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1902 Paris-Vienna

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#1 Boniver

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Posted 27 May 2007 - 07:34

1902 Paris - Vienna
1. Marcel Renault - Renault

26 june 1902 - Paris - Belfort - 415km - 1. De Knyff - Panhard
27 june 1902 - Belfort - Bregenz - ???lm - 1. ??? - ???
28 june 1903 - Bregenz - Salsburg - ???km - 1. Forest - Mercedes
29 june 1903 - Salsberg - Vienna - ???km - 1. ??? - ???

can some one help?


#2 Allan Lupton

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Posted 27 May 2007 - 07:56

Belfort to Bregenz was a neutral section as the Swiss did not allow racing
Bregenz to Salzburg was 318 km
Salzburg to Vienna was 297 km
Data from the Sedgwick/Montagu book "the Gordon Bennett Races" so no details on the last stage as the GB finished at Innsbruck.

Edited by Allan Lupton, 19 November 2022 - 17:34.


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Posted 27 May 2007 - 08:13

From A Record of Motor Racing (Gerald Rose):
-Paris-Vienna 615,4 miles.
Paris-Belfort 233,5 miles
Belfort Bregenz: neutralized
Bregenz Salzburg 197,5 miles
Salzburg Vienna 184,4 miles

#4 ReWind

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Posted 27 May 2007 - 08:54

Full results from the étapes in Edmond Cohin's "L'Historique de la Course Automobile", p. 36!

Scans deleted due to interference

#5 David McKinney

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Posted 27 May 2007 - 09:57

Is Cohin's book no longer in copyright?

#6 Hans Etzrodt

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Posted 27 May 2007 - 19:31

Who? What? Where? When? Why? WWW
Several years ago I assembled an account of the 1902 Gordon Bennett Cup from secondary sources, which was submitted to one of the famous 8W contests. It somehow describes what had happened then, besides just looking at some dull numbers. The story begins with an abstract about the 1902 Gordon Bennett winner.

Selwyn Francis (S. F.) Edge, born 1868 in Sydney, Australia, had come with his parents to England soon after his birth. As a youngster he became a keen cyclist and started out in 1887 on a Rover cycle. Over the years Edge competed successfully in several events in England and on the continent, setting a 100-mile world record at 10.8 mph in 1893. At that time he was working as manager at the Dunlop Tire Company. In 1896 he changed over to a De Dion-Bouton Tricycle, with which he participated in the London to Brighton Emancipation run and established several other records. When Edge intended to modify the steering of his tricycle he came in contact with Montagu Stanley Napier, a clever engineer whom he had first met back in his bicycle competition days. Born in 1870, Montagu was the grandson of David Napier of D. Napier & Sons, a well-known general engineering firm, already in business for over a century and known for their precision engineering. M. S. Napier began to build complete cars in 1900 and the company was the first British make to participate seriously in racing, competing in the heavy car class only.

S. F. Edge received a silver medal in the 1,000-mile Trial driving the first Napier. Not only was he a good driver but also a good businessman and Edge was the first driver who made deliberate publicity in connection with the cars he drove and his racing success. His first big race was the second Gordon Bennett Cup, which was run in conjunction with the Paris-Bordeaux race in 1901. For this race Montagu Napier designed a special 17.2-liter, 4-cylinder car, delivering 103 hp but the car weighted over two tons. It was disqualified from the Gordon Bennett Race because Edge and Napier who accompanied him as mechanic, decided to fit stronger French tires instead of the required British make. But they were allowed to take part in the open Paris-Bordeaux race where they retired with clutch trouble and a hole through the fuel tank. Later that year Edge came first at the 1901 Gaillon hill climb and won the Bexhill speed trial.

For 1902, Montagu built an entirely new and lighter Napier, with a smaller 6.5-liter engine, giving around 40 hp. Luckily it stayed in one piece and after the strong French opposition had broken down, Edge won the 1902 Gordon Bennett Cup. In his immediately following race from Innsbruck to Vienna, his car failed him as usual and he came twelfth.

In the 1903 Gordon Bennett Cup Edge entered again where his 80 hp Napier was disqualified. The following year at Homburg in Germany, Edge had to retire at mid race when his engine broke. After this 1904 Gordon Bennett Cup, he decided not to participate in these events any more because of some rule bending by officials. This enabled him to spend more time with business. But during 1904 he made a few successful appearances in a Napier-Minor at some motor boat races. Edge had been more of a calculating driver than a fighting finisher. However, he always had a lot of trouble with the cars he drove and he would probably have fared much better in a more reliable car, if it could have been thoroughly tested before the race. When Brooklands opened in 1907, he set a 24-hour world record at a speed of 65.9 mph in a Napier, driving the whole time himself. In 1908 he planned to enter a team of cars in the French Grand Prix but this venture did not materialize. He stayed with Napier until 1913 when he left the motor trade until 1921 when he took over management of the AC Company and their rise to serious competition. During 1922, at age 54, he again made a Brooklands appearance at the Double-12-hour, where he set a record of 74.27 mph in a Dutch Spyker and later set a 400-mile record at 81.1 mph in a Lancaster. Edge lost most of his fortune during the depression and when he died in 1940, he was a comparatively poor and forgotten man.

