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I PREIS VON BERN / PRIX DE BERNE
(Voiturette 1500cc)

Bremgarten- Bern (CH), 26 August 1934
14 laps x 7.280 km (4.524 mi) = 101.92 km (63.33 mi)



No.DriverEntrantCarTypeEngine

42Willi BriemW. BriemAmilcarC61.1S-6
44Ernst BurggallerE.G. BurggallerBugattiT51A1.5S-8
46Johann HummelJ. HummelAmilcarC61.1S-6
48Bobby KohlrauschB. KohlrauschMGK3 Magnette1.1S-6
50Heinz KrebsH. KrebsMGMidget0.7S-4
52Hans SimonsH. SimonsBugattiT37A1.5S-4
54Armand GirodA. GirodSalmson8C1.1S-8
56Anne-Cecile Rose-ItierMme. Rose-ItierBugattiT51A1.5S-8
58Pierre VeyronP. VeyronBugattiT51A1.5S-8
60T. Cholmondeley-TapperT. Cholmondeley-TapperBugattiT371.5S-4u
62Earl HoweEarl HoweDelage15S81.5S-8
64Luigi CastelbarcoL. CastelbarcoMaserati4CM1.5S-4
66Romano MalagutiR. MalagutiMaserati4CM1.1S-4
68Luigi PlatéL. PlatéTalbot7001.5S-8
70XOfficine A. MaseratiMaserati4CM1.5S-4DNA - did not appear
72Raffaele TotiGruppo Genovese San GiorgioMaserati4CM1.1S-4
74Harry HerkuleynsH. HerkuleynsMGQ Midget0.7S-4
76Marie-Louise von KozmianMrs. von KozmianBugattiT37A1.5S-4
78Hans KesslerH. KesslerMaserati4CM1.5S-4
80Hans RüeschH. RüeschMaserati4CS1.5S-4
82Bruno SojkaF. SchmidtBugattiT51A1.5S-8
84Hugh HamiltonWhitney Straight Ltd.MGK3 Magnette1.1S-6
86Richard SeamanWhitney Straight Ltd.MGK3 Magnette1.1S-6
88László HartmannL. HartmannBugattiT37A1.5S-4



Seaman's astonishing victory

by Leif Snellman
The race featured the most competitive voiturette field of the season. The race started in pouring rain. To the disappointment of the crowd the Swiss driver Kessler (Maserati) had to retire while leading, leaving Malaguti (Maserati) to take over first position. Seaman (MG) was working his way up from his back row start position, and with the retirement of Rüesch (Maserati) and Hamilton (MG) he finally advanced to second place. Then Malaguti retired and Seaman went on to a sensational win in his 1100cc car against the 1500cc field.
The voiturette race for 1500cc cars, that was the supporting event for the first Swiss Grand Prix, was an immediate success and was considered the main voiturette race of the season with the most competitive entry field. Part of the reason were the tempting prizes, 3,000, 2,000, 1,000, 700 and 400 Swiss francs for the top five finishers of the race, that attracted drivers from all around Europe.
      The race distance was 14 laps on the new 7.28 km long circuit for a total of some 102 km. Regarding the circuit, see the Grand Prix report below.
Entries:
There was a multitude of Bugatti entries, foremost among them French driver Pierre Veyron, de facto a Bugatti works driver, with a T51A (#51157). German Bugatti drivers included car dealer Hans Simons and former fighter pilot Ernst Günther Burggaller (#51134). There were also local Swiss driver Bruno Sojka (#51151) and Hungarian László Hartmann (#37364). British/New Zealand driver Thomas P. Cholmondeley-Tapper entered an unsupercharged T37 (#37332). Female Bugatti drivers were Polish Countess von Kozmian (#37308) and French Anne-Cecilie Itier (#51142).
      Swiss team Gruppo Genovese San Giorgio entered Italian Raffaele Toti in a Maserati 1.1 litre 4CM. Italian drivers Romano Malaguti, Count Castelbarco and Swiss driver Hans Kessler raced 1.5 litre Maserati 4CMs. Kessler's car was naturally painted in the Swiss white-red racing colours.
      Hans Rüesch was to race a Maserati 4CM as well but the Bologna factory was not able to get the car ready in time. Swiss driver Ulrich Maag had died on August 11th in a crash with a lorry on his way to a sports car race in Pescara and Rüesch decided to race Maag's Maserati 4CS in Bern. At the Nice GP the week before Rüesch had burnt his right leg on the gearbox. He therefore entered Italian Guglielmo Sandri as reserve driver in case he would not be able to drive himself.
      Earl Howe made his first voiturette start of the year with his old 8-cylinder Grand Prix Delage. The car featured a new ENV eight speed preselector gearbox. Another old Grand Prix car was Luigi Platč's 8-cylinder Talbot.
      "Bobby" Kohlrausch from München raced a 1.1 litre 6-cylinder MG Magnette as did British drivers Hugh Hamilton and Dick Seaman, both entered by Whitney Straight Ltd. Hamilton was to race Straight's Maserati in the Grand Prix and therefore his streamlined silver coloured MG single seater was entered by that team as well. Seaman had bought his car from Straight for Ł650 but officially, not to upset his father, he was racing for Whitney Straight. Ltd. The car was black with silver coloured wheels.
      Heinz Krebs, dentist from Lilienthal near Bremen, and Harry Herkuleyns from Arnheim in the Netherlands raced small 746cc MG Midgets. Armand Girod raced one of the two 8-cylinder Salmson single seaters that had been designed by Emil Petit in 1927, fit with a Cotal electrical gearbox. Amilcar 1.1 litres were entered by German drivers Willi Briem and Johan Hummel.
Practice:
There were three practice sessions. The Thursday session was run in sunny weather and watched by 4,500 spectators. Burggaller with his Bugatti was the fastest voiturette driver with a time of 3m31s (124.2 km/h).
      The sunny weather continued on Friday when 11,000 spectators watched the sessions. Rüesch made his first attempt to drive Maag's Maserati.
Known times:
Malaguti (Maserati)3m20s (131.0 km/h)
Hamilton (MG)3m21s
Kessler (Maserati)3m24s
Castelbarco (Maserati)3m26s
Howe (Delage)3m27s
Seaman (MG)3m27s
Girod (Salmson)3m29s
Veyron (Bugatti)3m29s
The grid positions were decided by ballot after the Friday practice had ended. It was thought that with such a short race and such a large entry list the drivers with bad luck got seriously handicapped.
      Saturday practice for the voiturettes was from 2:00 to 3:00 p.m. and this time even more spectators turned up.
Rüesch (Maserati)3m21s (130.4 km/h)
Kessler (Maserati)3m21s
Veyron (Bugatti)3m21s
Castelbarco (Maserati)3m21s
Howe (Delage)3m26s
Burggaller (Bugatti)3m27s
Sojka (Bugatti)3m28s
Cholmondeley (Bugatti)3m28s
Hummel (Amilcar)3m29s
Mme Itier (Bugatti)3m33s
Briem (Amilcar)3m33s
Platč (Talbot)3m36s
Mme v. Kozmian (Bugatti)3m46s
Toti (Maserati)3m51s
Herculeyns (NG)4m02s
Krebs (MG)4m23s
Simons (Bugatti)4m23s
Race:
The weather had changed dramatically during the night. When the cars were pushed to the grid at 10:15 a.m. it was raining cats and dogs. The mechanics were working hard to make changes to the ignition and carburettors. Several drivers had tried to make a practice lap either with their race car or in a private car but as the circuit was closed all attempts were blocked. At 11:20 the start car with a yellow flag made a lap to open the circuit and at 10:30 the flag was dropped for the race to start.
Pole Position
46
Hummel

Amilcar

76
von Kozmian

Bugatti

74
Herkuleyns

MG

62
Howe

Delage

58
Veyron

Bugatti

66
Malaguti

Maserati

82
Sojka

Bugatti

54
Girod

Salmson

78
Kessler

Maserati

52
Simons

Bugatti

48
Kohlrausch

MG

64
Castelbarco

Maserati

44
Burggaller

Bugatti

60
Cholmondeley

Bugatti

80
Rüesch

Maserati

42
Briem

Amilcar

84
Hamilton

MG

50
Krebs

MG

56
Rose-Itier

Bugatti

72
Toti

Maserati

68
L Platé

Talbot

88
L Hartmann

Bugatti

86
Seaman

MG

Mme. Kozmian from her start position in the first row was first away. Behind her Veyron also made a good start and moved to the left of the track to get past Herkuleyns and Hummel. However it was Malaguti that from his third row position took the lead of the race. Just as at the Coppa Acerbo Junior race Hamilton stalled and had to be push started by his mechanics.
      At the end of the first lap Malaguti led followed by Veyron, Kessler, Sojka, Burggaller and Rüesch. The field was already spread out.
      At the end of the second lap, to the joy of the spectators, Kessler in his red-white Maserati had taken over the lead. He was followed by Malaguti, Sojka and Rüesch. There were now three Swiss drivers among the top four. Hartmann made a short pit stop before returning to the race. Howe, racing in the midfield, was gesticulating when he passed the pits, showing he was clearly not satisfied with the behaviour of the car.
      After three laps Kessler had increased the gap to Malaguti, who was struggling to keep up with the leader. Rüesch had passed Sojka for third position. Hamilton was fifth, after having worked his way up from being last and he was followed closely by Burggaller. After a gap came Veyron, Castelbarco, Seaman and Howe.
      At the start of the fourth lap Kessler lost his goggles and was forced to slow down. When he was passed by Malaguti the rear wheels of the latter's Maserati threw dirt and dust into the eyes of the Swiss driver, who went wide in a corner and spun in a gravel pit, damaging the steering of his Maserati. So at the end of the fourth lap Malaguti was leading the race followed by Rüesch. Kohlrausch's MG was not working properly and he was forced to make a pit stop. After five laps the situation was as follows with the top three cars close together.
1.Malaguti (Maserati)18m36s
2.Rüesch (Maserati)18m39.4s
3.Hamilton (MG)18m40s
4.Seaman (MG)18m53s
5.Burggaller (Bugatti)18m55s

