Pescara (I), 23 August 1928.
20 laps x 25.5 km (15.8 mi) = 510.0 km (316.9 mi)
Campari victorious with Alfa Romeo at Pescara
by Hans Etzrodt
The 16 starters at the Coppa Acerbo comprised eight Bugattis, three Maseratis, two Alfa Romeos, two Talbots and one Chiribiri. Campari in his 4-year old improved Alfa Romeo P2 led the race unchallenged from
start to finish. Materassi with his bored out Talbot could not threaten Campari and had to retire early before taking over the 1500 Talbot from teammate Arcangeli and chasing from seventh position in determined
manner to finish in second place. The Bugattis of Tonini, Nuvolari and Saccomani ended up in the next positions while the Bugattis of Varzi, Maglione and Brilli Peri retired. The 1500 Alfa Romeo of Bona/Ramponi
finished sixth, ahead of Fagioli and Marano in 1500 Maseratis. The German Simons and Cucinotta in 1500 Bugattis, Platè (Chiribiri) and de Sterlich (Maserati) also retired. The Coppa Abruzzo, a sports car race
held the following day on the same circuit, was won by Foresti (Bugatti) and included six of the drivers who had raced in the Coppa Acerbo.
The Automobile Club di Pescara held the 1928 Coppa Acerbo for its fifth running, a race that was an international event with two German entries and which also counted towards the Italian Championship. In 1924
Minister Giacomo Acerbo had named the race in honor of his brother Capitano Tito Acerbo, a decorated war hero, who was killed during the last year of WW I. The same triangular 25.5 km Pescara circuit was used,
with the start outside the seaside resort of Pescara, where the road went straight for about one kilometer along the shore. Before the town of Pescara the course made a wide right turn heading inland for about
11 km along a winding road up into the Abruzzi Mountains through the villages of Villa Raspa, Spoltore and Capelle. From here, the road led into the approximately 11 km long Montesilvano downhill straight to
the coast at blistering speed where every car could reach its maximum speed. A fast right turn at Montesilvano railroad station led into the Lungo Mare straight along the coast and finally through a chicane to
slow the cars just before start and finish.
The Coppa Acerbo promoters received a total of 29 entries. As in the previous year, the race was again over 20 laps, a total of 510 km and competitors were split into three categories. The largest number of
entries, 14, was received in the category up to 1500cc, which comprised five Bugattis, three Maseratis, one Alfa Romeo, one Fiat, a Talbot, a Chiribiri, a Camen and a Salmson. Only three of those makes were
likely to gain victory: Talbot, Bugatti and Maserati. The favorite amongst them was Scuderia Materassi with their two 1927 grand prix Talbots, 8-cylinders of original 1500 cc for Luigi Arcangeli while the car
for Emilio Materassi had its engine bored out slightly, increasing its capacity to 1503 cc, which allowed it to race in the 2-liter category. Both, cars and drivers, were known to be very fast, while the
strength of the Bugatti was their proven reliability which was superior to the Maseratis. The Camen was built in Naples by the Esposito brothers with Sirignano money and had a 1036 cc, V-4 supercharged
two-stroke engine and independent front suspension. Only two cars were made in 1927/28, driven by Prince Francesco di Sirignano and Guglielmo Esposito at the 1928 Targa Florio and were quite fast over short distances.
The 2000 category was the most interesting and it would be a fierce contest between ten cars of the same three marques, Talbot, Bugatti and Maserati plus a very quick opponent, the Alfa Romeo of Campari.
He entered his eight-cylinder, 2-liter Alfa Romeo P2, a 1924/25 grand prix car, which undoubtedly was the fastest car present. Another outstandingly rapid entry was the bored out Talbot of Materassi, already
mentioned above. Tazio Nuvolari, Achille Varzi, Gastone Brilli Peri, Carlo Tonini and Tommaso Saccomani were all in 2000 Bugattis and each was trying to win the race. An independent 2000 Maserati entry was
received from Diego de Sterlich and a similar works car from Ernesto Maserati, plus an old 20S Diatto by Covitti Evangelista.
The category over 2000 cc, comprised five cars, the Diatto Special with a large Hispano Suiza engine, a large Mercedes, two 2300 Bugattis and a large La Salle. A complete list of entries is at the beginning
of this report.
On Sunday 8:00 AM the starting area was cleared for the long awaited event when very soon 16 cars appeared to take their positions on the grid, arranged in numerical order. The large cars occupied the front rows
followed by the smaller category at the rear. The following drivers did not start: Maraini (Mercedes), Astarita (Diatto), Barbato (Bugatti), Balestrero (La Salle), Evangelistica (Diatto), Stinson (Bugatti),
Borzacchini (Maserati), Contessa Einsiedel (Bugatti), De Bernardinis (Fiat), Ciriaci (Bugatti), Ricci (Salmson), Prince de Sirignano (Camen) and Ernesto Maserati (Maserati). Three of these drivers entered the
Coppa Abruzzo the next day plus three drivers who had raced in the Coppa Acerbo.
