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Old 23 Feb 2004, 09:31 (Ref:882626)   #1
BjornG
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Eugen Björnstad

I was just wondering if anyone has any information about norwegian Grand Prix driver Eugen Björnstad, who raced in the 30's. Mainly in Scandinavia, but he also participated i France and Spain as far as I know....

I don't know where to begin to find documentation about him...
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Old 23 Feb 2004, 09:45 (Ref:882644)   #2
Mischa Bijenhof
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These are Eugen Bjornstadt's documented results, thanks to Leif Snellman.

1934: DNF Vallentuna (Ice race) / DNF Norwegian GP (Ice race) / 1 Finnish GP / DNS Spanish GP / DNF Czech GP
1935: 5 Norwegian GP (Ice race) / 2 Vallentuna (Ice race) / 9 Finnish GP
1936: ? Långforssjön (Ice race) / 1 Hörken (Ice race) / 1 Swedish Winter GP (Ice race) / 1 Norwegian GP (Ice race) /
1 Finnish GP
1937: 1 Flaten (Ice race) / 1 Freden (Ice race) / 1 Turin GP (Voiturette) / 3 Napels (Voiturette) /
3 Finnish GP / DNF Vanderbilt Cup

He seems to have passed away in 1993.

Last edited by Mischa Bijenhof; 23 Feb 2004 at 09:46.
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Old 23 Feb 2004, 10:43 (Ref:882689)   #3
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Vitesse should be qualifying in the top 10 on the gridVitesse should be qualifying in the top 10 on the grid
After making his mark in Swedish and Finnish ice racing, in 1937 Bjornstadt was one of the members of the Voiturette "circus" which was active in the 1930s. Works teams were rare (ERA and Maserati, then later Alfa Romeo) but there were numerous private entrants who participated in races all over Europe. Italy and France and their North African colonies were the main centres for Voiturette racing, but there were other events in Germany, Britain, Switzerland, Monaco (once) and even Czechoslovakia.

Eugen had bought the original ERA, R1A, and his first race with it was in Turin. His technique was described by the Autocar as "quite unorthodox", owing much to ice-racing. I suspect he was pretty spectacular to watch, as ice racing involves a lot of tail sliding! At Turin he was running in 5th by lap 2, only to spin out and drop down the field. He recovered and gradually worked his way up the order again, catching and passing the leader René Dreyfus near the end of the race, to score a very surprising but deserved win.

A week later, at Posillipo, he proved this was no fluke, coming third behind the vastly experienced Trossi and Bira in much newer cars (R1A was by now four years old!)

He then moved on to the Avusrennen in Berlin: his equipment was unsuited to the high-speed blast down the Autobahn and he destroyed one of his tyres while running second to Charlie Martin, the eventual winner. Bjornstad was seventh, a lap down.

He then went to America, where he raced an Alfa Romeo 8C-2300 in the Vanderbilt Cup, retiring at the 60-lap mark.

As far as I can tell, he never raced again ...
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Old 23 Feb 2004, 11:49 (Ref:882732)   #4
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Vitesse should be qualifying in the top 10 on the gridVitesse should be qualifying in the top 10 on the grid
Going back further, Bjornstad seems to have started racing in late 1932 with a Monza Alfa Romeo, when he ran in the Munknasaloppet in Helsinki, finishing a strong fourth behind three of the best Scandinavian drivers of the time - Per-Viktor Widengren, Karl Ebb and Asser Wallenius - despite losing a wheel at one point in the race.

In 1933 he was third in a short ice race at Hjalmaren in Sweden, but retired from the major Finnish event the Elaintarha Ajot. In June, Bjornstad, Ebb and Widengren took a trip across the Baltic and entered the Lwow GP in Poland. There was little opposition, and after a race-long duel with Widengren, Bjornstad ran out the winner from Widengren when the Swede's car proved reluctant to start after a fuel stop. Some results give Renato Balestrero as second in this race, but he was later disqualified. Third was Pierre Veyron's Bugatti T51A voiturette.

That summer, the new Swedish Summer GP attracted the attention of a few foreign drivers and Whitney Straight, Louis Chiron and Antonio Brivio arrived at Vram to contest it. Chiron was eliminated in a multiple smash on the first lap, but Brivio and Straight showed their class and placed 1-2. Bjornstad was the best of the locals, in third place.

He did better in the Elaintarha Ajot this year, winning from the visiting Paul Pietsch, Ebb and Wallenius.

Later in the year, he made the long trip to San Sebastian for the Spanish GP, only to be disqualified before the race because his car was overweight! Just a week later, he was in Brno for the Masarykuv Okruh (aka the Czech GP), where he retired at about half distance.

Having modified his old Alfa to near Tipo B specification, he ran in just two small GP Formula races in 1935, the Bogstadtvannetloppet in Norway (5th) and the Vallentunaloppet (2nd). He was also, as noted above, 9th in the Formule Libre Finnish GP - see Leif's site for a full history of that event.

1936 again saw him restrict his activities to Scandinavia, but for 1937 he obviously decided the old Alfa was now totally outdated, despite winning a couple of ice races as noted above, and he bought the ERA to contest Voiturette events.
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Old 23 Feb 2004, 12:08 (Ref:882743)   #5
BjornG
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Thanks a lot for excellent info guys. I now know a lot about his career as a racing driver. I will now turn to more local resources to find out where in Norway he lived and some facts about his personal life. Thanks!
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Old 23 Feb 2004, 12:24 (Ref:882759)   #6
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Vitesse should be qualifying in the top 10 on the gridVitesse should be qualifying in the top 10 on the grid
You're welcome, BjornG! Please be sure to let us know anything you find - I'm sure Mischa, Leif and others will be as interested as I am. Especially in any information as to why he gave up racing in 1937 and where he was for the next fifty years or so!
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Old 23 Feb 2004, 15:17 (Ref:882914)   #7
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I can't help with what he did later in life, but can add that he started on motorcycles in his teens, and was still only 19 when he moved into four wheels with Fiats in 1929. He also raced a Bugatti T35 (briefly) and a 35C in Scandinavia before buying his famous Monza Alfa
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Old 23 Feb 2004, 20:45 (Ref:883294)   #8
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Vitesse should be qualifying in the top 10 on the gridVitesse should be qualifying in the top 10 on the grid
So, like Whitney Straight, he apparently retired from racing before the age of thirty! I'd never thought to check his birthdate.
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