From the motorsport archive: on this day in 1912

99 targa florio scat front corner

Cyril Snipe won the Targa Florio in a Scat…

Brit becomes first foreign driver to win Targa Florio

The Targa Florio was always a huge challenge, and especially with the crude cars of the very early days.

We said of the 1912 edition: “The race started at midnight on Saturday, and consisted of an entire circuit of Sicily as near the coast as the road permitted. The total distance was approximately 656 miles, the same ground not being covered twice. In addition to the award to the first to finish, prizes were given to the first car passing through each village and city en route.”

We were delighted to announce that the winner of the 1912 edition was British, albeit in an Italian car. Cyril Snipe “received the whole of his motor education in the garage of Newton and Barnet Ltd, Manchester, the English concessionaire for Scat cars”, and presumably came to the manufacturer’s attention as a driver when visiting its factory in Turin in 1909 to sample the latest chassis.

He won the Targa Florio in 23hr 37min, having averaged 27.8mph – 1hr 30min before Lancia’s Agostino Garetto and with Fiat’s Giuseppe Giordano a further 34min back.

It was the second consecutive victory for Scat, and the company would win again in 1914. It survived until 1929, when financial troubles led to its absorption by Fiat.

Brooklands Bonanza

While Snipe was winning in Italy, his compatriots were enjoying a great Whitsun meeting at Brooklands. Nine races were held for cars and motorcycles, the best saved till last, as the Mercedes-Benz of Alan Mander, “showing wonderful acceleration”, pipped the Benz of AH Arkwright to the line. They were then treated to the spectacle of a two-lap, 12-mile race of 14 aircraft, won by a Sopwith.

Source: Autocar

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