonini and Saetti the first three in the 1500 category followed after a short distance,
while the others further behind were excluded from the top places. Although Brilli Peri was the first to pass the pits, Bona was actually in the lead, having made up some of the time that
he lost having to start two minutes later in a Class II car. Positions did not change on the second lap. Rosti arrived slowly in front of the stands, stopped at the pits but resumed
shortly afterwards. Bona steadily made up time on Brilli Peri who had started two minutes ahead of him. On the third lap Bona was 40 seconds behind Brilli Peri on the road but was leading
in time. Rosti and Stefanelli were ranked second and third amongst the 2000 cars, closing on Presenti. The leading trio was in the following order after five laps:
|2.||Brilli Peri (Ballot)||34m01.6s|
|3.||Presenti (Alfa Romeo)||38m28.0s|
Bona gradually increased his advantage. On lap six, he made the fastest lap in 6m19.8s at an average of 137.441 km/h. On lap 8 Brilli Peri drove his fastest lap in 6m30s at an average of
133,608 km/h. In the smaller Class Sansoni made his fastest lap on lap six in 7m34.2s at an average speed of 114,800 km/h. On lap 9 Brilli Peri stopped at the pits. After careful scrutiny,
the car was withdrawn due to differential failure. Bona remained the undisputed favorite to win and raced on with great regularity. Meanwhile, Presenti was passed by Stefanelli and Rosti,
who had advanced to second and third place. The 1500 Class was led by Sansoni ahead of Tonini and Saetti. Tonini had fallen about two minutes behind Sansoni after a delay due to carburetor
problems but he drove on determined to reduce the gap. Testi was in trouble with the carburetor of his Maserati and had starting problems as well. He stopped several times at the pit where
he spent a long time, causing him to fall behind numerous laps. Testi eventually managed to set up his engine properly and although he could no longer regain anything in the race, he beat
the lap record for his class on lap 10 in 7m10.8s at 121.400 km/h average speed. In comparison, Bona's average lap time for the first 10 laps was 6m33s. The field was down to 19 cars after
the four retirements of Zanelli (Fiat), Nenzioni and Avezzu (Bugattis) and Brilli Peri (Ballot). The remaining field was in the following order after ten laps:
|4.||Presenti (Alfa Romeo)||1h11m52.6s|
|5.||Alverà (Bugatti)||1h15m56.0s||1 lap behind|
|6.||Sansoni (Bugatti)||1h17m25.4s||1 lap behind|
|7.||Tonini (Maserati)||1h19m53.0s||2 laps behind|
|8.||Saetti (Alfieri)||1h20m43.2s||2 laps behind|
|9.||Platè (Chiribiri)||1h21m42.0s||2 laps behind|
|10.||Ceratto (Alfa Romeo)||1h22m35.2s||2 laps behind|
|11.||Garavini (Bugatti)||1h24m19.6s||2 laps behind|
|12.||Fagioli (Salmson||1h25m00.4s||2 laps behind|
|13.||Brivio (Derby)||1h26m38.6s||3 laps behind|
|14.||Graziani (Bugatti)||1h28m07.2s||3 laps behind|
|15.||Bartolotti (Bugatti)||1h28m35.8s||3laps behind|
|16.||Bacchilega (Fiat)||1h35m11.6s||4 laps behind|
|17.||Grossi (Fiat)||1h35m13.0s||4 laps behind|
|18.||Lasagni (Marino)||2h09m56.4s||8 laps behind|
|19.||Testi (Maserati)||2h22m27.2s||10 laps behind|
Mario Saetti was followed with particular interest in his brand-new Alfieri 1100cc car in which he held third place amongst the little cars and was driving very fast. On lap 12 Saetti was
tragically lost from the race in a fatal accident. At the bridge that preceded the Fosso Ghiaia curve Saetti was passed by Bona's fast Bugatti when Saetti moved abruptly to the right to make
room for him. He travelled thirty meters in vain attempts to resume control of his car until he went full speed into the bridge parapet, demolishing it. The car was reduced to a scrap of
waste by the impact. When he was extracted from the car, Saetti was already dead from his violent impact against the steering wheel. This was further aggravated by the rear fuel tank, which
was torn off its mountings and projected against the head of the unfortunate driver.
