Archive for September, 2013


Race 5 visited a new circuit, the picturesque Nürburgring Nordschliefe. As only the drivers best 4 results counted in the championship, points earnt from this race onwards would be at a premium for the leaders. Juan Manuel Fangio needed to finish higher than 4th to earn any points and Alberto Ascari better than 5th.  Peter Whitehead returned from injury but Luigi Fagioli was absent. Qualifying was uneventful. On race day, the weather began dry but conditions were changeable.

Lap 1 - AND THEY'RE OFF. Fangio stalls & is passed by Ascari & Sanesi, behind Farina & Claes pass the stalled Villoresi.

Lap 1 – AND THE RABBIT IS LOOSE. Fangio stalls & is passed by Ascari & Sanesi, behind Farina & Claes pass the stalled Villoresi.

LAP 1 – As the flag went down Fangio (Alfa-Romeo) stalled and was immediately passed by Ascari (Ferrari) and Consalvo Sanesi (Alfa Romeo). 3 other drivers stalled Luigi Villoresi (Ferrari), Peter Whitehead (Ferrari privateer), and Philippe Etancelin (Talbot-Lago privateer).  Whitehead took 3 rounds to get going and was swamped by faster moving cars all around him one of which driven by Maurice Trintignant (Gordini) he came into contact with resulting in both drivers immediate retirement and almost collecting Reg Parnell’s Ferrari as well. Other 1st lap retirements were Louis Rosier (Talbot privateer) who collected Robert Manzon (Gordini) and Andre Simon’s Gordini who sufferered a collapsed suspension.  Then Jacques Swaters (Talbot privateer) and Philippe Levegh (Talbot privateer) took each other out at the Ford Kurve. Shortly after this, rain began to fall on the circuit but miraculously the 13 remaining cars made it round to complete the first lap by which time the short shower had stopped.

Top 5 at end of lap. 1st – Giuseppe Farina (Alfa-Romeo), 2nd – Sanesi (Alfa-Romeo), 3rd – Ascari (Ferrari) 4th – Johnny Claes (Talbot-Lago privateer), 5th – Fangio (Alfa-Romeo)

Lap 2 - "BE SEEING YA" Johnny Claes' Talbot blasts past Sanesi in the pits with Farina about to enter.  Fangio can just be made out a long way back in the distance.

Lap 2 – “BE SEEING YA” Johnny Claes’ Talbot blasts past Sanesi in the pits with Farina about to enter. Fangio can just be made out a long way back in the distance.

LAP 2 – Farina led out Sanesi who soon passed him by some masterful driving. Ascari had a poor pit exit and was caught by Johnny Claes (Talbot privateer). Claes then went on to catch and pass Farina at Dunlop Kehre.  Fangio perhaps pushing too hard made a number of critical mistakes resulting him in slipping down the order and out of the points.  Gus Mairesse (Talbot privateer) crashed out(suspension failure) at the Castrol-S chicane followed shortly after by Yves Giraud-Cabantous (Talbot privateer) whose suspension gave way crossing track debris at Ford Kurve.  At the end of the lap, the leaders once more pitted for fresh “boots” and a stellar tyre change from Claes’ pit crew allowed him to jump Sanesi and go into the final lap in the lead. Ascari decided not to pit in an attempt to close the gap on the leaders.

Top 5 positions at end of lap. 1st – Claes (Talbot), 2nd – Sanesi (Alfa-Romeo), 3rd – Ascari (Ferrari), 4th – Farina (Alfa-Romeo),  5th – Villoresi (Ferrari)

Lap 3 - DON'T STAND SO CLOSE TO ME - The moment Farina's hope of retaining the championship faded. Braking too late his Alfa-Romeo slams into the back of Sanesi's Alfa taking both out at the last corner. In the distance, Ascari prepares to pass Claes for the victory.

Lap 3 – DON’T STAND SO CLOSE TO ME – The moment Farina’s hope of retaining the championship faded. Braking too late his Alfa-Romeo slams into the back of Sanesi’s Alfa taking both out at the last corner. In the distance, Ascari prepares to pass Claes for the victory.

LAP 3 – Events took a dramatic turn on the final lap.  Claes overshot at Castrol-S just holding the car on the racing line but shredding his tyres with almost a whole lap to complete. It could have been worse for him if Sanesi hadn’t damaged his own cars suspension at the same spot as well as Ascari straining his engine braking far too late to enter the chicane but managing to overtake Sanesi with the same move. 2nd, 3rd and 4th places changed throughout the lap until at the entrance to the final corner (Veedol-S into Coca-Cola Kurve) Claes was still hanging on with Ascari, Sanesi and Farina in hot pursuit. Then Farina made his move, attempting to pass Sanesi he misjudged his overtaking speed and rammed Sanesi’s Alfa with such force as to flip him into the air. Farina’s own Alfa was also hors de combat and he pulled up immediately. Worryingly Sanesi needed medical assistance to extricate him from his striken motor and it appears likely that he will miss the rest of the season.  The drama continued further ahead as Claes once more eeking out every possible ounce of abilty out of a worn out and underpowered car exited the corner just ahead of Ascari. As both drivers put the pedal to the mettle it was Ascari with the Ferrari’s superior speed and handling that took the chequered flag and Claes the ex jazz band  trumpeter had to settle for being bridesmaid once more. Then in a final twist Villoresi and Bonetto appeared to have 3rd and 4th sewn up (being newly promoted owing to Farina’s incident) when Fangio lying in 5th threw caution to the wind and gambled on the famed reliability of his Alfa-Romeo blasting out of Coca-Cola curve at an insane pace to pass ahead of the two and take the final podium and perhaps more critically a single championship point after a dropped score. The minor non points places went to Fischer (Ferrari privateer), Taruffi (Ferrari), Parnell (Ferrari privateer) and Etancelin (Talbot-privateer).