The 1902 Gordon-Bennett Cup race, the third edition, received like both its predecessors little attention. It ran concurrently with the huge Paris-Vienna race, for which the ACF had received 219 entries. The Trophy event was to end halfway at Innsbruck after 565 km. The total distance of the 1429 km Paris-Vienna race was split into four days and run over four stages. The first stage went from Paris to Belfort, 408 km; the second from Belfort to Bregenz through Switzerland, 312 km, was neutralized; the third from Bregenz to Salzburg 369 km and the fourth from Salzburg to Vienna, 340 km. There were again only four entrants for the Gordon-Bennett Cup as had been during previous year’s event, which had turned out to be a total flop. For the 1902 event, three entries came from France. Previous year’s winner, Léonce Giradot on a C.G.V. -the initials of the three partners, Charron, Giradot and Voight-, Henri Fournier on a Mors and the Chevallier René de Knyff on a Panhard. The fourth car entered was by the Automobile Club of Great Britain for Selwyn Francis (S. F.) Edge on a Napier. Montagu had built an entirely new and lighter Napier, with a smaller 6.5-liter engine, producing around 40 hp. The car was finished at the last moment and could only be tested in France, since racing was not allowed on public roads in England. Hasty gearbox repairs were necessary in Paris under Napier’s supervision. S. F. Edge's cousin Cecil Edge acted now as riding mechanician since Montagu Napier would not ride on a racing car again after his bad experience during the 1901 Trophy Race. The other British entry came from Herbert Austin in form of two 30 hp Wolseleys. These cars made it to Paris but the one of Grahame-White, accepted a late start, broke its crankshaft at its planned start.

The cars left Paris at daybreak of 26 June, a Thursday. The previous year’s winner, Giradot, on the C.G.V. was sent off at 3:30 from Champigny. Fournier followed him at 3:32 on the Mors. At 3:34 came Edge and de Knyff, the last of the Gordon Bennett competitors, two minutes later. The other cars, which were to go on past Innsbruck all the way to Vienna, were then dispatched in two minutes intervals. The French GB entries all ran into trouble early on. Giradot had to give up with a split fuel tank after 140 kilometers at Troyes. Fournier had made an excellent time to Troyes. Then, as he went at high speed past Nangis and just ten kilometers before Langres, a broken clutch shaft on his Mors decided his fate. De Knyff was now France’s only hope and he drove superbly, finishing first over the first stage to the frontier town of Belfort. He was followed by Henry Farman, Charles Jarrott and Maurice Farman. There were only two contestants left for the Gordon Bennet Cup, Edge on the notoriously unreliable Napier and De Knyff on his fast 70 hp Panhard. However, a weakness had developed within the Panhard’s differential, which caused the Frenchman considerable concern in view of the rough roads ahead. All the cars were locked up over night in a huge riding-school and cars could not be checked over or repaired.

On the second day early in the morning, the cars were started off in order of their arrival. Some cars had developed trouble, loosing their water during the night because their cylinders had leaked down during the long standing in the compound. While some cars were easy to start, others had to make great efforts to get going. Cars not ready to leave the compound within two minutes of the signal were pushed by a squad of soldiers outside the gates and the time was taken without delay. This second stage of the race across Switzerland was strictly neutralized in regards of the speed because racing was not allowed in this country. Therefore a maximum time was allowed between the controls with a maximum speed limit of 25 km/h. After a very dusty ride and crossing into Germany, five kilometers further on was the next stop at Bregenz, where the cars were stored for the night.

On the third day, the first car had to be off at four in the morning leaving for the third stage from Bregenz over Innsbruck to Salzburg. At some time after the start, S. F. Edge had run off the road into a field and had a narrow escape of smashing his car up altogether in a river. He made it back to the road with the help of supposedly 40 people and false news were spread that Edge had been killed in this accident. The cars eventually reached the steep pass of the murderous Arlberg, which was a strenuous climb with loose stones and ruts abounding. Some drivers had driven hard into the side of the cliff in a continual effort of keeping away from the abyss on the other side of the road. Edge had to go down the mountain through one corner after another with hundreds of twists and turns, all in first gear since his brakes were entirely useless. Some cars were crawling down slowly with the brakes hard on. Max, the driver of a 40 hp Darracq, had gone clean over a cliff's edge between St. Anton and Landeck. The brakes and steering had failed in an S-bend and as the car leaped over the edge, the riding mechanic, Gustav Landy, quick-wittedly jumped out on the road where he only injured his hand. Max Laufer and his car first went vertically down for 11 meters then the car flipped twice over and rolled another 120 meters into the abyss where it was smashed to pieces. After the car had disappeared over the edge Max was thrown out and landed on the ledge 11 meters below with only minor injuries. On this downhill section De Knyff’s Panhard had lost its already weakened differential, only twenty kilometers from the finish at Innsbruck. Selwyn Edge, who at this time had fallen behind a few hours, slowly worked his way along the road, driving careful over the dangerous Arlberg. He went past the stranded De Knyff without recognizing him and his Napier was the first and only one of the Gordon Bennett entries to reach the finish at Innsbruck after 10h41m58.8s. Edge was radiant and joyful at having successfully completed the Gordon Bennett course. This meant that if the English club intended to retain the Gordon Bennett Cup, they had to organize the next race in England. The loss of the trophy by France was not at all welcome. After the race there was an attempt to disqualify Edge on grounds that he had received outside assistance to get the car back on the road after he had gone off. Edge denied this and an International Commission, led by de Knyff, checked the statements and at the end the trophy was awarded to England.