Castelbarco also made a pit stop. Malaguti was driving flat out on the rainy circuit, doing the race of his life. On the 7th lap Hamilton after a great race had to retire his MG with engine trouble.
      On the ninth lap came another disappointment for the Swiss spectators. Rüesch stopped his Maserati in the pit to retire with a broken carburettor float needle. On the next lap Kohlrausch stopped at Wohlenstrasse on the back side of the circuit with a broken oil pump. Also Simons, who was driving at the end of the field, had to call it a day. He had been racing against Krebs, who already at the start had lost his goggles and had to drive slowly to see anything at all.
      Suddenly Seaman, who had never raced in rain before, was in second position behind Malaguti. Burggaller was third but unable to challenge the duo. Veyron was fourth followed by Sojka. After 10 laps the order looked like this:
1.Malaguti (Maserati)36m21.4s
2.Seaman (MG)36m28s
3.Burggaller (Bugatti)37m00.2s
4.Veyron (Bugatti)37m01s
5.Sojka (Bugatti)37m27s
6.Howe (Delage)37m34s
7.Cholmondeley (Bugatti)38m31.6s
8.von Kozmian (Bugatti)38m58s

Hartmann made a short pit stop before continuing. Soon afterwards, however, he had to retire his Bugatti.
      On the 12th lap Malaguti retired his Maserati with ignition magneto trouble and Seaman in his 1.1 litre car was sensationally in the lead. Burggaller got signals from the pit to push and he immediately applied trying to close the gap. Behind him Veyron, who until then had not been too worried about the MG with the unknown driver in front of him, started to go faster as well. On the 13th lap Veyron passed Burggaller for second position but the race distance was too short and Seaman proved to be surprisingly fast. Veyron could only close in 15.8 seconds on the leader during the last laps. Seaman went on to take a sensational win in his 1100cc car against the 1500cc field, passing the flag 23 seconds in front of Veyron with Burggaller third This was the first international victory for the, until then, almost unknown Seaman.

Results

Pos.No.DriverEntrantCarTypeEngineLapsTime/StatusDiff

1.86Richard SeamanWhitney Straight Ltd.MGK3 Magnette1.1S-61450m43.8s 
2.58Pierre VeyronP. VeyronBugattiT51A1.5S-81451m05.8s+ 23.0s
3.44Ernst BurggallerE.G. BurggallerBugattiT51A1.5S-81451m11.4s+ 29.6s
4.82Bruno SojkaF. SchmidtBugattiT51A1.5S-81451m41.0s+ 58.2s
5.62Earl HoweEarl HoweDelage15S81.5S-81451m53.6m+ 1m10.8s
6.64Luigi CastelbarcoL. CastelbarcoMaserati4CM1.5S-41452m18.4s+ 1m35.6s
7.54Armand GirodA. GirodSalmson8C1.1S-81452m58.6s+ 2m15.8s
8.60Cholmondeley-TapperCholmondeley-TapperBugattiT371.5S-4u1453m20.4s+ 2m37.6s
9.56Anne-Cecile Rose-ItierMme. Rose-ItierBugattiT51A1.5S-81454m00.4s+ 3m17.6s
10.76Marie-Louise von KozmianMrs. von KozmianBugattiT37A1.5S-41454m20.0s+ 3m37.2s
?68Luigi PlatéL. PlatéTalbot7001.5S-8   
?72Raffaele TotiGruppo Genovese San GiorgioMaserati4CM1.1S-4   
?42Willi BriemW. BriemAmilcarC61.1S-6   
?50Heinz KrebsH. KrebsMGMidget0.7S-4   
?46Johann HummelJ. HummelAmilcarC61.1S-6   
?74Harry HerkuleynsH. HerkuleynsMGQ Midget0.7S-4   
DNF88László HartmannL. HartmannBugattiT37A1.5S-412mechanical 
DNF66Romano MalagutiR. MalagutiMaserati4CM1.1S-411magneto 
DNF48Bobby KohlrauschB. KohlrauschMGK3 Magnette1.1S-69oil pump 
DNF52Hans SimonsH. SimonsBugattiT37A1.5S-49mechanical 
DNF80Hans RüeschH. RüeschMaserati4CS1.5S-48carburettor 
DNF84Hugh HamiltonWhitney Straight Ltd.MGK3 Magnette1.1S-66/9engine 
DNF78Hans KesslerH. KesslerMaserati4CM1.5S-44crash 
Fastest lap: Castelbarco (Maserati) on lap 14 in 3m23.2s = 129.0 km/h (80.1 mph)
Winner's medium speed: 120.5 km/h (74.9 mph)
Weather: rain.
In retrospect:
Seaman's delight of the victory was very much destroyed due to Hugh Hamilton's fatal crash in the Grand Prix (see report below). Seaman had the sad duty to drive Hamilton's Bentley with the silver MG on the trailer back to England while Seaman's mechanic Jim Burge pulled the victorious MG with Seaman's Langoda. Seaman's parents were staying at a Hotel in Folkestone. Mrs Seaman had given strict order that her husband, who was ill, must not see any newspapers. He managed to get hold of a paper anyway, got confused and thought Hamilton had won and Seaman had been killed. He suffered a heart attack later that day and ended up in a nursing home.

It was claimed that Kessler's third lap with a time of 3m04s (142.4 km/h) was the fastest of the race. Looking at the times of the race leaders for 5, 10 and 14 laps corresponding to medium lap times of 3m43s, 3m38s and 3m37s, Kessler's time seems completely unbelievable. Adriano Cimarosti in "GP Suisse" gives Castelbarco with 3m23.2s as a more believable fastest time.

Primary sources researched for this article:
AUTOMOBIL-REVUE, Bern
L'Auto, Paris
Motor Sport, London
Also:
Adriano Cimarosti: "GP Suisse"
Chris Nixon: "Shooting Star"
Special thanks to:
Michael Müller



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I GROSSER PREIS DER SCHWEIZ

Bremgarten- Bern (CH), 26 August 1934
70 laps x 7.280 km (4.524 mi) = 509.60 km (316.65 mi)



No.DriverEntrantCarTypeEngine

2Hermann zu LeiningenAuto Union AGAuto UnionA4.4V-16
3Hanns GeierDaimler-Benz AGMercedes-BenzW253.4S-8practice car
4August MombergerAuto Union AGAuto UnionA4.4V-16
6Hans StuckAuto Union AGAuto UnionA4.4V-16
8Manfred von BrauchitschDaimler-Benz AGMercedes-BenzW253.4S-8
10Rudolf CaracciolaDaimler-Benz AGMercedes-BenzW253.4S-8
12Luigi FagioliDaimler-Benz AGMercedes-BenzW253.4S-8
14René DreyfusAutomobiles E. BugattiBugattiT593.3S-8
16Earl HoweEarl HoweMaserati8CM3.0S-8
18Clifton Penn-HughesC. Penn-HughesAlfa Romeo8C-23002.3S-8DNA - did not appear
20Tazio NuvolariT. NuvolariMaserati8CM3.0S-8
22Luigi SoffiettiL. SoffiettiAlfa RomeoMonza2.6S-8DNA - did not appear
24Renato BalestreroGruppo Genovese San GiorgioAlfa RomeoMonza2.6S-8
26Clemente BiondettiGruppo Genovese San GiorgioMaserati8C-30003.0S-8
28Louis ChironScuderia FerrariAlfa RomeoTipo B/P32.9S-8
30Pietro GhersiScuderia FerrariAlfa RomeoTipo B/P32.9S-8
32Achille VarziScuderia FerrariAlfa RomeoTipo B/P32.9S-8
34XXXDNA - did not appear
36Hans RüeschH. RüeschMaserati8CM3.0S-8DNS - did not start
38László HartmannL. HartmannBugattiT512.3S-8
40Hugh HamiltonWhitney Straight Ltd.Maserati8CM3.0S-8



