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FOREWORD:

The work on the 1928 season is now nearly finished with reports for all major races done. Results for a few minor races are still to be added and driver links will be added as well.
Leif Snellman
The information within these pages was derived primarily from contemporary magazines and newspapers. I am indebted to all those outstanding journalists and reporters for their diligent reporting. Without their stories, we would not have learned about what happened at these events. Secondary sources have also been helpful but to a much lesser extent. Several others have given valuable advice and corrected errors. I extend my appreciation to all those helpful specialists and enthusiasts. My thanks include Tony Kaye for patiently editing the text and catching my occasional blunder. Lastly I am especially grateful to Leif Snellman, not only for his wonderfully vivacious drawings but also for providing a site where these factual and elaborate accounts can enable us to relive these long ago races.
Hans Etzrodt




INTRODUCTION:

Bugatti and Louis Chiron ruled the 1928 season winning most of the events. At the end of 1927 Talbot, Delage and Fiat had lost interest and retired their racing teams, withdrawing from racing. Their departure eliminated the last remnants of the former grand prix racing glamor, Alfa Romeo having already pulled out in 1925 at the end of the 2-liter formula. Now, Bugatti and Maserati were the sole factory teams to regularly support grand prix racing and both companies also sold grand prix racing cars. Alfa Romeo supported the few appearances of a 1925 Alfa Romeo P2 in the hands of Campari and later Varzi. The 1928 formula was unpopular to the manufacturers and most of the international races were cancelled and held for sports cars. The year ended with a major disaster, the most devastating accident in motor sport history to that date. It occurred at the European Grand Prix in Monza, which was the most important race of the season with 22 grand prix cars entered.

The Formula:
The CSI (International Sporting Committee) of the A.I.A.C.R decided on a Formula with no engine capacity limit. However, cars had to weigh between 550 and 750kg - 1212 and 1653 lb. The minimum race distance was 600 km - 372 mi. Only the European GP at Monza was staged to this formula, which also played the role of Italian Grand Prix.
      It soon became evident that the CSI had produced an unacceptable formula. Four countries: France, Germany, Spain and Belgium canceled their Grands Prix and instead put on sports car events. In March of 1928, when Great Britain declined to hold the European Grand Prix, only Italy was prepared to take over the race which took place at Monza.
      Formula Libre without restrictions worked well and produced good racing in Italy, which was made easier after further regulation changes by the CSI at their March 17 meeting. It was decided that the European Grand Prix would no longer be open exclusively to constructors but also to independent entrants and drivers as long as they had the approval of their constructors. This decision would affect the future of the upcoming Grands Prix and stimulate new interest in Grand Prix racing. By dropping the restrictions of the 1.5 liter formula, the 2.0 and 2.3 liter blown Bugattis would be able to contest Grand Prix races once again.
      The Targa Florio regulations were for racing cars divided into five categories: up to 1100 cc, 1500 cc, 2000 cc, 3000 cc and 5000 cc.

The Races:
Since the manufacturers lost interest and decided not to enter cars for the new formula, practically all national clubs ignored the A.I.A.C.R. regulations and instead organized races for sports cars. However, many events for race cars were held to the free formula which included the major 1928 races beginning with the Alessandria Circuit, a race of provincial character though the Maserati factory team entered it. The Targa Florio, a formula libre event, became one of the most important races of the year attracting significant numbers of firms and drivers. The Rome Grand Prix, Cremona Circuit, San Sebastian Grand Prix, Coppa Acerbo, Coppa Montenero and the European/Italian Grand Prix at Monza brought the total to 8 major races.
      Ettore Bugatti was very disappointed with the ACF when they cancelled their 1928 Grand Prix in December of 1927 and instead promoted a sports car handicap race at Comminges. As a result the Patrone organized his own event on June 24 at the La Sarthe Circuit, a handicap race only for Bugatti cars, called the Grand Prix Bugatti. There were an additional 12 minor events for Grand Prix cars, comprising the Tripoli Grand Prix, Saint Raphaël, Pozzo Circuit, Riviera Circuit, Antibes Grand Prix, Algerian Grand Prix, Coppa Messina, Coppa Etna, Mugello Circuit, Tunis Grand Prix, Marne Grand Prix, which seemed to be more like a Bugatti club meeting, and La Baule Grand Prix. A few remaining races were even less important, national events with a club type nature where the organizers made no effort to attract factory teams and drew mainly privateers.

Italy:
The nationalist Fascist government promoted Italian motorsport as one of the pillars of its sporting propaganda under Il Duce Benito Mussolini, who embraced motorsport as one of the most important activities of the new Fascist era. The sporting commission of the R.A.C.I. established the 1928 Italian motor sports calendar which comprised 51 events of which 15 counted towards the

1928 ITALIAN CHAMPIONSHIP
Jan. 26 --- Coppa Galenga near Rome
Mar. 11 --- Tripoli Grand Prix
Mar. 25 --- Pozzo Circuit
Apr. 22 --- Alessandria Circuit
Apr. 29 --- Monza Grand Prix - cancelled
May 06 --- Targa & Coppa Florio
May 13 --- Coppa Messina
May 27 --- Coppa della Perugia
June 03 --- Mugello Circuit
June 10 --- Royal Rome Grand Prix
July 08 --- Susa-Moncenisio hill climb
Aug. 04 --- Coppa Acerbo
Aug. 19 --- Coppa Montenero
Sep. 09 --- Italian Grand Prix
Milano Grand Prix - cancelled
Oct. 07 --- Garda Circuit
Oct. 21 --- Coppa Leonardi hill climb

The 1928 World Championship :
for constructors was organized by the CSI of the AIACR, comprising seven international races in seven different countries. Participation in three races was obligatory but only two events were held, the Indianapolis 500 (which was run to a different formula) and the European Grand Prix. This was one too few and consequently the AIACR did not award the 1928 World Championship title. More about it here.

Cancelled events:
The French Grand Prix on July 1 was cancelled on December 1927 and instead replaced by the Coupe de la Commission Sportive, a sports car event at Comminges. The German Grand Prix on July 15 was cancelled and run instead for sports cars on July 14. The Spanish Grand Prix on July 29 was cancelled and substituted by a sports car race. The Belgian Grand Prix on August 12 was cancelled and replaced by a 24-hour sports car race. The European Grand Prix at Brooklands on September 22 was cancelled and the Italians agreed to hold the European Grand Prix instead of the Italian Grand Prix.



1928 SEASON LINEUP:

Factory Racing Teams:

Automobiles Ettore Bugatti (Molsheim, France)
Cars: T35C & T35B, old cars. New race cars were not developed for 1928.
Drivers: Louis Chiron (MC) - Ferdinando Minoia (I) - Conte Conelli (I) - Albert Divo (F) - Pietro Bordino (I) - Conte Gastrone Brilli-Peri (I).
Races entered: - Targa Florio - Royal Rome Grand Prix.

Officine Alfieri Maserati (Bologna, Italy)
Cars: type 26 & 26B, both old designs from 1926 and 1927. For 1928 a new type 26R was developed for the 1928 international formula and entered at the European Grand Prix at Monza. The sporting commission of the R.A.C.I. declared the Maserati make as the 1927 Italian Champion.
Drivers: Ernesto Maserati (I) -Aymo Maggi (I) - Baconin Borzacchini (I) - Luigi Fagioli (I).
Races entered: Alessandria Circuit - Targa Florio - Coppa Messina - Coppa Etna - Mugello Circuit - Royal Rome Grand Prix - Coppa Acerbo - Coppa Montenero - European Grand Prix.

SA Italiana Ing. Nicola Romeo (Portello in Milano, Italy)
Cars: The 6C-1500 several variations were available. There was one of the 1925 P2 Grand Prix cars in the private hands of Campari but with factory support. Later in 1928 the car was sold to Varzi. Alfa Romeo had sold their factory P2 Grand Prix cars at the end of the 1925 season when the newly introduced 1.5-liter formula rendered these 2-liter cars useless. However, Campari, Brilli-Peri and Varzi were the most successful out of seven drivers with these P2's at hill climbs or libre races during the next four years, even backed by the factory at some races.
Drivers: Giuseppe Campari (I) - Attilio Marinoni (I).
Races entered: Targa Florio.