At 9:00 AM General Francesco De Pinedo lowered the flag and the roaring pack leaped from the grid with loud rumble. The Bugattis of Saccomani and Nuvolari took the immediate lead chased by Campari's fast Alfa Romeo.
Simons' white Bugatti remained on the grid with a faulty ignition. The unfortunate driver got out, pushed the car for tens of meters and then the mechanic took over pushing the car, but to no avail. Eventually after
5m50s he was able to start.
Meanwhile the loudspeakers had announced that at Villa Raspa, after the first corner, Campari's car was in front and the grandstand crowd welcomed the news with a long murmur of approval. At Capelle Campari was still
in first place, as he was at the grandstands when he completed the first lap in 12m55.8s at 118.451 km/h. After a gap of 15 seconds Brilli Peri appeared, followed by Nuvolari and Materassi 40 seconds later. Varzi who arrived
next, had already fallen behind and slowed down to stop at the pits. He was followed by Arcangeli, Bona, Marano, Tonini, De Sterlich and Fagioli. Saccomani was in twelfth place ahead of Maglione and Platè. The
German Simons had not been heard of after his late start and probably retired at Capelle, while Letterio Cucinotta also retired somewhere along the way. Varzi had stopped at his pit because the carburetion was
faulty and the spark plugs were malfunctioning. Presumably Varzi retired at this time since he was no longer mentioned in any of the reports.
Campari's time for the second lap was 12m32.6s at 121.977 km/h average speed, which would stand as the fastest lap of the race. His lead over Brilli had increased to 48 seconds. Materassi was third, 1m50s behind
Campari while Nuvolari who was 2m43s behind the leader, chased after a gap of thirty meters by Tonini, De Sterlich and Saccomani. Bona and Marano who drove in tandem followed next.
Campari's lead increased again on the third lap when Brilli in second place was 58 seconds behind and Materassi followed 1m30s behind in third place. After three laps, Platé, made another stop and retired.
While Campari maintained his domination like a master on lap four, Brilli Peri in second place stopped at his pit, changed three tires and checked the carburetor which was not working properly. His repair lasted
longer than expected and when eight opponents passed by his pit, he became concerned. Finally, after eight minutes, he was able to restart.
Meanwhile Campari still held the lead, chased by Materassi and Arcangeli. The latter stopped at the pits with a flat tire and lubrication trouble. On the fifth lap De Sterlich retired at Monte Silvano with a
broken oil pipe. After the five retirements the field was down to 11 cars and the leaders in the various categories were: over 2000 cc: Maglione, the only remaining competitor, up to 2000 cc: Campari and up to
1500 cc: Arcangeli. After his pit stop, Brilli Peri was able to overhaul Bona, Marano and Arcangeli for sixth place. At the end of lap five Campari led at 118.871 km/h race average, when the order was:
|1.||Campari (Alfa Romeo)||1h04m21.6s|
|6.||Brilli Peri (Bugatti)||1h13m06.0s|
|9.||Bona (Alfa Romeo)||1h13m55.8s|
Campari continued like a man possessed and had predicted before the race that he would neither retire nor would anyone catch up with him. Without a fight he had already beaten both records, the race average speed and
the fastest lap. On lap six Materassi again headed for the pits, put water in the radiator and restarted immediately.
On lap seven Materassi stopped once more. The radiator erupted like a volcano. After a quick inspection of the car, the daring Tuscan decided to retire. The car remained at the pit while Materassi gulped down a bottle
of beer without showing any regret. Thus, Nuvolari inherited second place followed by Brilli Peri who was now running at a great pace and finished his eighth lap in 12m58.2s at 117.965 km/h average speed.
On lap nine Campari stopped at the pits, filled up with fuel and oil and changed front tires. After four minutes he restarted to the delight of the public in the grandstands. On lap ten Brilli Peri stopped, filled up
and joined the race after three minutes. Tonini also refueled really fast and started again after only 1m48s, while Maglione retired with a broken oil pipe. Tonini and Saccomani had a battle in their Bugattis and were only
three and a half seconds apart. Nuvolari had lost several minutes in his pit which dropped him to fifth place. At the end of the tenth lap, after 255 km, Campari led at a race average of 112.973 km/h, when the order was:
|1.||Campari (Alfa Romeo)||2h15m25.8s|
|2.||Brilli Peri (Bugatti)||2h19m33.2s|
|6.||Bona (Alfa Romeo)||2h27m00.0s|
After the twelfth lap Campari stopped to change rear tires. His mechanic was waiting while Campari was washing his face which was black as coal. To the concerned crowd the pit stop seemed endless but Campari was very
calm and restarted after 3m45s. Bona with the Alfa Romeo was first in the 1500 category at 104,081 km/h average speed. In the meantime Materassi replaced his teammate Arcangeli in the 1500 Talbot and immediately a
dramatic improvement of the Talbot's times was noticeable. Surprisingly Brilli Peri retired with a broken oil pipe after he had pushed his troublesome Bugatti for about one kilometer. By now interest in the race had
severely declined, partly due to the eight retirements which had halved the mixed field of 16 cars. Tonini had inherited second place on lap 12 and chased after the unattainable red car of Campari.
