Bernd RosemeyerBernd Rosemeyer

There are some drivers who acquire their racing skill through practise whilst there are others who are naturals. During Rosemeyer's short yet successful career in racing he proved his natural talent. Before joining the Auto Union team Bernd had never raced a car, only motorbikes. Bernhard Rosemeyer was born on 14th October 1909 in Lingen, Germany. He was well known in the town for his motorbike riding skills. In 1930 his racing career began with grass track racing then two years later to road racing on a BMW bike then later a 500cc NSU in his first race of 1933 he was spotted by the NSU team manager and signed up. He won six races that year and was promptly signed for the DKW works team in 1934. DKW was part of Auto Union and Rosemeyer heard a lot about the new Grand Prix cars and began to pester Willy Walb the Auto Union team manager to allow him a test drive. He eventually got his chance in November 1934. Rosemeyer was well known for his happy, buoyant character and on the day of the drive he turned up wearing a suit. "Where are your overalls?" asked Walb. Rosemeyer replied "Well this is a great occasion for me, my premiere in a racing car, so I thought I'd dress for it." "Get some overalls and get into the car," Walb said shortly. By the end of the day Bernd had set a lap time unequalled by any other Auto union team member other than Hans Stuck; Bernd Rosemeyer was signed on as reserve driver. Rosemeyer was not to be content with this however and days before the AVUS GP he wrote on Walb's calendar "Will Rosemeyer race at AVUS?" After days of this Walb finally cracked and Bernd was allowed to drive the Auto Union on one of the fastest circuits in the world in his first ever motorcar race on 26th May 1935. AVUS however had none of the fast and dangerous corners at Tripoli and little could go wrong on the two six mile straights. During the race Hans Stuck immediately went in to the lead which he never lost and Rosemeyer held second some way behind, but on the fourth lap his tyre shed its tread at speed, spectators watched him bring the car into the pits with apparent ease as he was forced to retire. Bernd certainly made an impact in his second race the Eifel GP at the Nurburgring as he had the bravado to pass the considerably more experienced Caracciola in front of the main grandstand taking the lead. It was not to last though as on the final lap Rudi got past and won by 1.8 seconds.

In 1935 he won his first major race, the Masark Grand Prix. In 1936 he won the German, Swiss, and Italian Grand Prix to become European champion. In 1937 he won the German Grand Prix again, the Vanderbilt Cup, the Acerbo Cup, and the Donnington Grand Prix.