Independent Racing Teams:

Scuderia Materassi (Florence, Italy)
Cars: Talbot 700 (1927) 3 cars - Talbot 70 (1921) 2 cars. Besides the Talbots, Materassi had available two Bugatti T35B, one 1100 cc Amilcar, two Italas with Hispano engines (a touring and a race car) and one Chrysler race car type 72.
Drivers: Emilio Materassi (I) - Luigi Arcangeli (I) - Antonio Brivio (I) - Carlo Rosti (I) - Giuseppe Morandi (I) - Count Gastone Brilli-Peri (I) - Gianfranco Comotti (I).
Races entered: Tripoli Grand Prix - Pozzo Circuit - Alessandria Circuit - Mugello Circuit - Rome Grand Prix - Cremona Circuit - Coppa Acerbo - Coppa Montenero - European Grand Prix at Monza.
At the end of 1927 when the 1500 cc Grand Prix formula expired, the French Talbot factory could not afford to further develop their 1500 cc grand prix cars and withdrew from competition. Emilio Materassi from Florence, Italy, bought all three cars including spare parts for his newly formed Scuderia Materassi. These 1.5-liter 8-cylinder single-seaters, developing 145 hp @ 7000 rpm, were modified and improved in reliability with the help of the two designers, the Italians Vincenzo Bertarione and Becchia, and chief mechanic, Ermini. After 1928, the engine was increased to 1.7-liters, developing 155 hp. Bertarione had also influenced Materassi to purchase these fast cars. The Ecurie Italienne or Scuderia Materassi, was the first such racing stable to be founded. Besides driving, Materassi involved himself in preparing the cars as well.

Scuderia Tazio Nuvolari (Mantua, Italy)
At the end of 1927 Nuvolari formed his own Scuderia with Cesare Pastore, a friend and wealthy amateur driver. Nuvolari's mechanic and friend Decimo Compagnoni and Varzi also joined him with his mechanic Guido Bignami. Nuvolari raised the finances by selling some farm land he owned from his heritage. Four Bugattis were purchased for Pastore and Varzi and two for Nuvolari. Decimo Compagnoni was in charge of maintaining the cars. The 1928 Tripoli Grand Prix was the Scuderia's racing debut. Later during the year the Scuderia's financial situation became precarious as a result of maintaining the expensive operation and keeping the race cars reliable.


VICTORIOUS DRIVERS and the rise of Achille Varzi:

Louis Chiron the 29-year old Monegasque, lead driver at Bugatti, was the most successful racer in 1928, winning three major events, the Royal Grand Prix of Rome, the San Sebastian Grand Prix in Spain, the European Grand Prix in Monza, and finishing fourth in the Targa Florio. He won minor races at Saint Raphaël on the L'Esterél circuit, the Riviera Circuit at Cannes, the Antibes Grand Prix on the Garoupe circuit and the Marne Grand Prix at Reims. On the occasion of the traditional Banquet des Champions which the ACF staged annually for the most well-known race drivers. Charles Faroux awarded Louis Chiron, Winner of the European Grand Prix and other major races this year with the "Grand Prix de l'Automobile 1928."

Tazio Nuvolari, the 36-year old Italian from Mantua, was still a contracted rider for Bianchi motorcycles when he formed his Scuderia Nuvolari at the beginning of 1928 with three Bugatti T35C race cars. Nuvolari gave motorcycle riders Varzi and Ghersi their first rides in his racecars. Nuvolari won two minor 1928 events, the Tripoli Grand Prix and the Pozzo Circuit. Next he won the important Alessandria Circuit race. At Cremona and Montenero he finished second and placed third in the European Grand Prix at Monza behind Varzi's Alfa Romeo P2.

Giuseppe Campari, the 36-year old Italian, drove Alfa Romeos with factory support. He won the 1928 Italian Championship ahead of Nuvolari by winning the Coppa Acerbo, placing second in the Targa Florio and a shared ride with Varzi in the European Grand Prix at Monza, came third at Montenero and finished sixth at Cremona. Campari usually drove a 1925 model P2. He sold the car to Varzi after winning the 1928 Coppa Acerbo.

Emilio Materassi, the 39-year old Italian, was the leader of Scuderia Materassi. He won at the minor Mugello Circuit, finished third in the Royal Grand Prix of Rome, but sadly was killed September 9 in the terrible Monza disaster. The sporting commission of the R.A.C.I. had proclaimed Materassi as the 1927 Italian Champion. More about Materassi here:

Luigi Arcangeli, the 26-year old Italian, born in Forli near Ravenna, had raced very successfully on two wheels since 1922 and became a champion rider. In 1928 he changed to four wheels with Bugatti, then Talbot-Darracq and Maserati. He was contracted to drive for Scuderia Materassi, for whom he won at Cremona and finished second in the Coppa Acerbo.

Albert Divo, the 33-year old French Bugatti works driver was very experienced and winner of several Grands Prix. Since 1919 he had raced for Talbot, Talbot-Darracq, Sunbeam, Delage and Bugatti. Divo, a highly respected competitor, in 1928 won the difficult Targa Florio and retired at San Sebastian.

Achille Varzi, a 24-year old Italian motorcycle rider with Garelli Corsa, AJS, Norton, Frera, Sunbeam, Moto Guzzi and Bianchi raced on two wheels until 1930. Although he had raced a Bugatti in 1926 at the Milano Grand Prix, he began racing cars regularly only in 1928 when he joined the Scuderia Nuvolari racing a Bugatti. At his first race at Tripoli Varzi finished third. He did not appear at Pozzo, finished second to Nuvolari at Alessandria and did not enter the Targa Florio. Varzi retired in the Coppa Messina and Coppa Etna. The Bugattis were not entered at Mugello and at the Rome Grand Prix Varzi drove Valpreda's 12-cylinder 1500 Delage but retired. At Cremona he was back with his Bugatti but retired once more with the same result at the following Coppa Acerbo. Varzi was not able to win and played a supporting role to Nuvolari. Realizing that he had to give way, he left the Mantuan's Scuderia. Varzi had sufficient family finances to purchase Campari's Alfa Romeo P2 which he acquired after Campari had won the 1928 Coppa Acerbo with it. He had backing from the factory and at the European Grand Prix in Monza Varzi finished second with Campari in the Alfa Romeo, his best result of the year.


IN MEMORIAM:

Elindo Ugolini (I) died on April 1 during the Mille Miglia near Montebelluno. Due to failing brakes, Ugolini collided with a tree and died shortly afterwards from his injuries.
Pietro Bordino (I), a 40-year old champion driver, and his mechanic, Pietro Lasagni (I) crashed on April 15, 1928 during practice for the Alessandria race the following week. Bordino was driving at about 70 km/h when a large Alsatian dog ran into his car, jamming the Bugatti's steering mechanism. Despite desperate attempts, the driver lost control of the car, which spun off the road and tumbled down a ravine into one of the deep unnamed tributary channels of the Tanaro River, which ran along the course. During the fall, Bordino was ejected from his seat and was swept away by the current of the rivulet for a short stretch. He was found lifeless while his mechanic, who was trapped in the car, died a short time afterwards as a result of a fractured skull.
Čenĕk Junek (CS), a famous 34-year old gentleman driver from Prague, crashed on July 15 on lap 5 of the German Grand Prix. He shared a T35B Bugatti with his famous wife Elizabeth and had just taken over the wheel from her. During the tire change he lost valuable seconds and tried to make up time with a forced pace. After having driven 15.5 km, his car darted up a slope at Ex-Mühle and turned over at the dangerous right-hand turn near Breitscheid where it smashed against a rock. A following competitor saw Junek immediately after the accident standing erect next to his smashed Bugatti. Shortly afterwards he collapsed from a fatal head injury. His mechanic escaped with light injuries.
Ernst von Halle (D), a 23-year old aristocrat from Frankfurt, crashed on July 15 on lap four of the German sports car Grand Prix. His fast 1100 cc Amilcar when his car left the track between Brünnchen and Pflanzgarten and turned over. His injuries were reported as being of a slight nature but Halle had actually suffered serious injuries and died two days later in the Adenau Hospital.
Huldreich Heusser (CH), a 40-year old Swiss driver from Zürich who lived in Germany, crashed on August 19, at the Bukow Triangle race, Germany. His Bugatti came a bit too far to the left on the sandy edge of the road and he lost control. His car hit a road marker stone, scraped two tree trunks bordering the road and plowed into a third tree head on. The car was totally demolished.
Otto Feldmann (D), Heusser's riding mechanic (and the former mechanic of the Swiss driver Josef Merz), died immediately with fatal brain injury. Heusser had his left foot torn off and the toes of his right foot. In the nearby Müncheberg Hospital Heusser's left leg had to be amputated below the knee as well as half of his right foot. The injured driver had severe concussion, a fractured skull, a crushed thorax and one broken rib, injuries to which he succumbed the following morning.
Emilio Materassi (I), a 33-year old champion driver from Florence, crashed to his death on September 9 at the European Grand Prix in Monza. In addition, 22 spectators died and a further 36 were injured. At the start of the 18th lap Materassi passed the finish line a few meters in Foresti's wake and moved to the left side with the obvious intention of overtaking. In the blink of an eye his Talbot lurched alarmingly first right and then left. The car shot at incredible speed to the left and crossed the three meter wide strip of grass, the barbed wire fence and a three meter wide deep ditch lining the straight. It landed with a giant cloud of dust among the spectators who thronged the edge of the ditch. The red car tragically mowed down the spectators for 50 meters and then plunged into the ditch. The body of poor Materassi was seen to be thrown into the air.
Bedřich Soffer (CS), driver for the "Z" factory in Brno, died in a crash on 5. September 1928, testing a new Z2 (Zbrojovka) car with a 1085 cc 2-stroke 6-cylinder in-line engine with two superchargers on the route Brno-Vyškov near the village of Tvarožná. Soffer had driven since 1925 for Sénéchal and changed in 1927 to Zbrojovka "Z". The car was rebuilt after Soffer's accident and started at the Nürburgring in 1929 but had a defect and was sold without engine to Antonín Beránek (Additional information with thanks to Andrzey Jakubaszek aka "anjakub").



