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Riding mechanics in GP before 1925


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#1 Marcor

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Posted 01 February 2003 - 23:25

The names of the riding mechanics were rarely mentioned in the entry lists of the GP races before 1925. Auto-Passion in October 1994 did a fine article about the 1924 ACF GP and gave the name of the riding mechanics. Today I've just found the 1923 ACF GP lists including those men (in the Belgian newspaper Neptune dated the 2 July 1923). I've though it was interesting to compare...

The 1923 ACF GP entry list
#1, Delage, René Thomas, Lhermitte
#2, Sunbeam, Kenelm Lee Guinness, Perkins
#3, Roland-Pillain, Albert Guyot, Létigny
#4, Fiat, Bordino, Bruno
#5, Voisin, Duray, Blanc
#6, Bugatti, Friderich, Rohfritsch
#7, Sunbeam, Divo, Hivernat
#9, Fiat, Giaccone, Carignano
#10, Voisin, Lefebvre, Fortin
#11, Bugatti, de Vizcaya, Etienne
#12, Sunbeam, Segrave, Dutoit
#13, Rolland-Pilain, Hemery, Delalande
#14, Fiat, Salamano, Ferreti
#15, Voisin, Rougier, Lalaurie
#16, Bugatti, Marco, Zirn
#17, Voisin, Morel, Chanut
#18, Bugatti, de Cystria, Luz

The 1924 ACF entry list
#1, Sunbeam, Segrave, Marocchi
#2, Delage, Divo, Fretet
#3, Alfa Romeo, Ascari, Ramponi
#4, Schmid, Foresti, Janin
#5, Fiat, Nazzaro, Carignano
#6, Miller, Zborowski, Davis
#7, Bugatti, Chassagne, Epting
#8, Sunbeam, Lee Guinness, Perkins
#9, Delage, Benoist, Carra
#10, Alfa Romeo, Campari, Marinoni
#11, Schmid, Goux, Schoenenberger
#12, Fiat, Bordino, Bruno
#13, Bugatti, Friderich, Rothfrich
#14, Sunbeam, Resta, Ledu
#15, Delage, Thomas, Lhermitte
#16, Alfa Romeo, Wagner, Sozzi
#17, Fiat, Pastore, Mauro
#18, Bugatti, de Vizcaya, Etienne
#19, Alfa Romeo, Ferrari, Boninsegua
#20, Fiat, Marchisio, Lorenzo
#21, Bugatti, Garnier, Zirn
#22, Bugatti, Costantini, Zendorini

Some riding-mechanics mentioned here went to driving: Fretet, Ramponi, Delalande, Lalaurie, Marinoni but what became the others. We have already discussed about Perkins.

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#2 Wolf

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Posted 01 February 2003 - 23:30

Incidentally, I saw the most amusing photo of what I think (the caption said so, but that doesn't prove much in said publication) are Campari/Marinioni after the '24 GP de l'A.C.F. I think caption of photo went something like 'The face of co-driver says it all'... :lol:

#3 Ray Bell

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Posted 01 February 2003 - 23:41

Riding mechanics are a forgotten breed altoghether...

The raced anonymously, they died anonymously. Few are remembered.

I have spoken to a couple over the years, but there are remarkably few identifiable riding mechanics with whom anyone can speak today.

As far as I can tell, the last riding mechanic to take part in competition for an Australian Grand Prix was Bill Kelly. He also went on to drive, as did his brother, who later died in a speedway crash.

But another aspect to it is that there would have been many more than one could think possible.

In telling me about his experience at Phillip Island in 1928, Ken McKinney recalled that quite a number of people took his seat during the lengthy practice sessions, including a girl that his driver, Sid Cox, was trying to... err... influence.

It's also recorded in magazine reports that at the 1939 Lobethal meeting there were various people jumping in with the drivers as they practised for the races. In fact, though Alf Barrett never ran (to my knowledge at least...) with a riding mechanic, we have a photo (courtesy of the great Byron Gunther) of him taking one passenger for a ride at Bathurst...

Posted Image

Now, for some reason, the pic may not come up... maybe the server is down...

Anyway, taking a ride in a racing car during practice was a healthy and well-accepted practice at least pre-war and in Australia. I am sure it happened elsewhere, so there must have been many thousands of people who experience the thrill of being chauffered around the circuits at high speed.

#4 fines

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Posted 02 February 2003 - 03:31

This is a very interesting topic! I have just begun amending my records with the names of the riding mechanics, but it is very difficult to find the information. We should really make a concerted effort!


__________________
Michael Ferner

Mr. Bush and cohorts have done a lot of damage to the relationship with their European friends and allies, and it will take them a lot of effort to patch that up.
Yet they haven't even stopped damaging - Does it really take that long to wake up???

#5 Don Capps

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Posted 02 February 2003 - 04:12

This is an area which I have been slowly working at on the American side. It has turned out to be more of a challenge than I imagined, but I have made some headway over the past few years. Indeed, in my records the mechanician's name is right there next to the driver's. I have often wondered why these men have been overlooked for so long in both the Grand Prix world as well as the AAA world. :confused:

#6 Marcor

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Posted 02 February 2003 - 15:04

If anybody has seen some other entry lists including riding-mechanics, I suggest that he post it here. As Michael says, We should really make a concerted effort!


The riding mechanics were often faithful to their drivers. I regularly see this characteristic to qualify those men who remained in obscurity. I would attach importance to complementarity between the riding mechanic and the driver. Here's now a sad story about it.

