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Masetti (Mercedes)
1 Giulio Masetti
Count G. Masetti
Mercedes 1914 GP 18/100
Saccomani (Ceirano)
23 Tommaso Saccomani
SocietÓ Anonima Giovanni Ceirano
Ceirano CS2
Avanzo (Alfa Romeo)
2 Maria A. Avanzo
SA Italiana Ing. Nicola Romeo
Alfa Romeo 20/30 ES


GRAN PREMIO GENTLEMEN

Montichiari Circuit, Brescia (I), 11 September 1921.
25 laps x 17.30 km (10.75 mi) = 432.5 km (268.75 mi)

No.DriverEntrantCarTypeEngine

1Giulio MasettiCount G. MasettiMercedes1914 GP4.5S-4
2Maria A. AvanzoSA Italiana Ing. Nicola Romeo & CAlfa Romeo20/30 ES4.2S-4
4Franco CaiselliCount F. CaiselliAlfa Romeo20/30 ES4.2S-4
8Paolo Carlo NiccoliniMarquis P. C. NiccoliniFiat14B/S57A4.9S-4
9Gastone Brilli-PeriG. Brilli-PeriFiat14B/S57A4.9S-4
11Giuseppe CampariSA Italiana Ing. Nicola Romeo & CAlfa Romeo1914 GP4.5S-4
12Felice NazzaroF. NazzaroFiat14B/S574.5S-4
13Guido MeregalliG. Meregalli"M"Colombo Avio 110 D10.8S-6
14Alfieri MaseratiA. MaseratiIsotta-FraschiniHispano-Suiza6.3S-4
18Mario GalleaniM. GalleaniMercedes28/957.3S-6
19Enzo FerrariSA Italiana Ing. Nicola Romeo & CAlfa Romeo20/30 ES4.2S-4DNS - practice crash
20Ramiro MunaronR. MunaronMunaronFiat Avio 110 hp9.5S-6DNS - Did not start
21Emilio MaterassiE. MaterassiItala unknown4.9S-4
22Ernesto CeiranoSocietÓ Anonima Giovanni CeiranoCeiranoCS22.3S-4
23Tommaso SaccomaniSocietÓ Anonima Giovanni CeiranoCeiranoCS22.3S-4