Nuvolari (Bugatti)Maggi (Maserati)Clerici (Salmson)

GRAN PREMIO DI TRIPOLI

Tagiura Circuit (I), 11 March 1928.
Classes over 1100 cc: 16 laps x 26.2 km (16.28 mi) = 419.2 km (260.5 mi)
Class up to 1100 cc: 14 laps x 26.2 km (16.28 mi) = 366.8 km (227.9 mi)



No.DriverEntrantCarTypeEngine

Class up to 1100 cc
2Baconin BorzacchiniB. BorzacchiniSalmson1.1S-4
6Luigi FagioliErminio FagioliSalmson1.1S-4
14Eugenio RiccioliE. RiccioliFiat509 SM1.0S-4
16Clemente BiondettiC. BiondettiSalmson1.1S-4
30Pietro GhersiP. GhersiDerby1.1S-4
40Giuseppe GiovanardiG. GiovanardiGiovanardiMoto Guzzi0.5V-2
 
Class up to 1500 cc
4Emilio MaterassiScuderia MaterassiTalbot7001.5S-8DNS - withdrawn
8Luigi PlatèL. PlatèChiribiriMonza C1.5S-4
18Cleto NenzioniC. NenzioniBugattiT37A1.5S-4
22Luigi ArcangeliScuderia MaterassiTalbot7001.5S-8DNS - withdrawn
30Luigi FagioliL. FagioliMaserati261.5S-8DNS - raced car # 6
32Enrico CracchiE. CracchiBugattiT371.5S-4
34Pietro BrunoriP. BrunoriMaserati261.5S-8
36Antonio BrivioScuderia MaterassiTalbot7001.5S-8DNA - did not appear
38Giuseppe VittoriaG. VittoriaMaserati261.5S-8
 
Class over 1500 cc
10Cesare PastoreScuderia NuvolariBugattiT35C2.0S-8
12Tazio NuvolariScuderia NuvolariBugattiT35C2.0S-8
20Achille VarziScuderia NuvolariBugattiT35C2.0S-8
24Giulio AyminiG. AyminiDelage2LCV2.0V-12
26XXX-DNA - did not appear
28Gaetano ZaitaG. ZaitaFiat 14BIndianapolis4.9S-4


Nuvolari, Nenzioni and Borzacchini victorious at Tripoli

by Hans Etzrodt
The 1928 season opened with the Tripoli Grand Prix on the old Tagiura circuit. The entry included 18 Italian drivers with racecars divided into three classes. The event suffered a great loss due to the unexpected withdrawal of the Italian Champion Emilio Materassi and Luigi Arcangeli with 1500 Talbots. The cause was the difference between the organizers and the drivers regarding the regulations. The third favorite, Nuvolari (Bugatti 2000), had practically won the race before it even had started after his two opponents had been eliminated from the start. In the 1500 cc class Vittoria (Maserati) held first place ahead of Nenzioni (Bugatti), but the latter won the class after Vittoria lost time near the end. Fagioli (Salmson) was leading the 1100 cc class until his engine broke and Borzacchini (Salmson) inherited first place in the class. Nuvolari won the race without being challenged. Pastore (Bugatti 2000) crashed while Aymini's Delage 2000 was ill prepared and motorcycle racer Varzi (Bugatti 2000) was driving in only his second automobile race. Half of the 16 cars that started were able to finish the race.
The fourth running of the Grand Prix outside Tripoli in the Libyan Desert comprised 16 laps around the fast 26.2 km Tagiura dirt road circuit Porta Tagiura - Suk el Giuma - Sidi ben Ali - Sghedeida - Sidi el Messri - Porta Tagiura. Libya had been under Italian rule as a colony since 1911 and the Tripoli Grand Prix was a national event, counting as the first race towards the 1928 Italian Automobile Championship. The Automobile Club di Tripoli organized the 419.2 km race for classes over 1500 cc and up to 1500 cc, while the 1100 cc cycle cars had to do only 14 laps or 366.8 km. The prize money amounted to 35,000 Lire.
      Preceding the Gran Premio Tripoli there was the Touring Grand Prix from Tunis to Tripoli over 759 km, which attracted 21 entries. Three sports car classes took part in the race which was organized by the Tunisian AC and took place on the Wednesday before the race. The event ended with the victory of the Italian Trifoni with a 1500 Lancia in 12h01m58s followed by two other Lancias driven by Lattanzi and Notarbartolo.
Entries:
There were 20 numbered entries comprising six cars in the class up to 1100 cc, nine in the class up to 1500 cc and six in the class over 1500 cc. At the end of 1927 the then Italian Automobile Champion, Emilio Materassi, had bought three Talbot 8C-1500 monoposto grand prix cars with spare parts from the STD combine in need of money. Two Italian engineers, Bertarione and Becchia, formerly with Fiat and then Sunbeam, had designed the Talbots in 1926 especially for the 1927 French Grand Prix but the cars had so far been unsuccessful. Left with two 2.3-liter Bugattis from 1927 and the three 1927 Talbots, Materassi formed his own team, the Scuderia Materassi. It was the first of all the other Scuderias which followed later. Alessandro Silva stated that STD agreed to detach two mechanics in Florence to help with the car rebuild. All of the numerous modifications done on the cars during 1928 and in later years were made in Materassi's shop with his mechanics Pasquino Ermini, Mecacci and the two Frenchmen in modifying these French cars, making them lighter and faster. A fourth car of 700 type was built from spares and a second 4-cyl engine of type 70 was later mounted on a Bugatti chassis. Besides Materassi, Luigi Arcangeli was hired and Antonio Brivio paid to drive the Talbot, as did Rosti and Comotti later. But Brivio did not appear at Tripoli.
      Early in 1928, Tazio Nuvolari also formed his own racing team, the Scuderia Nuvolari and Tripoli was to be its first race. To raise money, Nuvolari had sold some land of the family farm. The wealthy Pastore, a friend of Nuvolari and an amateur race driver from Mantua (Mantova), had put extra money into the venture. They had purchased three 2-liter supercharged Bugatti T35C race cars, for Nuvolari, Pastore and Achille Varzi, a motorcycle champion but a novice with racecars. Varzi and Pastore paid for the purchase of their cars. Decimo Compagnoni, Nuvolari's mechanic took care of the cars preparation and repairs.
      Another favorite was Giulio Aymini with a 2-liter, 12-cylinder 1925 grand prix Delage. The last entry in the class over 1500 cc was made by the Sicilian driver Zaita with a Fiat 14B/S57A, a car raced in the early Twenties.
      In the race, Materassi and Arcangeli were the only ones to threaten the three Bugattis of the Scuderia Nuvolari. Aymini's Delage was considerably slower and certainly less well prepared with tires which were too small for the race. Nuvolari and his team mates were supposedly not overly concerned.
      The class up to 1500 cc included two independent entries from Pietro Brunori and Giuseppe Vittoria, both with 1500 Maseratis. They would have to fight with the independent Bugattis of Cleto Nenzioni and Enrico Cracchi. During practice Fagioli had an accident with his new 1500 Maserati when his drive shaft universal joint broke and the car could not be repaired in time for the race. He took over the 1100 Salmson of his brother Ermini who then assisted as his mechanic. A complete list of the 20 numbered entries is shown the beginning of this report.
Elimination:
At scrutineering, 19 competitors were present. The expected duel between Materassi and Nuvolari, which was the central topic of the Tripoli Grand Prix, failed at the last moment due to a matter of the regulations. The journalist Giovanni Canestrini in La Gazetta dello Sport described the unfortunate situation before the race, involving the Talbots of Materassi and Arcangeli. Nuvolari pointed out that regulation number 4 of the Tripoli Grand Prix stated clearly that each car had to have two people on board at a minimum weight of 120 kg. Since the Talbots of Materassi and Arcangeli were single-seaters, they had to carry extra ballast of 60 kg in place of a second person. However there was no physical room inside the Talbot to carry ballast. In the end it would be up to Materassi to concede defeat and withdraw. However, the international regulations allowed cars with only one seat. So, one of the directors of the Automobile Club of Tripoli demanded the repeal of the article of the RACI Sports Commission and, in its place, the application of the international regulation that allowed only one person on board without ballast. But the RACI Sports Commission telegraphed back that the Tripoli AC had to apply article number 4. It was a shame that the first interesting battle of the new season did not hold what it had promised. Giovanni Canestrini commented that we cannot approve of the Italian Champion Materassi ignoring the rules of the race, but we judge it to be unsporting, albeit legal, for Nuvolari to insist on the strict application of the race regulations.
Race:
On Sunday the weather was beautiful. As the race cars lined up for the start, the two monoposto Talbots were surprisingly amongst them. Refusing to abide by the ruling, Emilio Maserati possibly hoped for a change of mind at the last moment. The 18 cars lined up in order of their engine size with the six slower cycle cars forming the rear of the grid, as shown in Valerio Moretti's Tripoli book.
Pole Position
12
Nuvolari