When Theodore Pilette had his fatal crash in the road near the Luxembourg-Belgium border during Thursday night 12/13 May 1921, he brought back a new racing car to Brussels by the road. he was not with his faithful mechanic Barthélemy Bruyère but with an other, Paul Tavernier. The car was in fact a Mercedes GP and Pilette drove it very fast (150 km/h) when a tyre burst. The car was deviated, hit a tree, left the road, uprooted a second tree in its path and was thrown in an embankment. The mechanic was killed outright, Pilette died in the Steinfort hospital without regaining consciousness.

When the newspaper "Les sports" reported the affair, the journalist insisted that Paul Tavernier was not the usual "chauffeur" of Pilette. After the crash, Tavernier was found clutching a piece of the wheel. The journalist asked the question: after the first swerve and in a reflex movement, unintentionally or unconsciously, did he catch the direction, preventing Pilette to straighten up, or did he grab the wheel just when the car crashed ?

Later, in other reports, it was suggested that, if Barthélemy Bruyère had be there, the crash wouldn't happen. Bruyère himself was inconsolable. He spared a thought for his friend Pilette after his victory, with Baron de Tornaco as driver, in the 1922 GP du RACB.

#7 robert dick

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Posted 03 February 2003 - 14:02

Just three names of 1903 :

Camille Jenatzy + Fritz Walker (Paris - Madrid and Bennett-Cup)
"Mercedes Fritz" Walker went to the US, was riding mechanic of Keene (among others), died in a race accident in October 1914 in Galesburg, Illinois while serving as mechanic of Jack Gable in the Burman Special.

Foxhall Keene + Willy Lüttgen (Bennett Cup)
Later Lüttgen followed Keene to New York, drove a Mercedes Sixty in the 1904 Vanderbilt Cup.

Otto Hieronimus + Gustave Girard (Paris - Madrid)
Girard was born on 13 Arpil 1883 in Nice, lived in the house of his father André, at Rue Masséna number 4.

= = = =

I have tried to assemble a complete list of the 1905 Bennett Cup and 1908 GP and GP des Voiturettes riding mechanics.
Is this interesting or too early?

#8 Don Capps

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Posted 03 February 2003 - 15:27

Originally posted by robert dick
Just three names of 1903 :

Camille Jenatzy + Fritz Walker (Paris - Madrid and Bennett-Cup)
"Mercedes Fritz" Walker went to the US, was riding mechanic of Keene (among others), died in a race accident in October 1914 in Galesburg, Illinois while serving as mechanic of Jack Gable in the Burman Special.

Foxhall Keene + Willy Lüttgen (Bennett Cup)
Later Lüttgen followed Keene to New York, drove a Mercedes Sixty in the 1904 Vanderbilt Cup.

Otto Hieronimus + Gustave Girard (Paris - Madrid)
Girard was born on 13 Arpil 1883 in Nice, lived in the house of his father André, at Rue Masséna number 4.

= = = =

I have tried to assemble a complete list of the 1905 Bennett Cup and 1908 GP and GP des Voiturettes riding mechanics.
Is this interesting or too early?


It is not too early and it is interesting to me!

I knew something about Fitz Walker, but somehow missed his being the riding mechanic with Jenatzy. I knew he had a few rides with Keene and is often mentioned only as one of the riding mechanics to lose his life plying his trade.

#9 Bladrian

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Posted 03 February 2003 - 17:49

Do not mourn the passing of 'riding mechanics' just yet, gentlemen. Certainly, they are not present in F1 cars anymore (but then they never really were, were they? F1 cars, that is.)
However, what a navigator in a current rally car experiences is pretty much in the spirit of the old 'riding mechanics' - and then one has, of course, those true modern daredevils; the passenger in a racing sidecar outfit ...... madness. :lol:

#10 Ray Bell

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Posted 03 February 2003 - 23:25

Allan Tomlinson, whom I feel to be one of the greatest ever (use search...), once had a riding mechanic...

At Lake Perkolilli... now do you want to talk about madness?

He does... "Can you imagine it," he told me, "trusting your life to the die-cast door handles of a '36 Ford Coupe going around there, the steel bore casings sticking up out of the ground to mark the circuit, driving as close to those as possible with Clem on the running board!"

The riding mechanic?

Clem Dwyer... use 'search' again folks...

#11 jarama

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Posted 03 February 2003 - 23:55

Ernest Friderich was the riding mechanic of his patron -later "Le Patron"- Ettore Bugatti at the "Prinz Heinrich Fahrt", 1907 (Hermes) & 1909 (Deutz).

Carles.

#12 Hieronymus

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Posted 04 February 2003 - 07:27

Marcor, most interesting thread - also thought about this a while ago. What was the real reason that the names of riding mechanics were not documented. We know some minute statistical details of races, cars, drivers, etc, but why not the names of these brave men?

A feel they deserve credit and why not publish their names (if one can find it) in future, next to that of the driver.

Here are some views I wish to share with TNF readers:

In 1924/25 there were discussions about dropping riding mechanics. Opinions were reasonably divided on this issue. Drivers like Albert Divo, SCH Davis and Segrave all firmly believed that the riding mechanic had a useful job to do. He was there to watch the instruments, the condition of the car and the movement of other drivers. He naturally also assisted in whatever work had to be done to the car, away from the pits.

Contrary opinions came from men like Andre Boillot, "Do away with the mechanic all the time and every time...if the driver in incapable of watching his revolution counter, he ought to fit a governor to his engines".

