1909 Monaco Regatta
The Monaco Motor-Boat Meeting
The Great International Race
(From Our Special Correspondent.)
Monte Carlo, April 9. "Eclipse first, the rest nowhere." Never before has this timeworn phrase been used to better advantage in describing speed contests than when applied to the result of the international motor-boat race for the Coupes des nations at Monaco this afternoon. The Wolseley-Siddeley racer, owned by the Duke of Westminster and flying the ensign of the Royal Yacht Squadron, easily beat all comers, established a world's record for 100 kilometres, and, figuratively speaking, left her German, American, French, and Italian competitors standing still.
The course was 100 kilometres, the first prize consisting of 10,000 francs and La Coupe du Ministre de la Marine Francaise. The entries were:--Germany, Liselotte, fitted with a Mercedes motor; America, Dixie, fitted with a Dixie motor; Standard, fitted with a Standard motor; England, Wolseley-Siddeley, fitted with a Wolseley-Siddeley motor; France, Fauber-Labor-Motobloc, with a Motobloc motor; Panhard-Levassor, with a Panhard-Levassor motor; Italy, Nibbio, with a F.I.A.T. motor. Of these, it is only fair to say that the out-and-out racers who for length and horse-power could really be classed together were the Americans Dixie and Standard, the British Wolseley, and the French Panhard-Levassor. The only chance for the remainder of picking up anything was in the case of something happening to the big ones, and something did happen. In the first place Standard, whose lines have been entirely altered since she has been here so as to give her greater stability, cracked a cylinder when out for a trial spin this morning and was unable to come to the starting line. All the others started. Putting on one side the easy win of the British boat, which was no surprise to those who knew that nothing had been left undone to bring her to the line in the best possible racing trim, the contest afforded two surprises. One was the breakdown of Panhard-Levassor, which was regarded as the one serious competitor which Wolseley ha d to face, and the other was the excellent running, up to a point, of Dixie. The American boat made such a poor show when she entered in the 50 kilometre race last Monday that many thought she was hopelessly outclassed. It was simply the heavy ground-swell, however, which made any attempt to open her out dangerous.
To-day the sea was smooth, with nut a moderate swell, and Dixie had the second prize in her locker until at the end of the thirteenth round she had to return to harbour with a broken pump. She never, however, seriously threatened the British boat, Wolseley overlapping her at the Cap Martin end of the course in her ninth round. Panhard abandoned the race after the twelfth circuit, she then being about three minutes behind Dixie. The struggle between Panhard and Dixie for second place was one of the most interesting phases of the contest, and when both these had retired, leaving the smaller fry to fight it out for the minor places, the only point was whether any accident would happen to Wolseley. She went on, however, with beautiful regularity and finished up all cool and running as sweetly as when she started. Her time for the 100 kilometres, including 32 turns, was 1hr. 35min. 9sec.--establishing, as already stated, a world's record.
April 11. Saturday was an off day, both morning and afternoon being allotted to cruiser handicaps. The distance in each case was 50 kilometres. Twenty-four boats started in the morning race for a first prize of 1,500f. (£60). Cyclamen, owned by M. Jacon and driven with a Mutel motor, won easily. Excelsior-Aster took second prize, and Nautilus-Anzani third prize.
In the afternoon the Prix de l'Esperance, a handicap for cruisers not having won any prize of the value of 500f. (£20), was run. The first prize was won by E.L.B. with a La Buire motor. Lanturlu-Aster was second with an Aster motor, and Lorraine VI, with a Lorrain-Dietrich motor was third. Moko was fourth, Brabanconne fifth and Delahaye-Nautilus VIII sixth. The E.L.B. won by 1min. 15sec.
The weather still held fine to-day when the concluding races of the meeting were held. These consisted of a short, straight dash of a marine mile and a flying kilometre, a total distance of 2,850 metres. The entries are divided into cruisers and racers, for the former a first prize of 1,500f. (£60) is given, and for the latter a cup given by the Prince of Monaco of the value of 10,000f. (£400), with 3,000f. (£120) added, and a second prize of 1,000f. (£40). These events are always most popular among the spectators, and the terraces were crowded with thousands of interested onlookers. The only British entry for the racing class was the Duke of Westminster's Wolseley-Siddeley, and it was generally anticipated that she would have no difficulty in outpacing the others, and by securing the Prince's cup create a record by winning all three of the principal events of the regatta. in this her supporters were disappointed.
There were five entries for the big race--Delahaye-Nautilus XIII, Duc, Labor-Fauber Motobloc, all three hydroplanes, Liselotte, the German boat which won in the four-cylinder small racing class on Tuesday, and Wolseley-Siddeley. Liselotte easily beat Delahaye-Nautilus XIII, Duc, and Labor- Fauber on Tuesday, when the race was over a distance of 50 kilometres, and there was more lump on the sea, but to-day she had not a chance. In the first heat Liselotte was pitted against Delahaye, Duc and Labor, but she was never in the running. Delahaye and the Duc finished close together, the former being ahead. This qualified them both for the final against WolseleySiddeley, the British boat having had a walk over in her heat.
Duc and Delahaye led over the line, the former with a slight advantage. Wolseley was about 30 yards behind. All three were naturally going all out, but Wolseley could not pull them back a foot. The hydroplanes skimmed and jumped along in front, Duc pulling up and getting on even terms with Delahaye, and amid frantic shouts from the shore they approached the winning post abeam and seemed to cross together in a dead-heat. The judge, however, separated them, and gave the victory to Duc by 1-5 of a second. The official times were:--Duc, 2min. 45 2-5sec.; Delahaye-Nautilus, 2min. 45 3-5sec. Wolseley was about 5sec. behind the time of last year's winner. She was given second prize, as two boats of the same class cannot take first and second prizes. Panhard-Levassor was 3min. 4sec. behind.
The following started in the first heat for the cruiser race:--Mais-Je-Vais-Piquer II, Labor III, Cyrano, Excelsior-Buire IV, and Excelsior-Buire V. Mais-Je-Vais-Piquer was first and Labor second. In the second heat Tele-Mors, Delahaye-Nautilus IX, Alex-Mercedes II and Megevet-Picker IX started and finished in the order given. This left Mais-Je-Vais-Piquer, Labor, Tele-Mors and Delahaye-Nautilus IX to compete in the final. An exciting race ended in a victory for Delahaye-Nautilus IX, Mais-Je-Vais-Piquer taking second prize.
At the conclusion of the racing the Prince of Monaco held a reception on board his yacht, the Princess Alice, and bestowed the Cross of the Order of St, Charles upon Mr. N. Robins, the manager of the marine motor department of the Wolseley Company, who has so ably handled the Duke of Westminster's boat during the races.
(Transcribed from the Times of London, Apr. 12, 1909, p. 3. )
[Thanks to Greg Calkins for help in preparing this page LF]
History Home Page
This page was last revised Thursday, April 01, 2010 .
Your comments and suggestions are appreciated. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
© Leslie Field, 2002