On lap 13, Materassi set the fastest lap for the 1500 category by thrashing his Talbot around the course in 13m08.8s at 116.379 km/h average speed. The excessive length of the race started to weigh on everyone with a
distance of 180 kilometers still left. When Tonini stopped at his pit, he lost second place to Saccomani. Campari stopped for 2m15s at the pits to add lubricant, while the music played "Giovinezza" (a song, titled
"Youth"). On lap 14, a stone thrown from the rear wheel of another car injured Bona's upper lip which needed three stitches. Ramponi quickly took over Bona's Alfa Romeo. Materassi in Arcangeli's Talbot drove at an
incredibly fast pace and passed Saccomani for third place. Nuvolari still in fifth position after three pit stops closed the gap to Saccomani. After 15 laps or 382.5 km Campari led with 111.634 km/h race average
speed, when the order was:
|1.||Campari (Alfa Romeo)||3h25m57.0s|
|6.||Bona/Ramponi (Alfa Romeo)||3h42m42.0s|
There were no changes on lap 16. Campari stopped at his pit for 2m15s where he received congratulations from S. E. Acerbo and other authorities and made a fast restart. On lap 17 Campari was again in his pit and restarted
after a 2m13s stop. In spite of his many stops, he always maintained first place. In marked contrast Materassi was pushing hard and on the second to last lap he passed Tonini to take second place.
After 20 laps, Campari was the first to cross the finish line to frantic cheers from the grandstand crowd. Winner and losers were greeted by loud applause and celebrations. The authorities rushed towards the winner,
congratulating him warmly. Campari was even carried in triumph, looking fresh and not at all fatigued.
|1.||22||Giuseppe Campari||G. Campari||Alfa Romeo||P2||2.0||S-8||20||4h38m37.6s|
|2.||28||L. Arcangeli /E. Materassi||Scuderia Materassi||Talbot||700||1.5||S-8||20||4h46m08.8s||+ 7m31.2s|
|3.||16||Carlo Tonini||C. Tonini||Bugatti||T35C||2.0 ||S-8||20||4h50m49.6s||+ 12m12.0s|
|4.||24||Tazio Nuvolari||Scuderia Nuvolari||Bugatti||T35C||2.0 ||S-8||20||4h52m19.0s||+ 13m41.4s|
|5.||14||Tommaso Saccomani||T. Saccomani||Bugatti||T35||2.0 ||S-8||20||4h54m04.8s||+ 15m27.2s|
|6.||?||G. Bona /G. Ramponi||G. Bona||Alfa Romeo||6C-1500SS||1.5||S-6||20||4h56m11.0s||+ 17m33.4s|
|7.||46||Luigi Fagioli||Officine Alfiero Maserati||Maserati||26||1.5||S-8||20||5h06m13.0s||+ 27m35.4s|
|8.||56||Salvatore Marano||S. Marano||Maserati||26||1.5||S-8||20||5h09m10.2s||+ 30m32.6s|
|DNF||26||Gastone Brilli Peri||G. Brilli Peri||Bugatti||T35C||2.0 ||S-8||12||broken oil pipe|
|DNF||6||Fernando Maglione||F. Maglione||Bugatti||T43||2.3 ||S-8||9||broken oil pipe|
|DNF||36||Emilio Materassi||Scuderia Materassi||Talbot||700||1.6||S-8||6||overheating|
|DNF||?||Diego de Sterlich||D. de Sterlich||Maserati||26B||2.0||S-8||4||broken oil pipe|
|DNF||32||Luigi Platè||L. Platè||Chiribiri||Monza C||1.5||S-4||3||mechanical|
|DNF||20||Achille Varzi||A, Varzi||Bugatti||T35C||2.0 ||S-8||1||carburation, plugs|
|DNF||?||Letterio Piccolo Cucinotta||L. P. Cucinotta||Bugatti||T37||1.5 ||S-4||0||mechanical|
|DNF||40||Hans Simons||H. Simons||Bugatti||T37A||1.5 ||S-4||0||mechanical|
Fastest lap over 1500 cc: Giuseppe Campari (Alfa Romeo) on lap 2 in 12m32.6s = 122.0 km/h (75.8 mph)|
Fastest lap 1500 cc: Emilio Materassi (Talbot) on lap 13 in 13m08.8s = 116.4 km/h (72.3 mph)
Winner's medium speed: 109.844 km/h (68.2 mph)
Winner's medium speed (1500 cc - Arcangeli/Materassi): 106.9 km/h. (66.4 mph)
Weather: sunny and very hot.
The list of entries at the beginning of this report shows the entries in order of their race number. Those cars where the number was not known were placed randomly amongst the known numbered entries with the largest cars placed at the top of the list.
Race numbers were identified and confirmed with the help of photographs except for three cars without numbers.
Primary sources researched for this article:|
La Gazetta dello Sport, Milano
La Stampa, Torino
L'Auto Italiana, Milano
Lo Sport Facista, Milano
Tutti gli sports, Napoli
Special thanks to:
Montenero, Livorno (I), 19 August 1928.