Bugatti

10
Pastore

Bugatti

24
Aymini

Delage

20
Varzi

Bugatti

28
Zaita

Fiat

8
Platè

Chiribiri

4
Materassi

Talbot

22
Arcangeli

Talbot

18
Nenzioni

Bugatti

34
Brunori

Maserati

32
Cracchi

Bugatti

38
Vittoria

Maserati

6
Fagioli

Salmson

2
Borzacchini

Salmson

16
Biondetti

Salmson

14
Riccioli

Fiat

40
Giovanardi

Giovanardi

30
Ghersi

Derby

The dispute between Nuvolari and Materassi continued on the grid. Since it was not possible to reach an agreement between the two contenders, the journalist Giovanni Canestrini in his assigned function as Race Marshall had the unpleasant task of instructing Materassi to remove his cars from the starting grid. Materassi eventually withdrew his Talbot and that of Arcangeli because each monoposto had to carry 60 kg ballast but there had not been sufficient time before the start to install and distribute the ballast safely on the Talbot's chassis.
      The start had been planned for 12:15 in the afternoon but was delayed by the arguments and the removal of the two Talbots. Somewhat late then, the Duchess of Apulia gave the starting signal for the sixteen cars. Nuvolari took an early lead followed by Varzi. Pastore in the third of the large Bugattis was immediately put out of action with an accident at the Sidi el Messri curve on the first lap during which Pastore and his mechanic were slightly injured and were taken to hospital.
      On the second lap, Platè retired the 1500 Chiribiri. Although this was disappointing, Giovanni Canestrini stated that Platè had presented his car totally unprepared as had become his habit.
      On lap three two cars disappeared. One was Ghersi who retired his 1100 Derby with a broken cylinder head, the other one was Zaita in the 4.9-L Fiat, who was slower than everyone else and abandoned the race.
      On the following lap two other cars vanished from the scene. Aymini retired the 1925 Delage with axle bearing failure. In his three laps he had proved to have enough to handle the fast car, but his Delage was equipped with tires that were too small with too thin sections. He also had a lubrication problem with one cylinder. The other car retiring belonged to Giovanardi who abandoned on the fourth lap due to lack of lubrication. His Giovanardi with a 500 cc s/c engine left a good impression.
      After five laps, Pastore, Aymini and Zaitta had retired from the race, leaving just two well-prepared cars in the over 1500 cc class, the Bugattis of Nuvolari and Varzi, which were driving at a fast pace. Tripoli was only Varzi's second race in a car. The year before he had solely raced motor cycles and was a celebrated motorcycle champion. Varzi appeared safe, fast and unspectacular, leaving the impression that he would have a splendid season. During the race Nuvolari stopped twice at the pits giving Varzi the opportunity to lead the race but Nuvolari was able to pass him later with ease. Nuvolari won the race and drove the fastest lap but he did not beat the circuit record.
      On the sixth lap Fagioli passed Vittoria, who had been leading the 1500 class. Luigi Fagioli was driving his brother Erminio's 1100 Salmson, proving once again how fast he was by staying ahead of the strong Borzacchini in another 1100 Salmson. Alessandro Silva declared that according to La Nuova Italia, an Italian daily in Tripoli, Erminio Fagioli actually drove a bit of the race.
      The main interest was however focused on the fight in the 1500 class where Vittoria and Nenzioni were having a great battle with Varzi's larger Bugatti certainly part of it. An explanation why Varzi ended up in third place instead of second could not be found in the available reports. Vittoria in his Maserati held his lead for 12 laps ahead of Nenzioni's Bugatti. He then made a late stop to refuel his Maserati and lost over a minute. That opened the door for Nenzioni who went ahead with his Bugatti and took the lead in the 1500 class. Vittoria was now second in class and chased after Nenzioni to regain the class lead. Vittoria had on several laps exceeded the prior lap record in the class but on lap 13 he established the fastest lap of the 1500 category in 12m36s at 124.662 km/h and beat the old record of Alfieri Maserati that was 13m10.2s at 119,362 km/h. On the 14th and 15th laps the two opponents were still fighting, but then Vittoria had a slight accident on the last lap, also the electrical system caused him to lose so much time that he no longer had a chance of regaining first place. Brunori's 1500 Maserati was delayed with several stops for spark plugs. He stopped on his twelfth lap because he had exceeded the time limit. Cracchi did what he could with his 1500 Bugatti and was just not fast enough but still ended up in fifth place overall and third in his class.
      Borzacchini, who had been second in the 1100 cc class throughout the race, owed his victory to the retirement of Fagioli's Salmson on the penultimate lap when his engine broke down. The latter had led his class until lap13 when he had a 10 minutes lead. The winner Borzacchini settled for a new class record and Fagioli had established a new lap record. Biondetti in the third Salmson finished in second place while the supercharged Fiat 509 of Riccioli ended the race in third place in excellent condition but it was not quite fast enough. Giovanni Canestrini observed that Riccioli might have been closer to his opponents if he had had a more professional mechanic.

Results

Pos.No.DriverEntrantCarTypeEngineLapsTime/StatusDiff

1.12Tazio NuvolariScuderia NuvolariBugattiT35C2.0S-8163h20m25s
2.18Cleto NenzioniC. NenzioniBugattiT37A1.5S-4163h32m07.6s+ 11m42.6s
3.20Achille VarziScuderia NuvolariBugattiT35C2.0S-8163h33m46.4s+ 13m21.4s
4. 38Giuseppe VittoriaG. VittoriaMaserati261.5S-8163h34m09s+ 13m44s
5.32Enrico CracchiE. CracchiBugattiT371.5S-4163h45m45s+ 25m20s
DNC34Pietro BrunoriP. BrunoriMaserati261.5S-812spark plugs/ignition
DNF24Giulio AyminiG. AyminiDelage2LCV2.0V-12 3axle bearing
DNF28Gaetano ZaitaG. ZaitaFiat 14BIndianapolis4.9S-4 2mechanical
DNF8Luigi PlatèL. PlatèChiribiriMonza C1.5S-4 1mechanical 
DNF10Cesare PastoreScuderia NuvolariBugattiT35C2.0S-8 0crash
Fastest lap over 1500 cc: Tazio Nuvolari (Bugatti) on lap 12 in 11m20.4s = 138.6 km/h (86.1 mph).
Fastest lap up to 1500 cc: Giuseppe Vittoria (Maserati) on lap 13 in 12m36.6s = 124.7 km/h (77.5 mph).
Winner's medium speed, over 1500cc (Nuvolari): 125.5 km/h (78.0 mph).
Winner's medium speed, up to 1500cc (Nenzioni): 118.6 km/h (73.7 mph).

