“… at about 240 mph the joints in the concrete road surface are felt like blows, setting up a corresponding resonance through the car, but this disappears at a greater speed. Passing under bridges the driver receives a terrific blow to the chest, because the car is pushing air aside, which is trapped by the bridge. When you go under a bridge, for a split second the engine noise completely disappears and then returns like a thunderclap when you are through”
300,000 people had gathered on a rainy and fog swept Nürburgring to see the first major race of the year on German soil, the AVUS race being cancelled as the track was under re-construction. As the cars lined up for the start the fog lifted but the heavy rain continued.
Nuvolari took the start followed by Caracciola coming up from third row of the grid and Rosemeyer. As expected it was rain master Caracciola who soon took the lead after passing the Alfa at the Karussell curve. After two laps Nuvolari charged and took back the lead and soon afterwards Caracciola had to retire with engine failure. The increase of the engine volume to 4.7 litres had weakened the cylinder block. Von Brauchitsch now held third place behind Nuvolari and Rosemeyer. Then the fog came back with dramatic results. Rosemeyer closed in on Nuvolari and passed the Alfa, coming out from Südkehre to the joy of the spectators and continued into Hatzenbach and out of sight in the fog. The fierce race between the Auto Union and the three Scuderia Ferrari Alfa Romeos continued, von Brauchitsch having retired with the same problems as Caracciola.
In places the sight was reduced to 20 - 40 meters and the drivers slowed down, except for Rosemeyer who continued to race at high speed. Nuvolari tried to follow, but could do nothing to Rosemeyer’s extraordinary ability to see through the fog. The Auto Union driver opened up the gap to the Italian by 30 seconds per lap and went on to take a remarkable victory.
Nuvolari led home a good Ferrari 2-3-4, Lang finishing 5th as best Mercedes-Benz driver. The other Auto Unions came home a disappointing 7-8-9. After the race Rosemeyer became known as the “Nebelmeister”.
The day after the race, Bernd was asked by the Auto Union team to return to the Ring to do some filming for Auto Union, which gave Bernd an idea, according to Elly’s biography:
He had long wanted to take me around the Ring in his racing car and here was his chance. ‘This is a golden opportunity, Elly. You simply sit on the edge of my seat and I will drive very carefully, but fast enough that you may get an idea of what its like when I’m racing.’
I was all for it, but my enthusiasm evaporated after the very first corner! At every bend I was ready to swear an oath that we would never get round and I was almost thrown out of the Auto Union by the centrifugal force. As I clung on for dear life my husband laughed himself silly. ‘What are you complaining about? I can’t drive fast at all on these running-in plugs. Dawdling along like this wouldn’t get us tenth place!’ I was by no means ashamed of my timidity. On the contrary, I was grateful for the chance to get some idea of what Bernd got up to on a circuit and it was abundantly clear to me that driving a racing car was infinitely more difficult than flying.
According to the records, Rosemeyer put in a 12-minute lap with Elly on board; his qualifying time was 9 minutes and 46 seconds.
Elly’s book about Rosemeyer career is one of my fav books. You should take a look on amazon, there are some in good condition and at great price!
75 years ago Bernd Roseyer crashed while trying to beat the land speed record set by Rudolf Caracciola that same morning. Some hours later winds raised and, eventhough drivers and engineers warned Bernd about the danger, he wanted to try the run to beat Caracciola.
On the first run the car engine didnt get to its optimal temperature because of the cold, he “only” reached 429.29 kmh .
After closing a bit its radiator, the car set off for the second run, but never returned back…
“…the circuit was covered in fog and drizzle. When the cars left the start the fog had lifted, but it was raining steadily. Rudolf Caracciola(known as the Rainmaster) led for the first two laps in his Mercedes, but was then passed by Tazio Nuvolari on his Alfa Romeo, with Bernd in hot persuit. Caracciola retired and Bernd closed relentlesly on Nuvolari, passing him behind the pits, to the indescribable rejoicing of the thousands in the packed grandstands. Then the fog returned and everyone slowed dramatically - except Rosemeyer, who slowed hardly at all, lapping over thirty secongds faster than Nuvolari and finally completing the ten laps 2 minutos and 11 seconds ahead of him.
I listened in to those laps on the radio with tears in my eyes. I could hardly believe that it was my Bernd, whom radio announcer at the circuit was congratulating, his words tumbling over each other in excitement.
It was really at this race that the Rosemeyer legend began, with that extraordinary victory in the fog and he was thence-forth known as Der Nebelmeister - The Fog Master.
Rosemeyer! by Elly Beinhorn Rosemeyer and Chris Nixon