10 laps x 22.5 km (13.98 mi) = 225.0 km (139.8 mi)
Materassi wins the Coppa Montenero for the fourth time
by Hans Etzrodt
A mix of 19 race cars took the start for the 225 km Coppa Montenero. Materassi in his bored out 1500 Talbot achieved another victory his fourth at the difficult Montenero Circuit. Nuvolari followed nineteen seconds behind with
his 2000 Bugatti and Campari finished third in a 1700 Alfa Romeo. These three drivers formed the trio which battled for the lead, keeping the spectators in suspense from start to finish. Tonini (1500 Bugatti) finished in
fourth place followed by Piccolo Cucinotta (2000 Maserati), Biondetti (1100 Salmson), Presenti (1500 Alfa Romeo), Cortese (1500 Bugatti), Ernesto Maserati (1500 Maserati) and Giusti (1500 Bugatti) in tenth place. Marano,
Moresco and Giovanardi had fallen far behind, exceeding the maximum allowable time and were not classified. There were six retirements, all with mechanical problems.
The races on the Montenero Circuit near Livorno (Leghorn in English) had been held since 1921. From 1922 onwards a 22.5 km circuit was used from Ardenza Mare - Montenero - Savolano, climbing up to Castellaccio and then descending
to the sea at Romito to the start and finish at Ardenza Mare. The narrow road circuit twisted through 164 curves with steep gradients through the mountains and was a small replica of the Madonie in Sicily but considerably
shorter and not allowing high speeds. Many of the curves had been expanded since the previous year, which would allow higher speeds. The start and finish with the grandstand was at Ardenza.
L'Automobile Club Livorno held the Coppa Montenero for its eighth running, a race that also counted towards the 1928 Italian Championship. The race on August 19 was followed by the Coppa Ciano, a sports car event on August 26.
Both races were held on the Circuito del Montenero also known as Circuito del Romito, which had to be lapped ten times. They had wisely moved the starting time this year from morning to afternoon in the hope of attracting a
greater crowd than in previous years. The regulations limited the number of entries to 40 cars which were divided into three classes, up to 1100 cc, up to 1500 cc and over 1500 cc. To be classified, each competitor had to
finish within 3 hours and 40 minutes, a maximum time limit that was based on 22 minutes per lap.
This year the race was endowed with exceptionally large prizes. The overall winner would be presented with the Coppa Montenero, a challenge trophy from the Mayor of Livorno and 50,000 lire. The prize money in each class was
10,000 lire for the first, 5,000 lire for second and 2,000 lire for third. The winner in the 1100 cc class received a gold medal from the King. The second overall finisher received a silver trophy donated by the province of
the Livorno Delegation. A special prize was awarded to the driver who established the fastest lap of the race which was a bronze trophy from the Prime Minister Benito Mussolini. A Silver Cup from the Automobile Club Livorno
was awarded to the first driver who lowered the existing lap record of Materassi in 16 m34s.
There was a two weeks break between the Coppa Acerbo and the Montenero Circuit, giving drivers and teams ample time to prepare for a new battle. Many of the better known Italian drivers appeared for the Coppa Montenero since
the race counted towards the Italian Championship and 24 entries were received.
Emilio Materassi was the favorite as triple winner, with Itala in 1925 and 1926 and with Bugatti in 1927. The Italian Champion arrived with last year's grand prix Talbot, 8-cylinders of original 1500 cc but had its engine bored
out slightly, increasing its capacity to 1503 cc, which allowed it to race in the 2-liter category.
After the Coppa Acerbo race Giuseppe Campari had sold his victorious Alfa Romeo P2 to Varzi and arrived at Livorno with a 6C-1500 Alfa Romeo but fitted with a new 1700 engine from the factory. The car was most likely the same
or similar model that Campari had raced at the Targa Florio but now with the new 1700 engine. It was the latest supercharged 6C-1500 MMS Mille Miglia winning car, a stripped sports car without rear bodywork, revealing a
cylindrical exposed fuel tank and a spare wheel at the back while the cockpit was open with two bucket seats. The car was probably on loan from the factory since Campari as a former Alfa Romeo driver maintained a close connection
with the factory.
Tazio Nuvolari who had a good chance for outright victory entered his 2000 cc supercharged Bugatti while Giovanni Minozzi raced a similar car but without supercharger. Other strong contenders were Letterio Piccolo Cucinotta and
Baconin Borzacchini in 2000 cc Maseratis.
The 1500 cc class comprised four Bugattis, three Maseratis, an Alfa Romeo and a Chiribiri. Franco Cortese and Carlo Tonini in supercharged Bugattis had the best chance for winning their class. They were racing against the
supercharged Maseratis of Ernesto Maserati, Cesare Pastore and Salvatore Marano, the latter two were independent entries.
The 1100 cc class included four starters of which Clemente Biondetti and Lusiardi in Salmsons had the best possibility for a class victory while Moresco with a Lombard and Giovanardi in his 500 cc car would have a hard battle.
