I GRAND PRIX DE BRIGNOLES
Brignoles (F), 27 September 1931.
20 laps x 2.2 km (1.37 mi) = 44.0 km (27.3 mi)
Dreyfus without competition
by Leif Snellman
The entry list looked good but only eight cars in four classes turned up for the first Brignoles Grand Prix. Dreyfus with his Bugatti had no problem winning the event. Czaykowski (Bugatti)
was the winner of the 2 litre class, Louis Trintignant (Amilcar) of the 1.5 litre class and Dourel (Amilcar ) of the 1.1 litre class.
The Brignolles section of 'l'Automobile club du Var and the Moto Club de Brigoles organized a race event on a a 2.2 km street circuit at Brignoles, 15km north of Toulon, Southern France on 27 September.
The route, even if short, created some logistical problems because not only did it block the national road from Paris to Nice but it also passed over the railroad twice. So the organizers had to find ways to
redirect the traffic and also had to correlate the races with the train time tables.
Pits and timing as well as the main grandstand were built on the street Pré de Pâques where the spectators had a view of some 800m of the circuit.
The event included races for motorcycles in different classes as well as for side cars and race cars in four classes, 1100cc, 1500cc 2000cc and cars over 2000cc. Prizes consisted of money and valuables for a
total of 50,000 franc.
The race had a nice entry list but sadly most of the drivers withdrew their entries or failed to come. In the end there were only eight cars racing in the four race classes.
Favourite for the overall victory was of course René Dreyfus in the twin overhead cam Bugatti T51, the only other driver in the class was Giovanni Lumachi with a Bugatti T35B. In the 2 litre class count
Czaykowski met Paul Morand, both in Bugatti T35C. In the 1.5 litre class there was in the end just one competitor, a certain Louis-Aimé Trintignant, who soon would be quite a familiar name for the race
fans. He was driving an Amilcar, probably a 1.3 litre variant.
In the 1.1 litre class Albert "Raymond" Chambost in a Salmson was challenged by Emile Dourel and someone named Mairic, both in Amilcars.
Sunday came with sunny weather and the circuit was as newspaper L'Éclaireur de Nice said " invaded by a crowd of sportsmen from all cities of Provence and the French Riviera".
The races started at 12:45 with motorcycle races for 175cc, 250cc, 350cc and 500cc races followed by a sidecar race.
Then came a 12 lap "Voitures Dames", won by Mlle. Reneé Friderich in a Bugatti T37A with a time of 20m07.4s with countess de Lesguern in a Chenard et Walker winning the sports car class with a time of 24m16.2s.
A 20 laps sports car race followed, won by count Czaykowsky (Bugatti) in 30m06s from Chevalier (Ford) with a time of 34m21s. The 2 litre class was won by Pierre Félix (Alfa Romeo), the 1100cc class by Balester (Rally)
and the 750cc class by Marceau (Rosengart).
After that it was finally time for the race cars. It is not known if the 1.1 & 1.5 litre voiturettes raced at the same time as the 2 litre and libre cars or if they had a separate race. In Paul Sheldon's book they are
separated while in L'Eclaireur de Nice the voiturette classes are ignored in the race account and their results listed under same headline as for the larger cars, which should indicate a common start.
Nothing is really known about the race itself either apart from the results. All eight cars seem to have finished the race and as expected Dreyfus was the winner while it is a bit more surprising that Lumachi even with a
slightly bigger engine managed to keep Czaykowski, who ought to be a much better driver, behind him for second position. Czaykowski was the winner of the 2 litre class and Trintignant of course took the victory in the
1.5 litre class. Dourel came out on the top in the smallest class.