The accident was not easily explained because the steering, brakes and tires of the car were found to be in perfect condition. It is likely that the front wheels failed to follow the steering
due to a lack of grip as sometimes happens at high speeds. In this case there was a contributory factor in that the front axle was rigidly attached to the frame without any suspension.
This meant that the front wheels would not always be in contact with the road. Mario Saetti had many victories riding motorcycles and had been the Italian champion of the 500cc category
in the years 1925-1926. The unexpected loss of Mario Saetti was of sincere regret.
On lap 15 the order changed when Rosti passed Stefanelli to take second place. The ranking was as follows after 15 laps:
|2.||Rosti (Bugatti)||1h45m15.4s||1 lap behind|
|3.||Stefanelli (Bugatti)||1h45m45.6s||1 lap behind|
|4.||Presenti (Alfa Romeo)|
The race was nearing its end and drivers held their positions. But two laps from the end, Brivio managed to pass Fagioli. However, on the straight to the finish, the Salmson of Fagioli managed
to beat Brivio's Derby again. On lap 18 Rosti retired, leaving second place to Stefanelli. Bona ended up victorious and was honored by the authorities and congratulated as the magnificent
race driver who had beaten the previous year's records. Meantime, the others had all been lapped at least once and kept on driving, in order to complete the full distance to be classified.
The organization had been very good in every aspect and a large number of spectators attended the event.
|1.||39||Gaspare Bona||G. Bona||Bugatti||T35C||2.0||S-8||20||2h11m34.6s|| |
|2.||34||Ugo Sisto Stefanelli||U. Stefanelli||Bugatti||T35A||2.0||S-8||20||2h20m39.8s|| + 9m05.2s|
|3.||45||Bruno Presenti||B. Presenti||Alfa Romeo||RL TF ||3.0||S-6||20||2h22m33.8s|| + 10m59.2s|
|4.||36||Ogniben Alverà||O. Alverà||Bugatti||T35A||2.0||S-8||20||2h31m03.4s|| + 19m28.8s|
|5.||25||Adolfo Sansoni||A. Sansoni||Bugatti||T37A||1.5||S-4||20||2h35m14.4s|| + 23m39.8s|
|6.||18||Carlo Tonini||C. Tonini||Maserati||26||1.5||S-8||20||2h35m18.0s|| + 23m43.4s|
|7.||42||Giorgio Ceratto||G. Ceratto||Alfa Romeo||RL TF||3.0||S-6||20||2h41m08.8s|| + 29m34.2s|
|8.||20||Giovanni Garavini||G. Garavini||Bugatti||T37||1.5||S-4||20||2h42m53.4s|| + 31m18.8s|
|9.||23||Bartoletti||Bartoletti||Bugatti||T37A||1.5||S-4||20||2h49m22.4s|| + 37m47.8s|
|10.||2||Luigi Fagioli||L. Fagioli||Salmson||1.1||S-4||20||2h51m29.6s|| + 39m55.0s|
|11.||3||Antonio Brivio||A. Brivio||Derby||Scap s/c||1.1||S-4||20||2h51m32.4s|| + 39m57.8s|
|12.||9||Omero Graziani||O. Graziani||Bugatti||T37A||1.5||S-4||20||2h53m13.4s|| + 41m38.8s|
|13.||4||Giuseppe Grossi||G. Grossi||Fiat||509S||1.0||S-4||20||3h03m40.6s|| + 52m06.0s|
|DNF||40||Carlo Rosti||C. Rosti||Bugatti||T35C||2.0||S-8||17|| || |
|DNF||15||Alvaro Bacchilega||A. Bacchilega||Fiat||509S||1.0||S-4||out of time|| |