After a brief stop in Innsbruck, the race went on for Edge to reach Salzburg and his arrival there –three-hour late– created some commotion, as news has reached Salzburg that he had been killed in a road accident. Henry Farman was leading in time over the full distance and Marcel Renault was leading the light car class.

On the fourth day at five the morning, cars left for the 343 km stage four to Vienna. After the cars had arrived in Vienna, after the full 1429 kilometers, it was finally officially established that Marcel Renault on a light car 16 hp [a controversial figure] Renault was first, victor of all classes, in 26h10m47.8s including the neutralizing times or in 16h22 m43.4s pure racing time. Second came Henry Farman on the 70 hp Panhard in 26h34m16s or 16h36m30.1s.

#7 Nanni Dietrich

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Posted 03 June 2009 - 15:59

According to newspaper Journal de Genève, issue of 28 June 1902, possibly a fatal accident involving one spectator occurred on 27 June during the Paris-Wien race. It happened at Baden, Switzerland but the reports were very controversial.
The newspaper article states that the Baden police had no news about any accident. Probably there had been confusion with another road accident which happened that same day at Brugg, about 10-kilometer from Baden, which was not related with the race. In Brugg's accident a young boy was hit by a car and suffered severe arm injuries. No confirmation about his death.
I'm not able to find any other informations about this accident in the following issue of the newspaper.

In another issue of the same newspaper (30 June 1902) it is reported that another fatal accident occurred on the first stage of the race, when a touring-car driven by Bernin crashed into a tree, trying to avoid a vegetable cart in the small village of Chandenay, Langres, Haute-Marne, France. Bernin was seriously injured, his riding mechanic Boiteux (given name unknown) was killed upon impact. It is not clear whether it was a competing car entered in the race or a touring-car of amateur drivers following the event.

Edited by Nanni Dietrich, 04 June 2009 - 13:17.

#8 pnegyesi

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Posted 03 August 2022 - 11:50

Reports on this race are a nightmare. How many cars crossed the starting line on the wee hours of 26 June at the Fort de Champigny? Some say 137 others say 138. We settled on 138, but may not be correct. There was a guy who apparently missed the end of the first stage, but finished at every other stage.

Yes, there will be a book on this race, coming very soon.

#9 robert dick

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Posted 04 August 2022 - 10:11

The Allgemeine Automobil-Zeitung, AAZ, Vienna, is a suitable source.
6 July 1902:

Arrivals at Belfort:

13 July 1902:

#10 pnegyesi

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Posted 04 August 2022 - 19:58

No, the AAZ was just as bad as the others. You have a French guy starting with car brand A and two days later it turns out in reality he drove car brand B. There is a report by ACF on the race and even that report has errors. Ultimately the book will not be perfect, but hopefully it will be a best effort to uncover what really happened between 26 and 29 June (and afterwards :)).

#11 pnegyesi

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Posted 27 September 2022 - 17:01



The book is coming on 25 October. 148 pages, hard-cover, colour. There is a full account of the race, plus there is a detailed description of a 1902 De Dietrich which features the same technology as the ones at the race. There is a section describing the participating cars and a few biographies of the drivers.

It is priced at EUR 29,90 plus shipping

You can pre-order it at 


Edited by pnegyesi, 27 September 2022 - 17:05.

#12 Sterzo

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Posted 27 September 2022 - 20:43

This may not be an easy question to answer, but does the account of the race contain anything not in Rose, Jarrot, and Montagu's books?

#13 pnegyesi

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Posted 28 September 2022 - 09:46

This may not be an easy question to answer, but does the account of the race contain anything not in Rose, Jarrot, and Montagu's books?

Very good question :) The Jarrot book is partly reproduced

I have the Montagu book, so yes, there's more info compared to that one

I also have a scan of the Rose book (thanks Doug Nye) and I can tell you this is more extensive than that

E.g. we have translated accounts of Marcel Renault, an interview with Count Zborowski etc

We also sorted out the entry list, list of finishers etc.

#14 Sterzo

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Posted 28 September 2022 - 12:17

Thank you very much, pnegyesi, that's very helpful. Definitely sounds like a book worth having.

#15 pnegyesi

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Posted 19 November 2022 - 16:52

Just to let you know, the book is out. Looks really nice