Masetti wins the Grand Prix Gentlemen with Mercedes

by Hans Etzrodt
The Grand Prix Gentlemen took place one week after the Italian Grand Prix, on the Montichiari Circuit near Brescia which was Europe's fastest course at that time. From 15 entries only 13 cars appeared at the start. Masetti (Mercedes) was fastest and led the first six laps until he had to stop for a long time. After that Niccolini (Fiat) took the lead but retired on lap 12. Campari (Alfa Romeo) then held first place until lap 20 when he stopped to refuel which allowed Masetti to regain the lead and win the race. Saccomani (Ceirano) finished second, followed by Baroness Avanzo (Alfa Romeo) and Maserati (Isotta-Fraschini) while the slow Nazzaro (Fiat) was flagged off. Amongst the eight retirements were Campari, Meregalli, Brilli-Peri and Materassi.
The Commissione Sportiva des RACI carried out the organization under supervision of Arturo Mercanti, President of RACI (Royal Italian Automobil Club), the AC di Milano with support from the town of Brescia. The Grand Prix Gentlemen supported by the Coupe des Dames Grand Prix of Lady drivers was held one week after September 4 at the Italian Grand Prix, followed on 8th of September with a Kilometer Speed Trial and the 346 km Grand Prix for Voiturettes up to 1500 cc and on the 10th of September by the 311 km Motorcycle Grand Prix.
      The new Montichiari Circuit was 17.300 km long on flat terrain just south-east of Brescia in the flatland of Montichiari. The triangular shaped course had the start near the beginning of a 6 km straight, heading south, with three stands on the east side and pits opposite with start and finish, from where the drivers darted along the straight in clockwise direction. At its end a new 1.3 km large avenue was built to bypass Montichiari. Here the circuit tuned right and snaked along a 4.2 km road past Carneri and Santella. At its end were the crossroads of Ghedi with a new wide right turn leading north along the 5.4 km straight which ended at Fascia d'Oro. There it headed east along the newly built 423-meter long Parabolica turn, connecting with the other straight leading now south. About one km further on was the finish. The racetrack was between ten and eight meter wide, covered with macadam and spread with tar to avoid dust development. The race was to run over 30 laps according to the regulations but on the day of the race the distance was shortened to 25 laps, a total of 432.5 km.
Entries:
Alessandro Silva helped to provide technical details for the large cars which comprised 15 entries, split into the following three categories.
      Category B - 3001 - 4500 cc: Giulio Masetti (Mercedes), his car was supposedly identical to that which Lautenschlager had won the 1914 French Grand Prix but this is unlikely according to known history. The car appeared painted in red. Giuseppe Campari (Alfa Romeo) raced a 40/60 GP 1914 type, finally ready to race. Enzo Ferrari, Franco Caiselli and Baroness Maria Antonietta Avanzo, all three were entered in Alfa Romeo 20-30 ES Sport models with a 4-cylinder (102 x 130) 4250 cc engine giving 67 hp at 2600 rpm, as stated by Luigi Fusi.
      Category C - over 4500 cc: Alfieri Maserati had constructed his Isotta-Fraschini which he designated the type Special, using a shortened Itala production chassis with a 4-cylinder motor of 6330 cc (120 x 140 mm) which was one bank of a V-8 Hispano-Suiza Aero engine with a special crankcase cast by Isotta-Fraschini. The car had a SCAT gearbox and four-wheel brakes. The Marquis Paolo Carlo Niccolini entered a Fiat 14B/S57A with a 4-cylinder (104 x 143 mm) 4859 cc engine with shaft-driven ohc for the 8 valves, delivering 150 hp at 3500 rpm. The weight was 1170 kg and top speed 180 km/h. Gastone Brilli-Peri also drove a Fiat of the same type while Felice Nazzaro drove a 1914 Fiat 14B/S57 with 4.5-L engine. Guido Meregalli raced the "M", a self-made car, with 10.8-L 6-cylinder 1916 Colombo Avio 110D engine, fitted probably in a Nazzaro chassis. Mario Galleani had a Mercedes 28/95 touring car with 7.2-L 6-cylinder engine. Ramiro Munaron drove a Munaron with an in-line 6-cylider 9.5-Liter Fiat Avio engine of 100hp. Emilio Materassi started with an unknown 4-cylinder type Itala over 4.5-Liter.
      Category D - 2001 - 3000 cc: Tommaso Saccomani and Ernesto Ceirano were Ceirano works entries in CS2 types of 1921 which was the sports version of the C1, with 4-cylinder (75 x 130 mm) 2297 cc engine, oh valves in T-head, giving 22/25 hp at 1500/200 rpm.
      Category A - Voiturettes of 1500 cc (not included in this report) raced separately on the following day, including Lotti and Nuvolari in Ansaldos, the OM of Danieli, Iliprandi and Desio, Franz Conelli with a Diatto-Bugatti, Sirtori with a Bianchi, Gambetti with a Buriani and Cercignani with a Wanderer.
Race:
The start was given early Sunday morning at 8:00 a.m. Ferrari did not start as he had crashed his Alfa Romeo during practice when avoiding stray cattle on the course. Munaron also did not start. The 13 remaining cars were released in pairs at one-minute intervals as seen on a grid photo.
start
  8h00m ~~~~~
2
Avanzo

Alfa Romeo

1
Masetti

Mercedes

  8h01m ~~~~~
12
Nazzaro

Fiat

4
Caiselli

Alfa Romeo

  8h02m ~~~~~
8
Nicolini

Fiat

9
Brilli Peri

Fiat

  8h03m ~~~~~
14
Maserati

Isotta-Fraschini

11
Campari

Alfa Romeo  

  8h04m ~~~~~
18
Galleani

Mercedes

21
Materassi

Itala

  8h05m ~~~~~
22
Ceirano

Ceirano

23
Saccomani

Ceirano

  8h06m ~~~~~
13
Meregalli

"M"

Masetti was the fastest driver, forcing his car into the lead with a time of 8m10.2s, only 10 seconds ahead of Meregalli in second place and 15 seconds of Niccolini's fast Fiat. In adjusted time the 13-car field was in the following order after the first lap:
1.Masetti (Mercedes)  8m10.2s
2.Meregalli ("M")  8m20.0s
3.Niccolini (Fiat)  8m25.0s
4.Brilli-Peri (Fiat)  8m33.0s
5.Campari (Alfa Romeo)  8m40.0s
6.Galleani (Mercedes)  8m54.0s
7.Ceirano (Ceirano)  9m16.0s
8.Maserati (Isotta-Fraschini)  9m17.6s
9.Saccomani (Ceirano)  9m44.0s
10.Avanzo (Alfa Romeo)10m08.2s
11.Materassi (Itala)10m38.2s
12.Nazzaro (Fiat)12m06.0s
13.Caiselli (Alfa Romeo)27m48.0s