|DNF||5||Massimo "Nino" Lasagni||M. Lasagni||Marino||GS||1.1||S-4||out of time|| |
|DNF||8||Mario Saetti||M. Saetti||Alfieri||1.1||11||fatal crash|| |
|DNF||21||Gigi Platè||G. Platè||Chiribiri||12/16||1.5||S-4||8+||2 laps behind|| |
|DNF||43||Gastone Brilli Peri||G. Brilli Peri||Ballot||Indy 1919||4.9||S-8||8||differential|
|DNF||14||Antonio Testi||A. Testi||Maserati||26||1.5||S-8|| || || |
|DNF||11||Antonio Zanelli||A. Zanelli||Fiat||509S||1.0||S-4|| || || |
|DNF||17||Cleto Nenzioni||C. Nenzioni||Bugatti||T37||1.5||S-4|| || || |
|DNF||22||Ignazio Avezzu||I Avezzu||Bugatti||1.5||S-4|| || || |
Fastest lap, over 2000 cc: Gastone Brilli Peri (Ballot) on lap 8 in 6m30s = 133.8 km/h (83.2 mph).
Fastest lap, 2000 cc: Gaspare Bona (Bugatti) on lap 6 in 6m19.8s = 137.4 km/h (85.4 mph).
Fastest lap, 1500 cc: Antonio Testi (Maserati) on lap 10 in 7m10.8s = 121.2km/h (75.3 mph).
Winner's medium speed, over 2000 cc: Presenti (Alfa Romeo) at 122.1 km/h (75.8 mph).
Winner's medium speed, 2000 cc: Bona (Bugatti) at 132.2 km/h (82.2 mph).
Winner's medium speed, 1500 cc: Sansoni (Bugatti) at 112.1 km/h (69.6 mph).
Winner's medium speed, 1100 cc: Fagioli (Salmson) at 101.5 km/h (63.0 mph)
Weather: sunny, dry
Primary sources researched for this article:|
ACI - rivista, Torino
AC Ravenna - Illustrated Regulation Brochure
La Gazzetta dello Sport, Milano
La Stampa, Torino
L'Auto Italiana, Milano
Resto del Carlino, Ravenna
Special thanks to:
Ms. Paola Masetta
COPPA DELLA PERUGINA
Perugia (I), 29 May 1927.
1500cc and over: 20 laps x 16.4 km (10.2 mi) = 328.0 km (203.8 mi)
750 to 1100 cc: 16 laps x 16.4 km (10.2 mi) = 262.4 km (163.0 mi)
Materassi wins the Coppa della Perugina for the third time
by Hans Etzrodt
The fourth event of the 1927 Italian Automobile Championship at the Perugia Circuit attracted 37 starters which were divided into three categories. The 11 large cars
over 1500cc were the center of interest, including the battle between Materassi (5.8-L Special) and Bona (2.3-L Bugatti) until lap12 when Bona's engine expired. Brilli
Peri (4.9-L Ballot), Alverà and Forte both in 2.0-L Bugattis retired. This left Materassi unchallenged to win -for the third time- ahead of Balestrero and Pugno in
Bugattis with Presenti (3.0-L Alfa Romeo) in fourth place. Seven cars retired.
The 1500 cc class comprised 13 cars, where Testi (Maserati) led until the last lap when only 200 meters before the finish his car broke down. Victory then went to
Tonini followed by De Sterlich, both in Maseratis, with Nuvolari (Bugatti) and Toti (Chiribiri) the last finishers. The remaining 9 cars retired or exceeded the
The 1100 cc class also included 13 cars. After the favorites Clerici and Borzacchini both in Salmsons retired early, Zampieri (Amilcar) was the winner ahead of
Fagioli (Salmson), Brivio (Derby), Sancricca (Citroën) and the Fiats of Belli and della Porta. Seven cars retired.