Louis Wagner said: "We have plenty of proof that racing cars can be so designed that one man can handle them with safety. Why, therefore, risk the another man's life needlessly?"

Another remark in this regard was made by Paul Bablot : " I would not to be racing mechanic for millions...Sharing the risk, having none of the glory, useless, powerless, the mechanic is merely a bundle carried around as a concession to an old pracrice...as he understands a good deal about the handling of a car and has no duties to keep him occupied, his mind is constantly fixed on the dangers of the next turn...when there was a time to change a valve and still win a race there was need for a mechanic, but his place nowadays is at the pit."

Seems therefore that some drivers, team owners did not really rate or appreciate their riding mechanics. Magbe this was the reason that they (riding mechanics) were never credited for their for the contributions.

#13 maxie

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Posted 04 February 2003 - 08:01

Doesn't the mechanic have a similar role to a servant serving his master? I am curious about the background of these brave but forgotten men.

#14 robert dick

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Posted 04 February 2003 - 09:49

French Bennett elimination race - Circuit de l'Auvergne - June 1905 :
(source : some of the mechanic names were quoted in the daily newspaper "L'Auto" when the cars and the teams were described. Others were quoted in the reports of minor races or sprints during the 1905 season. By comparing the available photos most of them could be identified)

# 1 – Brasier – Léon Théry + Muller
# 2 – Renault – Ferenc Szisz + Dimitrievitch (sometimes quoted as Dimitri, Dimitriewich)
# 3 – C.G.V. – Léonce Girardot + Loupi
# 4 – Clément-Bayard – Albert Clément + Vénus Ainé (meaning the older Vénus)
# 5 – Hotchkiss – Hubert Le Blon + Duchesne
# 6 – Automoto – Lapertot + R. Foureau
# 7 – De Dietrich – Fernand Gabriel + Vauthier
# 8 – Darracq – Victor Hémery + Victor Demongeot
# 9 – Panhard & Levassor – Georges Heath + Louis
# 10 – Gobron-Brillié – Louis Rigolly + Campagne
# 11 – Brasier – Gustave Caillois + Pouxe
# 12 – Renault – Edmond + Rassat
# 14 – Clément-Bayard – René Hanriot + Vénus junior
# 15 – Hotchkiss – Achille Fournier + Regeinbach
# 17 – De Dietrich – Henri Rougier + D. Miellon
# 18 – Darracq – Louis Wagner + Guillot
# 19 – Panhard & Levassor – Georges Teste + Artault
# 21 – Brasier – E. T. Stead + Janot
# 22 – Renault – Maurice Bernin + Hennin
# 24 – Clément-Bayard – Villemain + Paris
# 25 – Hotchkiss – Lavergne + Klein
# 27 – De Dietrich – Arthur Duray + Franville
# 28 – Darracq – De la Touloubre + Yvon (De la Touloubre was the pseudonym of Capitaine Genty)
# 29 – Panhard & Levassor – Henry Farman + Monge

#15 robert dick

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Posted 04 February 2003 - 11:09

Bennett Cup - Circuit de l'Auvergne - July 1905 :

# 1 – Brasier – Léon Théry + Muller
# 7 – Brasier – Gustave Caillois – Pouxe
# 13 – De Dietrich – Arthur Duray + Franville

# 2 – Napier – Clifford Earp + A. Earp (Arthur Earp?)
# 8 – Wolseley – Charles Stewart Rolls + Hands
# 14 – Wolseley – Cecil Bianchi + M. Wilde

# 3 – Mercedes – Camille Jenatzy + Menzel (not sure)
# 9 – Mercedes – Pierre de Caters + R. Cozic
# 15 – Mercedes – Wilhelm Werner + ?

# 4 – F.I.A.T. – Vincenzo Lancia + Pietro Bordino
# 10 – F.I.A.T. – Alessandro Cagno + ?
# 16 – F.I A.T. – Felice Nazzaro + Antonio Fagnano

# 5 – Austro-Mercedes – Hermann Braun + ?
# 11 – Austro-Mercedes – Otto Hieronimus + Schloz
# 17 – Austro-Mercedes – J. T. Alexander Burton + ?

# 6 – Pope-Toledo – Herbert H. Lytle + Billy Knipper
# 12 – Pope-Toledo – Albert Dingley + Tattersall
# 18 – Locomobile – Joe Tracy + W. Poole
(relief driver of the American team was Carl Fisher)

#16 robert dick

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Posted 04 February 2003 - 12:05