A complete list of entries is at the beginning of this report.
A large crowd had come to witness the outcome of the duel between Campari, Materassi and Nuvolari, the most famous drivers plus all the others. It was an extremely hot day but the spectators were not at all troubled by the
heat since a cool breeze was blowing from the sea on the shore where the stands were located. From the 24 cars that had been entered, 19 lined up for the start. The following drivers did not appear: #2 Cattaneo (Amilcar),
#6 G. Faggioli (Salmson), #8 L. Fagioli (Salmson), #38 Stefanelli (Bugatti) and #40 Razzauti (Itala).
Because the dusty dirt road circuit was rather narrow at some places and difficult for drivers to pass each other, as a safety precaution the cars were started individually from a standing start, with an interval of 30 seconds
between each car. However, the cars were not necessarily released at 30 seconds intervals, similar to the Targa Florio or Mugello starting procedures. The start times had been determined beforehand according to their numbers
and if particular cars did not appear at the start (e.g. #6 and #8), car number 10 was held to its predetermined time of departure. For instance Biondetti left 30 seconds after 3:00 PM because the #2 car did not appear.
The regulations spelled out that the start took place at the finish line on the Boulevard Principe di Napoli from standstill with the engine running. Each driver had to start at the time that was assigned to his car. At the
assigned time the driver was considered as having started, and would begin to race from the assigned time until its completion of the entire distance. Starting in the order assigned by the official timekeeper, the time began
to count which effected the classification for the driver. If a driver could not start, he would have to immediately move his car off the road past the starting line.
The actual start at 3:00 PM, which was announced by three cannon shots fired near the finish line, was given by Ms. Maria Ciano, the daughter of the Minister of Communications Count Costanzo Ciano di Cortelazzo. She lowered
the traditional flag, to send off Biondetti. The crowd was very enthusiastic and applauded the most prominent drivers as they were preparing for the start. When Emilio Materassi received the "go" signal the applause became
an ovation. So, one after the other all 19 cars were started individually until 11m30s later when Minozzi in the Bugatti was the last to leave.
|3:03'00"||14||Moresco||Lombard||Last of the 1100 cc cars started|
|3:07'30"||32||Maserati E.||Maserati||Last of the 1500 cc cars started|
At the end of the first lap, last year's record of 16m34s was broken by three drivers. Materassi finished in 15m57.4s at 84,604 km/h average speed, followed by Campari in 16m09.6s and Nuvolari in 16m15s. Materassi who
undoubtedly enjoyed great popularity among the Tuscan fans was greatly applauded. His plan was to drive the first eight laps below 16 minutes, enabling him to slow down at the end. Borzacchini ended his race with engine
problems in his Maserati, while Peri's Chiribiri retired somewhere round the circuit with a broken fuel line. At the end of the first lap Materassi led at 84.604 km/h average speed, with the first three cars in this order:
|2.||Campari (Alfa Romeo)||16m09.6s|
After lap two Materassi was still in the lead but between Nuvolari and Campari there was a difference of less than one second. Though, due to the single car starting procedure, Nuvolari appeared at the grandstands a minute
and a half ahead of Campari. Nuvolari drove the lap in 16m12.8s which brought his total time up to 32m27.8s, Campari's time was 32m28s. Cortese made the fastest lap of the 1500 cc category in 16m41s at 81,118 km/h average speed.
Pastore retired his Maserati with spark plug problems at the beginning of the second lap and Beccaria retired his Bugatti with the same problem. At the end of lap two Materassi remained in the lead ahead of Nuvolari and
|1.||Materassi (Talbot)||31m53.0s||(estimated time)|
|3.||Campari (Alfa Romeo)||32m28.0s|
On the third lap Materassi increased his lead substantially with a lap in 15m52s at 85.030 km/h average speed. He was followed by Nuvolari, Campari, Cortese, Presenti and Tonini in sixth place. After the retirements of
Borzacchini, Peri, Pastore and Beccaria the field was down to 15 cars.
After four laps Materassi's lead over Nuvolari had increased to 49.4 seconds, while Campari followed 42 seconds behind Nuvolari. The press and spectators alike followed the battle of the first three drivers intently.
Meanwhile the order of the remaining 12 cars was not made available and their progress was seldom mentioned. Biondetti with his Salmson drove the fastest lap in the 1100 cc class in 16m59.2s at 79.474 km/h.
Materassi finished the fifth lap in 15m45s at 85.714 km/h average speed. Nuvolari finally increased his pace with a lap in 15m38s at 86.354 km/h average speed, which remained as the outright fastest lap. The gap between
Materassi and Nuvolari was 46.4s while Campari followed 43.2 seconds behind. Presenti stopped to change spark plugs while Maserati was briefly at his pit for more oil and Giovanardi stopped for gasoline. Minozzi retired
with carburetor trouble and Lusiardi retired at the pits with brake trouble. After mid-race, five laps and about one hour and twenty minutes into the race, the field was down to 13 cars.