Result

1st – Alberto Ascari (IT) Ferrari – 6 points (8 minus 2 dropped points)

2nd – Johnny Claes (BEL) Talbot-Lago – 6 points

3rd – Juan Manuel Fangio (ARG) Alfa-Romeo – 1 point (4 minus 3 dropped points)

4th – Luigi Villoresi (IT) Ferrari – 3 points

5th – Felice Bonetto (IT) Alfa-Romeo – 2 points

Lap Leader bonus point – Giuseppe Farina (IT) Alfa-Romeo

So with just 2 races to go, Ascari moves ahead of Fangio by a single point, Sanesi lying in 3rd is out for the rest of the season so the only other driver in contention is Claes in 4th place. Reigning champion Farina lies in a distant 5th, 18 points adrift and unable to catch the leader 

Championship placings after 5 races

1st Ascari (IT) Ferrari – 28 points

2nd Fangio (ARG) Alfa-Romeo – 27 points

3rd Sanesi (IT) Alfa-Romeo – 16 points

4th Claes (BEL) Talbot-Lago privateer – 12 points

NEXT – ITALY – Monza

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Following the Summer break Formula de moved to Silverstone GB.  Piero Taruffi returned but Baron Emmanuel de Graffenried who was injured at Rheims was absent. Qualifying in the wet passed uneventfully. On race day, rain continued.

Exiting Club on Lap 1, Bonetto comes in too hot allowing the rest of the field to prepare to overtake

Exiting Club on Lap 1, Bonetto comes in too hot allowing the rest of the field to prepare to overtake

LAP 1 – With wet conditions and more importantly 3 cars starting abreast on each of the grids it was always likely that there would be a coming together which is exactly what happened when Luigi Fagioli (Alfa Romeo) clipped Jacques Swaters (Talbot-Lago privateer) and further back Reg Parnell (Ferrari privateer and the only British entrant who qualified a disastrous 19th) shunted a slow moving Rudi Fischer (Ferrari privateer). All 4 cars failed to pass the start line with Fagioli unlikely to be able to make the next race owing to injury. Gus Mairesse (Talbot-Lago privateer) in just his 2nd race, stalled and was unable to restart thus retiring from the race without moving.  The field slowly spread as most drivers drove conservatively in the conditions keen not to collide with each other. At Club corner Felice Bonetto (Alfa Romeo) and Johnny Claes (Talbot-Lago privateer) paid the price going into the corner too fast which allowed the rest of the lead pack to move up to higher gears and pass them as they charged into Abbey straight.  Even the more experienced drivers had difficulty here as Alberto Ascari‘s Ferrari clipped Juan Manuel Fangio‘ s Alfa Romeo who luckily just managed to avoid going into a spin. Giuseppe Farina in his Alfa Romeo crossed the line first to take the bonus point but his cars suspension had collapsed driving over the debris left from the start of the race forcing him to pull after crossing the line.
Sanesi leads, Farina and Fangio take opposite lines while Ascari tries to force his way through and comes into contact with Fangio. Bonetto takes evasive action behind while Claes tries to catch up

Lap 1 – Abbey Straight – Sanesi leads, Farina & Fangio are neck and neck while Ascari tries to force his way through and comes into contact with Fangio. Bonetto immediately behind takes evasive action with Claes in the distance.

Top 5 at end of lap. 1st – Farina (Alfa-Romeo) retired immediately after crossing line,  2nd – Consalvo Sanesi (Alfa-Romeo), 3rd – Fangio (Alfa-Romeo), 4th – Ascari (Ferrari) 5th – Louis Rosier (Talbot-Lago)

LAP 2 – With Farina’s retirement Fangio moved up to Sanesi and passed him without incident, Ascari followed suit after a quick splash ‘n dash pit stop. As the lap wore on the lead 2 cars extended their lead with Ascari finding it increasingly difficult to stay in touch with the leader. Further back Yves Giraud-Cabantous (Talbot) also came to grief at the same spot as Farina, other retirements were Maurice Trintignant (Gordini) collision, Philippe Etancelin (Talbot) puncture leaving a field of 11 from the 20 starters. At the end of the lap at Luffield a number of cars struggled with worn tyres and grip (see photo inset).