After the second lap, Masetti, Meregalli and Niccolini remained in front while Campari and Galleani passed Brilli-Peri who dropped to sixth place. Ceirano was seventh followed by Maserati, Saccomani and Avanzo. Nazzaro passed Materassi, who was now in last place while Caiselli stopped his Alfa Romeo on the 2nd lap with a broken valve. When Materassi disappeared on the fourth lap, the field was down to 11 cars. The reason for his retirement is unknown. Three days earlier at the Kilometer speed trial, he had troubles with low power output from the engine. Brilli-Peri retired on lap five when a gasket broke, leaking water. After five laps Masetti was still leading ahead of Niccolini, followed by Campari, Meregalli, Galleani, Saccamani Maserati, Ceirano, Avanzo and Nazzaro. The times the 10-car field were as follows after five laps:
1.Masetti (Mercedes)38m35.8s
2.Niccolini (Fiat)40m04.0s
3.Campari (Alfa Romeo)41m02.8s
4.Meregalli ("M")41m09.8s
5.Galleani (Mercedes)43m40.0s
6.Saccomani (Ceirano)46m08.4s
7.Maserati (Isotta-Fraschini)47m32.0s
8.Ceirano (Ceirano)49m06.0s
9.Avanzo (Alfa Romeo)49m16.0s
10.Nazzaro (Fiat)59m56.0s

On lap 7 Masetti stopped due to a burst tire or to change a spark plug which cost him 14 minutes and he dropped to fourth position. Niccolini had now taken the lead after 55m59s. Campari followed him in 57m14s and Meregalli in 59m36.2s. On lap eight, Niccolini and Campari still had an advantage. Niccolini was making an admirable effort to ensure decisive dominance of the race. Ernesto Ceirano, first suffered a tire breakdown, then had to retire with magneto failure on lap 10. Niccolini now had a 4-minute lead over Campari. Meregalli was six minutes behind the leader and Masetti just over ten minutes. With 8m41.2s on the 10th lap, Niccolini led the 9-car field in the following order after ten laps:
1.Niccolini (Fiat)1h20m21.2s
2.Campari (Alfa Romeo)1h24m28.6s
3.Meregalli ("M")1h26m44.0s
4.Masetti (Mercedes)1h30m47.4s
5.Saccomani (Ceirano)1h31m55.6s
6.Maserati (Isotta-Fraschini)1h33m34.0s
7.Avanzo (Alfa Romeo)1h37m11.8s
8.Galleani (Mercedes)1h41m03.0s
9.Nazzaro (Fiat)1h59m10.0s

After the eleventh lap, Niccolini stopped to refuel when some fuel was spilled over car and ground. Driver and mechanic jumped back into the car and started the engine, when a jet of flames stretched from the exhaust pipe. Suddenly the spilled gasoline on car and ground ignited with high flames and black smoke. The car and the two men were enveloped in the sudden fire. Screams of terror arose from the crowd. The two men leaped from the burning car, threw themselves on the ground, rolling furiously to smother the flames clinging to their clothes. Others threw earth on the car, before men with fire extinguishers put out the fire. The mechanic only had his eyelashes and hair roasted while Niccolini suffered a bad burn on his left hand preventing him to continue. His mechanic immediately left with the car still intact but officials stopped him at the end of the lap due to the regulations as Niccolini was officially considered a retirement. Galleani retired on the 11th lap at the curve of the Ghedi crossroads where his Mercedes left the road. Meregalli, winner of the Targa Florio, raced in third place, but was forced to retire on lap 12 due to bad luck when the two screws of the magneto base loosened, then popped out and the magneto stopped, unable to repair. Masetti experienced gearbox problems and was forced to drive the remaining laps in fourth gear. Campari had now taken the lead, ten minutes ahead of Masetti while Saccomani was 13 minutes behind. After 259.5 km, Campari led the 6-car field in the following order after 15 laps:
1.Campari (Alfa Romeo)2h05m32.4s
2.Masetti (Mercedes)2h15m05.4s
3.Saccomani (Ceirano)2h18m31.6s
4.Maserati (Isotta-Fraschini)2h19m22.0s
5.Avanzo (Alfa Romeo)2h23m57.0s
6.Nazzaro (Fiat)3h38m37.0s

Campari still dominated the race and stopped briefly on lap 16. Masetti in second place had made up much of the lost time from the 16th to the 20th lap and was just over three minutes behind the leader. With his constant and regular pace Campari seemed to be heading towards almost certain victory. On lap 18 Maserati passed Saccomani who had to stop with a problem. Avanzo drove in regular style in fifth place ahead of the monotonous slow Nazzaro. Campari stopped, slowly reaching the pits. He drove only with three cylinders caused by dirty spark plugs, a valve not working, or something worse. Campari's average lap time during the 20 laps was 8m43.6s, enabling him to lap Maserati, Saccomani and Avanzo once and Nazzaro six times. Still in the lead, Campari led the 6-car field with the following times after 20 laps:
1.Campari (Alfa Romeo)2h54m31.8s
2.Masetti (Mercedes)2h57m52.0s
3.Maserati (Isotta-Fraschini)3h05m53.2s1 lap behind
4.Saccomani (Ceirano)3h11m20.0s1 lap behind
5.Avanzo (Alfa Romeo)3h11m24.0s1 lap behind
6.Nazzaro (Fiat)3h54m30.0s6 laps behind

