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#1 TonyKaye

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Posted 29 January 2001 - 02:50

Skimming through Motorsport of 1947, I came across the following sad tale, if you happen to be a Maserati fan, that is.

".....the story of Joseph Bradzil at the Czechoslovakian Grand Prix, (Hans will tell us which year, won't you Hans?) who turned up with a brand new, 6-cylinder, 3 1/2 liter Maserati, bought for him by his friend Marcic, he having borrowed the money from his fiancee. The engagement suddenly broke up and the outcome was that the two men found themselves in gaol. As it seemed a pity to waste a perfectly good Maserati, Bradzil was allowed out of gaol to drive, providing he promised to return after the race. Unfortunately, Bradzil didn't play fair and on his first practice lap he committed suicide by keeping his foot down at 125 m.p.h. going into a corner. The crash was terrific."

All of which leaves a number of questions unanswered. First, when they say 'the crash was terrific' do they mean for the spectators? Then, what ever happened to Marcic? Is he still in the Brno clink? And, just having lost his wealthy fiancee, you would have thought that HE would have done the suicide bit, not Bradzil, who had merely lost a drive. Finally, how did they know he committed suicide, it doesn't sound as if he was in a fit state to be interviewed after the crash. A brand new car on its first practice lap could just as easily have suffered brake failure. All very mysterious.

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#2 Barry Lake

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Posted 29 January 2001 - 03:27

Tony

You have to remember you are reading magazines written at a time when many people still understood the English language.
If you look up a "real" dictionary, you will find that "terrific" means something like "instilling terror".
In recent times, like many other words, its meaning has been distorted - primarily, I would hazard to guess, by advertising writers, journalists and news readers.

And yes, I agree with your thoughts on the "suicide". I, too, have often wondered how this conclusion was reached.

Let's hope someone comes up with some more detail.

Who do we have in Prague who could do some newspaper research on this?


#3 Barry Lake

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Posted 29 January 2001 - 03:27

Back in those days they could even use the word "queer" in its correct context.

#4 Marcor

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Posted 29 January 2001 - 04:17

From the very good site Golden era of GP racing:

The entry of the local driver Josef Bradzil is one of the most bizarre stories ever in Grand Prix racing. The driver seems to have borrowed money to buy a Maserati, and when unable to pay back he had ended up in jail. Some of the drivers appealed to authorities to release Bradzil so he could take part in the GP, returning to jail after the race.

On his very first practice lap Bradzil run into a corner with full speed and crashed into the woods totally destroying the car. The driver died immediately. Inexperience or suicide?

The year: 1934

#5 David McKinney

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Posted 29 January 2001 - 06:19

We need 'sat' on this one. I, too, have long been puzzled by the story. I have a smattering of knowledge of national events in Czechoslovakia at that time, and have never heard of Bradzil. Had he ever raced anything else?

#6 David McKinney

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Posted 29 January 2001 - 06:21

....perhaps he told Marcic of his intention to end it all.

#7 Ray Bell

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Posted 29 January 2001 - 11:47

I don't understand the gaol and the breakup and their relationship to each other. If the woman had determined Marcic had bought the car under false pretenses, then why didn't she claim the car to defray her loss, rather than allow it to be risked?

If she wasn't claiming this, why were they in gaol?

And it's not only that it's a queer situation, but I would hardly see it becoming an opportunity for a gay celebration.

#8 sat

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Posted 29 January 2001 - 18:46

Yes, it's one of strangest ans mysterious stories in Czechoslovak motorsport history. I can't found momentaly magazine with story - from my memory it is quite so what you write. Interesting is, what is possible to sell new factory car to absolutly unknown man with nao experience. Entrant and owner was young man from Bratislava (Stefan Marcis is correctly spelling - both "s" with hook) and driver Josef Brázdil was also absolutely greenhorn. About suicide I mean it's very doubtful. All that story look like taken from tabloid press. With no experienceince and new very fast car is easy to make mistake. this i found in book about GP Brno:
In Friday morning testing, before officialy testing begin come to first fatal accident on track. One week before taken Italian to Brno for driver Brázdil new car. Brázdil proclaim, that he shall be first Czechoslovakian, who make big surprise in GP. In Maserati 3.7 litre SAME AS NUVOLARI'S (sat) he went off track in bend U krize (By the cross) in Ostrovacice, put down three trees, car somersaulted several times and broke together. Driver broke his vertebra and wad death instantly.

#9 sat

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Posted 01 February 2001 - 23:52

That I found in booklet about 50 years of Czechoslovakian GP. I suppose it write late Vladimir Havranek, one of biggest Czech motoristic journalists. Sorry for my "very special" english.