Stuck wins the Swiss Grand Prix with Auto Union

by Hans Etzrodt
The first Swiss Grand Prix was held over 70 laps on the fast Bremgarten circuit with 16 cars at the start. The race started in the rain with Stuck (Auto Union) leading unchallenged from start to finish. Nuvolari (Maserati) held second place for twenty laps, but in between was then overtaken by Chiron (Alfa Romeo) who held the position for four laps. Then Dreyfus (Bugatti) was second until lap 65 when he stopped to refill his radiator. Momberger (Auto Union) passed into second behind Stuck and with Dreyfus finishing third. Fagioli (Mercedes-Benz) and Varzi (Alfa Romeo) were just not fast enough to keep up with the leading group. The three Alfa Romeos of Varzi, Chiron and Ghersi finished fourth, fifth and seventh. Fagioli placed sixth and Biondetti (Maserati) came eighth, four laps behind. Earl Howe (Maserati) and Geier in Caracciola's car were too far behind to be counted as finishers. The retirements included Hartmann, zu Leiningen, Nuvolari, Balestrero and von Brauchitsch. The unfortunate Hamilton died in a crash seconds before the finish.
The first races held in the Bremgarten Forest between 1931 and 1933 were motorcycle races but the course used was only in part identical to the later race track. In 1934 during bad economic times in Bern, in order to generate jobs, the circuit was constructed with a grandstand, pits and a timing structure at a cost of 1,040,000 Franks. The Swiss Grand Prix was held for the first time on August 26 on the new 7.28 km long circuit, which consisted of regular asphalt traffic roads 8 to 12 m wide. One half led along the outer border of the large Bremgarten Forest and the other cut through the middle of the stately and lofty forest. Along the course which was in excellent condition were 13 marshalling posts equipped with telephones. The drivers agreed that the new circuit was fast and interesting and despite seeming easy it was actually difficult and the track surface had good grip.
      The prize money was tempting. The winner received the substantial sum of 15,000 Swiss francs, second 10,000, third 5,000, fourth 2,500 and fifth 1,000 francs.
      Separately before the Grand Prix race a shorter race over 14 laps was held for the 1500 cc voiturette racecars.
Entries:
Practically the entire elite of Grand Prix racing had placed entries for 20 drivers, representing five of the large racing teams plus some independents. Daimler-Benz with team manager Alfred Neubauer entered cars for Rudolf Caracciola, Luigi Fagioli, Manfred von Brauchitsch and Hanns Geier as reserve. For Brauchitsch this was his first race after his practice crash at the German Grand Prix six weeks earlier where he broke an arm, a shoulder blade, a collarbone and five ribs. Auto Union with team manager Willi Walb was to the start with Hans Stuck, Prince Hermann zu Leiningen and August Momberger. Both cars for Stuck and Momberger had rebuilt engines with updated pistons.
      The Comminges Grand Prix was run in France the same day so Scuderia Ferrari split their effort and started in both races. They entered Alfa Romeo Type B/P3 models for Louis Chiron, Pietro Ghersi and Achille Varzi. Bugatti arrived from Molsheim with team manager Meo Costantini and one of their new T59 cars with a 3300 cc engine after Dreyfus had no success with it at the preceding Nice GP. Gruppo Genovese San Giorgio entered an 8C-3000 Maserati, based on a 26M chassis, for Clemente Biondetti with photographic evidence provided by Adam Ferrington. Tazio Nuvolari was the most famous of the independent drivers with his Maserati 8CM. Other independents included Earl Howe, Hans Rüesch and Hugh Hamilton who all drove 8CM Maseratis. Gruppo San Giorgio entered an Alfa Romeo Monza for Renato Balestrero and a similar Monza was due to start with Luigi Soffietti. In addition, there was the 8C-2300 Alfa Romeo of Clifton Penn-Hughes and the 2300 Bugatti of Hungarian Laszlo Hartmann. A complete list of entries is at the beginning of this report.
Practice:
The rules required that every driver had to complete at least 10 laps before the race. On Thursday, the first practice day, the weather was warm and sunny when the Grand Prix cars practiced from 2:00 until 5:00 PM. The activities went very well without any problems. The best times from Thursday were:
Stuck (Auto Union)2m58s
Momberger (Auto Union)3m01s
Caracciola (Mercedes-Benz)3m02s
Fagioli (Mercedes-Benz)3m02s
Chiron (Alfa Romeo)3m05s

Friday practice took place at the same times as on Thursday. It was another warm sunny day. Dreyfus made a time of 2m54 at a speed of 150.621 km/h which proved to be the fastest time of the day.
Dreyfus (Bugatti)2m54s
Stuck (Auto Union)2m56s
Momberger (Auto Union)2m56s
Varzi (Alfa Romeo)2m59s
Nuvolari (Maserati)3m00s
Chiron (Alfa Romeo)3m02s
Caracciola (Mercedes-Benz)3m04s
Ghersi (Alfa Romeo)3m13s
Leiningen (Auto Union)3m16s
Brauchitsch (Mercedes-Benz)3m18s
Hartmann (Bugatti)3m29s
Balestrero (Alfa Romeo)3m35s

Saturday practice from 2:00 to 3:00 PM was for the small cars and from 3:00 to 5:00 PM for the Grand Prix cars. Stuck drove a new best time in 2m50.4s at an average speed of 153.8 km/h. Dreyfus was close and drove several laps in succession at around 2m54s. After practice the Mercedes team realized that their final drive had the wrong gearing, but it was too late to make a change. The best times of the day were as follows:
Stuck (Auto Union)2m50.4s
Dreyfus (Bugatti)2m54s
Caracciola (Mercedes-Benz)2m55s
Nuvolari (Maserati)2m56s
Fagioli (Mercedes-Benz)2m56s
Varzi (Alfa Romeo)2m58s
Momberger (Auto Union)2m58s
Chiron (Alfa Romeo)2m59s
Hamilton (Maserati)3m02s
Rüesch (Maserati)3m06s
Biondetti (Maserati)3m17s
Earl Howe (Maserati)3m24s
Hartmann (Bugatti)3m43s

Scrutineering had been planned for 3:00 PM on Saturday but was delayed until 5:00 PM, because at that time the cars were still practicing. The grand prix cars were weighed at the new railroad yard where a scale was available. To participate in the race the cars had to weigh 750 kg or less without tires, fuel and water. Earl Howe had a problem getting his Maserati passed, but after draining the fuel tank completely, his Maserati passed successfully. The Mercedes of Caracciola and Brauchitsch each weighed 745 kg and Fagioli's car 746 kg. Scuderia Ferrari's Alfa Romeos were only around 720 kg.
Race:
At 10:30 AM in rainy weather, the race for the 23 cars of the voiturette class was started over 14 laps or 101.92 km. Richard Seaman (MG Magnette) finished first after 50m43.4s, followed by the Bugattis of Veyron and Burggaller with seven more finishers.
      Stuck was assigned the first place on the grid while the remaining places were decided by lots on Friday after practice had ended. A little over 50,000 spectators watched the Swiss Grand Prix on Sunday afternoon. When the 16 cars lined up on the starting grid at 12:30 PM, Rüesch did not start in his Maserati in the second row because during the morning's voiturette race a wound from a burn in Italy had opened up again. As soon as the cars were arranged on the grid, it began to rain and the mechanics covered the drivers' seats with umbrellas and the engines' hoods with blankets. With only one minute to go, the mechanics left the grid and the roar from the engines and their superchargers grew to hurricane strength.
Pole Position
26
Biondetti

Maserati

32
Varzi

Alfa Romeo

6
Stuck

Auto Union

28
Chiron

Alfa Romeo

24
Balestrero

Alfa Romeo

20
Nuvolari

Maserati

38
L Hartmann

Bugatti

30
Ghersi

Alfa Romeo

10
Caracciola

Mercedes-Benz

2
Leiningen

Auto Union

40
Hamilton

Maserati

8
Brauchitsch

Mercedes-Benz

12
Fagioli

Mercedes-Benz

14
Dreyfus

Bugatti

16
Howe

Maserati

4
Momberger

Auto Union

Exactly at 1:00 PM race manager Huber lowered the flag and with an ear-splitting metallic noise the wild pack pulled away. Stuck took off like a cannon ball which must have been one of the best starts of his life, taking the lead with Nuvolari and Chiron chasing after him followed by the rest of the field. Earl Howe was left on the grid with a stalled engine but he left 10 seconds later. As the cars left the grid it began to rain again.
      At the end of the first lap Stuck passed the grandstand comfortably ahead of the field then 10 seconds later Chiron and Nuvolari appeared, separated by less than 20 meters. Caracciola was eight seconds further back, after a short gap there was Varzi and Biondetti, then Dreyfus, Ghersi, and a gap to Fagioli, Leiningen, Hamilton, Brauchitsch, Momberger, Balestrero, Hartmann and Howe. Stuck's car was hugging the wet road as if he was driving on rails while the other cars passed like making a slight dance.
      During the second lap the drizzle changed into a strong rain shower lasting a few minutes which slowed the pace of the cars. Stuck increased his lead over Nuvolari and Chiron who had changed positions. After a brief pause Caracciola passed ahead of the duo of Varzi (Alfa Romeo) and Dreyfus (Bugatti) who had overtaken Biondetti. Fagioli, Leiningen, Ghersi, Hamilton, Momberger, Brauchitsch, Balestrero Hartmann and Earl Howe followed further behind.
      On the third lap the rain stopped suddenly the same way that it had started. At the end of the lap, Stuck led Nuvolari and Chiron by 35 seconds. On lap four Dreyfus passed Varzi and Caracciola while Fagioli advanced to seventh place. Balestrero stopped at the pits replacing a spark plug and restarted after 30 seconds. At the end of lap five Varzi had passed Caracciola while Ghersi had fallen towards the back. The order after 5 laps was:
1.Stuck (Auto Union)16m07s
2.Nuvolari (Maserati)16m49s
3.Chiron (Alfa Romeo)16m59s
4.Dreyfus (Bugatti)17m11s
5.Varzi (Alfa Romeo)17m21s
6.Caracciola (Mercedes-Benz)
7.Fagioli (Mercedes-Benz)
8.Leiningen (Auto Union)
9.Hamilton (Maserati)
10.Momberger (Auto Union)