The 1927 Coppa della Perugina was the fourth round of the newly introduced Italian Championship for drivers. The race had been held annually since 1924 and this
event was the fourth in the series, once again organized by the Automobile Club di Perugia. It was held on the by now classic Circuit of Perugia, one of the most
beautiful among the Italian circuits, on the Piano di Marziano route, which passed the Fontivegge Station, San Sisto, Strozzacapponi, Ellera, Olmo and Ferro di Cavallo,
a total of 16.4 km. It had to be lapped 20 times for a total of 328 km, though the 1100 cc cars had to do only 16 laps. The 54 entries were divided into three
classes: Class G from 750 to 1100 cc, Class F from 1101 to1500 cc and Class E over 1500 cc. The maximum allowable time was 45 minutes after the arrival of the overall winner.
The race had a prize of 60,000 lire for the overall winner, 20,000 for the first in each class, 7,000 for second, 5,000 for third, 3,000 for fourth and 2,000 for fifth
in each class. For the driver who made the fastest lap, there was a prize of 1,000 lire. There were also several cups and medals for the manufacturers and drivers.
The popular race on May 29 attracted many Italian drivers, because the event counted towards the Italian championship. The organizer received 56 independent entries,
all of which are listed at the beginning of this report, but only 37 of them appeared at the start.
The favorites were Materassi in the 5.8-L Itala Special, Brilli Peri in the 4.9-L Indianapolis winning Ballot, Bona in a 2.3-L supercharged Bugatti while Alverà and Pugno
drove 2.0-L Bugattis that were not supercharged. Materassi had a 1927 contract to drive for the Bugatti factory team but at the less important events he drove either his own
Bugatti or his Special, which he had modified by installing half of a V-8 Hispano-Suiza aircraft engine. With this car he had won the Coppa della Perugina in 1924 and
again in 1926 and finished second in 1925 behind Brilli Peri's Ballot. So he was evidently quite a popular guy in Perugia.
Materassi's Special had only a few Itala parts (clutch, gearbox, transmission) so to call it an Itala 55 Special, as it is often done, is too much. It had a makeshift
chassis and suspension. It was called an Itala for publicity reasons as Materassi owned the Itala agency in Florence. The engine was half of a V8 Hispano-Suiza aircraft
engine so the capacity was about 5.8 liter. The figure of precisely 4722cc to be found in prevailing motor sport literature is a mystery. This is well explained in an
Alessandro Silva's le article about Italian aero-engined specials published in The Automobile magazine.
The 1500 cc voiturette category comprised 13 starters, seven Bugattis for Sansoni, Nuvolari, Valle, Petrucci, Cocuzza, Ciri and Ciriaci. The four Maseratis were driven by
Tonini, De Sterlich, Testi and Franchetti and the two Chiribiris by Platè and Toti.
In the 1100 cc cycle car category the favorite was Zampieri with the 6-cylinder supercharged Amilcar. He was opposed by the Salmsons of Clerici, Borzacchini, Alessandrelli,
Fagioli and Spongia. There was a 4-cylinder Amilcar, two Derby cycle cars, two Fiat 509s, a Citroën and a Barsanti Speciale.
A serious accident occurred during Saturday practice when the 1500 Bugatti of Pietro Bartoletti skidded and left the road, falling into a ditch. Both the 25 year old
Bartoletti from Bologna and his mechanic, 22 year old Giulio Landi, were immediately transported to the hospital, where they remained in serious condition.
Despite dense rain on Saturday, the public's appearance was enormous. On Sunday the stands were already crowded by the early morning hours and many women were amongst the
spectators. Special trains brought huge crowds to various parts of the circuit. The starts were given with an interval of two minutes between each category. The starter
was S. E. Bastianini, the Under Secretary of National Economy. At the planned 9:00 AM start the eleven large cars over 1500 cc were lined up in three cars per row,
however the start was delayed by a quarter of an hour.
