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Photo Album

St Albans International
Mostly 1958

The International meeting has always been the principle event of the year and until the last few years could be guaranteed to have visitors from France and Italy and further afield such as Australia, USA, Russia and Armenia. From the late 1920s, Gems Suzor visited regularly, and won on numerous occasions and was still competing there thirty years later.

Marelli, Malfatti, Grenier, Ostroska, Fontanesi, Mercier, Menant
Suzor, Mercier jun
Year unknown. Gems Suzor and Bobby Grenier. Help please.

In 1958 Paul Mercier from the Bordeaux Club won both the Ford Cup and the St Albans Speed Championship. His run in the Ford was the first ever in this country at over 80mph. Ivo Malfatti from Milan was second to him in both competitions but nearly 10mph slower.

French boats Gems Suzor, Jean Menant, Mercier jun. Mario Ostroska, Paul Mercier

To comply with MPBA regulations, all boats had to run with silencers requiring all the guests to fit these for the meeting. Suzor's engine could not be silenced owing to its unusual design so he was forced to run with a commercial motor, putting him into the CR Class. Dickie Phillips won the C Class for home built engines nearly 20mph slower than the McCoys and SuperTigres.

Ivo Malfatti with 'Flash' hydro Carlo Fontanesi's unique aluminium boat

After the main event, a demonstration run was arranged so that the French boats could run without silencers. Mercier was slower with his unsilenced boat though. Only Stan Clifford with the 30cc 'Poly Ester' came close to challenging the foreign boats, finishing third at 71mph. Remarkable that there were over fifty entries for the straight running and nomination events and seventeen hydros, a very busy day, severely restricting the number of runs possible.

Stan Clifford Jean Menant, Paul Mercier, Mario Ostroska
Mayoress of St Albans congratulates Mercier junior Mario Ostroska and Paul Mercier servicing their boats.
Menant, Mercier, Ostroska, Fontanesi, Malfatti, Marelli
Mercier jun, Suzor
Fontanesi, Malfatti, Marelli, John and Ken Hyder

Two years after these photos were taken, Ivo Malfatti won the first of his European Championships at Vienna followed by two golds and a silver in East Germany the following year.