Results of 1100 cc class

Pos.No.DriverEntrantCarTypeEngineLapsTime/StatusDiff

1.2Baconin BorzacchiniB. BorzacchiniSalmson1.1S-4143h28m01s 
2.16Clemente BiondettiC. BiondettiSalmson1.1S-4143h36m03s+ 8m02s
3.14Eugenio RiccioliE. RiccioliFiat509 s/c1.0S-4143h51m25s+ 23m24s
DNF6Luigi FagioliErminio FagioliSalmson1.1S-412axle bearing 
DNF40Giuseppe GiovanardiG. GiovanardiGiovanardiMoto Guzzi0.5V-2 3lubrication 
DNF30Pietro GhersiP. GhersiDerby1.1S-4 2cylinder head 
Fastest lap 1100 cc: Luigi Fagioli (Salmson) on lap 1 in 13m16s = 118.5 km/h (73.6 mph).
Winner's medium speed: 105.8 km/h (65.7 mph).
Weather: sunshine, dry, warm.

In retrospect:
The RACI Sporting Committee declared in December of the previous year Emilio Materassi as 1927 Italian Champion while Maserati received the distinguished title for automobiles.
1928 - RACI Italian Championship Races:
March 11Tripoli Grand Prix
March 25Pozzo Circuit
April 22Alessandria Circuit
April 29Monza Grand Prix - cancelled
May 6Targa & Coppa Florio
May 13Coppa Messina
May 27Coppa della Perugia
June 3Mugello Circuit
June 10Royal Rome Grand Prix
July 8Susa-Moncenisio hill climb
August 4Coppa Acerbo
August 19Coppa Montenero
September 9Italian Grand Prix
September 9Milano Grand Prix - cancelled
October 7Garda Circuit
October 21Coppa Leonardi hill climb

Primary sources researched for this article:
AUTOMOBIL-REVUE, Bern
L'Auto Italiana, Milano
La Gazetta dello Sport, Milano
La Stampa, Torino
Tutti gli Sports, Firenze
Special thanks to:
Alessandro Silva



Chiron (Bugatti)Djordjadze (Bugatti)Tallet (Delfosse)

CIRCUIT D'ESTEREL PLAGE

St Raphaël (F) , 11 March 1928.
20 laps x 2.5 km (1.56 mi) = 50 km (31.1 mi)
750 cc cars: 18 laps x 2.5 km (1.555 mi) = 45 km (28.0 mi)



No.DriverEntrantCarTypeEngine

Racecars - up to 750 cc
MoutonMoutonMoutonSp.0.75
MathieuMathieuMathieuSp.0.75
 
Racecars - up to 1100 cc
d'Havrincourtd'HavrincourtSalmson1.1
C. SamudC. SamudBNC5271.1
MartinettiMartinettiSalmson1.1
CarassoCarassoBNC1.1
Robert BenoistR. Benoistx1.1
Benoit FalchettoBenoit FalchettoTony Speciale1.1DNA - did not appear
Victor MarretV. MarretSalmson1.1DNA - did not appear
DubetDubetSalmson1.1DNA - did not appear
Henry de JoncyH. de JoncyBNC5271.1DNA - did not appear
Naton Jack BruceNaton Jack BruceAmilcar1.1DNA - did not appear
 
Racecars - up to 1500 cc
Dimitri DjordjadzePrince D. DjordjadzeBugattiT37A1.5S-4
Frank TalletFrank TalletDelfosseCime1.1S-4
PamuelPamuelBugattiT37A1.5S-4
GononGononBugattiT37A1.5S-4DNA - did not appear
 
Racecars - over 1500 cc
1Louis ChironL. ChironBugattiT35C2.0S-8
HarmensHarmensBugattiT35C2.0S-8
Edward BretE. BretBugattiT35C2.0S-8DNA - did not appear
 
Sports cars - all classes
Ernst FriderichE. FriderichBugattiT35B2.3S-8
SimonSimonBugattiT35C2.0S-8
René DreyfusR. DreyfusBugattiT37A1.5S-4
JourdanJourdanSalmson1.1
Henri SignoretH. SignoretSalmson1.1
AllemandouAllemandouSalmson1.1


Louis Chiron wins Esterel Plage at Saint Raphaël

by Hans Etzrodt
From 25 entries at the Saint Raphaël road circuit just 18 cars appeared at the start of this minor race, separated into sports- and racecars. The sports car category was divided into three engine capacity classes, while the racecars were split into four classes, which assured that almost everybody would receive a prize. In the first 50 km race for sports cars two 1100 Salmsons driven by Jourdan and Signoret finished ahead of Friederich, Dreyfus and Simon with Bugattis. In the second contest for racecars Mouton won the 750 cc race ahead of Mathieu while in the 1100 cc class d'Havricourt (Salmson) took first place followed by Samud (BNC) while Martinetti, Benoist and Carasso retired. In the third 50 km race for 1500 and 2000 cc racecars, Prince Dimitri (Bugatti) beat Tallet (Delfosse) in the 1500 cc class with Pamuel (Bugatti) retiring, and Chiron (Bugatti) won the 2000 cc class ahead of Harmens in a similar car.
The Auto-Moto-Club de Saint Raphaël was responsible for organizing this small event for the first time on the 2.5 km Circuit de l'Esterel-Plage at the Cote d'Azur town of Saint Raphaël. There were four classes for race cars, up to 750 cc, 1100 cc, 1100 cc to 1500 cc and over 1500 cc, while the sports cars classes were for 1100 cc, up to 1500 cc and over 1500 cc.
      From the 25 entries, there appeared 12 racecars, the remainders were sports cars. A list of entries is shown at the beginning of this report. From 8:00 AM the various motorcycle races were held while the automobiles started after 12:20 in the afternoon, beginning with the sports cars before the racecars.
Sports car race:
The first race was for the 1100 cc, 1500 cc and 3000 cc sports cars, which raced together over 20 laps around the 2.5 km circuit, a total of 50 km. Friderich and Jourdan fought wheel to wheel until Friderich stopped with a puncture to change a wheel on the penultimate lap. Jourdan won, followed by Signoret, Friderich, Dreyfus and Simon
Results

Pos.No.DriverEntrantCarTypeEngineLapsTime/StatusDiff

1.JourdanJourdanSalmson1.12041m34.0s
2.Henri SignoretH. SignoretSalmson1.12042m13.6s
3.Ernst FriderichE. FriderichBugattiT35B2.3S-82043m19.8s
4.René DreyfusR. DreyfusBugattiT37A1.5S-42045m
5.SimonSimonBugattiT35C2.0S-82045m37.0s
DNFAllemandouAllemandouSalmson1.1did not finish
Fastest lap 1100 cc: Jourdan (Salmson) in 2m02s = 73.8 km/h (45.8 mph).
Fastest lap 1500 cc: R. Dreyfus (Bugatti) in 2m11s = 68.7 km/h (42.7 mph).
Winner's speed 1100 cc (Jourdan): 72.2 km/h (44.8 mph).
Winner's speed 1500 cc (Dreyfus): 66.7 km/h (41.4 mph).
Winner's speed 3000 cc (Friderich): 69.2 km/h (43.0 mph).