Grand Prix de l’ACF – Dieppe – July 1908

# 1 – Austin – Dario Resta + Lambetti
# 2 – Mercedes – Willy Poege + Bott
# 3 – Motobloc – Pierron + Sonan
# 4 – Renault – Ferenc Szisz + Martaud
# 5 – Lorraine-Dietrich – Arthur Duray + Mathis (sometimes quoted as Mattis, Mathys, Matthys)
# 6 – Benz – Victor Hémery + Gilli
# 7 – Fiat – Vincenzo Lancia + Pietro Bordino
# 8 – Brasier – Léon Théry + Mignot
# 9 – Porthos – Emile Stricker + Bergez
# 10 – Opel – Fritz Opel + Weyl
# 11 – Clément-Bayard – Victor Rigal + Gilbert
# 12 – Itala – Alessandro Cagno + Moriondo
# 13 – Weigel – Pryce Harrison + Colman
# 14 – Mors – Camille Jenatzy + Dayssiolles
# 15 – Thomas – Lewis Strang + Guichard
# 16 – Panhard & Levassor – Georges Heath + ?
# 17 – Germain – Degrais + Salvator
# 18 – Austin – Moore Brabazon + Lane
# 19 – Mercedes – Otto Salzer + Stegmaier
# 20 – Motobloc – Pierre Garcet + Gauderman
# 21 – Renault – Gustave Caillois + Vivet
# 22 – Lorraine-Dietrich – Henri Rougier + Bohn
# 23 – Benz – René Hanriot + Franz Heim
# 24 – Fiat – Felice Nazzaro + Antonio Fagnano
# 25 – Brasier – Paul Baras + Godin
# 26 – Porthos – Gaubert + Chartier
# 27 – Opel – Karl Joerns + Franz Breckheimer
# 28 – Clément-Bayard – Fernand Gabriel + Alézy
# 29 – Itala – Henry Fournier + Ayana
# 30 – Weigel – Laxen + Robinson
# 31 – Mors – Landon + Bache
# 32 – Panhard & Levassor – Maurice Farman + Kohler (a driver named Köhler drove one of the six 80/90 HP Mercedes in the 1903 Paris – Madrid)
# 33 – Germain – Roch-Brault + Jargot
# 34 – Austin – Warwick Wright + Hadley
# 35 – Mercedes – Christian Lautenschlager + Mäckle
# 36 – Motobloc – Courtage + Malafaye
# 37 – Renault – Dimitrievitch + Saglini
# 38 – Lorraine-Dietrich – Ferdinando Minoia + Cenotti
# 39 – Benz – Fritz Erle + Gass
# 40 – Fiat – Louis Wagner + Antonio Ferro
# 41 – Brasier – Paul Bablot + Lausson
# 42 – Porthos – Simon + Kinsch
# 43 – Opel – Michel + Sitaritz
# 44 – Clément-Bayard – Lucien Hautvast + Jean Chassagne
# 45 – Itala – Giovanni Piacenza + Craviolo
# 46 – Weigel – Shannon + Deavis
# 47 – Mors – Langon + ?
# 48 – Panhard & Levassor – Henri Cissac + Schaube
# 49 – Germain – Perpère + Ghide

replacements :
Mercedes – Laurenz + Raisch
Mercedes – J. T. Alexander Burton + ?
Opel - ?
Clément-Bayard – Fitch Shepard + Lehman
Itala – Broghatti + ?

= = = = = =

Coppa Florio – Bologna – September 1908

# 1 – Lorraine-Dietrich – Arthur Duray + Mathis
# 2 – Motobloc – Gauderman + Chalus
# 3 – Mors – Victor Demongeot + Bauer
# 4 – Fiat – Vincenzo Lancia + Pietro Bordino
# 5 – Clément-Bayard – Fermand Gabriel + Alézy
# 6 – Itala – Alessandro Cagno + Moriondo
# 7 – Lorraine-Dietrich – Ferdinando Minoia + Cinotti
# 8 – Motobloc – Charles Faroux + Tolin (the journalist Faroux)
# 9 – Mors – Pierre Garcet + Mellinger
# 10 – Fiat – Felice Nazarro + Antonio Fagnano
# 11 – Clément-Bayard – Lucien Hautvast + Jean Chassagne
# 12 – Itala – Henry Fournier + Riva
# 13 – Lorraine-Dietrich – Vincenzo Trucco + Alfieri Maserati (Orsini/Zagari quote Carlo Maserati, but the mechanic on the photos is Alfieri)
# 14 – Mors – Landon + Bèche
# 15 – Fiat – Louis Wagner + Antonio Ferro
# 16 – Clément-Bayard – Fitch Schepard + Lehman
# 17 – Itala – Giovanni Piacenza + Cosso

#17 robert dick

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Posted 04 February 2003 - 13:23

Grand Prix des Voiturettes – Dieppe – July 1908

# 1 – Delage – Albert Guyot + Reyrol
# 2 – Martini – Beck + Segusmann
# 4 – Grégoire – Pinaud + Jusant
# 5 – Alcyon – Barriaux + Long
# 6 – Le Métais – Birnbaum + Besson
# 7 – Demeester – Martin + Kupperschmidt
# 9 – Thieulin – Zetwood + Guth
# 10 – Lion-Peugeot – Joseph Giuppone + Paul Péan
# 12 – Bailleau – Bailleau + Gant
# 13 – La Roullière – La Roullière + Routichon
# 14 – Ariès – Meaux de Saint-Marc + Guérin
# 17 – Werner – Molar + Triguili
# 18 – Isotta-Fraschini – Vincenzo Trucco + Rossi
# 21 – Guillemin-Le Gui – Hamilton + Faviot
# 22 – Taine-La Joyeuse – Ménard + Soulès
# 23 – Truffault – Charlas + Constantin
# 25 – Sizaire et Naudin – Georges Sizaire + Rochette
# 28 – Monier – Pizzagalli + Poitoux
# 29 – Delage – René Thomas + Plot
# 30 – Martini – Boris + Kaeser
# 31 – Grégoire – Philippe de Marne + van den Hewelt
# 32 – Alcyon – Dominique + Dumas
# 33 – Le Métais – Haubourdin + Rousor
# 34 – Demeester – Dacier + Gérard
# 35 – Thieulin – Thieulin + Sarner
# 36 – Lion-Peugeot – Jules Goux + Duvernois
# 38 – Bailleau – Farcy + Lemaître
# 39 – Ariès – Perrot + Margoutte
# 40 – Werner – Molar + Dubreuil
# 41 – Isotta-Fraschini – Alfieri Maserati + Pontiroli
# 45 – Werner – D’Avaray + Lequen
# 46 – Sizaire et Naudin – Louis Naudin + Winter
# 49 – Delage – Lucas + Chenard
# 50 – Martini – Sonvico + Perret
# 51 – Grégoire – Gasté + Max
# 52 – Alcyon – Roisant + Aublet
# 53 – Le Métais – Pernette + Perlat
# 54 – Demeester – Léon Demeester + Liny
# 55 – Lion-Peugeot – Georges Boillot + Lenoble
# 57 – Ariès – Richez + Danart
# 58 – Werner – Vallée + Georges
# 59 – Isotta-Fraschini – Buzzio + Butti
# 60 – Rolland-Pilain – Louison + Métais
# 62 – Guillemin-Le Gui – Rivière + Rodet
# 63 – Sizaire et Naudin – Leboucq + Dettelin

