Motor SportAugust 1933
CHIRON AND CHINETTI WIN THE BELGIAN "24"
THREE ALFA ROMEOS COVER GREATEST DISTANCE.
CLASS VICTORIES FOR GRAHAM-PAIGE, BUGATTI, ALFA ROMEO, F.N. AND AMILCAR.
THE Belgian 24 Hours Race differs from the Grand Prix d'Endurance at Le Mans in that there is no free-for-all category for the honour of travelling the greatest distance. Instead, there are five classes, and the cars in each fight out a separate battle of their own. In effect there are five races going on at the same time, but as always the interest of the crowd is mostly centred in the fastest class, and the cars which are therefore ahead of the rest of the field.
Of the forty-five entrants, thirty-three cars actually faced the starter at 4 o'clock on Saturday afternoon of July 1st. The non-starters were Foucret's Mercedes-Benz, Gas and Gavoux (Bentley), David and Jeunehothme (Georges Irat), Gouvion and Caerels (Mistral), Weinberg (Alfa Romeo), Penner and Pigranol (Bugatti), Lalous and Evrard (Bugatti), Moysan and Tragniere (Marguerite), Ford and Baurner (M.G.), Denly and Gallez (M.G.), Black and Gibson (M.G.).
The absence of the M.G. team deprived the race of 4 great deal of the interest from the British spectators point of view. The starters were made up of the following:—
Over 4 litres. Narisehkine-Trixi (Graham-Paige), Oger-Franz (Auburn), Bourgier-Montet (Lorraine).
4 litres. Desvignes-Mongin (Bugatti), Hage-Etienne (Essex), Orban-Collon (Bugatti), Matozza-Meert (Alfa Romeo), Rezzaghi-Guerrini (Lancia), Schiffelers-Koninckx (Unspecified), Helaers-Vasselle (Hotchkiss).
3 litres. Greeve-Thelusson (Alfa Romeo), Sommer-Stoeffel (Alfa Romeo), Chiron-Chinetti (Alfa Romeo), Humblet-Grosch (Alfa Romeo), Brivio-Siena (Alfa Romeo).
2 litres. T. Georges-Mathot (F.N.), Lecomte-Salmson (F.N), Jockens-Grisay (F.N.), Rousseau-Paco (Alfa Romeo), Ferbeck-Telliacs (La Perle), Demoulins-Pons (Bugatti), Roberfroid-Eggen (Bugatti), Longueville-Andre (Bugatti), Danne-Duruy (Rally).
1,100 c.c. Van Parys-Heuweluckx (N.B.C.), Duval-Judet (B.N.C.), Treunet-Manuel (B.N.C.), Delalande-Ghelti (B.N.C.), Duray-de Gabardie (Amilcar); Aln brothers (B.N.C.), Abit-Another (Argo), Gilbert-Robail (Rally), Texidor brothers (Unspecified).
The weather conditions were good when the signal to start was given, and a tremendous crowd thronged round the whole of the winding and hilly circuit. The leader at the end of the first lap (if one can call a wheel a lead) was Sommer, running neck and neck with Chiron, who was in turn a bare length ahead of Siena. These three Alfa Romeos had outstripped the rest of the field, headed by Greeve and Humblet, both on Alfas. Then came the Hotchkiss, Longueville (Bugatti), Matozza (Lancia), Danne (Rally) and the three F.N.'s.
In spite of the fact that the race was a long distance affair, the three leading Alfas Romeos were setting a real Grand Prix pave, and the crowd responded to their stirring duel with great gusto. On the second lap Chiron got ahead of Sommer, breaking the lap record with a time of 6m. 58s. The field gradually strung out, and at the end of the first hour the following cars had taken the lead in the various classes:—
A familiar scene on the Francorchamps circut. Stoffel (Alfa Romeo) is seen passing an abandoned B.N.C.,
while across the road is the wrecked Rally.
Over 4 litres. Narischkine-Trixi (Graham-Paige), 107.217 km.
4 litres. Helaers-Vasselle (Hotchkiss), 107.351 km.
3 litres. Chiron-Chinetti (Alfa Romeo), 127.233 km
2 litres. Georges-Maltos (F.N.), 98.955 km.
1,100 c.c. Abit-Another (Argo), 95.800 km.
As time wore on a few changes took place in this order, the Hotchkiss having to yield first place in its class to the Bugatti driven by Mongin and Desvignes, and the Duval and Judet (B.N.C.) getting the lead in the 1,100 c.c. class from Abit's Argo.
Chiron was still driving at a furious pace, and repeatedly improved on his time for the lap. 6m. 57s. . . 53 secs. . . 48 secs. . 47 seconds! The records thus gained were of some service when the car had to stop on the 28th lap with that old Alfa Romeo trouble—loose mudguards. For twelve whole minutes the car was stationary, while the wretched mudguard was securely fastened. Siena and Sommer forged steadily ahead, in that order, but when Chiron finally got going again he immediately lowered the lap record to 6m. 45s.
