The Second is The First, and Fourth Shall be The Greatest

The Second is The First, and Fourth Shall be The Greatest - Racing Daydreams by Colin Johnston

22nd May 1921 – one hundred years ago.

A 28 year-old man is about to take the start for his first real motor race.

Last year he retired his 600cc Della Ferrera motorcycle from the Circuito Internazionale di Cremona. In March he won the Coppa Verona regularity trial, bimbling along at average of 39.709 kph on his Ansaldo Tipo 4. Now it’s time for a proper motor race!

The race is the first Circuito del Garda, at Salò in the Province of Brescia. The car once again shall be the Ansaldo Tipo 4. The man?

Surely you have guessed by now, no?

Let me quote Mario Morasso – lawyer, journalist, futurist writer – who was in Salò that day.

“I really enjoyed looking at the competitors, each of whom has a special face, different from their everyday faces. The Englishman, Scales, flies by with his goggles around his mouth and his eyes uncovered, who knows why. The Conellis, smiling and unmoved, are wearing the latest fashion beneath their overalls. Nuvolari is tight lipped, it seems as if he is carrying the car on his own powerful shoulders… and, finally, admired by all, Signora Avanzo, cool and smiling.”

Tazio Giorgio Nuvolari would finish the day second in class, fourth overall.

A beginning.

The start of a thread that would run to 1950, through some of the greatest moments in our sport. 

105 wins from 353 races.

“The greatest driver of the past, the present, and the future”.

Sometimes, all you have to do is summon up the courage to take the start.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Related Articles

Racing Daydreams - Colin Johnston - Ards TT - BBC
Featured Northern Ireland Sports Car Racing

Race to Disaster – The Ards TT

The phone vibrated on my office desk. A glance to see the notification… email… subject line, “TT Film”. Curious, I locked the work laptop and read the message… it was about the Ards TT. Dear Colin, I came across your website in the course of doing some research for a film I am making for the BBC […]

Racing Daydreams - Behra Grave
Featured France Grands Prix

Ici Repose Jean Behra

Follow tramline 1 in Nice towards its northern extremity – until it is just you and some shoppers heading to Saint-Sylvestre. Hop off at Gorbella – walk past Lidl & Monoprix. Take a left, up the hill – to Mont Claire Virenque – and there opposite the lycée you will find Cimetière Saint Barthélémy… and […]

Racing Daydreams - Lautenschlager 1914 ACF
Grands Prix

Bill Mason’s Finest – Racing Mercedes

How lucky we are that film-maker Bill Mason shared our passion, and used his talent & time to leave a legacy for future generations. From the outset, that first Shell film of the 1949 British Grand Prix, Bill’s work attracted & inspired followers of motor racing. Increasingly, as the decades have passed, the films have […]