|1.||56||René Dreyfus||R. Dreyfus||Bugatti||T51||2.3||S-8||20||25m22.6s|
|2.||58||Giovanni Lumachi||G. Lumachi||Bugatti||T35B||2.3||S-8||20||26m20.0s||+ 57.4s|
|3.||26||Stanislas Czaykowski||Count Czaykowski||Bugatti||T35C||2.0||S-8||20||26m25.0s||+ 1m02.4s|
|4.||20||Paul Morand||P. Morand||Bugatti||T35C||2.0||S-8||20||26m27.0s||+ 1m04.4s|
|5.||10||Louis Trintignant||L. Trintignant||Amilcar||1.3?||20||32m03s||+ 6m40.4s|
|6.||34||Emile Dourel||E. Dourel||Amilcar||20||32m26s|| + 7m03.4s|
|7.||36||Reymond Chambost||A. Chambost||Salmson||20||33m46s|| + 8m23.4s|
|8.||6||Mairic||Mairic||Amilcar||18|| || |
Fastest lap: René Dreyfus (Bugatti) in 1m14.0s = 107.0 km/h (66.5 mph)|
Fastest lap (2000cc): Stanislas Czaykowski (Bugatti) in 1m17s = 102.9 km/h (63.9 mph)
Fastest lap (1500cc): Louis Trintignant (Amilcar) in 1m26s = 92.1 km/h (57.2 mph)
Fastest lap (1100cc): Emile Dourel (Amilcar) in 1m26s = 92.1 km/h (57.2 mph)
Winner's medium speed: 104.0 km/h (64.6 mph)
Winner's medium speed (2000cc - Czaykowski): 99.9 km/h (62.1 mph) (Note 1)
1. Speed and time results don't fit together for the smaller classes. Other results show that circuit indeed was 2.2 km long so either
the published times or sppeds must be wrong.
1500cc: Trintignant published: 32m03s (83.120 km/h) - must be either 31m13.1s or 82.371 km/h.
1100cc: Dourel published: 32m03s (84.565 km/h) - must be either 31m45.7s or 81.398 km/h
Primary sources researched for this article:|
L'Éclaireur de Nice, Nice
Le Petit Nicois, Nice
I MOUNTAIN CHAMPIONSHIP
Brooklands (GB), 17 October 1931 (Saturday).
15 laps x 1.17 mi (1.883 km) = 17.55 mi (28.2 km)
Best Brooklands race of the year
by Leif Snellman
The only scratch race of the year at Brooklands proved to be possibly the best event on the course in 1931. Campbell (Mercedes-Benz) took the start but Birkin took over the lead in
his Grand Prix Maserati on lap three and dominated the rest of the race, but the fight between Campbell and Penn-Hughes (Bugatti) for second position proved to be a real thriller and there
was some good racing further down the field as well. Penn-Hughes managed to pass Campbell but then had to drop back to third position because of engine trouble.
While there had been a lot of handicap racing at Brooklands as usual during the year, the Mountain Championship, a part of the British Automobile Racing Club (B.A.R.C.) Autumn Meeting,
was the only decent scratch race at the course in 1931.|
The other major Brooklands events in 1931 had been the B.A.R.C Spring Meeting at 14 March, the B.A.R.C. Easter Monday Meeting on 6 April, J.C.C. Double Twelve on 8-9 May,
B.A.R.C. Whit Monday Meeting on 25 May, B.A.R.C. Inter-Club Meeting on 20th June, the L.C.C. Relay on 25th June, the B.A.R.C. August meeting on 3 August and the
B.R.D.C. 500 Mile Race on 3 October. The Autumn Meeting on 17 October concluded the racing season at Brooklands.
The 15 lap Mountain Championship race was a scratch race with a £50 prize for the winner.
As usual for Brooklands, the event was a totally local affair with no international entries.
Sir Henry "Tim" Birkin entered a 2.8 litre Maserati, Clifton Penn-Hughes a 2.3 litre Bugatti T35T (T standing for Targa Florio) and Earl Howe was to race his 1.5 Grand Prix Delage.
There was also a 4 cylinder Bugatti to be raced by Chris Staniland and a non-supercharged 3 litre Talbot to be raced by Brian "Bug" Lewis.