Stuck soon lapped Balestrero who had dropped to last place with a defective third gear; Hartmann was the next to be lapped. On lap seven, Stuck lapped Earl Howe who was third from last. On this lap Caracciola stopped at the pits to have his brakes checked. After 2ź minutes he restarted at the tail of the field. On lap eight, Stuck lapped the fourth from last car, Ghersi's Alfa Romeo, while Momberger passed Hamilton's Maserati. On lap nine on a drying circuit Stuck drove the fastest lap up to that time in 3m08s at an average of 139.404 km/h. He was 55 seconds ahead of the second and third placed cars, Nuvolari and Chiron, who were now close to each other. Caracciola stopped again at the pits. After a long talk with team manager Neubauer, he climbed out of the car and climbed awkwardly over the counter into his pit, while the reserve driver Hanns Geier got into the cockpit. He joined the race but 70 seconds had been lost. Caracciola was prevented from continuing due to his leg which was not yet fully healed. The order after ten laps was:
1.Stuck (Auto Union)31m59.2s
2.Nuvolari (Maserati)32m54.6s
3.Chiron (Alfa Romeo)33m01.4s
4.Dreyfus (Bugatti)33m21.0s
5.Varzi (Alfa Romeo)33m39.0s
6.Fagioli (Mercedes-Benz)
7.Leiningen (Auto Union)
8.Momberger (Auto Union)
9.Hamilton (Maserati)
10.Brauchitsch (Mercedes-Benz)

The first ten drivers on the 10th lap were followed by Biondetti, Ghersi, Howe, Hartmann, Balestreo and Geier. On lap 11, Momberger passed his teammate Leiningen for seventh place. The weather was improving slowly. On the paved section at the grandstand where timekeepers clocked the cars doing 230 km/h, the surface began to dry and two black trails of rubber left by the cars had become visible on the pavement. The cars now circulated as if on rails. On lap 12 Stuck drove a new fast lap in 3m06s at an average of 140.903 km/h. His lead had grown continuously and was now 65 seconds. On lap 13, Hartmann retired his Bugatti at the Forsthaus turn with an unknown mechanical problem. Balestrero had fallen to the tail of the field in 14th place with Geier one place ahead. On lap 15 Stuck made a new fast lap in 3m05 s at 141.64 km/h average. On lap 16 Chiron passed Nuvolari to take second place. Leiningen in eighth place retired his Auto Union on lap 19 with a broken gearbox. This was the order was after 20 laps:
1.Stuck (Auto Union)1h03m21.0s
2.Chiron (Alfa Romeo)1h04m24.6s
3.Nuvolari (Maserati)1h04m39.0s
4.Dreyfus (Bugatti)-----
5.Fagioli (Mercedes-Benz)1h05m10.6s
6.Varzi (Alfa Romeo)1h05m12.4s
7.Momberger (Auto Union)
8.Hamilton (Maserati)
9.Brauchitsch (Mercedes-Benz)
10.Ghersi (Alfa Romeo)

On lap 21 Nuvolari repassed Chiron for second place. At the end of lap 28 Nuvolari stopped at his pit and climbed out of his car while his mechanic changed spark plugs and carburetor jets in 2˝ minutes. Nuvolari then rejoined the race. Dreyfus passed him while he was in the pits, but he also passed Chiron to take second place. Fagioli was in fourth place followed by Momberger and Varzi in sixth place and Nuvolari in seventh. Surprisingly, Varzi established a new fastest lap in 2m58s at 144.243 km/h average speed. Over the last ten laps Stuck's average lap time had been 3m04s. The field was down to 14 cars in the following order after 30 laps:
1.Stuck (Auto Union)1h33m55.2s
2.Dreyfus (Bugatti)1h35m21.0s
3.Chiron (Alfa Romeo)1h35m28.6s
4.Fagioli (Mercedes-Benz)1h35m42.4s
5.Momberger (Auto Union)1h36m39.6s
6.Varzi (Alfa Romeo)1h36m54.0s
7.Nuvolari (Maserati)1h38m07.0s1 lap behind
8.Hamilton (Maserati)1h38m13.6s1 lap behind
9.Biondetti (Maserati)1h39m34.8s1 lap behind
10.Brauchitsch (Mercedes-Benz)1h41m18.6s2 laps behind
11.Ghersi (Alfa Romeo)1h46m04.2s3 laps behind
12.Geier (Mercedes-Benz)1h48m00.6s4 laps behind
13.Earl Howe (Maserati)1h49m24.0s5 laps behind
14.Balestrero (Alfa Romeo)1h52m35.2s6 laps behind

At the end of lap 31 Fagioli stopped at the pits with a steaming radiator which was refilled with water dropping him from fourth to seventh place. As a result, on lap 32 Momberger inherited fourth place. This was the halfway point of the race and the leading drivers stopped at the pits to refuel. Tires were not changed, because tire wear had been minimal during the rain. On lap 36 Stuck needed 1m07s for his refueling stop but he did not lose his position to Dreyfus who took 1m29s. Chiron required 1m20s but Momberger took only 51 seconds. Nuvolari's Maserati ran into trouble with flames shooting from his the exhaust. On lap 36 he stopped at his pit and retired. Over the last ten laps Stuck's average lap time had been 3m13s. The field was now down to 13 cars after 40 laps in this order:
1.Stuck (Auto Union)2h06m02s
2.Dreyfus (Bugatti)2h07m58.2s
3.Chiron (Alfa Romeo)2h08m26.0s
4.Momberger (Auto Union)2h09m27.2s1 lap behind
5.Fagioli (Mercedes-Benz)2h09m39.8s1 lap behind
6.Varzi (Alfa Romeo)2h10m15.2s1 lap behind
7.Hamilton (Maserati)
8.Brauchitsch (Mercedes-Benz)
9.Biondetti (Maserati)
10.Ghersi (Alfa Romeo)
11.Earl Howe (Maserati)
12.Geier (Mercedes-Benz)
13.Balestrero (Alfa Romeo)

Stuck maintained the lead and continually increased the gap to Dreyfus. Fagioli still battled with Momberger and repassed the Auto Union on lap 43. However, when Fagioli's engine overheated on lap 46 he stopped at the pits to refill with water and dropped to sixth place. On lap 48 Balestrero retired with a broken gearbox following two prior stops for spark plugs and carburetor adjustments. Over the last ten laps Stuck's average lap time had been was 3m04s. The field was now down to 12 cars in the following order after 50 laps:
1.Stuck (Auto Union)2h36m37.0s
2.Dreyfus (Bugatti)2h38m34.0s
3.Chiron (Alfa Romeo)2h40m03.4s1 lap behind
4.Momberger (Auto Union)2h40m04.0s1 lap behind
5.Varzi (Alfa Romeo)2h40m53.0s1 lap behind
6.Fagioli (Mercedes-Benz)2h41m14.4s1 lap behind
7.Brauchitsch (Mercedes-Benz)2h46m53.0s3 laps behind
8.Biondetti (Maserati)2h47m11.4s3 laps behind
9.Hamilton (Maserati)2h47m13.8s3 laps behind
10.Ghersi (Alfa Romeo)2h50m11.6s4 laps behind
11.Earl Howe (Maserati)-----
12.Geier (Mercedes-Benz)2h56m55.6s6 laps behind

On lap 51 Momberger passed Chiron to gain third place. Brauchitsch passed the pits on lap 52 with white smoke exiting from both sides of his hood. He retired at his pit on the following lap with a broken oil pipe. At the turn past the grandstand which was often taken without dropping speed at up to 230 km/h, several drivers now passed with a slight hesitation and the precision of their cornering technique had waned. Several drivers now started to brake earlier before taking the turn at the Kiesgrube. It appeared that some drivers had become tired but it was more likely their brakes had faded and they simply had to brake earlier, explaining also the hesitation. Over the last ten laps Stuck's average lap time was 3m03s. The field was now down to eleven cars and positions were as follows after 60 laps:
1.Stuck (Auto Union)3h07m07.4s
2.Dreyfus (Bugatti)3h09m23.0s
3.Momberger (Auto Union)3h10m33.2s1 lap behind
4.Varzi (Alfa Romeo)3h11m26.4s1 lap behind
5.Chiron (Alfa Romeo)3h11m47.0s1 lap behind
6.Fagioli (Mercedes-Benz)
7.Hamilton (Maserati)
8.Ghersi (Alfa Romeo)
9.Biondetti (Maserati)
10.Earl Howe (Maserati)
11.Geier (Mercedes-Benz)

On lap 62 Momberger in third place behind Stuck and Dreyfus, drove the fastest lap of the race at 151.5 km/h in 2m53s at 151.494 km/h. After lap 65, just five laps from the finish, Dreyfus stopped at his pit to refill water into his steaming radiator, which had sprung a leak. Although his stop was just 50 seconds, it was enough to let Momberger pass into second place. As much as Dreyfus tried to catch the Auto Union, he did not succeed and Momberger finished second close behind Stuck, but one lap in arrears. Stuck had driven another fast lap in 2m53s at 151.49 km/h average speed, equaling Momberger's record set on lap 62. Stuck finished the race after 3h37m51.6s at an average speed of 140.350 km/h. With a large laurel-wreath on the back of the car Stuck drove a slow lap of honor around the course which was flooded by spectators. Stuck was not yet back from his lap of honor when the loudspeakers announced the bad news that Hamilton had left the track due to tire damage and possible fatigue and had been killed.
      On the last lap as Stuck crossed the finish line, Hamilton on his 65th lap crashed his fast Maserati, shortly before the Forsthaus turn, 1500 meters before the finish and about 20 seconds before the end of the race. At a speed of about 150 km/h, it is believed that his left front tire had gone flat. The car was zigzagging and left the track out of control. It felled a pine tree and careened on for about 20 meters before being stopped by a mighty tree where the car broke apart. The front axle was found without its wheels which lay some meters away. The radiator was crushed and like the car's body was pushed rearwards. The seat was severely bent and the steering wheel demolished. At the impact the driver suffered chest and internal injuries which must have caused his immediate death. A branch from the tree fell on the head of a spectator, who was taken to Insel Hospital with a fractured skull. At Hamilton's funeral the following Wednesday afternoon at 2:30 PM in Bern his mother and stepfather came to give their last respects as did his fiancé who had attended most of his races that season. Hugh "Hammy" Caulfield Hamilton was only 29. He was born in Ireland and was buried at the Bremgarten Cemetery in Bern.