After six laps Materassi's lead over Nuvolari had increased to 51 seconds and the Florentine's average speed had gone up to 86.616 km/h. Campari maintained his third place with a large gap between his Alfa Romeo and the
remaining ten cars. There were no drivers amongst these contenders who could possibly pose a danger or disrupt the order of the three cars in front.
On the seventh lap Materassi's lead over Nuvolari decreased to 43.6 seconds, while Campari was 2m46.4s behind the Italian Champion. Moresco (Lombard), stopped at the pits to change spark plugs which took six minutes. Cortese
in the 1500 Bugatti finished his seventh lap in 16m28.4s at 81.951 km/h average speed which was the fastest lap in the 1500 cc class.
At the end of lap eight Materassi's lead over Nuvolari went up to 49 seconds. Until lap eight, Franco Cortese was leading the 1500 class by 4m33.4s over Tonini, followed by Presenti and Alfieri Maserati, but a flat tire
detained him at the pits. Cortese changed the tire in less than a minute but then his Bugatti refused to start.
After nine laps, Materassi was leading with a lap in 16m07.4s. Cortese was still repairing his car and received help from Foresti at the Bugatti pits where after a few minutes the engine resumed and Cortese restarted at breakneck
pace. Cortese rushed desperately to make up the lost time, but he had fallen too far behind to catch Tonini. Presenti stopped his Alfa Romeo once more for spark plugs.
Materassi's last lap was 16m05.8s when he crossed the finish line. He was received with great applause, finishing in the record time of 2h38m47.4s at 84.928 km/h average speed. His victory was his fourth at the Coppa Montenero.
Nuvolari finished in second place, 18.6s behind. Nuvolari had made up half a minute in the course of the last two laps, which may have made the race more exciting for the spectators. One mistake by Materassi or one problem with
his car and the winner could easily have been Nuvolari. However, assumedly Materassi with a healthy lead merely slackened his pace to ensure that his car finished the race. The two valiant opponents Materassi and Nuvolari were
highly complimented by the authorities. Campari in his Alfa Romeo finished 4m40s behind the victor. Tonini in fourth place won the 1500 class ahead of Presenti who drove a very consistent and fast race. There were ten finishers
and while Marano in eleventh position was still running he was far behind too and did not qualify, having exceeded the maximum allowable time. In the 1100 class Biondetti was the only survivor and finished in 2h55m23.4s at an
average of 76.969 km/h. Giovannardi and Moresco exceeded the maximum time allowed while Lusiardi in the other Salmson had retired after four laps with brake problems.
|1.||34||Emilio Materassi||Scuderia Materassi||Talbot ||700||1.6||S-8||10||2h38m57.4s|
|2.||36||Tazio Nuvolari||Scuderia Nuvolari||Bugatti||T35C||2.0||S-8||10||2h39m16.0s||+ 18.6s|
|3.||42||Giuseppe Campari||G. Campari||Alfa Romeo||6C-1700MMS||1.7||S-6||10||2h43m37.4s||+ 4m40.0s|
|4.||28||Carlo Tonini||C. Tonini||Bugatti||T37A||1.5||S-8||10||2h52m43.8s||+ 13m46.4s|
|5.||46||Letterio Piccolo Cucinotta||L. Piccolo Cucinotta||Maserati||26B||2.0||S-8||10||2h53m37.4s||+ 14m40.0s|
|6.||4||Clemente Biondetti||C. Biondetti||Salmson||1.1||S-4||10||2h55m23.0s||+ 16m25.6s|
|7.||22||Bruno Presenti||B. Presenti||Alfa Romeo||6C-1500||1.5||S-6||10||3h00m16.0s||+ 21m18.6s|
|8.||24||Franco Cortese||F. Cortese||Bugatti||T37A||1.5||S-8||10||3h03m24.0s||+ 24m26.6s|
|9.||32||Ernesto Maserati||Officine Alfieri Maserati||Maserati||26||1.5||S-8||10||3h04m25.0s||+ 25m27.6s|
|10.||18||Angelo Giusti||A. Giusti||Bugatti||T37A||1.5||S-8||10||3h14m28.4s||+ 35m31.0s|
|DNC||20||Salvatore Marano||S. Marano||Maserati||26||1.5||S-8||8||exceeded time|| |
|DNC||14||Ignazio Moresco||I. Moresco||Lombard||AL3||1.1||S-4||8||exceeded time|| |
|DNC||10||Giuliano Giovanardi||G. Giovanardi||Giovanardi||Guzzi||0.5||V-2||7||exceeded time|| |
|DNF||12||Giuseppe Lusiardi||G. Lusiardi||Salmson||1.1||S-4||4||brakes|| |
|DNF||48||Giovanni Minozzi||G. Minozzi||Bugatti||T35||2.0||S-8||4||carburetor|
|DNF||26||Luigi Beccaria||L. Beccaria||Bugatti||T37||1.5||S-8||1||spark plugs|| |
|DNF||16||Cesare Pastore||C. Pastore||Maserati||26||1.5||S-8||1||spark plugs|| |
|DNF||30||Guglielmo Peri||G. Peri||Chiribiri||1.5||S-4||0||fuel pipe|| |
|DNF||44||Baconin Borzacchini||Officine Alfieri Maserati||Maserati||26B||2.0||S-8||0||engine|
Fastest lap: Tazio Nuvolari (Bugatti) on lap 5 in 15m38.0s at 86.4 km/h (53.7 mph).|
Fastest lap (1500 cc): Franco Cortese (Bugatti) on lap 7 in 16m28.4s at 82.0 km/h (50.9 mph).