First cross on track (1934)

Full four years was GP without human victims, despite his track belong to most difficult in Europa. Many accidents ended "only" with injuries - up to 1934. Among big racing names in entry list of Masaryk GP 1934 figure mysterious name of Josef Brazdil. He come from Bratislava and originally entered Alfa Romeo he changed to Maserati short before practice. His name is absolutely unknown and pretty much stories goes to round in Brno. His car appear evening before the practice. First practice pass off without particular incidents, but some drivers remarks Brazdil's style of drive. Some say he is not good enough for his car. Two mechanics work all night on car, Brazdil monitore work. On second day Brazdil started solitary in 7 a.m., track was not closed for practice yet.
After first slow lap he raised tempo and in ascent corners upon Zebetin he has full racing tempo. Twisty part (three corners) before Ostrovacice hairpin he slipped so, few spectacors sustain after that "as nobody before". But on straight half way to Ostrovacice his car come with left wheels in ditch and Brazdil wastely try to stabilize the car. First cherry-tree is fully devastated but take car in completely off track. Second tree heave the car and it somersaulted in field. By first hard landing is Brazdil thrown out and rear part of car broke his spine. About 20 meters off track ends poor Brazdil just before the second official practice have start.
Investigation of crash ended with short notice: driver lost control to the powerfull car with in high speed in non-pretentious non-interesant section and additional in time before official practice start.

#10 Ray Bell

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Posted 02 February 2001 - 01:29

'Very Special' English or not, sat, we're all better off for having your contributions...

After all, having to interpret our own language takes some of the dullness out of the day...

#11 Hans Etzrodt

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Posted 02 February 2001 - 08:34

The tragedy of the Czechoslovakian driver František Brázdil was not a story published in the race reports of the contemporary magazines. Until the 1934 Masaryk Circuit race he was a totally unknown driver. He was entered in a brand new 6-cylinder, 3.3-liter grand prix Maserati Type 6C/34, the same car Tazio Nuvolari was driving in the race.

Supposedly, the Maserati had been purchased by a rather wealthy American lady and was left at František Brázdil’s disposal. The unbelievable part in this whole matter was the fact that a totally unknown driver, who had never taken part in a race, wanted to face the strongest international competition of factory teams on one of the hardest road circuits of the world and that with one of the most modern (at that time) and strongest grand prix cars of that period, which by the way was known not to have the best road holding. The organizers of this event were made responsible for this entry and the local people admired their ambitious countryman, who dared to drive this hard race despite the lack of experience. It seemed unbelievable that the experienced Maserati brothers had given the car to such an inexperienced driver, even for a large sum of money. Before the race, this entry was not taken seriously and neither the appearance of František Brázdil nor the showing of the Maserati during practice was expected.

On the first practice day, Wednesday, 26 September 1934, nothing was heard from Brázdil since he was held in jail because of financial irregularities. The Maserati transporter arrived from Italy with two red racing cars; one for Tazio Nuvolari, the other for František Brázdil. On Thursday, the blond American woman was present. She had acquired the Maserati in Bologna for cash and had paid attorney fees and bail to release Brázdil from jail under condition that he would make himself available to the judicial after the race.

But it did not get that far. After eight in the morning, a crashed red racing car lay next to the road before Žebetin, just after the exit from Brno. The official information was that the driver František Brázdil had a fatal accident, when he did not make the corner. What really happened was never accurately established. At the place where the car did not make the corner, it hit a large tree. There were no braking trails. There was also nothing found wrong with the Maserati, which could have caused the crash and that’s when the notion about suicide came up. The most logical explanation however was that the Maserati was just too fast for such an inexperienced driver.

By the way, Hans Stuck in the Auto Union won the race, Fagioli’s Mercedes-Benz came second and Nuvolari third.

#12 Ray Bell

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Posted 02 February 2001 - 08:45

Any inkling about what the 'financial irregularities' were, Hans (or sat)?

Already we have two versions of the story.

Perhaps Maserati thought it politically wise to have a car for a local in the race?

#13 Hans Etzrodt

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Posted 02 February 2001 - 17:20

My source is Erwin Tragatsch. I have no details about the driver's financial problems. But check the text in Leif's brief race description of the 1934 Masaryk race, near the end of the 1934 season.
http://www.kolumbus.fi/leif.snellman/

#14 Mischa Bijenhof

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Posted 27 May 2002 - 16:59

The name seems to be "Brazdil" instead of "Bradzil"

http://www.kolumbus....ellman/late.htm

"13 Jan 2002
Corrected "Bradzil" to "Brazdil" with thanks to Andrzej Jakubaszek. "

#15 Hugo Boecker

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Posted 22 September 2009 - 09:10

I found a temporary source about Brazdil's accident. In Motorsport Memorial it is said that he intended to drive an Alfa 2.3 in the race, which seems more resonable than the new Maserati. The Alfa is confirmed here as well.
The Prager Tagblatt from September 29th 1934 reports of his accident. The car, an Alfa Romeo 2.3, was destroyed. A burst tyre was found, but not the cause of the accident. A suicide was not ruled out. The accident happened before the first official practice at 8.20 am.
So did a drive the Alfa or the Maserati ?