Results

Pos.No.DriverEntrantCarTypeEngineLapsTime/Status

1.6Hans StuckAuto Union AGAuto UnionA4.4V-16703h37m51.6s
2.4August MombergerAuto Union AGAuto UnionA4.4V-16693h27m54.4s
3.14René DreyfusAutomobiles E. BugattiBugattiT593.3S-8693h38m10.2s
4.32Achille VarziScuderia FerrariAlfa RomeoTipo B/P32.9S-8692h39m53.4s
5.28Louis ChironScuderia FerrariAlfa RomeoTipo B/P32.9S-8693h40m35.6s
6.12Luigi FagioliDaimler-Benz AGMercedes-BenzW253.4S-8683h38m34.4s
7.30Pietro GhersiScuderia FerrariAlfa RomeoTipo B/P32.9S-8663h38m50.0s
8.26Clemente BiondettiGruppo Genovese San GiorgioMaserati8C-30003.0S-8663h38m58.4s
DNF40Hugh HamiltonWhitney Straight Ltd.Maserati8CM3.0S-864fatal crash
DNC16Earl HoweEarl HoweMaserati8CM3.0S-8633h40m46.8s
DNC10R. Caracciola / H. Geier Daimler-Benz AGMercedes-BenzW253.4S-8623h39m59.2s
DNF8Manfred von BrauchitschDaimler-Benz AGMercedes-BenzW253.4S-852oil pipe
DNF24Renato BalestreroGruppo Genovese San GiorgioAlfa RomeoMonza2.6S-847gearbox
DNF20Tazio NuvolariT. NuvolariMaserati8CM3.0S-835engine
DNF2Hermann zu LeiningenAuto Union AGAuto UnionA4.4V-1618gearbox
DNF38László HartmannL. HartmannBugattiT512.3S-813mechanical
Fastest lap: August Momberger (Auto Union) on lap 62 in 2m53.0s = 151.5 km/h (94.1 mph)
Winner's medium speed: 140.3 km/h (87.2 mph)
Weather: rain during the first laps.

Primary sources researched for this article:
Allgemeine Automobil-Zeitung, Berlin
Allgemeine Automobil-Zeitung, Wien
AUTOMOBIL-REVUE, Bern
IL LITTORIALE, Roma
Kölnische Zeitung, Köln
L'AUTO, Paris
La Gazzetta dello Sport, Milano
MOTOR SPORT, London
MOTOR UND SPORT, Pössneck
Special thanks to:
Adam Ferrington
Markus Neugebauer
Giuseppe Prisco



Comotti (Alfa Romeo)Zehender (Maserati)Straight (Maserati)

X GRAND PRIX DU COMMINGES

St Gaudens (F), 26 August 1934
35 laps x 11.005 km (6.838 mi) = 385.2 km (239.3 mi)



No.DriverEntrantCarTypeEngine

2Whitney StraightWhitney Straight Ltd.Maserati8CM3.0S-8
4"Buddy" FeatherstonhaughWhitney Straight Ltd.Maserati26M2.5S-8
6Raymond SommerR. SommerMaserati8CM3.0S-8
8Jean-Pierre WimilleAutomobiles Ettore BugattiBugattiT593.3S-8
10Goffredo ZehenderConte de VillapadiernaMaserati8CM3.0S-8
12Benoît FalchettoEcurie BraillardMaserati8CM3.0S-8
14José ScaronEcurie BraillardMaserati8CM3.0S-8DNA - did not appear
16José de VillapadiernaConte de VillapadiernaMaserati8CM2.5S-4
18Philippe EtancelinP. EtancelinMaserati8CM3.0S-8
20"André Delmo"A. DelomBugattiT512.3S-8
22Mlle "Hellé-Nice"Mlle "Hellé-Nice"Alfa RomeoMonza2.3S-8
24Genaro Léoz-AbadG. Léoz-AbadBugattiT512.3S-8DNA - did not appear
26R. BlondiauxR. BlondiauxBugattiT35C2.0S-8DNA - did not appear
28Robert BrunetR. BrunetBugattiT512.3S-8
30Juan ZanelliJ. ZanelliAlfa RomeoMonza2.6S-8
32Marcel LehouxScuderia FerrariAlfa RomeoTipo B/P32.9S-8
34Gianfranco ComottiScuderia FerrariAlfa RomeoTipo B/P32.9S-8



Comotti victorious for Scuderia Ferrari

by Leif Snellman
Straight (Maserati) went into the lead and held it for a few laps but was then passed by both Comotti (Alfa Romeo) and Etancelin (Maserati). The French driver was, however, forced to retire with mechanical troubles giving second place back to Straight. But during the refuelling stops Straight had to see himself passed by Zehender. Comotti, who had taken over the late Moll's place at Scuderia Ferrari, got the chance to lead home another triumph for Ferrari. His team-mate Lehoux retired with a broken valve after having made the fastest lap of the day.
The Comminges Grand Prix, organized for the tenth time by Automobile Club du Midi, was run for the second time on the shortened 11 km circuit. The race was considered one of the most enjoyable during the season by contemporary correspondents with a good organization, an enthusiastic crowd and a more relaxing atmosphere than found in the major races. The race length was, as in 1933, 35 laps corresponding to 385.2 km.
      Prizes offered were: 50,000 fr, 25,000 fr, 15,000 fr, 10,000 fr, 6,000 fr, 5,000 fr, 4,000 fr, 3, 000 fr, and 2,000 fr for the top nine finishers.
Entries:
With the race clashing with the Swiss Grand Prix some potential competitors like Nuvolari, Dreyfus and Howe were missing. However, Scuderia Ferrari once again split their effort and started in both races. They entered Alfa Romeo Type B/P3 models for Gianfranco Comotti, who had taken over the late Moll's place in the team, and for Marcel Lehoux. This would prove to be the latter's last race for Ferrari. At least Comotti raced a rebuilt 1933 car with slotted skirts. Juan Zanelli and Mlle. Hellé-Nice raced Alfa Romeo Monzas. With Dreyfus racing in Bern Jean-Pierre Wimille was entered by the Bugatti works team to race one of their T59s. André Delom racing under the name "Delmo" entered a Bugatti T51 as an independent as did Robert Brunet.
      They were challenged by seven Maseratis. Whitney Straight entered a 8CM for himself and as the other 8CM belonging to the team was raced by Hamilton in Bern Rupert "Buddy" Featherstonhaugh was racing the old 2.5 litre 26M.
      Conte José de Villapadierna entered two yellow 8CMs. He was racing the narrowed chassis car (#3020) himself with a 4-cylinder 2.5 litre engine (likely taken from car #2012), while Goffredo Zehender raced the wide chassis car (#3019).
      Benoît Falchetto raced an 8CM (#3009) for Ecurie Braillard. Philippe Etancelin raced his own blue 8CM (#3010) as well and Raymond Sommer entered his rebuilt 8CM 2-seater (#3006).
Practice:
There were three practice sessions on Thursday, Friday and Saturday morning. At the Thursday session Etancelin was fastest equalling Fagioli's 1933 lap record of 5m29s (147.3 km/h). Etancelin was fastest again during Friday, lowering the time to 4m23s (150.6 km/h). He did only a few laps while Comotti, Lehoux, and Featherstonhaugh covered more than a dozen laps. Lehoux's best lap was 4m29s and Comotti's 4m33s. Many of the drivers had tried to get to know the circuit rather than to set a time. Better times were therefore expected during Saturday. However, a violent storm hit the region during the night followed by a persistent rain. Saturday session was thus held in rainy conditions, and while most drivers took part they were not was able to better their lap times. Featherstonhaugh was fastest making a time of 5m16s. Straight, Zehender and Lehoux did 5m17s laps followed by Falchetto with a time of 5m20s and Sommer doing 5m22s. Wimille, Villapadierna, Comotti, Zanelli, Hellé-Nice and Brunet also made a few laps.
      So the grid was organized according to the, in some cases rather slow, Friday times.
Race:
Race day came with good weather and endless lines of cars and coaches, many special trains converged on Saint-Gaudens. Soon the stands were filled to capacity with the enthusiastic crowd that was typical for the event. The morning had been reserved for motor cycle racing in four classes. At 3 p.m. it was finally time for the Grand Prix with the 14 cars lined up in the grid like this:
Pole Position
18
Etancelin

