1921 Avus-Rennen – The Complete Story

The Third Race

The third race for Group XB ran over 160km or 8 laps. It was for cars up to 10-Steuer-PS. Before the start, the entries from Fritz von Opel and Breckheimer, as well as Alfred Köllner were withdrawn. In the line-up for the other cars, an amendment was made at Horch, with Enders driving instead of Lehmann, and the second now being driven by Willi Baier instead of Tannhäuser. Fritz Koch took control of one of the Steigerwagens which had originally being assigned to Walter Steiger himself.

The starter’s arm is raised as Baier and Ehrhardt get ready to pull away

Around 3:30pm the starter released the ten cars remaining in the field and in the following order:- Kellner and Noll (Row 1), Walb and Reif (Row 2),

After the first lap, the Simson of Reif had been overtaken and the Steiger of Koch lost much ground with his engine misfiring. Noll in the other Steiger set the pace.

On the second lap, Noll set another fast time and stretched his lead. Meanwhile, Walb’s Benz was overtaken by the entire field and was eliminated due to engine problems. Both Horch cars were very close, but were not lapping that quickly on the course. Koch in the Steiger overtook the Ehrhardt car shortly before the Südkurve, and looked to be gaining ground. Hörner in his Benz had already moved to the top and slowly began to make good ground.

On the fourth lap Hörner overtook Reif in the Simson and improved his lap time by 8 seconds.

And then, very quickly, the field began to thin out. On Lap 5, leader Noll hit engine trouble and had to retire. The Adler of Kellner, who had kept up with the top runners until then, was also forced to retire due to engine problems. Jung remained at the back of the field with his Simson and finally gave up when the motor stubbornly balked the lap before. Meanwhile, the Horch cars, which were improving their pace lap after lap, still slower than those ahead and fell back visibly.

In the lead group, Hörner was driving his Benz with amazing certainty. The Simson of Reif fought with all his might to make up ground. The Horch cars were too far off the pace to mount any kind of challenge, but were holding third and fourth place, while the Steiger of Koch continued to circle at a reduced pace.

The north gate provided a great view for the thousands of spectators in attendance.

On the sixth lap, the two Horch cars battled amongst themselves, with Baier defeating his team rival and pulling away slightly. Friedrich in the Ehrhardt passed the slowing Steiger of Koch. At the front, Hörner lapped at an impressive pace and inexorably dominated the field.

On the seventh lap, the race between Hörner (Benz) and Reif (Simson) seemed to simmer down. The rest of the field were no longer able to follow the pace of the two lead drivers and the Simson car was forced to stop on the final lap due to a valve issue.

By now, the skies were darkened and a fairly heavy rain had set in. However, such was Hörner’s pace, on his final lap he encountered the Ehrhardtwagen of Friedrich, which had been lapping well off the pace of everyone else and was almost a whole lap behind. In the Nordkurve, Friedrich defended his position, but then had to accept defeat on the straight just before the Südkurve. Hörner crossed the line as the winner, five minutes ahead of his nearest rivals in the Horch cars. Despite starting his last lap after Hörner had completed his race, Friedrich was able to continue for another lap and finished down in fourth.

24th September – 2:30pm – Class XB – 8 laps x 160km

 1  6  Franz Hörner             Benz 10/30       1:19'57 (121.1kph)
 2  12 Willi Baier	        Horch 10/30      1:24'19
 3  7  Enders                   Horch 10/30      1:26'16
 4  13 Hans Friedrich           Ehrhardt 10/40   1:30'59

    5  Otto Reif                Simson 10/28     6 laps (Valves)
    9  Fritz Koch               Steiger 10/50    7 laps
    2  Alfred Noll              Steiger 10/50    4 laps (Engine)
    1  Willi Kellner            Adler 10/45      4 laps (Engine)
    11 Fritz Jung               Simson 10/28     3 laps (Engine)
    3  Willi Walb               Benz 10/30       1 lap (Engine)
    4  Fritz von Opel           Opel 10/28       Entry Withdrawn
    10 Franz Breckheimer        Opel 10/30       Entry Withdrawn
    8  Alfred Köllner           Adler 10/45      Entry Withdrawn

Record Runs

4:30pm – 3km

The record attempts hardly grabbed anyone’s attention, since the entrants and their car numbers were not announced before the start and no results were communicated. The ‘Blitzen’ Benz with its 200bhp engine did not run due to transmission failure, while the other Benz had engine misfires and did not achieve very impressive results. Hörner and Walb were to be the drivers. The 150-horsepower Opel car suffered engine problems and couldn’t drive at its full potential, but it did get some running. Meanwhile, little was reported about the two 45bhp Adler’s that were run by Irion and Kellner. It’s possible the cars were pushed a little too hard by their drivers owing to the shortness of the straights available to them.

Sunday – Race 1  [NEXT]