#18 robert dick

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Posted 04 February 2003 - 13:41

GP America – Savannah – November 1910
(source : Motor Age/Chicago)

# 3 – Marquette-Buick – Arthur Chevrolet + Albert Seraye
# 4 – Lozier – Ralph Mulford + Ed Chandler
# 6 – Pope-Toledo – Charlie Basle + his brother
# 7 – Alco – Harry Grant + Frank H. Lee
# 8 – Marmon – Joe Dawson + Bruce Keene
# 9 – Benz – Victor Hémery + Franz Heim
# 10 – Fiat – Felice Nazzaro + Antonio "Tony" Fagnano
# 12 – Lozier – Joe Horan + George Ainsley
# 13 – Pope-Hartford – Louis Disbrow + R. Church
# 14 – Marmon – Ray Harroun + Harry Goetz
# 15 – Benz – David Bruce Brown + Fritz Craemer
# 16 – Fiat – Louis Wagner + Antonio “Tony” Ferro
# 17 – Marquette-Buick – Bob Burman + Howard Hall
# 18 – Benz – Willie Haupt + Harris Feyhle
# 19 – Fiat – Ralph DePalma + Joe Pozzo

#19 Doug Nye

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Posted 05 February 2003 - 18:15

Robert - sincere congratulations upon another remarkably impressive, interesting and useful piece of work....

DCN

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#20 Marcor

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Posted 11 February 2003 - 23:38

Back to the 1924 ACF GP
Delage had nominated reserve riding-mechanics. Car #2: Méje, car #9: Bardey, car #15: Blairot.

Sunbeam had reserve drivers and riding-mechanics: Scales and Moriceau (drivers), Hiverna(t) and Barrat (mechanics).

Bugatti had one reserve mechanic: Baccoli.

Source: Neptune (3 August 1924).

First name: Ernest Zirn.
Mechanic of Costantini, other spellings: Soderini or Zendrini.

#21 Marcor

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Posted 22 February 2003 - 00:19

Zborowski's riding mechanic for the fatal 1924 Italian GP was called Leonard Martin. He was thrown out of the Mercedes and hurt his right knee, his left arm and his face, but survived the crash.

Henry Matthys was riding mechanic of Gulders. My source says Gaston Gulders, is it the driver which took part in some Circuits des Ardennes ? I guess Matthys was later with Duray... and much later he started racing after WW1.

#22 jarama

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Posted 23 February 2003 - 17:51

I've just found the name of Robert Laly, later driver on his own, associated as riding of René Thomas, winning the '14 Indy 500.

Carles.

#23 Don Capps

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Posted 24 February 2003 - 02:49

Odd tidbits I have scribbled on pages in my notebooks:

Leo Banks & NOT Maurice Becker was Howdy Wilcox's mechanician during the 1919 Indy 500

Louis Chevrolet + Charlie Miller Buick Bug 1910 Vanderbuilt Cup

1912 Eddie Hearne + Louis Bennett LeCocq during the season

1913 Columbus Harry Knight + Milton Michael (killed on lap 111)

Galesburg October 1914 Ralph Mulford + Louis Bennett LeCocq

1919 Uniontown Louis Bennett LeCocq + Robert Bandini (6th) -- Bandini killed at Indy that year

I have lists of the mechanicians registered with the AAA taken from the Contest Board Bulletins as well. Plus the book by Blazier & Rollings, Forgotten Heroes of the Speedways: The Riding Mechanics -- but unfortunately it only covers the Indy 500...

#24 robert dick

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Posted 24 February 2003 - 16:28

Robert Laly :
In 1911 he was riding mechanic for Barriaux on Alcyon, then for René Thomas on Delage and Barré (1914 Tour de France), after WWI for René Thomas on Ballot, in 1922 for Jean Chassagne on Sunbeam.
In the Twenties, Laly became better known as Ariès driver.

= = = =

In his book "The Great Road Races", Henry Serrano Villard quotes the Prince de Sagan as riding mechanic for Madame du Gast in the 1901 Paris - Berlin.
The Prince's name was Boson de Périgord, Prince de Sagan (Boson is the first name). But Boson de Périgord started himself at the wheel of a Panhard.
Has anyone a solution?