Maserati
4m23s

32
Lehoux

Alfa Romeo
4m29s

2
Straight

Maserati
4m32s

34
Comotti

Alfa Romeo
4m33s

6
Sommer

Maserati
4m37s

8
Wimille

Bugatti
4m41s

4
Featherstonhaugh

Maserati
4m52s

30
Zanelli

Alfa Romeo
4m55s

10
Zehender

Maserati
5m05m

16
de Villapadierna

Maserati
5m06s

28
Brunet

Bugatti
5m13s

12
Falchetto

Maserati
5m20s

22
Hellé-Nice

Alfa Romeo
5m41s

20
Delmo

Bugatti
5m53s

The start was given by Charles Faroux and Straight from his position in the first row made the best start to lead the field away towards Valentine. Straight made the first lap in 4m25s (149.5 km/h) four seconds faster that Fagioli's lap record. He had opened up a seven seconds gap to the next six cars led by Lehoux (4m32s), Comotti (4m33s), Wimille, Etancelin, Sommer and Zehender. After a further gap followed Zanelli, Falchetto, Featherstonhaugh, Brunet, de Villapadierna, Delmo and Hellé-Nice.
      There were a few changes to the race order during the second lap. The race order was now Straight, Comotti, Lehoux, Wimille, Etancelin, Zehender, Sommer, Falchetto, and Featherstonhaugh.
      On the third lap Wimille stopped to change plugs, Etancelin taking over the fourth place as the drivers in the top were very close to each other. Straight received a 500 francs fine for blocking Comotti in a corner as the latter tried to pass for the lead.
      On the fourth lap Sommer made a pit stop.
      On the fifth lap Comotti made a new attempt for the lead and succeeded to pass Straight. Comotti improved the lap record to 4m17s (154.2 km/h). The race order after five laps was:
1.Comotti (Alfa Romeo)21m53s
2.Straight (Maserati)21m55s
3.Lehoux (Alfa Romeo)21m56s
4.Etancelin (Maserati)21m56s
5.Zehender (Maserati)22m18s
6.Falchetto (Maserati)
7.Zanelli (Alfa Romeo)
8.Featherstonhaugh (Maserati)
9.Brunet (Bugatti)
10.Villapadierna (Maserati)
11.Delmo (Bugatti)
12.Hellé-Nice (Alfa Romeo)
13.Wimille (Bugatti)

Comotti made the sixth lap even faster, setting a time of 4m16s (154.8 km/h). The two Scuderia Ferrari drivers now held a 1-2 lead as Straight had dropped to fourth position behind Etancelin. Sommer was the first retirement of the day.
      Comotti went faster and faster making lap eight in 4m15s (155.4 km/h) and lap nine in 4m14s (156.0 km/h) in his attempt to shake off the competitors. Straight fell back but so did also Comotti's team-mate Lehoux, who on lap 8 had to make a brief pit stop for an engine related problem falling down to fifth position. Etancelin however was still at speed, keeping within five seconds of the race leader.
      After 10 laps the situation looked like this with Lehoux, charging after his pit stop, having passed Zehender for fourth position:
1.Comotti (Alfa Romeo)43m25s
2.Etancelin (Maserati)43m30s
3.Straight (Maserati)43m58s
4.Lehoux (Alfa Romeo)44m19s
5.Zehender (Maserati)44m21s
6.Falchetto (Maserati)45m46s
7.Featherstonhaugh (Maserati)45m58s
8.Brunet (Bugatti)
9.Villapadierna (Maserati)
10.Hellé-Nice (Alfa Romeo)
11.Delmo (Bugatti)
12.Wimille (Bugatti)

The high speed proved to be too much for Etancelin's Maserati and at the end of the 11th lap the French driver slowly returned to the pit and retired because of a broken con rod.
      Zanelli also gave up the race. On the same lap Lehoux, chasing Straight, made a superb 4m11s (157.8 km/h) lap that proved to be the fastest one of the race.
      Lehoux passed Straight for second position but the record lap might have been fatal for the Alfa Romeo and on the 14th lap Lehoux retired to the pit with a faulty valve. Delmo retired as well.
      With Etancelin and Lehoux out of the race much of the excitement of the race had disappeared as Comotti held a comfortable one minute lead over Straight with Zehender in third position dangerously near the latter.
      The race order after 15 laps:
1.Comotti (Alfa Romeo)1h04m45s
2.Straight (Maserati)1h05m48s
3.Zehender (Maserati)1h06m00s
4.Falchetto (Maserati)1h07m55s
5.Featherstonhaugh (Maserati)1h08m32s
6.Villapadierna (Maserati)
7.Brunet (Bugatti)
8.Wimille (Bugatti)
9.Hellé-Nice (Alfa Romeo)

On the 17th lap Straight, Zehender and Featherstonhaugh all made their refuelling stops. Straight had to make a wheel change as well and Zehender was first away taking over second position. When trying to restart Featherstonehaugh's Maserati the starting handle broke. Featherstonhaugh decided to retire as push starts were forbidden.
      When Falchetto made his stop he was push started and received a 500 francs fine. As "Motor Sport" correctly noted, with 10,000 francs at stake it would have been worth for Featherstonhaugh if he had made the push start as well and taken the fine.
      The situation had now stabilized, with Comotti leading almost a lap ahead of Zehender and with Straight, Falchetto and Villapadierna following. The race situation after 20 laps:
1.Comotti (Alfa Romeo)1h26m42s
2.Zehender (Maserati)1h29m11s
3.Straight (Maserati)1h29m27s
4.Falchetto (Maserati)
5.Villapadierna (Maserati)
6.Brunet (Bugatti)
7.Wimille (Bugatti)
8.Hellé-Nice (Alfa Romeo)

On the 22nd lap Comotti made his refuelling stop, returning to the race still with a minute lead over Zehender. Straight was still third but falling behind the two Italians. Race order after 25 laps:
1.Comotti (Alfa Romeo)1h49m54s
2.Zehender (Maserati)1h51m01s
3.Straight (Maserati)1h51m48s
4.Falchetto (Maserati)
5.Brunet (Bugatti)
6.Wimille (Bugatti)
7.Villapadierna (Maserati)
8.Hellé-Nice (Alfa Romeo)

Brunet made a stop dropping to 7th position. Apart from that no changes occurred during the next five laps. After 30 laps the order was thus:
1.Comotti (Alfa Romeo)2h11m21s
2.Zehender (Maserati)2h12m58s
3.Straight (Maserati)2h14m23s
4.Falchetto (Maserati)
5.Wimille (Bugatti)
6.Villapadierna (Maserati)
7.Brunet (Bugatti)
8.Hellé-Nice (Alfa Romeo)

There were no more changes in the race order. Under the splendid evening sun Comotti took the chequered flag with the enthusiastic crowd applauding the winner. Zehender finished second in his yellow Maserati. Straight was third and Falchetto fourth, both in Maseratis. Wimille was flagged off after 33 laps but he refused to stop and continued to do the two last laps putting the spectators, who as usual started to occupy the course, in danger. He was subsequently fined 500 francs.

Results

Pos.No.DriverEntrantCarTypeEngineLapsTime/StatusDiff

1.34Gianfranco ComottiScuderia FerrariAlfa RomeoTipo B/P32.9S-8352h33m49.8s
2.10Goffredo ZehenderConde de VillapadiernaMaserati8CM3.0S-8352h35m05s+ 1m15s
3.2Whitney StraightWhitney Straight Ltd.Maserati8CM3.0S-8352h36m45s+ 2m55s
4.12Benoît FalchettoEcurie BraillardMaserati8CM3.0S-834
5.8Jean-Pierre WimilleAutomobiles Ettore BugattiBugattiT593.3S-833
6.16José de VillapadiernaConte de VillapadiernaMaserati8CM2.5S-432
7.28Robert BrunetR. BrunetBugattiT512.3S-831
8.22Mlle "Hellé-Nice"Mlle "Hellé-Nice"Alfa RomeoMonza2.3S-831
DNF4"Buddy" FeatherstonhaughWhitney Straight Ltd.Maserati26M2.5S-822starting handle
DNF20"André Delmo"A. DelomBugattiT512.3S-813mechanical
DNF32Marcel LehouxScuderia FerrariAlfa RomeoTipo B/P32.9S-813valve
DNF30Juan ZanelliJ. ZanelliAlfa RomeoMonza2.6S-812mechanical
DNF18Philippe EtancelinP. EtancelinMaserati8CM3.0S-812con rod
DNF6Raymond SommerR. SommerMaserati8CM3.0S-85mechanical
Fastest lap: Marcel Lehoux (Alfa Romeo) on lap 11 in 4m11s = 157.8 km/h (98.1 mph)
Winner's medium speed: 150.2 km/h (93.4 mph)
Pole position lap speed: 150.6 km/h (93.6 mph)
Weather: sunny.
            Fastest laps:
Driver/CarFastest lap
Lehoux (Alfa Romeo)4m11s
Wimille (Bugatti)4m12s
Comotti (Alfa Romeo)4m14s
Zehender (Maserati)4m14s
Etancelin(Maserati)4m16s
Falchetto (Maserati)4m18s
Straight (Maserati)4m20s
Sommer (Maserati)4m28s
Featherstonhaugh (Maserati)4m29s
Zanelli (Maserati)4m33s
Villapadierna (Maserati)4m41s
Brunet (Bugatti)4m44s
Hellé-Nice (Alfa Romeo)4m55s
Delmo (Bugatti)5m01s