Fastest lap (1100 cc): Clemente Biondetti (Salmson) on lap 4 in 16m59.2s at 79.5 km/h (49.4 mph).
Winner's medium speed: 84.9 km/h (52.8 mph).
Winner's medium speed 1500 cc (Tonini): 78.2 km/h (48.6 mph).
Winner's medium speed 1100 cc (Biondetti): 77.0 km/h (47.8 mph).
Weather: sunny, dry, warm
During our research for this report we noticed that the Coppa Montenero in 1928 must have been considered to be a minor race due to the fact that the national media provided relatively sparse coverage. Due to this shortfall our
report is less detailed than originally intended.
Primary sources researched for this article:|
ACI - rivista, Roma
IL Telegrafo, Livorno
La Gazzetta dello Sport, Milano
La Stampa, Torino
L'Auto Italiana, Milano
Manifestazioni de Automobile Club Livorno
Special thanks to:
Signora Donatella Biffignandi
GRAND PRIX DE LA BAULE
La Baule (F), 23 August 1928.
18 laps x ~6.0 km (3.7 mi) = ~100 km (62.1 mi) (Note 1)
|78||Aimery Blacque-Belair||A. Blacque-Belair||Bugatti||T35C||2.0||S-8|
|.||Antoine Patisson||A. Patisson||Ford Antoine||3.0||DNF or DNA|
|.||Robert Gauthier||R. Gauthier||Bugatti||T35||2.0||S-8|
|.||Mme Lucy Schell||L. Schell||Bugatti||T37A||1.5||S-4|
|.||José Scaron||J. Scaron||Amilcar||1.1||S-6|
|.||de Tudert||de Tudert||X||1.5||DNF or DNA|
|61||Ernst Günter von Wentzel-Mosau||Count E. G. v. Wentzel-Mosau||Mercedes-Benz||SS||7.3||S-6|
|.||Edmond Pichon||E. Pichon||BNC||1.1||S-4|
|.||Trebuh||Trebuh||BNC||1.1||S-4||DNF or DNA|
|.||Meminod||Meminod||Panhard||6.0||DNF or DNA|
|.||Edouard Brisson||E. Brisson||Stutz||4.9||S-8|
|.||Roger-Andre Bouchard||R.-A. Bouchard||Bugatti||T43A ||2.3||S-8||DNF or DNA|
|.||Bardi||Bardi||Bugatti||T38||2.0||S-8||DNF or DNA|
|.||Marcel Boutmy||M. Boutmy||Tracta||1.1||S-4|
|.||Boucher||Boucher||Amilcar||1.1||DNF or DNA|
|.||Boucher||Boucher||Voisin||3.0||S-6||DNF or DNA|
|.||Henri Stoffel||H. Stoffel||Chrysler||4.1||S-6||DNF or DNA|
Blacque-Belair victorious with Bugatti
by Hans Etzrodt
At the fifth Grand Prix Automobile de La Baule, a minor international event, there were 19 starters, a mix of racecars, sports and touring cars. The 7.3-L Mercedes-Benz SS of von Wentzel-Mosau and the 2.0-L Bugatti driven
by Blacque-Belair were fighting an exciting duel amongst themselves, many kilometers ahead of the slower cars, none of which were in contention for victory. The lead changed several times between the two of them, but
after 100 kilometers Belair prevailed with his Bugatti, a mere three seconds ahead of the Mercedes. Gauthier's Bugatti finished third followed by 11 much slower cars.
The races at the La Baule beach were first held in 1924, so 1928 was the fifth Grand Prix Automobile de La Baule, which was organized every year by the Automobil Club de l'Ouest. The 6 km long beach course comprised
two parallel straights of about 3 km, joined at each end by hairpin bends. The terrain conditions for the race were ideal since it took place on the very flat and hard beach sand, allowing very high speeds on both 3 km straights.
On August 22, the day before the main event, a speed trial took place over one kilometer with a flying start. A total of 23 cars participated including some motorcycles. The fastest car was the 2-liter Bugatti of Blancque Belair,
sprinting through the Kilometer in 19.4s at 187.500 km/h average speed, while Wentzel-Mosau was second fastest and established a new sports car record in 20.4s at 176.470 km/h average with his Mercedes-Benz SS.
A list of 23 entries is shown at the beginning of this report, including the 14 cars that finished the 100 km race plus 9 additional cars which took part at the speed trial, the day before. However, not all of these 9 additional
cars started in the 100 km race, instead only 5 of them did so and it is unknown which ones were exactly those 5 cars. In total only 19 cars started. The starting grid and the race numbers are also unknown except those of the
first two finishers.