After 6 hours running some of the weaker cars began to drop out, notably Lougueville-Andre (Bugatti), Rezzaghi-Guerrini (Lancia) and Robertfroid-Eggen (Bugatti). The Francorchamps circuit is notorious for accidents, and two had already taken place, involving the Rally and the La Perle. Fortunately neither Ferbeck nor Danne was injured. At 10 o'clock, then, the order was:
Over 4 litres. 1, Narichkine-Trixi (Graham-Paige), 585.946 km.; 2, Oger-Franz (Auburn), 562.453 km.
4 litres. 1, Desvignes-Mongin (Bugatti), 623.170 km.; 2, Orban-Collon (Bugatti), 605.922 km.; 3, Helaers-Vasselle (Hotchkiss) , 590.718 km.
3 litres. 1, Siena-Brivio (Alfa Romeo), 744.872 km.; 2, Sommer-Stoffel (Alfa Romeo), 732.700 km.; 3, Chiron-Chinetti (Alfa Romeo), 711.455 km.;
2 litres. 1, Lecomte-Salmson (F.N .), 598.386 km.;
2, Jackens-Grisay (F.N.), 598.260 km.; 3, Georges-Mathot (F.N.), 594.795 km.
1,100 c.c. 1,Duray-de Gabardie (Amilcar) , 538.550 km.; 2, Treunet-Manuel (B.N.C.), 535.807 km.;
3, Duval-Judet (B.N.C.), 533.027 km.
All through the night the three leading Alfa Romeos continued their battle,
Chiron and Chinetti gradually creeping up on the two leaders. To the spectators it seemed that the pace would be bound to take effect before long, and in the early hours of the morning the first to crack up was the car driven by Siena and Brivio. This retirement let Greeve and Thelusson (Alfa Romeo) up into third place.
The team of three F.N.'s were putting up a remarkable performance of regularity. It will be remembered that last year
three 8 cylinder 3 litre cars of this make finished almost in line ahead formation.
This year the cars were 6 cylinder 2 litre models, and although rather more widely spaced, were extremely regular.
At 8 'clock Sommer bid a hasty farewell to his co-driver Stoeffel, and slipped
off by aeroplane for the Grand Prix de la Marne, in which he was down to take part at Rheims that afternoon!
At about 10 o'clock in the morning the outlook began to look hopeless for the Chiron-Chinetti team. While Chinetti was driving through Stavelot the Alfa Romeo lost a wheel, and much valuable time for wasted before the car was put under weigh once more. Chiron took over, and being fresher than Stoeffel he began rapidly to overhaul the veteran's Alfa Romeo. Nearer and nearer he drew, until at last on the 73rd lap he succeeded in wresting the lead from Stoeffel. He did not relinguish it again.
Apart from the performances of the Alfa Romeos and already commented on, we would like to draw attention to the excellent showing of some American cars,, notably Prince Narischkine's Graham-Paige, and the Essex. Impressive displays were also given by Desvignes' Bugatti, the Hotchkiss, and de Gabardie's Amilcar. The last named machine has this season won the 24 hour Bol d'Or race, and finished 12th at Le Mans, making a racing-life of 72 hours in two months!
Over 4 litres.
1, Narischkine-Trixi (Graham-Paige 4,012 c.c.), 2,235 km. Average speed, 58.203 m.p.h.
1, Desvigues-Mongin (Bugatti 3,258 c.c.), 2,431.369 km. 69.597 m.p.h.;
2, Orbon-Collon (Bugatti 3,258 c.c.), 2,371.580 km.;
3, Matozza-Meert (Alfa Romeo 3,600 c.c.), 2,208.578 km.;
4, Helaers-Vasselle (Hotchkiss 3,500 c.c.), 2,204.680
5, Hage-Etienne (Essex 3,990 c.c.), 2,193.700 km.
1, Chiron-Chinetti (Alfa Rome) 2,300 c.c.), 2,806.423 km., 73.083 m.p.h.;
2, Sommer-Stoeffel (Alfa Romeo 2,300 c.c.), 2,797.460 km.;
3, Greeve-Thelusson (Alfa Romeo 2,300 c.c.), 2,695.819 km.
1, Jockens-Grisay (F.N. 1,994 c.c.), 2,354.500 km., 61.307 m.p.h.;
(F.N. 1,994 c.c.), 2,354.500 km.;
3, Georges-Mathot (F.N. 1,994 c.c.), 2,151.657 km.;
4, Rousseau-Paco (Alfa Romeo 1,750 c.c.), 2,140.522 km.;
5, Demoulin-Pons (Bugatti 1,990 c.c.), 1,946.961 km.
1, Duray-de Gabardie (Amilcar 1,100 c.c.), 2,090.721 km., 54.445 m.p.h.;
2, Treunet -Manuel (B.N.C. 1,098 c.c.), 2,071.100 km.;
3, Alin brothers (B.N.C.), 1,871.112 km.