Ninety seconds before the delayed start at 9:15 AM, while the time keeper counted the seconds with open fingers, Materassi's engine refused to start. A hustle and bustle of
mechanics pushed his Itala several times, to start the engine. Materassi laughed when moving his Special between the cars of Balestreo and Brilli Peri, in the row behind. And
more laughs! 9h14m30s! Bastiani looked at the timekeeper and raised the checkered flag. Twenty seconds to go. Finally, Materassi's engine started, Bastianini counted down
to one and dropped the flag. Alvera shot away first, ahead of Forte and Bona. In the following wide right turn, Materassi came chasing in his red Special. He had already
passed all the other cars and was now ready to catch Alvera.
After two minutes the 13 cars of the 1500 cc category started, comprising: Testi, Tonini, De Sterlich and Franchetti in Maseratis; Nuvolari, Cocuzza, Valle, Sansoni, Ciri,
Petrucci and Ciriaci in Bugattis and Toti and Platé in Chiribiris. Testi's Maserati immediately took the lead followed closely by Nuvolari's Bugatti.
Finally the 13 cars of the 1100 cc category started, comprising Zampieri and Saccomani in Amilcars, Clerici, Borzacchini, Fagioli, Allessandrelli and Spongia in Salmsons,
Brivio and Aquino in Derbys, Sancricca in a Citroën, Barsanti in the Barsanti and Belli and Della Porta in Fiats. Borzacchini immediately jumped into the lead towards the
wide Centavo's curve while Zampieri lost one minute when his Amilcar's engine would not fire up. Eventually he calmly started his race and progressively gained ground.
At the end of the first lap Materassi had 22 seconds advantage over Bona, 42 seconds on Brilli Peri and one minute on Balestrero while Frilli retired his Bugatti.
Testi was leading the 1500cc category while Tonini and De Sterlich alternated in second place but on lap two Valle and Nuvolari with their Bugattis overtook both of them.
The 1100cc category was led by Borzacchini (Salmson), followed by Saccomani (Amilcar), Clerici (Salmson), Fagioli (Salmson) and Zampieri (Amilcar), ahead of the Fiats, while
Spongia retired his Salmson on the first lap. On the second lap Borzacchini kept the lead followed by Saccomani only 15 seconds apart while Zampieri made up lost time after
his delayed start and passed Clerici for third place. Materassi had increased his advantage with the times as follows after two laps:
|3.||Brilli Peri (Ballot)||18m31.0s|
On the third lap Materassi's advantage over Bona increased to 35 seconds. Paparini retired his Austro-Daimler on the same lap with a broken valve spring and Forte ended the
race in his Bugatti with a broken gear change. Materassi's tactic was to push Bona to force him into pursuit, but Bona was cautious waiting for the right time to attack.
Brilli Peri followed in third place ahead of Balestero and Pugno with Presenti and Bertocci following further behind. Testi was leading the 1500cc category while Nuvolari
passed Valle and advanced to second place in the 1500 category while Ciriaci (Bugatti) had to change spark plugs. On the 3rd lap in the 1100cc category Saccomani retired his
Cozette supercharged Amilcar 4-cylinder, which had overheated. Materassi was still in the lead followed by Bona and Brilli with the following times of the first three in each
category after four laps:
|3.||Brilli Peri (Ballot)||36m49.2s|
In the large category Materassi led Bona by 28.4s, while Brilli Peri was over 2 minutes behind. Balestreo, who was nearly 3 minutes behind, was followed by Pugno and Presenti.