Campari stopped on the 21st lap to refuel and Masetti became first again after 3h07m31s ahead of Campari in 3h08m54s, Maserati in 3h15m8s, followed by Saccomani, Avanzo and Nazzaro. At the end of the 23rd lap Masetti led the race in 3h27m27s followed by Campari in 3h33m52.8s, Avanzo in 3h40m08.2s, Saccomani in 3h41m33.2s, Maserati in 3h52m24s and Nazzaro in 4h31m15s. Nazzaro was stopped on the 23rd lap, when he was still about 5 laps behind, because at 12:35 p.m. the circuit had to be reopened to regular traffic. After the 24th lap, Masetti was still leading in 3h 35m42s ahead of Saccomani in 3h51m02s, Avanzo in 3h52m50s and Maserati in 4h03m40s. Campari with his sick engine had continued in second position almost until the end of lap 24 but an engine fire had started from the broken cylinder. He immediately stopped the car on the middle of the straight, 200 meters from the royal stand. Driver and mechanic jumped from the car to smother the flames by throwing large amounts of soil on it. Helpers rushed from the refueling station to extinguish the fire. The damaged Alfa Romeo was pushed off the track and Campari retired amid great applause.
      At the end of the 25th lap, Masetti received the finishing flag and was greeted by great ovation. He was lifted from his car and was taken in front of the stands. Saccomani and Maserati followed but carried on driving, as they had been lapped, including Donna Avanzo. When she finally arrived, she was greeted by an ovation, was also removed from the car and taken to the stands triumphantly by the enthusiastic admirers. Nazzaro, who had been lapped many times, did not finish the end of the race and was flagged down as the circuit had to be reopened to regular traffic. Baroness Maria Antonietta Avanzo won the Coppa delle Dame and Count Giulio Masetti the GP Gentlemen trophy and was awarded the title of Italian Speed Champion.

Results

Pos.No.DriverEntrantCarTypeEngineLapsTime/StatusDiff

1.1Giulio MasettiCount G. MasettiMercedes1914 GP4.5S-4253h44m15.2s
2.23Tommaso SaccomaniSocietÓ Anonima Giovanni CeiranoCeiranoCS22.6S-4254h00m38.0s+ 16m22.8s
3.2Maria A. AvanzoSA Italiana Ing. Nicola Romeo & CAlfa Romeo20/30 ES4.2S-4254h02m28.8s+ 18m13.6s
4.14Alfieri MaseratiA. MaseratiIsotta-FraschiniHispano-Suiza6.3S-4254h13m18.0s+ 29m02.8s
DNF11Giuseppe CampariSA Italiana Ing. Nicola Romeo & CAlfa Romeo1914 GP4.5S-423engine fire
DNF12Felice NazzaroF. NazzaroFiat14B/S574.5S-420flagged down
DNF13Guido MeregalliG. Meregalli"M"Colombo Avio 110 D10.8S-611magneto
DNF18Mario GalleaniM. GalleaniMercedes28/957.3S-610crash
DNF8Paolo Carlo NiccoliniMarquis P. C. NiccoliniFiat14B/S57A4.9S-410fire injury
DNF22Ernesto CeiranoSocietÓ Anonima Giovanni CeiranoCeiranoCS22.6S-49magneto
DNF9Gastone Brilli-PeriG. Brilli-PeriFiat14B/S57A4.9S-44water gasket
DNF21Emilio MaterassiE. MaterassiItala unknown4.9S-43unknown
DNF4Franco CaiselliF. CaiselliAlfa Romeo20/30 ES4.2S-41broken valve
Fastest lap: Giulio Masetti (Mercedes) on lap 4 in 7m27.2s= 139.3 km/h (86.5 mph).
Winner's average speed: 115.7 km/h (71.9 mph).
Weather: overcast, dry.
In retrospect:
The intermediate times occasionally differed between the sources. We believe to have selected the correct times.

Primary sources researched for this article:
Allgemeine Automobil-Zeitung, Wien
AUTOMOBIL-REVUE, Bern
Automobil-Welt, Berlin
L'Auto, Paris
La Gazzetta dello Sport, Milano
La Stampa, Torino
La Stampa Sportiva, Torino
Motori Aero Cicli E Sports, Milano
Omnia, Paris
Stadium, Barcelona
Special thanks to:
Giuseppe Prisco
Alessandro Silva


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© 2021 Leif Snellman, Hans Etzrodt - Last updated: 15.10.2021