Top 5 positions at end of lap. 1st – Fangio (Alfa-Romeo), 2nd – Ascari (Ferrari), 3rd – Sanesi (Alfa-Romeo), 4th – Claes (Talbot),  5th – Louis Rosier (Talbot)

Lap 2 - Drivers fail to take heed of gloomy skies at Luffield. Rosier & Simon spin ahead of Trintignants stricken Gordini, Bonetto & Villoresi check their speed while Claes struggles to slow in the wet.

Lap 2 – Drivers fail to take heed of gloomy skies at Luffield. Rosier & Simon spin ahead of Trintignants stricken Gordini, Bonetto & Villoresi check their speed while Claes struggles to slow in the wet.

LAP 3 – The final lap became somewhat processional as Fangio extended his lead over Ascari who in turn pulled ahead of the chasing pack with these positions staying the same to the chequered flag.  The remaining 3 points paying places were fought over in a battle royale by no less than 5 drivers who changed positions right to the end. Sanesi eventually took the last podium place from Luigi Villoresi (Ferrari), Taruffi (Ferrari), Rosier (Talbot) and Bonetto (Alfa-Romeo). Claes and Andre Simon (Gordini) were the final retirees.

Result

1st – Juan Manuel Fangio (ARG) Alfa Romeo – 8 points

2nd – Alberto Ascari (IT) Ferrari – 6 points

3rd – Consalvo Sanesi (IT) Alfa Romeo – 4 points

4th – Luigi Villoresi (IT) Ferrari – 3 points

5th – Piero Taruffi (IT) Ferrari – 2 points

Lap Leader bonus point – Giuseppe Farina (IT) Alfa Romeo

The result means that Fangio extends his lead to 4 points over nearest rival Ascari.

Championship placings after 4 races

1st Fangio (ARG) Alfa Romeo – 26 points

2nd Ascari (IT) Ferrari – 22 points

3rd Sanesi (IT) Alfa Romeo – 16 points

4th Farina (IT) Alfa Romeo – 9 points

5th Villoresi (IT) Ferrari – 7 points

NEXT – WEST GERMANY – Nurburgring


Afternoon nap for young Mr Vespa after quaffing too much of Languedoc's finest Picpoul de Pinet.

Afternoon nap for young Mr Vespa after quaffing too much of Languedoc’s finest Picpoul de Pinet.

So summers finally over and sitting in the garden dining al fresco (not sure if Iike that term) now has to be consigned to memory for another 8 months or so.  We’ve had a bumper year of new and interesting visitors to the garden so here’s one that to be honest I’ll be happy if it never ventures back again.

From mid August this year and the first time in a few years we had those pesky wasps turning up the moment food was put on the table.  Annoying and some had to be disposed of by drowning like Clarence not in Malmsbury wine but Wychwood cider bottle dregs.  So there we were sitting outside enjoying a particularly nice glass of chilled Picpoul de Pinet when a low droning sound caught our ears.  At first I just thought this beastie was a big wasp but as it headed towards the wine I realised this was something far more impressive.  Now according to DEFRA and UK wildlife literature despite their reputation the European Hornet (Vespa Crabro) as oppose bee murdering Asian kamikaze Hornets have no interest in Humans or their food and drink and are actually general docile, only becoming aggressive if threatened.  YEAH RIGHT, we were taking no chances and scarpered to the safety of the kitchen to observe this 1.5″ awesome terror. My first thoughts were to “go on Sidney spray the beast” with an entire can of Raid but despite its fearsome appearance I couldn’t help but admire it.  Before we had time to discuss further it landed on our bottle of wine and yep you guessed it, took a few little sips, climbed inside and plop, fell into the nearly full bottle.  Deciding not to kill it and more concerned about saving the wine I managed to eventually extricate it  by pouring the content through a gauze funnel into a jug. Mr Vespa didn’t seem too impressed with this and was glugging the wine for all his worth as he sat in the bottom of the funnel. Transferring him with due care to an upturned jar was relatively easy as he was totally sloshed by this time but it didn’t stop him attacking the glass for a few minutes before finally dropping off to sleep off his exertions.  A couple of hours later I removed the glass and got as close as I dared to get some pics. What a beauty (just click on the image to get a closer look), once he sobered up he flew unsteadily off, I’ve seen him once more since probably searching for more wine but he’ll have to wait another year now. The worry is that after some research it transpires that Asian Hornets have made landfall in Southern France and are migrating North. Now these b***ards are altogether a different proposition.


Ok I know its not exactly a pleasant topic and a word that comes from the French of all places but ever since I was young I heard my Dad use it to describe any form of rubbish whether it was in the garden or just as frequently the remnants of a dish of langoustine shells on his plate.  I never actually asked him what it meant but deduced it was a term for unedible food scrap left overs or similar not realising that the term is somewhat stronger than that and that it is more commonly associated describing faecal matter.  Anyway I find that since his passing I use it fairly regularly probably unconsciously as a way to keep my Dads memory alive and when I used it last night asking the waitress for a bowl for my ordure thankfully she either didn’t know the true meaning of the word or was too polite to point the potential to cause offence.  That said, I will probably use it even more now I have bothered to look up its true meaning, especially when used to describe Brighton & Hove Albion FC, the teletubby paradigm Daleks, a Fieseler Storch or Walkers/lays/pepsico crisps et al.

Ordure