Racecar Category up to 1100 cc:
The second race was for race cars up to 1100 cc, 20 laps of the 2.5 km circuit, a total of 50 km. The two 750 cc cars had to cover only 18 laps. Benoist, who had taken a strong lead from the start, was forced to retire. Havricourt was then leading this category and finished first. Samud had driven a magnificent race but a puncture on lap 19 cost him a possible first place.
Results

Pos.No.DriverEntrantCarTypeEngineLapsTime/StatusDiff

1.d'Havrincourtd'HavrincourtSalmson1.12049m31.8s
2.C. SamudC. SamudBNC1.12049m50.4s
3.MoutonMoutonMoutonSp.0.75181h01m56.4s
4.Henri MathieuH. MathieuMathieuSp.0.75161h02m16.4s
DNFMartinettiMartinettiSalmson1.1did not finish
DNFRobert BenoistR. Benoistx1.1did not finish
DNFCarassoCarassoBNC1.1did not finish
Fastest lap 750 cc: Mathieu (Mathieu Sp.) in 2m14s = 67,2 km/h (41.7 mph).
Fastest lap 1100 cc: d'Havrincourt (Salmson) in 2m04s = 72.6 km/h (45.1 mph).
Winner's speed 750 cc (Mouton): 43.6 km/h (27.1 mph).
Winner's speed 1100 cc (d'Havrincourt): 60.6 km/h (37.6 mph).


Racecar Category up to 1500 & 2000 cc:
The highlight of the day was the race for 1500 cc and 2 liter race cars over 20 laps of the 2.5 km circuit, a total of 50 km. Chiron, the prestigious Monaco driver from the Côte d'Azur put up a good show around the circuit, which was literally packed with spectators. He registered the best time of the day. In the 1500 cc class, Prince Dimitri, the winner of this category, beat Tallet, who was a serious opponent while Pamuel did not finish the race.
Results

Pos.No.DriverEntrantCarTypeEngineLapsTime/StatusDiff

1.1Louis ChironL. ChironBugattiT35C2.0S-82039m19.8s
2.Dimitri DjordjadzePrince D. DjordjadzeBugattiT37A1.5S-42043m43.4s
3.Frank TalletF. TalletDelfosseCime1.1S-42045m23.0s
4.HarmensHarmensBugattiT35C2.0S-81846m44.8s
DNFPamuelPamuelBugattiT37A1.5S-4did not finish
Fastest lap 1500 cc: D. Djordjadze (Bugatti) in 2m08s at 70.3 km/h (43.7 mph).
Fastest lap 2000 cc: L. Chiron (Bugatti) in 1m53.8s at 79.1 km/h (49.1 mph).
Winner's speed 1500 cc (Djordjadze): 68.6 km/h (42.6 mph).
Winner's speed 2000 cc (Chiron): 76.3 km/h (47.4 mph).
Weather: unknown.


Primary sources researched for this article:
Le Petit Niçois, Nice
L'Eclaireur de Nice, Nice



Nuvolari (Bugatti)Maggi (Maserati)Clerici (Salmson)

CIRCUITO DEL POZZO

Circuito del Pozzo, Verona (I), 25 March 1928.
25 laps x 12.342 km (7.669 mi) = 308.6 km (191.7 mi)



No.DriverEntrantCarTypeEngine

Class II, over 1500 cc
1Ogniben AlveràO. AlveràBugattiT35A2.0S-8
2Giulio AyminiG. AyminiDelage2LCV2.0V-12DNA - did not appear
3Pietro BordinoUmberto PugnoBugattiT35B2.3S-8
4Tazio NuvolariScuderia NuvolariBugattiT35C2.0S-8
5Emilio RomanoE. RomanoBugattiS-8DNA - did not appear
6Gaspare BonaG. BonaBugattiT35T2.3S-8
7Carlo BellottiC. BellottiBugattiT37A1.5S-4DNA - did not appear
Cesare PastoreScuderia NuvolariBugattiT35C2.0S-8DNA - did not appear
Achille VarziScuderia NuvolariBugattiT35C2.0S-8DNA - did not appear
 
Class I, up to 1500 cc
8Umbero CappelloU. CappelloFiat5091.0S-4DNA - did not appear
9Donato Tomaso SaccomaniT. SaccomaniAmilcarCGSS1.1S-4
10Abele ClericiA. ClericiSalmsonGSS1.1S-6
11Cesare Augusto MaganziniC. MaganziniBugattiT37A1.5S-4
12Gerolamo VanfrettiG. VanfrettiMarinoGS1.1DNA - did not appear
13Luigi BeccariaL. BeccariaBugattiT371.5S-4
14Carlo ToniniC. ToniniMaserati261.5S-8DNA - did not appear
15Filippo SartorioF. SartorioG.A.R.SCAP1.1DNA - did not appear
16Luigi ArcangeliScuderia MaterassiTalbot7001.5S-8DNA - did not appear
17Emilio MaterassiScuderia MaterassiTalbot7001.5S-8DNA - did not appear
18Giorgio FaggioliG. FaggioliBugattiT371.5S-4
19Cleto NenzioniC. NenzioniBugattiT37A1.5S-4
20Luigi FagioliL. FagioliMaserati261.5S-8
21Carlo Rosti / Antonio BrivioScuderia MaterassiTalbot7001.5S-8
22Aymo MaggiGiuseppe VittoriaMaserati261.5S-8
23Filippo TassaraF. TassaraDerbySCAP s/c1.1S-4
24Antonio TestiA. TestiMaserati261.5S-8
25Vittoria Simonotti ManacordaV. SimonottiXXDNA - did not appear
26Giovanni ChiampanG. ChiampanBugatti1.5S-4
27 Pietro CattaneoP. CattaneoAmilcarGP1.1S-6
28Massimo "Mino" LasagniM. LasagniMarinoGS1.1
BilottiBilottiBugattiT371.5S-4DNA - did not appear
Giuseppe VittoriaG. VittoriaMaserati261.5S-8DNA - did not appear


Nuvolari, Maggi and Clerici victorious at Pozzo Circuit

by Hans Etzrodt
At the 1928 Pozzo Circuit 18 drivers started, but only four of them raced in the grand prix car class while the others comprised 1500 and 1100 cc race cars. Bordino with a Bugatti 2300 led the first lap and then Nuvolari with a Bugatti 2000 passed him. Alverà and Bona also with Bugatti 2000s had a more difficult time with the endless rain and mud of the softened dirt circuit. Bona retired early while Alverà eventually finished 6th. Bordino fell one lap behind with a punctured tire. After further pit stops to clean his goggles and windscreen from the mud, Bordino eventually gave up when over two laps behind. Maggi lost much time changing twice plugs on his Maserati 1500 but after over two hours of hard driving and other cars retiring he ended up in second place behind the outstanding Nuvolari who won at Pozzo, his second victory of the year after Tripoli two weeks earlier. The excellent Clerici with the fast little 1100 Salmson achieved third place, followed by Giorgio Faggioli (Bugatti), Cattaneo (Amilcar), Alverà (Bugatti), Luigi Fagioli (Maserati), Saccomani (Amilcar), while Lasagni (Marino) exceeded the time limit and was flagged off. The nine retirements included the disappointing 1500 Talbot, alternately driven by Rosti and Brivio while Testi's Maserati 1500 caused a big scare at the start and near the end of the race he drove over two carabinieri standing on the race track.
The races on Circuito del Pozzo south off Verona had taken place since 1926 and had both been won by Bugatti. The first winner was Cosonni while Bona was victorious in 1927. The l'Automobile Club di Verona succeeded in holding its third edition of the Pozzo Circuit, which after Tripoli counted as the second event towards the 1928 Italian Automobile Championship. The fast triangular 12.342 km road circuit started in Verona at Fort Tomba, immediately made a wide right turn, the Parabolica, from which it headed south for several kilometers along the Via Palezzina straight to San Giovanni Lupatoto. Here, there was a right turn leading to nearby Pozzo and San Gaetano where the course made a sharp right turn, heading back north onto the long straight of Via Cesare Battisti, which became Via Legnano further on towards Verona, to the tip of the triangular course, where another right turn led to the start and finish. The drivers had to complete 25 laps, a distance of 308.550 km. The Pozzo Circuit, which was amongst the fastest in Italy between the super-fast Cremona and Tripoli (an Italian colony since 1911), did not present great difficulties for the drivers. It did not require the special skills of mixed road circuits, but demanded the courage and ability to drive for two hours at speeds very close to 150 km/h on the two narrow straights, which were dirt roads, where the cars reached their top speed.
      The circuit had undergone reconstruction at the parabolic curve at Fort Tomba and the length was now exactly 12,342 km. Added to that was improving and construction of spacious comfortable grandstands, installed at the height of the central Giuliari water channel with the finish line, new pits for supplies and various installations like mobile radio equipment. The two wonderful straights San Giovanni Lupatoto and Borgo Roma, both about 5.5 km on which drivers should be able to reach a higher speed than in 1927. The week before the race a small army of about one-hundred road workers along the whole 12 kilometer long circuit had labored to remove the snow and painstakingly fixed the road surface by filling every pot hole of the dirt road. The road course was perfectly prepared for the cars to be driven at top speeds on the straights, which were now connected by sweeping turns. The turn in San Giovanni Lupatoto remained unchanged which followed the wide piazza of the town, while the right angle turn in Pozzo and the tip of the triangle at Forte di Tomba were both drastically improved and covered with bitumen.
      The organizer had set aside 80,000 lire prize money. The first finisher of each category received 10,000 lire, the second 5,000 lire and the third 3,000 lire. The overall winner received an additional 40,000 lire. The driver who made the fastest lap was to receive 2,000 lire. The existing 1927 lap record was established by Balestrero with a 2000 cc Bugatti at 141.492 km/h.
Entries:
The Verona AC received a total of 32 entries, 9 cars of 1500 cc or more, 15 of 1500 cc cars and 8 1100 cc cars. The Veronese driver Alverà was driving a Bugatti in the large class, as were Bordino, Nuvolari and Bona. Another 5 entries did not appear. Bordino had not received in time a Bugatti from the works for the race, but instead drove an inadequately prepared Bugatti of Umberto Pugno. Overall there were 14 Bugatti entries against four Maserati 1500s for Testi, Fagioli, Tonini and Maggi. It was hoped to have Maggi appear behind the wheel of the new 1700 Maserati but since it was not yet ready, he drove the 1500 Maserati of Vittoria who was feeling unwell. Disappointingly only one of the three 1927 Talbot 1500 grand prix cars which had been entered actually appeared. Giorgio Faggioli (Bugatti) was not related to Luigi Fagioli (Maserati). Varzi, who at this time was still a rookie automobile race driver, did not appear for unknown reasons. He was an accomplished motorcycle champion rider and the 1928 Tripoli Grand Prix had been only his second automobile race. A complete list of entries is shown at the beginning of this report. The existing lap record of 5m20.0s from 1927 was expected to be broken during the race.
Race:
On Sunday with a gray sky, a large crowd attended the Pozzo triangular circuit despite continuous rain. What was supposed to be in essence the fastest race of the season developed into a grueling fight against the rain and mud. The daring drivers were prepared for a wet circuit and 18 starters from 28 numbered entries had appeared. Class II, over 1500 cc, was to start first, with two cars per row in numerical order.
Pole Position
3
Bordino

