1957 VIII Criterium of Europe
ETTERBEEK, BRUSSELS JUNE 15/16, 1957
Taken from Aeromodeller August, 1957 Volume XXII Number 259
ELEVEN COUNTRIES participated in this most popular of all European C/L events run by the F.P.A.B. at the Etterbeek controline circuits under the able direction of Albert Roussel.
This year's meeting was to have a special significance, for with the coming World Speed Championships only two months distant, one could expect to pre-view new motors and models. Such was not to be, for although the Criterium was well supported, the much vaunted Italian speedsters with new twin-cylinder Barbini's and pressure-fed Super Tigre's were conspicuous by their absence. So we saw nothing that could be claimed as new. However, we were not to be disappointed, for speeds were high and the quality of flying in all classes better than ever before.
To a large extent, participating teams pay their ow, way to the Criterium and the added keenness to gain value for one's outlay normally pervades the fine arena!. Regrettably this spirit was sadly lacking among the Nottingham contingent in the British team, who chose to miss the first T/R heat and Combat round by arriving two hours late. Britain had been drawn number one, in the sequence of team appearance and it was Dave Platt who had to open the meeting with his beautifully finished Veco 19 stunter, fourth in the gold trophy only a few days before and quite the best finished mole model in entire Brussels city.
Dave did his best, but high loop and eights lost valuable points and an ultimate twelfth position realistically demonstrated the need for more home contests to elevate our British standards. Dave had to show the way through the newly-introduced reverse wing-over, and the rest of the entry flew with a motley assortment of power-plants in endeavour to follow his lead.
Stouffs with a Fox 35 Thunderbird and Breukink (Holland) with A.M.35 in scaled-down A.P.S, Thunderbolt, were impeccable through this manoeuvre, which really sorts the men from the boys. Batllo had a terrific "splat" when his up line broke in a snatch turn, his fellow countrymen Pedemonte and the jovial Carcia (using the Miles 5 c.c. to very good effect) had inverted prangs through taking stunts too close in the strong wind, and altogether five models hit the tarmac when their pilots tried too hard to gain points. Egervary from Budapest used a McCoy 36 with balloon tank and had a smoothness of flight pattern that we rarely see in G.B., while for motor runs, the O.S. Max 35 used by Diemer of Germany evoked considerable admiration.
In each particular stunt, individual performances shone brighter than the rest. Rieger with his fast pattern after the famous Hewitt Bros. style, completed every loop and eight a bare metre from the ground. Garcia took off and landed on a trike a/c so softly that one could not detect the contact point, Deimer executed F.A.I. horizontal eights as tight as they should be, and the Italian, F. Contini, threw in some Palmer style square outside loops to make up for forgetting the reverse wing-over. But above all shone Stouffs, so smooth, precise and clean in all but the overhead eights.
In team race, our unfortunate start was overshadowed by an incident that will forever be a lesson to two very regretful fliers. Bassett and Gibbs knew they had to beat 5:12 on the clock if they were to gain a place in the results.
This time (over 30 seconds faster than last year's record) had been set for 10 kilometres by Stoufls at the top of the T/R list and the lilac racer from London was the only one on the field that could approach the figure. Most of the 26 entry was Oliver Tiger powered, but few outside of Sweden, Belgium and Spain had the 92 m.p.h. airspeed to match the British Racers. In the decisive heat, Bassett's Oliver stopped after the third hectic tankful and a voice yelled: "you're finished". The two others dawdled on, the time was barely five minutes and during the moment of elation, an ominous glance from the timekeeper/recorder showed that all was not well. It was the 96th lap four more to go-and Gibbs had left the centre before the race was finished! Thus we were back where we started once more!
After some discourse, it was decided that the three fastest racers should take part in the final, and British hopes were pinned on the second day's session, when Howard and Bassett should be able to pull off faster heats. There were nine racers in the running, all faster than last year's winner, and no less than four of them were Spanish-using ex-Forester's engines and getting a fantastic 60-64 laps on only 10 c.c. of special brew. Like most others, they were adding a "dash" of nitrobenzine to the mixture; but the rest of the fuel was a desirable secret. Came the second day, and tremendous victory. Bassett turned the needle down, and his Oliver cut as it crossed the 100 lap line at 5:03 after only two stops.
We doubt if 10 kilometres could ever be covered at a faster speed in F.A.I, racing. But the time was not for the leader board. Under F.A.I. Rules, each racer must qualify through two heats to take part in a final and the earlier debacle was enough to eliminate all British hopes. It was a bitter pill, admirably consumed by our most efficient and charming team manager, Miss Morgan, to whom all credit for pushing us hard into the third Criterium placing.
The Belgo-Spanish final was now a matter for speculation. Stouffs had won stunt, was seventh in Speed and his countrymen looked to him for Victory. A bundle of nerves, poor Henry could hardly locate the squeeze bottle on the vent for the warm-up-when a snap check on tanks was made to see that all was fair. This demoralising move by the organisation, and its effect, though not indicative of any breach of the rules, capably handled our British team throughout all the trials and was clearly evident on the faces of the four Spanish and two Belgian participants.
With all found to be satisfactory, at 10 c.c., the race was soon on, and the long range of Gorgocena's jet black model put him nine laps ahead at Stouffs' first stop. Fernandez was unlucky (all the Spaniards had atrocious luck throughout the meeting) and set off undercompressed-which on 60-lap range is a fatal error. Then Gorgocena was down - right into Batllo's hands, and more bad luck, for the prop was broken! Stouffs made it level pegging, then gained another nine laps during the prop-change, and came down again. Now it was up to Gorgocena to gain advantage; but Stouffs made a quick pit stop and his pilot Janssens used all his experience to bring "Phfft" into a close first place, only one second ahead.
Speed was a repeat of Florence with lower speeds, and a reshuffle of positions. Smejkal was not well, suffering from the close heat and heart trouble, but nevertheless put up a fine show in holding third place to compatriot Sladky and our "Gadget" Gibbs. The Czechs had the same S.K. engines now adopted by the MVVS. Institute as standard with rear disc, but it is notable that a portside exhaust and crankcase bottom induction are used on Sladky's own motor, clearly the fastest of all 2.5's. His props are marked for static r.p.m. and average 17,300 for a 51' in. x 8 in. p. with broad square-tipped blades.
Super Tigre variations ranged from the Swiss Hans Fawer's pressure feed to Hungarian Vitkotitz's rear disc, all sounding crisp and fast in contrast to the deceptive ground running note of the Cater Nipper. Beset by bladders which burst inside fuselages, short runs and slow starts, Gibbs was clearly second to Sladky; but one wondered what might have happened had Batllo not broken both his special engines and been obliged to rely on a standard Tigre.
Speed 2.5 c.c. (13 entrants) Best flight. of 3
|1||Sladky||Czech.||M.V.V.S. 2.5 mod.||129.8|
|3||Smejkal||Czech.||M.V.V.S. 2.5 mod.||120.5|
|4||Battlo||Spain||Super Tigre G.20L||115.5|
|5||Vitkovits||Hungary||Super Tigre mod.||111.8|
|6||Rautek||Austria||Super Tigre G.20||107.5|
Also: Holland, Switzerland, Italy, Czechoslovakia
- Entrant Country Motor Speed (mi/hr)
- Gorgocena Spain Dynajet 141
- Sladky Czech Letmo 130
Jet (3 entrants)