#25 robert dick

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Posted 11 July 2003 - 06:39

GP Italy - Brescia - September 1921 :

Ballot :
Goux + Leboucq
Chassagne + Laly
DePalma + DePaolo

Fiat :
Wagner + Lampiano
Bordino + Bruno
Sivocci + Morganti

#26 dbw

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Posted 11 July 2003 - 08:14

as an aside to the stats i thought i could add a few comments regarding some of the cars themselves..and why and how the mecanician fared...in the early bugattis most of the cars mentioned were type 13s [or brecias-"full brecias" at that] these things were really tight on interior space and while the mechanic had to be useful he first had to be small!if you study photos of swb dogcart brecias you will notice large oval and round bumps pounded in the bodywork..these were to accomodate certain body areas of the driver and mech. that didn't quite fit the 28" wide cockpit...i've ridden shotgun on several of these devices and can assure you it's no fun at all..[additionally the lack of an actual firewall between the engine and the occupants in a twin ignition swb makes it even more hellish.

with the t-35 and it's varients,the riding nechanic was actually needed early on...on long races he would be expected to change flats,watch the fuel pressure and add a few pumps as needed.he was also needed to watch the oil pressure guage..if it dropped on left turns then oil needed to be added..a handy vertical pump near the dash would allow him to add oil directly into the sump from a remote tank under his seat....his job was also to act as a real-time rear view mirror to keep the driver aprised of overtaking cars..

interestingly enough as the model progressed and races were run on shorter,closed tracks..the actual need for the mechanic was overshadowed by the weight advantage[a few enterprising gentlemen even added extra fuel tanks on the now open seat..[hell,that sort of thinking just might win at monaco...]
however up to the very last t-35bs all this stuff remained intact and not repositioned to accomodate the single pilot..to add fuel pressure you have to lean way the hell over to the other side to grasp the t handle pump...and to glance at the guages[still waay over to the left one must take one's eyes off the road for precious seconds....as a token gesture late modifications to the drawings for the oil pump handle showed it angled ever so slightly toward the pilot,as opposed to it's original straight out of the dashboard configuration.

hats off to the drivers but three cheers for the mechanicians...

#27 Roger Clark

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Posted 22 June 2008 - 17:40

What was the last circuit race to feature riding mechanics? i know about the Giro di Sicilia and the Mille Miglia but I am thinking of circuits that had to be covered more than once.

The last I am aware of were the Ards TTs where it appears from photographs that mechanics were carried by all competitors up to 1933, by some in 1934 and by none in 1935 and '36. Wheher that means they were successively mandatory, optional and forbidden, I don't know. The Ards circuit was a piddling little thing, less than 14 miles, so I'm not sure why the mechanic would be considered necessary.

#28 ensign14

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Posted 22 June 2008 - 19:00

Originally posted by Roger Clark
What was the last circuit race to feature riding mechanics?

The Indy 500? They had them to 1937. And I think that there was one on Lindley Bothwell's Peugeot qualifying attempt in 1949.

#29 Vitesse2

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Posted 22 June 2008 - 21:03

Originally posted by Roger Clark
What was the last circuit race to feature riding mechanics? i know about the Giro di Sicilia and the Mille Miglia but I am thinking of circuits that had to be covered more than once.

The last I am aware of were the Ards TTs where it appears from photographs that mechanics were carried by all competitors up to 1933, by some in 1934 and by none in 1935 and '36. Wheher that means they were successively mandatory, optional and forbidden, I don't know. The Ards circuit was a piddling little thing, less than 14 miles, so I'm not sure why the mechanic would be considered necessary.

Are you sure about 1934, Roger? I understood the RAC banned riding mechanics in January 1934 after a fatality at Donington in August 1933.

#30 Roger Clark

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Posted 22 June 2008 - 21:44

Originally posted by Vitesse2

Are you sure about 1934, Roger? I understood the RAC banned riding mechanics in January 1934 after a fatality at Donington in August 1933.

There are pictues in the Ulster Vintage Car Club book of the Ards TT showing both Bobby Baird and Billy sullivan with a passenger.

#31 Vitesse2

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Posted 22 June 2008 - 22:09

I don't have the book, but might these be practice pictures? The Times' correspondent went round the course with Tim Rose-Richards, apparently during a practice session. In which case, perhaps Baird was accompanied by a reporter from the Belfast Telegraph?

#32 Roger Clark

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Posted 22 June 2008 - 23:13

Possibly Baird, but the Sullivan picture appears to be the start of the race and shows two other cars, one another Ford, with passengers.

#33 cpbell

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Posted 23 June 2008 - 18:09

Interesting to see how few rding mechanics in Robert's lists actually progressed to sit behind the wheel. By the way, I read somewhere that "Mathis" was Emil Mathis, friend and employer of Ettore Bugatti in his early days. I cannot recall which year was being referred to, but, in the BBC series Power and Glory they had an interview with "Wilkie" Wilkinson on being George Eyston's riding mechanic at Ards one year in the early '30s. As I recall, he scorched his arm on the exhaust pipe, got septicaemia, and had to croak his wedding vows the next weekend as he lost his voice! :lol: He also mentioned changing Eyston's prescription-lensed goggles on the straight each lap as the wet, cold weather was causing them to mist-up. Doesn't bear thinking about, does it? :eek:

#34 Graham Gauld

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Posted 23 June 2008 - 19:36

Just to add a bit of light relief this is a photo taken during practice for the 1932 Tourist Trophy on the Ards circuit.
Fox and Nicholl had entered three racing Talbot 105's for the event. Arthur Fox, the importer, was always present and his lead driver, the Hon Brian Lewis, took him round the circuit during practice. Unfortunately just after Quarry Corner the back wheel came off much to Fox's consternation. However, the car was repaired and Lewis finished 7th overall in the race just behind Tim Rose-Richards in another Talbot 105. I think you would agree the importer has quite a startled look on his face.