In the 1500cc category the Chiribiri of Platè and Cocuzza's Bugatti retired on lap five. In the 1100cc category Zampieri next passed Saccomani and Borzacchini, who both retired
on lap five, the latter having suffered an injury in an accident. After the fifth lap the order was as follows:
|3.||Brilli Peri (Ballot)||45m45.6s|
|6.||De Sterlich (Maserati)||49m50.2s|
On the following lap Bona started his attack with a magnificent lap of 8m30s, at 115,764 km/h average speed. Materassi answered with 8m24s on lap nine, which was the fastest lap
of the race. The order was as follows for the first three in each category after six laps:
|3.||Brilli Peri (Ballot)||54m36.6s|
Brilli Peri retired with a punctured radiator on lap seven, leaving third place to Balestrero. In the 1500 category, Testi's Maserati was leading. Sansoni was fourth but at
Strozzacaponi his Bugatti left the track, turned upside down with the driver injured on top of his head and a broken arm. Later he was seen walking with his head bandaged in front
of the spectators. On the tenth lap Tonini took second place in the1500 category and Nuvolari third, which he kept until lap 10 but then had to give in to De Sterlich. Toti with
the Chiribiri was last. The order was as follows for the first three in each category after ten laps:
On lap 11, Materassi stopped at the pits to replace a tire. Bona passed him and took the lead. When Materassi started again, he was about two minutes behind. At the end of lap
12, Materassi was back in the lead since Bona's Bugatti had come to a stop at the Strozzacapponi curve with irreparable engine failure. He had demanded too much from his engine.
Three laps later Materassi was leading with 112.162 km/h average race speed, when the positions were as follows after 15 laps:
|4.||Presenti (Alfa Romeo)||2h23m53.4s|
|7.||De Sterlich (Maserati)||2h27m15.0s|
Materassi held the lead unchallenged because Balestrero and Pugno could not threaten him any more since their cars were no longer running at full efficiency. But they battled
for some laps ending in favor of Balestrero. Materassi showed that his old Itala was still a strong race car, ahead of the fastest and most modern Bugatti race cars.
In the 1500 category Testi, the Bolognese, was fastest and held first place until lap 20. He lost the lead about 200 meters before the finish when his Maserati stopped with a
seized differential and thus loss of drive. Tonini and De Sterlich also in Maseratis inherited first and second in the class ahead of Nuvolari and Toti. Franchetti, the fourth
Maserati driver, was less prepared than the other three drivers.
Zampieri won the 1100 category in grand style. He finished over five minutes before the next car. Fagioli and Brivio could do no more than they did with the cars they had
available. Sancricca finished last with his little Citroën 5 hp. Belli and De Porta in the Fiats were too slow to compete and for the Barsanti it was the same. His fate was not
Shortly after 12:12 PM, Materassi crossed the finish line triumphantly and won the Coppa della Perugina for the third time. He drove the last lap at full speed and crossed the
finish line to great applause. From the 37 starters 14 cars finished, not including those who were flagged off because they exceeded the time limit.
Results category II - 1500 cc and category III - over 1500 cc:
|1.||11||Emilio Materassi||E. Materassi||Itala Special||5.8||S-4||20||2h57m08.0s|
|2.||12||Renato Balestrero||R. Balestrero||Bugatti||T35C||2.0||S-8||20||3h01m15.0s||+ 4m07.0s|
|3.||3||Umberto Pugno||U. Pugno||Bugatti||T35||2.0||S-8||20||3h03m16.8s||+ 6m08.8s|