Primary sources researched for this article:
AUTOMOBIL-REVUE, Bern
L'Auto, Paris
Echo de Alger, Alger
Echo de Oran, Oran
Echo de Paris, Paris
El Mundo Deportivo, Barcelona
Le Figaro, Paris
Le Matin, Paris
L'Ouest-Eclair, Nantes
Le Petit Marocain, Casablanca
Paris-Soir, Paris
Motor Sport, London

Star August 1934: Auto Union had a pre-GP test at Monza and Achille Varzi made some laps in Hans Stuck's car. Possibly Varzi there and then signed for Auto Union for the 1935 season.
Star 1 September 1934: The RAC Tourist Trophy sports car handicap race is held at Ards near Belfast:
1. DodsonMG Magnette
2. HallBentley
3. FotheringhamAston Martin
4. LewisLagonda
5. HindmarshLagonda
6. DricollAston Martin



Trossi (Alfa Romeo)Varzi (Alfa Romeo)Farina (Maserati)

I CIRCUITO DI BIELLA

Biella (I), 2 September 1934
3 heats x 25 laps x 2.2 km (1.367 mi) = 55.0 km (34.2 mi)
Final 40 laps x 2.2 km (1.367 mi) = 88-0 km (54.7 mi)



No.DriverEntrantCarTypeEngine

2Gianfranco ComottiScuderia FerrariAlfa RomeoTipo B/P32.9S-8
4Carlo Felice TrossiScuderia FerrariAlfa RomeoTipo B/P32.9S-8
6Achille VarziScuderia FerrariAlfa RomeoTipo B/P32.9S-8
8Renato BalestreroGruppo Genovese San GiorgioAlfa RomeoMonza2.6S-8
10Clemente BiondettiGruppo Genovese San GiorgioMaserati8C-28002.8S-8
12Giuseppe Aldo BianchiScuderia BrianzaBugattiT39A1.5S-8
14Luigi CastelbarcoL. CastelbarcoMaserati4CM1.5S-4
16Giovanni LuraniCount G. LuraniMaserati4CS1.5S-4
18Cornaggia-MediciGiovanni Cornaggia-MediciAlfa Romeo8C-2300 spider2.3S-8
20Tazio NuvolariScuderia SienaAlfa RomeoMonza2.3S-8
22Carlo RestelliC. RestelliAlfa Romeo6C-19201.9S-6DNS - did not start
24Antonio BrivioA. BrivioBugattiT512.3S-8with lights and fenders
26Giuseppe FarinaScuderia SubalpinaMaserati4CM1.5S-4
28Luigi PremoliL. PremoliBMP3.0S-8with lights and fenders
30Gino RovereScuderia SubalpinaAlfa RomeoMonza2.6S-8
32Luigi PagesL. PagesAlfa RomeoMonza2.3S-8with lights and fenders
34Umberto CasaretoU. CasaretoMaserati261.5S-8
36Giovanni MinozziScuderia SienaAlfa RomeoMonza2.6S-8
38Giulio AyminiG. AyminiMonacoDNA - did not appear
40Gianni ArezziG. ArezziAlfa Romeo6C-17501.7S-6DNS - did not start
42Luigi PlatčL. PlatčTalbot1.5S-8



Trossi and Varzi dominate the Biella Street Race

by Hans Etzrodt
The 1934 race at Biella over 40 laps was a minor national event. From 21 entries only 18 cars faced the starter, nine Alfa Romeos, five Maseratis, two Bugattis, a BMP and a Talbot. The race consisted of three Heats and a final. Trossi won the first Heat ahead of Minozzi both in Alfa Romeos. The second Heat went to Nuvolari (Alfa Romeo) followed by Farina (Maserati) and the third Heat was won by Varzi (Alfa Romeo) ahead of Brivio (Bugatti). Seven drivers advanced to the Final, which was won by Trossi ahead of Varzi, Farina, Brivio and Balestrero fifth. Nuvolari and Minozzi retired.
After the street races in Monte Carlo, Montreux, Vichy and Nice, the small Italian town of Biella staged their first street race. Located in Piedmont, north-east of Turin, it was the hometown of Trossi and Brivio, two well-known race drivers. At short notice an interesting event was organized, but eight days before the race, it was still doubtful if they could stage it, since some bureaucrats threatened to place obstacles in the way of the event. Added to this uncertainty came the possible cancellations of Varzi and Nuvolari. Eventually Varzi's appearance was guaranteed, but Nuvolari still had no car at his disposal. This complication was finally settled when Scuderia Siena made an Alfa Romeo available for Nuvolari.
      For the Italian drivers this race was a trial run before the upcoming race at Monza. The RACI managers of Biella with their vice-commissioner Commendatore Adolfo Rivitti and race director Cavaličre G. M. Basini organized the race which was split into three Heats and a Final. Each Heat was over 55 km. The first two drivers in each Heat, plus the fastest third placed driver advanced to the Final over 88 km. No more than seven cars were allowed to start in any of the four races.
      The 2.200 km circuit proved to be as interesting as it was difficult. The following description uses present day street names, since most of the streets have been renamed since 1934. The circuit was on the eastern side of Biella with the start on Via Italia bordering the east side of Piazza Vittorio Veneto. After 60 meters along Via Italia there was a sharp left turn into a short straight on Via Bertodano, then another sharp left turn into Via Repubblica. This was followed by a sharp right turn into Via Cernaia, which led downhill through a wide left curve heading north along Via Cernaia to the hairpin at Via Milano. The circuit then turned back along Viale Garducci, parallel to Via Cernaia but uphill, through a wide right curve into Viale Matteotti. Finally, there was a sharp left turn back into Via Italia to the start and finish line.
      The total prize money amounted to 50,000 lire with 3,800 lire allotted to each Heat. The winner received 1,500, second 1,000, third 800 and fourth 500 lire. A special prize for the first car over 2000 cc received 2,000 lire, second 1,500, third 1,000 and fourth 500, a total of 5,000 lire. The driver, who made the fastest lap in each Heat, received 1,000 lire. The prize money in the Final amounted to 24,000 lire. The winner received 8,000 lire, second 6,000, third 4,000, fourth 2,000. A special prize for the first car after 20 laps received 2,000 lire. The driver, who made the fastest lap in the Final, received 2,000 lire. There were additional minor prizes.
Entries:
Of the 21 entries, 11 were Alfa Romeos. Scuderia Ferrari entered three 2.9-L Tipo B/P3 for Gianfranco Comotti, Carlos Felice Trossi and Achille Varzi. Renato Balestrero drove a 2600 Monza entered by Gruppo Genovese San Giorgio. The independent Giovanni Cornaggia Medici entered an Alfa Romeo 8C-2300 spider, the Mille Miglia version, and Luigi Pages' Alfa Romeo Monza was fitted with lights and fenders. Scuderia Siena made a 2300 Monza available for Nuvolari and a 2600 type for Giovanni Minozzi. Carlo Restelli had one of the rare 6C-1900 GS of 1934, a bored out 6C 1750. Scuderia Subalpina entered a 2600 Alfa Romeo Monza for Gino Rovere while Gianni Arezzi entered a 6C-1750.
      Clemente Biondetti had an 8C-2800 Maserati on a 26M chassis, entered by Gruppo Genovese San Giorgio. Luigi Castelbarco drove a 1500 4CM Maserati while Count Giovanni Lurani arrived with a 1500 4CS. Giuseppe Farina drove a 1500 cc 4CM which he had bought from the factory only two days before the race and which was entered by Scuderia Subalpina. Umberto Casareto drove a 1500 Maserati 26.
      Luigi Premoli drove his BMP (Bugatti/Maserati/Premoli) equipped with lights and fenders. It was a hybrid with a 3.0-L, 8-cylinder Maserati engine in a Bugatti T35 chassis. Castelbarco's mechanic, Giuseppe Aldo "Tino" Bianchi, entered a 1500 8-cylinder T39A Bugatti. Antonio Brivio drove a white T51 Bugatti 2300 in sports car trim. A list of all the entries is at the beginning of this report.
Practice
on Saturday saw Varzi making the fastest lap on the circuit with its short straight stretches and seven turns. All drivers made several laps and Varzi's best time was 1m36.6s at an average of 81.987 km/h. Trossi's best lap was in 1m37s at an average of 81.649 km/h and Nuvolari's best was in 1m38.4s at 80.487 km/h average. Count Lurani made his best lap in 1m38.4s, Biondetti 1m39.2s, Brivio 1m40s, Comotti 1m40s, Farina 1m41s and Castelbarco 1m48s.
Heat 1:
Since the Alfa Romeos of Restelli and Arezzi did not start, only five cars lined up on the grid in this order:
Pole Position
28
Premoli

BMP

10
Biondetti

Maserati

4
Trossi

Alfa Romeo

34
Casareo

Maserati

36
Minozzi

Alfa Romeo

At 2:00 PM the cars were flagged away. After the 1st lap Premoli held the lead but shortly afterwards he spun in the sharp turn after the grandstand and his car left the track. He fell far behind before he could rejoin the race. On the 4th lap Casareto took the turn at Via Cernaia too fast, left the track and had to retire. Minozzi had taken the lead on the 2nd lap which he held until the 5th lap when Trossi passed him for first place. Trossi maintained his lead until the end and finished with a lead of over 40 seconds to Minozzi. Biondetti came third followed by Premoli who towards the end had to drive without brakes.