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#35 robert dick

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Posted 12 December 2008 - 09:39

With the help of the photo comments of the Bibliothèque Nationale/Paris (from the contemporary newspaper "L'Auto") :


1912 GP de l'ACF, Dieppe:
11, 31, 34, 57 Lorraine‑Dietrich - Hémery/Gilli, Bablot/Lausson, Hanriot/Vauthier, Heim/?
12 Mathis - Esser/Bauer
13, 22, 45 Peugeot - Goux/Bégin, Boillot/Prévost, Zuccarelli/Fanelli
23, 37, 42 Fiat - Wagner/Ferro, Bruce Brown/Scudelari, DePalma/Fagnano
30, 49 Rolland‑Pilain - Guyot/Arnault, Fauquet (Anford)/Bertrand
50 Excelsior - Christiaens/?

3, 16, 17, 52 Sunbeam - Rigal/Chassagne, Caillois/Vivet, Resta/Harrison, Medinger/Strothers
4, 27, 40 Alcyon - Barriaux/Gilbert, Page/Gauthier, Duray/Albin
7, 19, 38 Sizaire et Naudin - Georges Sizaire/Voignier, Louis Naudin/Champion, Schweitzer/Royer
8, 32, 56 Vinot‑Deguingand - Léon Molon/Bajan, Vonlatum/Carteau, Lucien Molon/Le Bris
9, 20 Schneider - Champoiseau/Daclin, Croquet/?
10, 18, 21, 24 Grégoire - de Marne/Dubos, Collinet/Bassagnana, Romano/?, Renaux/Pouliguem
14, 26, 43 Calthorpe - Garcet/Dogson, Hornsted/Alsopp, F. Burgess/I. Burgess
25, 39 Singer - Rollason/Clarke, Haywood/Janod
28, 36, 55 Arrol‑Johnston - Reid/Nelville, Crossman/Barré, Wyse/Renfrew
29, 41 Côte - Gabriel/Badier, de Vère/Paupert
33, 51, 54 Vauxhall - Lambert/Gibbs, Hancock/Fraser, Watson/Sivain
47 Lion‑Peugeot - Thomas/Laly


1913 GP de l'ACF, Amiens:
1, 9, 15, 19 Sunbeam - Caillois/Smith, Resta/Harrison, Chassagne/Mitchell, Guinness/Cook
2, 10 Delage - Bablot/Lausson, Guyot/Secuws
3 Opel - Joerns/Breckheimer
4 Mathis - Esser/Henrard
5, 11 Excelsior - Christiaens/Dills, Hornsted/Caerells
6, 12, 16, 20 Schneider - Croquet/Didier, Gabriel/Mongeot, Champoiseau/Didier, Thomas/Benblant
7, 13, 17 Itala - Nazzaro/Cosso, Pope/Aldertella, Moriondo/Foresti
8, 14, 18 Peugeot - Boillot/Prévost, Goux/Bégin, Delpierre/Marronet

= = = = = =

Nice photos (Bibliothèque Nationale/Paris) of Vincenzo Trucco/Alfieri Maserati (Isotta-Fraschini) in the 1908 Targa Florio:
http://gallica.bnf.f...8/btv1b6910557n
http://gallica.bnf.f...8/btv1b69105582
http://gallica.bnf.f...8/btv1b6912602n
http://gallica.bnf.f...8/btv1b6912614v

#36 robert dick

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Posted 13 December 2008 - 09:00

1905 Vanderbilt Cup, Long Island - from "Motor Age" :

#1 Mercedes (owned by Robert Graves) - Jenatzy/Bariz
#2 De Dietrich (De Dietrich Co.) - Duray/Franville
#3 Pope-Toledo (Albert L. Pope) - Dingley/Nichols
#4 Fiat (Hollander & Tangeman) - Lancia/Aissa
#5 Mercedes (Foxhall P. Keene) - Keene/Lüttgen
#6 Darracq (Darracq & Co.) - Wagner/Ruillet
#7 Locomobile (H. E. Thomas) - Tracy/Poole
#8 Fiat (Hollander & Tangeman) - Nazzaro/Fagnano
#9 Mercedes (John B. Warden) - Warden/Oestreicher
#10 Renault (Renault Brothers) - Szisz/Dimitrievitch
#11 Christie (James L. Breeze) - Christie/Selvar
#12 Fiat (Hollander & Tangeman) - Cedrino/Siefest
#X Mercedes (Samuel B. Stevens) - Campbell/?
#14 Panhard (Panhard & Levassor) - Heath/Goubert
#15 Pope-Toledo (Albert L. Pope) - Lyttle/Tattersall
#16 Fiat (Major C. J. S. Miller) - Louis Chevrolet/Schettling
#18 Darracq (Darracq & Co.) - Hémery/?
#19 White (Rollin T. White) - White/Hantak
# 20 Fiat (Alfred G. Vanderbilt) - Sartori/Letrini

#37 fines

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Posted 14 December 2008 - 11:18

Great stuff, thanks for posting it, Robert! :up: :clap:

#38 Marc Ceulemans

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Posted 14 December 2008 - 16:11

1913 GP de l'ACF, Amiens:
5, 11 Excelsior - Christiaens/Dills, Hornsted/Caerells
17 Itala - Moriondo/Foresti


Dills, André Dils, from Brussels, and Caerells, Nicolas Caerels, also from Brussels, worked at the Excelsior factory as mechanics - test drivers. After WW1, they drove at Le Mans, Spa, Routes Pavées, Lasarte, Klausen, etc...