Bugatti

1
Alverà

Bugatti

6
Bona

Bugatti

4
Nuvolari

Bugatti

The start was given at exactly 14:25 by Vittorio Raffaldi, the Mayor of Verona. Nuvolari, who was in the second row, passed Bona and Alvera but the experienced Bordino had got away first and led the small group of four cars. In the meantime the cars of class I up to 1500 lined up on the grid, waiting for the signal to go.
Pole Position
10
Clerici

Salmson

9
Saccomani

Amilcar

13
Beccaria

Bugatti

11
Maganzini

Bugatti

19
Nenzioni

Bugatti

18
G. Faggioli

Bugatti

21
Rosti

Bugatti

20
L. Fagioli

Maserati

23
Tassara

Derby

22
Maggi

Maserati

26
Chiampan

Bugatti

24
Testi

Maserati

28
Lasagni

Marino

27
Cattaneo

Amilcar

The 1500s, including the 1100 class, started close to each other, without a space between the rows to give competitors a chance to maneuver. The Commendatore Raffaldi released the 14 cars at 14:27 in pursuit of the others. The start was marred by an accident when the Talbot of Rosti remained stationary in the fourth row causing a tangle of cars. Testi moved his Maserati violently sideways to the roadside and with his front wheel knocked down a spectator, who luckily got away with a big fright and a few bruises. The Mayor of Verona was overcome by this unfortunate and unnecessary maneuver by Testi. Last to get away was Rosti's Talbot, which was pushed-started for a few meters to get away.
      At the end of lap one, the arrival of the leader was awaited with excitement; would it be Bordino or Nuvolari? Then there was a quick pass by Bordino in first place, who had lapped in 5m50s, at 123.587 km/h. He was closely followed by Nuvolari with a gap of about half a minute to Alverà with Bona very close behind. Due to the wet surface of the dirt road the speeding cars kicked up quite a bit of mud, which made passing maneuvers tricky. Then came the 1500 cars with Beccaria holding the lead with the first lap in 6m22s, followed by Maggi 5 seconds later, then Testi, Clerici, Luigi Fagioli, Maganzini, Giorgio Faggioli, Saccomani and the rest. At the end of the lap Nenzioni was first to stop at the pits, arriving slowly and retiring.
      On the second lap Nuvolari managed to pass Bordino on the inside of the Parabolica when his rival went wide on the outside. Nuvolari had prepared for the eventuality of bad weather with great care. He had the windshield of his Bugatti surrounded with a boxlike sheet metal frame to prevent mud being thrown onto it. His riding mechanic's duty was to keep the windshield and Nuvolari's goggles clean. Although this was just a small advantage, it enabled Nuvolari to maintain a faster pace than his opponents. Beccaria kept his lead in the1500 category and made the best time in 5m55.4s at 125.158 km/h, which was faster than Bordino's lap speed. His pursuer Maggi stopped to change spark plugs, while Bona headed for the pits to change a tire. Tassara also stopped at the pits. Testi, Fagioli and Clerici were now busy chasing after the fast Beccaria, who seemed to feel at ease among so much rain and mud.
      On the third lap there was a surprise when the duel between Nuvolari-Bordino came to an end. After Nuvolari passed the finish at high speed, the second car arriving was not Bordino but the No. 1 Bugatti of Alverà. Shortly afterwards Bordino arrived slowly, making hand signs indicating that his right rear wheel was running on the ground. It should have been a quick stop at his pit to change a flat tire from a nail, but he lost about 7 minutes, which was more than a lap. Maggi stopped again for spark plugs, while Beccaria completed the third lap by improving his time with a 5m49s lap, an average of 127,310 km/h that constituted the record lap of the day for his class. But then Beccaria disappeared from the race after breaking the seal of a water pipe. Thus Luigi Fagioli automatically took the lead of the class, followed by Testi and the fast Clerici, who with his small Salmson 1100 had managed to pass many opponents of the larger displacement. Nenzioni, Beccaria, Chiampan and Bona had retired their Bugattis, the latter with engine problems. After five laps the field was down to 14 cars in the following order:
1.Nuvolari (Bugatti)29m46.6s
2.Alverà (Bugatti)33m25.4s
3.L. Fagioli (Maserati)33m55.2s
4.Testi (Maserati)34m06.2s
5.Clerici (Salmson)35m41.8s
6.G. Faggioli (Bugatti)36m31.4s
7.Cattaneo (Amilcar)37m17.0s
8.Bordino (Bugatti)37m45.6s
9.Maganzini (Bugatti)38m33.4s
10.Saccomani (Amilcar)39m09.6s
11.Rosti (Talbot)39m15.0s
12.Maggi (Maserati)40m55.6s
13.Tassara (Derby)53m04.4s
14.Lasagni (Marino)54m05.2s

The race continued with no further variations of positions. Maggi was now in pursuit and gradually regained positions, one at a time; while Bordino was disheartened and stopped repeatedly to change his goggles due to the mud. Alverà had a flat tire on lap eight and Brivio replaced Rosti on the sixth lap. Brivio put him immediately under pressure by driving several laps in good times, obviously better than Rosti had done. Tassara stopped at his pit and retired on lap nine with supercharger trouble after several stops to the pits and the order of the 13 car field after 10 laps was as follows:
1.Nuvolari (Bugatti)58m56.4s
2.L. Fagioli (Maserati)1h05m43.6s
3.Testi (Maserati)1h07m08.0s
4.Clerici (Salmson)1h10m41.6s
5.Alverà (Bugatti)1h11m12.2s
6.G. Faggioli (Bugatti)1h11m47.4s
7.Maggi (Maserati)1h12m46.4s
8.Cattaneo (Amilcar)1h13m43.0s
9.Bordino (Bugatti)1h14m48.0s
10.Saccomani (Amilcar)1h18m17.4s
11.Brivio/Rosti (Talbot)1h19m52.8s
12.Maganzini (Bugatti)1h22m40.2s
13.Lasagni (Marino)1h40m02.0s