With the victories at the flying Kilometer speed trial, the winning Bugatti and Mercedes were the favorites for the 100 km Grand Prix. The start was described confusingly, in two different ways. Omnia reported that the width of
the beach at low tide allowed the deployment of the 19 cars lined up -side by side- and this was indeed a very beautiful view.
When the start signal was given by Count de Lapeyrouse, German Count Wentzel-Mosau had a less advantageous starting position in the third row, as disclosed by Allgemeine Automobil-Zeitung. Here are two different sources reporting
the same start in contradicting ways and left us confused, not knowing if the cars started from one row or three rows. Despite his disadvantage, the German accelerated his large Mercedes past the entire field to the front behind
Blacque-Belair's Bugatti racecar.
After the first lap, Belair's red Bugatti was in the lead ahead of the white Mercedes, followed by Gauthier's blue Bugatti, Scaron (Amilcar), Bassault (Salmson), Mme. Schell (Bugatti) and the remaining slower cars. During the
following laps, Blacque-Belair in the 2-liter Bugatti and Wentzel-Mosau with the 7.3-liter Mercedes were just some 10 meters apart, alternately taking the lead. On the fifth lap, the Mercedes passed into first place and had to
give way to Bugatti on the twelfth lap, still only a few meters apart.
After about 70 km the Mercedes was in a secure position in front. An unfortunate incident caused Wentzel-Mosau to believe that the Bugatti of Belair had retired and he consequently slowed his pace. But shortly thereafter
Belair's Bugatti passed the Mercedes which launched a renewed battle for the lead of terrific proportions. In the south turn the dust was flying so high that both contenders could not be seen. Out of the turn and on the long
straight von Wentzel regained the lead and it appeared as if the Mercedes had the upper hand.
On the fifteenth lap, the Mercedes still held first place but until the last corner the race was totally undecided. On the eighteenth lap, at the last hairpin about 200 meters before the finish, a mishap occurred. Three much
slower cars were busy rounding this turn and one of them spun sideways. The Mercedes could not find a space to pass so the German had to brake violently to avoid a collision and before he got up to speed again, the Bugatti had
passed him. The race was now decided and so it was Blacque-Belair who crossed the finish line three seconds ahead of his formidable opponent. After all, it was an extraordinary feat and both cars broke the existing record.
As the two leaders ended the 100 km race, the remaining cars were up to 17 minutes behind and carried on to complete the 100 km race distance to be classified.
|1.||78||Aimery Blacque-Belair||A. Blacque-Belair||Bugatti||T35C||2.0||S-8||18||48m07.6s|
|2.||61||Ernst Günter von Wentzel||Count E.-G. v. Wentzel-Mosau||Mercedes-Benz||SS||7.3||S-6||18||48m10.4s|
|3.||.||Robert Gauthier||R. Gauthier||Bugatti||T35||2.0||S-8||18||54m05.4s|
|4.||.||José Scaron||J. Scaron||Amilcar||1.1||S-6||18||54m53.8s|
|8.||.||Mme Lucy Schell||L. Schell||Bugatti||1.5||S-4||18||58m09.2s|
|9.||.||Edouard Brisson||E. Brisson||Stutz||4.9||S-8||18||58m15.6s|
|11.||.||Edmond Pichon||E. Pichon||B.N.C.||1.1||S-4||18||1h11m14.6s|
|14.||.||Marcel Boutmy||M. Boutmy||Tracta||1.1||S-4||18||1h24m46.4s|
|DNF||.||Antoine Patisson||A. Patisson||Ford Antoine||3.0||S-4||DNF or DNA|
|DNF||.||Trebuh||Trebuh||BNC||1.1||S-4|| ||DNF or DNA|
Fastest lap : not published|
Winner's medium speed: 124.7 km/h (77.4 mph) (Note 1)
Winner's medium speed (1100 cc - Scaron): 109.3 km/h (67.9 mph)
Winner's medium speed (ladies class - Schell) 103.2 km/h (64.1 mph)
Weather: sunshine, hot
The length of the race was reported to be 100 km. The length of one lap was given at about 6 km. Therefore the race went possibly over 17 laps, equal to 102 km race length, although this was not mentioned in any of
the available sources. Only L'Auto published activities referring to lap 5, 12, 15 and lap 18, which possibly was the final lap of the race. However, 18 laps of 6 km amount to a race length of 108 km, so not a very
likely scenario. Alternatively 18 laps of a 5.6 km circuit total a 100.8 km race length, which is another possibility.
The published average speeds were clearly calculated using 100 km race distance. Blacque-Belair: 124.677 km/h => 100.005 km, Scaron: 109.309 km/h => 100.012 km and Mme Schell: 103.175 km/h => 99.959 km.
Brunet's Bugatti (a late entry) may have started the 100 km race but did not finish.
1. The 6 km lap length is an approximate value. See in retrospect for details.
Primary sources researched for this article:|
Allgemeine Automobil-Zeitung, Berlin
LA BAULE ILLUSTRÉE, La Baule
Le Figaro, Paris
Special thanks to:
Mercedes-Benz Classic Archive