Motor SportNovember 1931
The Grand Prix of Czechoslovakia
The start of the up to 1500 cc class.
THE Grand Prix of Czechoslovakia race, run off on the circuit of Masaryk on September 27th, provided a double victory for Bugatti, the unlimited class being won by Chiron and the 1½-litre category by Schmidt. It was a race full of interest for there was Bugatti, winners of the French Grand Prix and also at Spa ; Alfa-Romeo, with the Targa Florio and the Italian Grand Prix to their credit among other events ; Maserati, winner at Monza, and Caracciola's famous Mercedes, whose victories this year included the Nurburg ring, the Thousand Miles Race and the Mont Ventoux hill climb.
Surely enough to satisfy the most critical, and the drivers included Louis Chiron, Achille Varzi, Nuvolari, Fagioli, Lehoux, Borzacchini, and Von Morgen, all stars of the first magnitude.
The circuit is 29 kilometres in length, and a record crowd assembled to see the race, in fine but chilly weather.
The cars got away to a fine start except Von Morgen, who anticipated the flag by some 3 seconds. On the first lap Fagioli (Maserati) drew slightly away from the pack, followed by Borzacchini (Alfa-Romeo), Varzi (Bugatti), Caracciala (Mercedes), Chiron (Bugatti) and Nuvolari (Alfa-Romeo), all close together.
An extraordinary mishap.
Everyone was settling down to enjoy a wonderful race when there occurred the incident which robbed the race of much of its interest A bridge, grazed by Fagioli fell across the road, and in a few seconds the most amazing, but fortunately harmless ''pile-up" occurred.
Borzacchini, by some miracle roared through the falling debris without touching it. Then Varzi and Nuvolari neck and neck charged at the obstacle to find at the last minute that they could not pass. It is such a moment that calls for the driver's utmost skill and quickness of thought. Without hesitatin, they took to opposite sides of the road, one in the ditch and one on the bank.
Varzi's car was still able to run but had to be withdrawn, but Novulari had smashed his back axle, so he accompanied Varzi back to the stands.
Fagioli also had to retire.
Five seconds after this crash the big Mercedes thundered out of the bend and came on the general melee, with Chiron's Bugatti a few yards behind with nothing to see except the back of the Mercedes, and he had to act entirely on what Caracciola did.
The German driver braked violently and took to the ditch, smashing a shock absorber but continuing. Chiron, with marvellous skill, avoided the skidding Mercedes, and got through unscathed, although he too had to take to the ditch.
Shortly after Caracciola, his broken shock absorber making the car hard to place accurately, grazed a tree and a wheel broke up. He escaped unhurt, but retired.
J. K. Lobkovic (Bugatti)
Lehoux was going wonderfully, and actually pulled up seven seconds on Chiron. It was evident, however, that Chiron was easing off and taking no risks now that he was in the lead. Lehoux has driven this car in many events already this year, and he had no hope of anything but a place. At the last moment even this was snatched from his grasp. Coming out of a left hand bend he touched the bank with a rear wheel, and the aluminium flew in all directions. He contrived to fit the spare wheel by the side of the road, but it took 19 valuable minutes. He started off again in pursuit, and after filling up, actually broke the lap record, but retired shortly afterwards.
Nuvolari, tired of remaining at the pits signalled in Borzacchini to take over. After considerable altercation he leapt into the driving seat, but the motor refused to start. They wound the handle without avail, and then resorted, with complete indifference to the regulations, to pushing the car down hill, and ended up with three men working on the car 500 yards from the pits !
No one could catch Chiron and he came home an easy winner having driven a well-judged race.
Schmidt won the 1000 c.c. class after a fine race with the Comte d'Arco's Amilcar which put up a valiant show.
1st. Louis Chiron (Bugatti), 4h. 12m. 7s. Speed, 117 km.p.h.
2nd. Stuck von Villirs (Mercedes), 4h. 26m. 3s.
3rd. Von Morgen (Bugatti), 4h. 30m. 6s.
4th. Lobkowicz (Bugatti), 4h. 33m 50s.
5th. Prince de Leiningen (Bugatti), 5h. 5m. 36s.
Fastest lap., Chiron (4m. 25s.).
1500 C.C. CLASS.
1st. Schmidt (Bugatti), 4h. 58m. 13s.
2nd. Comte Arco (Amilcar).
3rd. Sojka (Bugatti).
4th: Franckl (Bugatti).
5th. Antonio (Maserati).