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Another race in Russia - 1909


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#1 Darren Galpin

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Posted 08 October 2007 - 08:45

Of all the places you might expect to see this, I wasn't expecting it in a small newspaper from an even smaller town in the depths of Iowa..... Here is what it had to say:


Oelwein Daily Register, 28th June 1909, pg 117

“Moscow, June 38 – M.Vachinin, who was prominent in many St Petersburg societies, and his chauffeur, were killed in an automobile race. His car rolled down an embankment, crushing the two men.”


I can't match this report to an event at the moment, and the fatal accident isn't on motorsportmemorial.org either. Can anyone help fill in the gaps?

Cheers,

Darren

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#2 Alexey Rogachev

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Posted 08 October 2007 - 15:00

This accident happened on June 14, 1909 in the course of the training before the Moscow Automobile Club Trophy. The driver's name was in fact Alexandr Vetchinin. His co-driver Gerts was also killed. Vetchinin, driving a 120-hp Brasier, crashed into the barrier of the bridge. The car broke in two parts and fell down into the river from 12-metre height...

Vetchinin is regarded as the first victim of motor racing in Russia.

#3 Darren Galpin

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Posted 08 October 2007 - 15:51

Thanks, Alexey. Do you have any further details of the race itself?

#4 Alexey Rogachev

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Posted 08 October 2007 - 19:03

Unfortunately I haven't - this info is from an occasional source. As racing in the pre-revolutionary Russia is not my speciality, I didn't try to find out more.

#5 Pavel Lifintsev

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Posted 17 October 2007 - 19:06

Alexander A. Vetchinin drove one of the three works Renaults in 1908 GP de l'A.C.F. He run under nom de course 'Dimitri' and scored best finish (8th) in Renault's last race before they quit grand prix racing. There is a small portrait shot of him on page 101 in the book 'Courses Automobiles 1900-1914' by Jean-Pierre Rigouard.

What Alexey wrote is correct. I'd only precise that his co-driver was of German origin and so his name most probably should be Hertz. The date June 14 is according old calendar used in Russia up to 1918, it was June 27 (almost) everywhere else.

I also tend to think that this fatality wasn't racing but just road accident. The event was simple verst (1,0668 km) run in the straight line, so popular in Russia back then. There was no official practice, Vetchinin drove the car too fast and reckless at his own risk. After the tragedy occurred the race seems to have been cancelled.

Vetchinin was in fact a wealthy St. Petersburg resident, mad about speed. He used to say: 'What is good in my racing car that if I'd crash, I'd be killed immediately, at least without suffering too much'. Together with Count Alexander A. Mordvinov he instituted Coupe de Vitesse several times. They both can be regarded as the true racing drivers, of which were only a few in pre-WWI Russia.