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Le Scandale 1927

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#1 Barry Lake

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Posted 14 December 2001 - 11:34

Michael Ferner once asked me why I spend a lot of money buying books I can't read.

Now I can say, "So I can ask questions like this one" (although I enjoy looking at the pictures, and gain information from the results... and I learn a little bit more about the language as I struggle to read them...)

In the Maurice Louche book, "Les Grand Prix de Provence ey de Marseilles" the heading for the 1927 race at Miramas-Istres is, "Le Scandale".

I have tried to fathom what it is about, but have failed.

Can anyone enlighten me?

The race was won by Louis Chiron in a Bugatti Type 35 B.


#2 David McKinney

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Posted 14 December 2001 - 15:43

Was that the year the crowd swarmed all over the track and the race had to be abandoned?

#3 alessandro silva

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Posted 14 December 2001 - 17:08

I gather the following from Louche’s book:
i) the 3 qualifying heats (1100,1500, over 1500) were reduced in length by the oganizers due to the terrible weather
ii) Delage and Talbot do not like the idea but agree to participate, racing just as fast as to get the minimum average to qualify
iii) Moriceau and Williams in Talbots break the agreement while Benoist (Delage) keeps it
iv) Louis Delage is furious and asks Benoist to take two laps before the final to show everybody the real speed of the car
v) The other cars start forming the grid while Benoist is still going at high speed
vi) Benoist skids in braking and hits two cars hurting himself not severely
vii) Talbot retires from the final with no more Delages
viii) The public starts boohing when they see that Talbots and the Delage did not start.
ix) After five laps the public storms into the track and the race is halted

Apparently what caused the unrest was that the public was not notified that the Delage and the Talbots would not start: the loudspeakers did not work because of the rain!

#4 Felix Muelas

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Posted 14 December 2001 - 22:49

And Paul Sheldon reports :

"Once again an entry list flattered only to deceive. This time, the Cyclecar enthusiasts were the losers with the defection of the entire Salmson team. The non-starters were the losers because they missed one of the strangest motor races in the history of the sport. Despite the absentees, tehre was still enough to ensure a good meeting at the Miramas track with full Talbot team and the solitary Delage of Benoist as well as many excellent private entries.
The organisers were not helped when there was torrential rain during the morning. The start of the heats was postponed until 12 noon when the rain was easing off and the heats were shortened to 5 laps. The first heat featured the combined 2 and 3-litre class and was won easily by Chiron backing off. The 1.5 litre heat was dominated by the Talbots with Benoist surprisingly far back possibly taking it easy. The fastest heat was that for Cyclecars which is described in the appropriate section.
All the heat finishers qualified for the Final but Talbot decided the conditions were too bad and withdrew all three cars. In addition to this Benoist did a fast warming up lap and arrived on the final straight to find the track blocked. He ran into three cars including the Amilcar of Duray and the Buc of de Maleplane, the latter car being too damaged to take part. Benoist sustained a leg injury and also withdrew.
The Final got under way with Chiron leading the way easily from Morel. The crowd thought they were being cheated of their race and suddenly invaded the track and stopped the charade after only five laps!
They also attacked the Talbot pit :eek: and tried to find the drivers as well. Luckily this seems to be the only time this has happened. The results were declared as at the time of the stoppage."


#5 Dennis David

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Posted 15 December 2001 - 16:52

Great story

The only problem is that I can't get the picture of an Aussie trying to speak French out of my mind! :rotfl:


#6 Marcor

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Posted 15 December 2001 - 17:01

Added to Felix and Alessandro, here's what Bill Body in Motorsport, July 1998, reported:
Crowd trouble at some football matches seems to be on the increase, but this unhappy trend is not, thanks goodness, seen at motorraces, where far larger and equally partisan crowds assemble.

However, on my 'nothing new' theme, it did happen at the now desolate Miramas circuit in Southern France in 1927, where the GP de Provence was held.

The morning races, run in heavy rai, were won by Chiroux and Lehoux in Bugattis, Moriceau in a Talbot and, fastest of all, Morel in a supercharged 1100 cc single-seater Amilcar (73 mph) and all went off alright.

But before the final for the Hartford Cup, with all these top cars expected to run, the spectators became restive when managers protested the dangerous conditions and could not decide whether or not to withdraw their cars. With no given information being given out, trouble resulted. Benoist went off in the Delage foe a warm-up lap, and found the course blocked with spectators' cars (???); trying to stop he broadsided the fast-travelling GP car but it hit Duray's Amilcar and the great Robert Benoist was slightly injured.

Instead of the expected 17 qualifiers, only a dozen of them started, the Delage, the Talbot team and a fast Amilcar failing to appear. At this the crowd invaded the track and stopped the race. The Talbot garage was stormed and cars on the track damaged. Pray, never again !

#7 Gary Davies

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Posted 15 December 2001 - 17:06

Originally posted by Dennis David
Great story

The only problem is that I can't get the picture of an Aussie trying to speak French out of my mind! :rotfl:


Nancy Wake wasn't too shabby :lol: :lol: :lol:


#8 Marcor

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Posted 15 December 2001 - 17:33

was "CONC'S" (classified 4th in the final) a nickname for Jules Goux ?

According Sheldon: Jules Goux finished third in heat 1 and no mention of him in the final, "Conc's" was classified 4th in the final (and no mention of him in the qualifying heat)

Acording Mauriche Louche: "Conc's" finished third in heat 1 and 4th in the truncated final.

The car was a Bugatti type 35C.

#9 Dennis David

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Posted 15 December 2001 - 17:36

Nancy Wake: "I've always got on very well with the French, perhaps because I'm very natural." I'm all for natural! :smoking:

#10 Vitesse2

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Posted 15 December 2001 - 22:03

Ahhh, Nancy Wake - one of my Resistance heroines ... an interest awakened by an A-Level French project and sustained ever since! I wonder if Nancy ever met Robert Benoist ... :)