Bordino meanwhile, finishing his tenth lap, drove slowly towards the finish line and retired, declaring that he had no chance of victory and lamenting about the difficulties of visibility due to the mud and rain. The race became monotonous after the disappearance of one of the most fearsome competitors. Nuvolari and Alverà were the only ones left in class II.
      Nuvolari was now headed towards a secure win, but instead of slowing down, he kept up his fast pace considering the poor state of the soaked roads. He drove laps at an average of 5m45s. Saccomani stopped after the 10th lap. It kept raining with an irritating persistency. In spite of the appalling conditions, the spectators always remained firmly in place. At the end of lap 15 after Bordino had retired, the field was down to 12 cars. By this time Nuvolari was almost two laps ahead of Fagioli in second place.
1.Nuvolari (Bugatti)1h28m48.2s
2.L. Fagioli (Maserati)1h39m58s
3.Testi (Maserati)1h40m17.4s
4.Maggi (Maserati)1h44m26s
5.Clerici (Salmson)1h45m58s
6.G. Faggioli (Bugatti)1h47m26s
7.Alverà (Bugatti)1h47m29s
8.Cattaneo (Amilcar)1h48m49s
9.Brivio/Rosti (Talbot)1h52m21s
10.Saccomani (Amilcar)1h57m39s
11.Maganzini (Bugatti)2h10m35s
12.Lasagni (Marino)no time

After 15 laps, the race continued without any change in the positions. Interestingly, now Maggi chased and attacked the remaining Maseratis. Simultaneously, Cattaneo in his Amilcar gradually improved his pace. Maggi stopped at the pits to refuel. Brivio stopped the Talbot at the pits and left the driving again to Rosti. But he retired on lap 17 due to constant problems with the spark plugs. Nuvolari was still leading the field after 20 laps, when Rosti and Maganzini were gone and the field was down to 10 cars in the following order:
1.Nuvolari (Bugatti)1h58m36.2s
2.L. Fagioli (Maserati)2h10m57.6s
3.Testi (Maserati)2h13m09.2s
4.Maggi (Maserati)2h14m09s
5.Clerici (Salmson)2h20m29s
6.Alverà (Bugatti)2h22m22.6s
7.G. Faggioli (Bugatti)2h22m24s
8.Cattaneo (Amilcar)2h22m49.4s
9.Saccomani (Amilcar)2h34m39s
10.Lasagni (Marino)no time

The cars continued under never ending rain. The drivers made enormous efforts not to swerve but some slips occurred with the smaller cars suffering the most from the bad road conditions. During one of the preceding laps, Testi had spun his Maserati in Curva Parabolica, luckily missing Clerici's Salmson. Earlier at the start, Testi had caused an accident involving a spectator, and now on lap 21 Testi caused a very tragic accident which knocked him out of the race. About half a kilometer before the grandstands, Testi's Maserati passed another car while holding second position overall. Testi arrived at high speed nearing the finish line to complete the 21st lap, skidded to the edge of the road and ran over a soldier and two Carabinieri (policemen) who were acting as crowd marshals; Testi caught them with the rear wheel. Two of the injured were taken by ambulance to the Hospital and the soldier who was only slightly injured to the Military Hospital. The soldier was improving but both militiamen died.
      Testi had driven up to the press grandstand, where he ended his drive in serious shock and pain in the right arm and shoulder with which he had hit one of the poor men involved. He abandoned of course and left immediately in a service car. The first investigation revealed that for unknown reasons the three were standing on the road about 1 ½ meters from the edge. They were considered as victims for their service duty, hence not as spectators. However, L'Arena reported the next day that nine spectators were also injured. The accident was of course an extremely serious matter. Later, Testi and the Chairman of the Verona A.C. were put on trial. They were acquitted. As stated by Saro Rolandi in his book, the defense attorney was Fascist Roberto Farinacci who was a very big shot in the government and in the fascist party. According to Alessandro Silva, Testi subsequently sold his Maserati to Guglielmo Sandri, the well-known motorcycle racer also from Bologna, who was riding with him at the Pozzo race. Testi resumed racing in the late 1930s in the Italian colonies of Africa, where he had brought an old 1100 Maserati with him.
      With Testi now out of the race and Luigi Fagioli forced to slow his pace due to engine trouble with his Maserati, Maggi inherited the lead of his class. Nuvolari stopped on the 24th lap to refuel his Bugatti and to repair a damaged wheel. He had time to do this as he was two laps ahead of everybody else. While he completed the final lap, he was greeted with applause from the spectators. Immediately afterwards the crowd dispersed into the gray evening. It was still raining.

Results

Pos.No.DriverEntrantCarTypeEngineLapsTime/StatusDiff

1.4Tazio NuvolariScuderia NuvolariBugattiT35C2.0S-8252h40m36.6s 
2.22Aymo MaggiGiuseppe VittoriaMaserati261.5S-8252h49m25.0s+ 8m48.4s
3.10Abele ClericiA. ClericiSalmsonGSS1.1S-6252h54m18.8s+ 13m42.2s
4.18Giorgio FaggioliG. FaggioliBugattiT371.5S-4252h57m02.0s+ 16m25.4s
5.27Pietro CattaneoP. CattaneoAmilcarGP1.1S-6252h57m04.6s+ 16m28.0s
6.1Ogniben AlveràO. AlveràBugattiT35A2.0S-8252h59m08.0s+ 18m31.4s
7.20Luigi FagioliL. FagioliMaserati261.5S-8253h09m36.4s+ 28m59.8s
8.9Donato Tomaso SaccomaniT. SaccomaniAmilcarCGSS1.1S-4253h11m40.0s+ 31m03.4s
DNC28Massimo "Mino" LasagniM. LasagniMarinoGS s/c1.121out of time 
DNF24Antonio TestiA. TestiMaserati261.5S-821crash 
DNF11Cesare Augusto MaganziniC. MaganziniBugattiT37A1.5S-420  
DNF21Carlo Rosti / Antonio BrivioScuderia MaterassiTalbot7001.5S-816spark plugs 
DNF3Pietro BordinoUmberto PugnoBugattiT35B2.3S-811surrendered
DNF23Filippo TassaraF. TassaraDerbySCAP s/c1.1S-410  
DNF6Gaspare BonaG. BonaBugattiT35T2.3S-85
DNF13Luigi BeccariaL. BeccariaBugattiT371.5S-43  
DNF19Cleto NenzioniC. NenzioniBugattiT37A1.5S-42  
DNF26Giovanni ChiampanG. ChiampanBugatti1.5S-41  
Fastest lap (over 1500 cc): Tazio Nuvolari (Bugatti) on lap 5 in 5m33.6s = 133.2 km/h (82.8 mph).
Fastest lap (up to 1500 cc): Luigi Beccaria (Bugatti) on lap 3 in 5m49.0s = 127.3 km/h (79.1 mph).
Fastest lap (up to 1100 cc:) Abele Clerici (Salmson) on lap 21 in 6m38.6s = 111.468 km/h (69.3 mph).
Winner's medium speed, over 1500cc (Tazio Nuvolari): 115.3 km/h (71.6 mph).
Winner's medium speed, up to 1500 cc (Aymo Maggi): 109.3 km/h (67.9 mph).
Winner's medium speed, up to 1100 cc (Abele Clerici): 106.2 km/h (66.0 mph).
Weather: rain, soaked dirt roads, muddy in places.

In retrospect:
The debut of the much expected Talbot 1500 was not brilliant. Materassi and Arcangeli did not appear while Rosti struggled with the continuous rain and muddy sections of the dirt roads. This explains his slow pace and additionally he did not have the right spark plugs. Antonio Brivio relieved Rosti driving the Talbot. Brivio drove only 10 laps but with a lap time of 5m55s, he showed what the car could accomplish.

Primary sources researched for this article:
AUTOMOBIL-REVUE, Bern
La Gazetta dello Sport, Milano
L'Arena, Verona
LA STAMPA, Torino
L'Auto Italiana, Milano
Tutti gli Sports, Napoli
Special thanks to:
Signora Donatella Biffignandi
Signora Andrea Campalto
Marco Girardi
Signora Rosella Lamperti
Signora Laura Rebonato
Alessandro Silva
Bernhard Völker



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© 2016 Leif Snellman, Hans Etzrodt - Last updated: 11.08.2017