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1937 Rheineck-W. Was Lang there?


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#1 humphries

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Posted 21 December 2004 - 10:26

Whilst researching some Italian hillclimbs in "Auto Italiano" I came across a report on the 1937 Rheineck-Walzenhausen event held on 27 June. The winner was the Alfa Romeo 8C-35 driven by Hans Ruesch which explains the Italian interest.

However last in the large racing car class was Lang (Mercedes-Benz Comp.) completing the climb in 6' 13'' compared with Reusch's 4' 48.2. Lang obviously was in trouble as even Ford touring cars were faster.

I have checked the Mercedes-Benz books that I have but found no reference to the race or Lang's participation. Nixon ( Silver Arrows ) implies that there was only one hillclimb entered by MB in 1937, that at Freiburg.

Can anybody supply additional information. It is surprising that the Italian report made no reference to Lang's defeat in the text. Was Lang really there? Did MB just delete a bad day from their records?

John

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#2 Vitesse2

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Posted 21 December 2004 - 14:38

In his autobiography, Lang says the Freiburg event on August 1st was "my first racing car climb" - he also says that he was unwell and immediately took to his bed with what was diagnosed as severe influenza. He was in Freiburg for eight days, missing the following weekend's Monaco GP, which he listened to on the radio, and the Coppa Acerbo.

#3 Hans Etzrodt

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Posted 21 December 2004 - 17:59

The answer is to be found in the results printed in the 1937 AUTOMOBIL-REVUE, which I do not have. :(

#4 Marc Ceulemans

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Posted 21 December 2004 - 21:01

I just have the class winners of each class, ... and no reference of Lang's participation, but It proves nothing !

#5 Hugo Boecker

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Posted 21 December 2004 - 22:15

If Lang was there it was only a demonstration run.
Auto Union and Mercedes did this on several occasion. Mostly the reserve drivers did this job.
There were for example Mercedes with Hartmann at the Hohensyburg in 1937, Hartmann at the Kurpfalzring in 38. I don't know exact were but even in Skandinavia Mercedes did some demonstrations.
It could be possible to give Lang a chance testing his skill on the hills by doing a demonstration. But in 37 he was a respected GP winner. as well he was the 1931 German Hillclimb champion on sidecars driving a Standard.

#6 humphries

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Posted 22 December 2004 - 12:23

It is possible that Lang was at Rheineck-Walzenhausen purely to provide a demonstration run. If he was doing only that then it was very mischievous for the report in "Auto Italiana" to classify his time in the official results!

If it was only a demonstration then Lang must have stopped and started a few times on the way up!

If the Swiss would have condoned what was acknowledged even then as a blatant propaganda exercise I am not so sure. With the possible exception of Ruesch, the Mercedes-Benz team would have expected an easy win over the opposition in the event proper.

It is correct that both Auto-Union and Mercedes-Benz did demonstrations at circuits but did they at hill-climbs? Usually they turned up "to show the flag" at motor-cycle meetings like the one at the XI Hohensyburg near Dortmund on 29 August, 1937, which actually had a race for cars as well. Both Hartmann and Rosemeyer, in a mighty, streamlined "Avus" Auto-Union, did a few laps of the 5.38 km circuit in front of an estimated 100,000 spectators.

Until reliable information is located to counter the "Auto Italiana" report the possibility that this was a "forgotten" defeat for MB must remain.