Malcolm Campbell entered a huge four-seat Mercedes-Benz SS, Harold Aldington a supercharged Frazer Nash sports car and the Austin works team entered a little car for Leon Cushman.
Raymond Mays was apparently planning to race with a car made by Amherst Villiers, the engineer famous for his "Blower Bentley" construction, but Mays never turned up.
Racing took off in the afternoon with the Cumberland Junior Short Handicap and the Cumberland Senior Short Handicap and thereafter it was time for the Mountain Championship scratch race.
The eight cars linded up on the grid. Campbell was to race with a riding mechanic.
When the flag fell Campbell in the Mercedes led the tight field into the first corner. He was chased by Allington's Frazer Nash, Staniland's Bugatti and Cushman's Austin.
Howe was last after that the Delage had proved to be troublesome at the start. After two laps Allington had to retire with a choked fuel filter. His position was taken over by Birkin, who was up to speed
in his Maserati. On the third lap Birkin passed Campbell to take over the lead and pulling away. Campbell's second position was soon challenged by Penn-Hughes in his Bugatti and the fight
developed into the most exciting duel of the event. Time and again Penn-Hughes tried to find a way past the Mercedes, finally succeding at the very rim of the track at the top corner. However
immediately after taking over second position the Bugatti engine started to misfire and Penn-Hughes had to drop back behind Campbell. Further back Lewis despite an inspired race, going to the top edge of
the banking putting his Talbot into huge slides in the corners, was unable to challenge Staniland's Bugatti.
Birkin took the flag 24 seconds in front of Campbell. Birkin had made his best lap with a speed of 75.21 mph. Penn-Hughes' best lap speed was 73.38 mph and Campbell's 72.13 mph.
British magazine Motor Sport called it "the finest race of the day and probably of any B.A.R.C. (event) this season".
The event continued with the Ladies Handicap, the Cumberland Junior Long Handicap and the Cumberland Senior Long Handicap.
|1.||3||"Tim" Birkin||Sir H. Birkin||Maserati||26M||2.8||S-8||15||14m26.0s|
|2.||2||Malcolm Campbell||Sir M. Campbell||Mercedes-Benz||SS||7.1||S-6||15||14m50.0s||+ 24.0s|
|3.||6||Clifton Penn-Hughes||C. Penn-Hughes||Bugatti||T35T||2.3||S-8||15||15m00.0s||+ 42.0s|
|4.||4||Chris Staniland||C. Staniland||Bugatti||T37A||1.5||S-4||15||15m13.6s||+ 47.6s|
|5.||7||Brian Lewis||A. W. Fox||Talbot||105||3.0||S-6||15||15m33.0s||+ 1m07s|
|6.||5||Earl Howe||Earl Howe||Delage||15SB||1.5||S-8||15||15m38.8s||+ 1m12.8s|
|DNF||8||Leon Cushman||Sir H. Austin||Austin||7||0.8||S-4||4||mechanical|
|DNF||9||Harold Aldington||H. Aldington||Frazer Nash||1.5||S-4||2||fuel starvation|
Fastest lap: Tim Birkin (Maserati) on lap 15 in 56.0s = 121.0 km/h (75.21 mph)|
Winner's medium speed: 117.4 km/h (72.96 mph) (Note 1)
1. "Motor Sport", Bill Boddy and Paul Sheldon all agree that the medium race speed was 73.51 mph. However it does not fit with 14m26.0s given by Sheldon. Either one of those must be wrong or then the lap
had to be 1.179 miles long. However 1.17 miles is the usual length mentioned for the Mountain track and lap times of 56.0s, 57.4s and 58.4s correspond to 75.21 mph, 73.38 mph and 72.12 mph for a 1.17 mile
track, fitting well (see above), while it is impossible to find similar fitting lap times for a 1.179 miles lap. So the results were counted for a 1.17 miles track for this race and either the total race time was
14m19.5s or the correct medium speed was 72.96 mph, probably the latter.