Foresti, Giulio Foresti, of Djelmo fame.

1905 Vanderbilt Cup, Long Island - from "Motor Age" :
#2 De Dietrich (De Dietrich Co.) - Duray/Franville


Interesting, a Franville was riding mechanic of the same Arthur Duray in the GP du RACB at Spa in 1922. Probably the same man.

#39 oliver heal

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Posted 16 December 2008 - 23:09

Back to 1923 GP de l'ACF
Bill Perkins passed out and had to be replaced byJack Smith on lap 17.
Hivernat was knocked out by a flying stone and had to be replaced by Jules Moriceau.

Moriceau later drove for amilcar and ran a garage outside Paris

Ol

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#40 HDonaldCapps

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Posted 16 December 2008 - 23:45

#16 Fiat (Major C. J. S. Miller) - Louis Chevrolet/Schettling

Or is it Henry Schutting? (NYT 3 October 1905, p.2)

Chevrolet and Schutting crashed at the Lake Success (!) corner in the Mille FIAT and while Chevrolet escaped without injury, Schutting was badly bruised and battered, breaking three ribs.

#41 robert dick

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Posted 17 December 2008 - 08:52

"Schettling" is from Motor Age, October 19, 1905 (Vol. VIII, No. 16), page 3, "Details of cars in the Vanderbilt Cup race".

The NYT (October 3) wrote that "... The mechanician, however, will be confined to the hospital for several days." Enough recovery time? Or was Schettling a replacement?

The NYT described Schutting as "Swiss mechanician". In Switzerland/Germany, "Schutting" can be found, as well as "Schettling" (or Schettlinger).

#42 HDonaldCapps

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Posted 17 December 2008 - 12:06

I originally had "Schettling" as Chevrolet's mechanician, so I did a double take when I noticed "Schutting" in the Times article. I am tending to think that it is probably "Schettling" simply on the strength of 'Motor Age' having the entry list to use for their article.

#43 BillyMaxx

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Posted 16 March 2009 - 23:59

I am trying to gather any information regarding my grandfather Everett J. Maxwell who according to family lore was a riding mechanic for Ralph Mulford at Indianapolis in the early 1920's. He was from Brooklyn and "reportedly" also raced at Sheepshead Bay after serving in the Navy during WWI. I stumpled unto this thread and have spent several hours reading it and others regarding old time racing. Any help or info or even a picture you might have would be appreciated.

#44 ensign14

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Posted 23 May 2009 - 12:10

The 1997 Indy 500 yearbook (the Hungness one) lists as many riding mechanics as they could find, firstly listing them in a race-by-race schedule and then adding an index of other riding mechanics. Mulford's mechanics were Will Charnbers in 1911, Wm. Chandler in 1912 (I wonder if this was the same person?), Jess Callahan in 1913, Nauber in 1914, Paul Stevens in 1915, Fred McCarthy in 1916, Frank Eastman in 1919 and 1920, Thane Houser in 1921 and Marcel Treyvoux in 1922.

A W. R. Everett rode with Louis Strang in 1911, and a J. C. Maxwell is listed in the "other" index, but I damned if I can see his name amongst the race-by-race lists, so if this latter one is the chap he did ride as a mechanic but not in an Indianapolis race. There are some unknown names from 1911 though, and a J. O. Maxwell had a non-start in a Fiat at Tucson in 1915.

#45 fines

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Posted 23 May 2009 - 17:08

Riding mechanics were often relieved, just like drivers - he may have accompanied Mulford, after all! Does the 1997 Indy Yearbook list "relief riding mechanics", too?

#46 ensign14

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Posted 23 May 2009 - 19:32

Not by race, but there is an index of mechanics who are not allocated to rides. It's not clear whether that is just a listing of people who were riding mechanics full stop, or those that had unacknowledged Indianapolis rides.

#47 speedman13

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Posted 08 October 2009 - 11:29

Does anyone know the first name and nationality of Bassignana who was killed at Dieppe in 1912.
He was riding mechanic foe Leon Collinet.

#48 robert dick

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Posted 08 October 2009 - 18:38

Jean Bassignano - sometimes spelled in the contemporary press Bassignano, Bassagnana, Basaignano, and Bazeognano.

Bassignano was born in 1885, in Nice/Riviera/France. At Nice, he worked for Alphonse Frères. He moved to Grégoire in the Autumn of 1911.

He was riding mechanic for Porporato in the 1908 Coppa/Targa Bologna - Bassignano was Porporato's brother-in-law.


#49 speedman13

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Posted 08 October 2009 - 21:14

Jean Bassignano - sometimes spelled in the contemporary press Bassignano, Bassagnana, Basaignano, and Bazeognano.

Bassignano was born in 1885, in Nice/Riviera/France. At Nice, he worked for Alphonse Frères. He moved to Grégoire in the Autumn of 1911.

He was riding mechanic for Porporato in the 1908 Coppa/Targa Bologna - Bassignano was Porporato's brother-in-law.


Hi Robert, many thanks for that information.

#50 robert dick

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Posted 11 October 2009 - 07:38

From "L'Éclaireur de Nice", 26 June 1912 :

(Bassignano worked for this newspaper before switching to Alphonse Frères = the Alphonse brothers who were directors of the Garage des Beaumettes at 3 Boulevard Carlone, the La Buire agency at Nice)

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