Heat 1 Results

Pos.No.DriverEntrantCarTypeEngineLapsTime/StatusDiff

1.4Carlo Felice TrossiScuderia FerrariAlfa RomeoTipo B/P32.9S-82540m44.2s
2.36Giovanni MinozziScuderia SienaAlfa RomeoMonza2.6S-82541m26.8s+ 42.6s

3.10Clemente BiondettiGruppo Genovese San GiorgioMaserati8C-28002.8S-82542m09.6s+ 1m25.4s
4.28Luigi PremoliL. PremoliBMP3.0S-823
DNF34Umberto CasaretoU. CesaretoMaserati261.5S-83crash
Fastest lap: Carlo Felice Trossi (Alfa Romeo) on lap 7 in 1m33.6s = 84.6 km/h (52.6 mph)
Winner's medium speed: 81.0 km/h (50.3 mph)
Weather: fine, dry.
Heat 2:
Six cars lined up on the grid as follows:
Pole Position
20
Nuvolari

Alfa Romeo

8
Balestrero

Alfa Romeo

2
Comotti

Alfa Romeo

26
Farina

Maserati

14
Castelbarco

Maserati

32
Pages

Alfa Romeo

The second Heat was flagged away at 3:00 PM. Nuvolari immediately took the lead in the borrowed Alfa Romeo, followed by Farina, Balestrero, Comotti, Castelbarco and Pages. Farina in his new Maserati drove like a seasoned professional. Until the 7th lap, he resisted the attacks of Comotti magnificently. Comotti then dropped behind. Balestrero drove a regular and fast race turning his best lap in 1m37.2s and advancing to the final. Castelbarco had to change a tire on the 8th lap, which dropped him one lap behind. He made his best lap in 1m38.4s. Comotti who near the end spun his car in one of the turns, lost much time getting restarted and dropped to fourth place. Pages finished last with a best lap in 1m42.6s. Farina, the sensation of the day, finished second behind Nuvolari with Balestrero in third place.

Heat 2 Results

Pos.No.DriverEntrantCarTypeEngineLapsTime/StatusDiff

1.20Tazio NuvolariScuderia SienaAlfa RomeoMonza2.3S-82540m19.0s
2.26Giuseppe FarinaScuderia SubalpinaMaserati4CM1.5S-42540m39.4s+ 20.4s
3.8Renato BalestreroGruppo Genovese San GiorgioAlfa RomeoMonza2.6S-82541m26.6s+ 1m27.6s

4.2Gianfranco ComottiScuderia FerrariAlfa RomeoTipo B/P32.9S-82542m02.2s+ 1m43.2s
5.14Luigi CastelbarcoL. CastelbarcoMaserati4CM1.5S-424
6.32Luigi PagesL. PagesAlfa RomeoMonza2.3S-824
Fastest lap: Tazio Nuvolari (Alfa Romeo) on lap 18 in 1m33.4s = 84.8 km/h (52.7 mph)
Winner's medium speed: 81.9 km/h (50.9 mph)
Weather: fine, dry.
Heat 3:
The seven cars lined up as follows:
Pole Position
24
Brivio

Bugatti

18
Cornaggia

Alfa Romeo

6
Varzi

Alfa Romeo

12
Bianchi

Bugatti

16
Lurani

Maserati

30
Rovere

Alfa Romeo

42
Platč

Talbot

At 4:00 PM the third Heat was flagged away. Varzi dominated the race with his Alfa Romeo, leading from start to finish. He finished a minute and a half ahead of Brivio in his white, works supported Bugatti sports car. A battle developed between Lurani and Cornaggia which was later joined by Rovere, who eventually finished in third place. He made the best lap in1m36.6s, Cornaggia in 1m39.6s and Lurani in 1m39.8s. Bianchi with his 1500 Bugatti was not fast enough and dropped two laps behind.

Heat 3 Results

Pos.No.DriverEntrantCarTypeEngineLapsTime/StatusDiff

1.6Achille VarziScuderia FerrariAlfa RomeoTipo B/P32.9S-82539m42.0s
2.24Antonio BrivioA. BrivioBugattiT512.3S-82541m25.4s+ 1m43.4s

3.30Gino RovereScuderia SubalpinaAlfa RomeoMonza2.6S-82542m41.8s+ 2m59.8s
4.18G. Cornaggia-MediciG. Cornaggia-MediciAlfa Romeo8C-2300 spider2.3S-82542m44.0s+ 3m02.0s
5.16Giovanni LuraniCount LuraniMaserati4CS1.5S-424
6.12Giuseppe BianchiScuderia BrianzaBugattiT39A1.5S-823
DNF42Luigi PlatčL. PlatčTalbot1.5S-81mechanical
Fastest lap: Achille Varzi (Alfa Romeo) on lap 25 in 1m31.2s = 86.8 km/h (53.9 mph)
Winner's medium speed: 83.1 km/h (51.7 mph)
Weather: fine, dry.
Final:
The first two finishers in each Heat advanced into the Final plus the fastest third placed driver which was Balestrero. After the finish of the third Heat, the Marquis Parisio completed an inspection tour of the circuit. The cars lined up for the Final in the following order:
Pole Position
36
Minozzi

Alfa Romeo

24
Brivio

Bugatti

4
Trossi

Alfa Romeo

6
Varzi

Alfa Romeo

26
Farina

Maserati

8
Balestrero

Alfa Romeo

20
Nuvolari

Alfa Romeo

At 5:10 PM the Duchess of Pistoia gave the starting signal to the seven drivers who were in a tight group at the entry to the first corner. Minozzi and Farina managed to lead the pack, but Varzi was quick to attack and passed Farina, with Minozzi leading at the end of the first lap in 1m39s.
      On the 2nd lap Varzi passed Minozzi for the lead with Farina still third, followed by Trossi, Nuvolari, Brivio and Balestrero. On the 4th lap Trossi passed Farina for third place and then attacked Minozzi in 2nd position. On the same lap Nuvolari experienced difficulties due to the poor grip of his tires and a broken rear shock absorber, which caused him to skid off the track. He lost much time getting back on the track and fell to last place. Brivio's Bugatti was no longer performing at peak efficiency and he was circulating slowly.
      On the 5th lap Trossi caught Minozzi and passed him for 2nd place. The two Scuderia Ferrari Alfa Romeos were now in front and drove a cat and mouse game. On the 12th lap Trossi passed Varzi for the lead but two laps later Varzi passed Trossi to regain the lead with a lap in 1m31s. Further behind, Farina caught up with Minozzi and passed him with a lap in 1m33.8s when Minozzi retired with engine problems.
      On lap 25 Trossi once again passed Varzi for first place but three laps later Vazi regained the lead, only to be re-passed by Trossi on the next lap. After a stop at the pits Nuvolari retired on lap 25. On the 28th lap, Varzi again passed Trossi. On the 29th lap the Biellese was again ahead of Varzi. The crowd was excited by the two drivers engaged in such an entertaining duel, which from the 30th lap forward ended because Varzi was now content to follow his fearless Scuderia Ferrari President. On the last lap, in full view of the finish, Trossi slowed down and waited until Varzi was level with him. Trossi crossed the finish line as the winner no more than the width of a wheel ahead of Varzi.
      In the class for 1500 cc cars Farina finished first ahead of Lurani and Castelbarco, all three in Maseratis, followed by Bianchi's Bugatti.

Final Results

Pos.No.DriverEntrantCarTypeEngineLapsTime/StatusDiff

1.4Carlo Felice TrossiScuderia FerrariAlfa RomeoTipo B/P32.9S-8401h02m57.2s
2.6Achille VarziScuderia FerrariAlfa RomeoTipo B/P32.9S-8401h02m57.4s+ 0.2s
3.26Giuseppe FarinaScuderia SubalpinaMaserati4CM1.5S-4401h03m44.4s+ 1m47.2s
4.24Antonio BrivioA. BrivioBugattiT512.3S-8401h04m10.6s+ 2m13.4s
5.8Renato BalestreroGruppo Genovese San GiorgioAlfa RomeoMonza2.6S-839
DNF20Tazio NuvolariScuderia SienaAlfa RomeoMonza2.3S-825shock absorber
DNF36Giovanni MinozziScuderia SienaAlfa RomeoMonza2.6S-818engine
Fastest lap: Carlo Felice Trossi (Alfa Romeo) on lap 24 in 1m29.8s = 88.2 km/h (54.8 mph)
Winner's medium speed: 83.8 km/h (52.1 mph)
Weather: fine, dry.

Primary sources researched for this article:
AUTOMOBIL-REVUE, Bern
IL LITTORIALE, Roma
La Domenica Sportiva, Milano
La Gazzetta dello Sport, Milano
La Stampa, Torino
L'Auto, Paris
Motor Sport, London
RACI settimanale, Roma
The Motor, London
Special thanks to:
Alessandro Silva
Giuseppe Prisco



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© 2019 Leif Snellman, Hans Etzrodt, Felix Muelas - Last updated: 13.11.2019