|4.||1||Bruno Presenti||B. Presenti||Alfa Romeo||RL TF||3.0||S-6||20||3h11m02.2s||+ 13m54.2s|
|5.||20||Carlo Tonini||C. Tonini||Maserati||26||1.5||S-8||20||3h13m51.0s||+ 16m43.0s|
|6.||30||Diego de Sterlich||D. De Sterlich||Maserati||26||1.5||S-8||20||3h16m07.0s||+ 18m59.0s|
|7.||15||Tazio Nuvolari||T. Nuvolari||Bugatti||T37||1.5||S-4||20||3h17m14.2s||+ 20m06.2s|
|8.||Raffaello Toti||R. Toti||Chiribiri||12/16||1.5||S-4||20||3h29m42.0s||+ 32m34.0s|
|DNF||Antonio Testi||A.Testi||Maserati||26||1.5||S-8||19||seized differential|
|DNC||Alberto Petrucci||A. Petrucci||Bugatti||1.5||S-4||exceeded max. time|
|DNC||Francesco Valle||F. Valle||Bugatti||T37||1.5||S-4||exceeded max. time|
|DNF||5||Gino Bertocci||G. Bertocci||Alfa Romeo||RL||3.0||S-6|
|DNF||4||Ogniben Alverà||O. Alverà||Bugatti||T35A||2.0||S-8|
|DNF||Innocenzo Ciri||I. Ciri||Bugatti||T37||1.5||S-4|| || || |
|DNF||Arnaldo Franchetti||A. Franchetti||Maserati||26||1.5||S-8|| || || |
|DNF||6||Gaspare Bona||G. Bona||Bugatti||T35B||2.3||S-8||11||engine|
|DNF||Guido Ciriaci||G. Ciriaci||Bugatti||T37||1.5||S-4||10|| || |
|DNF||Adolfo Sansoni||A. Sansoni||Bugatti||T37||1.5||S-4||8||crash|| |
|DNF||14||Gastone Brilli Peri||G. Brill Peri||Ballot||Indy 1919||4.9||S-8||8||punctured radiator|
|DNF||Gioacchino Cocuzza||G. Cocuzza||Bugatti||T37||1.5||S-4||4|| || |
|DNF||Luigi "Gigi" Platè||L. Platè||Chiribiri||Monza S||1.5||S-4||4|| || |
|DNF||7||Luigi Forte||L. Forte||Bugatti||T35||2.0||S-8|| 3||Gear change|
|DNF||10||Cesare Paparini||C. Paparini||Austro-Daimler||ADM||3.0||S-6||3||Valve spring|
|DNF||8||Ruggero Frilli||R. Frilli||Bugatti||T35||2.0||S-8||1|
Fastest lap, over 1500cc: Emilio Materassi (Special) on lap 9 in 8m24s = 117.1 km/h (72.8 mph).|
Fastest lap, up to 1500cc: Antonio Testi (Maserati) on lap 9 in 9m25.6s = 104.4 km/h (64.9 mph).
Winner's average speed, over 1500cc, Materassi: 111.1 km/h (69.0 mph).
Winner's average speed,up to 1500cc, Tonini: 101.5 km/h (63.1 mph).
Weather: dry and warm.
Results category I - 750 to 1100 cc:
Some race numbers could be identified from photographs while a few others were published by L'IMPERO newspaper. The available articles contained much superficial and incomplete
information but this report is the only one that lists all 37 starters with an accurate starting grid of the leading cars as shown in photographs. The large number of starters
must have overwhelmed the time keepers, who were unable to record the outcome for all 37 drivers.
Two race numbers were identified by Alessandro Silva on January 17, 2018: From a start photo of the 1100 cc class, the Amilcar (front row right) #53 is Zampieri's 6C, 100% as there
were only two Amilcars at the start, Zampieri and Saccomani, and we know that Saccomani had #40. The second car was the Salmson (front row left) #52 is Fagioli, 99% certain as he is
the only Salmson front-runner without a number. The other missing Salmson are from notorious back-markers.
Giuseppe Prisco, who wrote the Coppa della Perugina book, provided a photograph showing that #5 car was Bertocci's Alfa Romeo, not #8, which we assigned now to Frilli's Bugatti.
Also the intermediate times for laps 2, 4, 6, 10 and 15 are from the L'Assalto newspaper page provided by Giuseppe Prisco.
Primary sources researched for this article:|
ACI - rivista, Torino
La Gazetta dello Sport, Milano
La Stampa, Torino
L'AUTO ITALIANA, Milano
Special thanks to:
Ms. Paola Masetta
30 May 1927: Rookie driver George Souders (Duesenberg) wins the Indianapolis 500 race.
4-5 July 1927: Mme. Violette Morris (B.N.C.) wins the Bol D'Or sports car race at Fontainebleu in France