Larger-than-life in both stature and enthusiasm, Horace Gould would literally squeeze his frame into a Formula 2 Cooper-Bristol T23 in order to take part in his first Formula One World Championship race in 1954. Handicapped by his rather portly size and a smaller 2.0-liter engine, Gould would go to just about every possible end to have the best equipment and the best opportunity in Formula One. And this drive and determination would land him his best opportunity beginning in 1955.
While not lacking a few pounds of weight, Horace Gould the car dealer would not have the excess pounds available from his Bristol-based business to have the very best for his Formula One career. However, whatever Gould lacked in wealth, he made up for in determination and willingness. Horace would prove this point by approaching Prince Bira about the use of his Maserati 250F.
Prince Bira would earn himself a practically new Maserati 250F when he lent his chassis, 2504, to the Owen Racing Organization for use in the 1954 British Grand Prix. Ron Flockhart would get the drive as part of a developmental program and would end up crashing the car heavily during the race. This would leave Owen Racing to have to make amends with Bira. The decision would then be made to give Bira the 250F that had just been delivered to the Owen Racing Organization. Therefore, chassis 2509, which had been delivered to Owen Racing, would become known as 2504.
Waking up after a victory in the New Zealand Grand Prix in January of 1955, Prince Bira would take a look at his life and would decide that it was time his racing career had come to an end before his very life came to an end. Therefore, from that moment on, Bira would not take part in any more World Championship grand prix. However, he would still take part in a couple of non-championship grand prix before he finally called it quits.
Prince Bira's final race would come at the BRDC International Trophy race. Gould recognized this was his opportunity. He would approach Bira, who would end up finishing the race in 3rd place on that 7th of May, and would offer to buy his Maserati 250F from Bira. Bira would agree and Gould now had the top flight car he needed.
But having the top flight car was just one part of the extensive equation that would need to be in place in order for there to be success. While Gould now had the car, he would need spare parts and other components to help maintain his Formula One effort. This was not going to be a cheap and easy affair. Being a car dealer from Bristol, Gould knew he would not have the finances to buy all of the parts and equipment at regular prices. There was a means by which he could make it work but it would require him to take a step of dedication not many would be willing to make.
Gould knew to be able to keep his Formula One dreams afloat he would have to beg, borrow and hopefully not have to steal any component he might need for his Maserati. And there was no better place to do this than right outside the Maserati factory in Modena, Italy itself. Therefore, Gould would make the difficult decision and would move to Modena, Italy in order to be right there by the Maserati factory.
Having made his commitment to his racing program, Gould would begin to make final preparations for the start of what would be his 1955 campaign. And, seeing that he made the commitment to move from Bristol to Modena, Gould would find many of the European non-championship races would be open to him as he wouldn't have to cross the Channel so many times.
In fact, the first race of Gould's 1955 season would come on the 29th of May on the European continent. Just about a straight shot west from Modena, about 10 hours away, was the ancient city of Albi. Once one of the popular stops for grand prix racing, the city would prepare to host the 17th Grand Prix d'Albi and Gould would be one just eleven that would take to the grid in preparation for the start of the race.
Kicking off his Formula One career the year before, Gould would not venture away from his native England to take part in a race, either championship or non. However, with his decision to go all in with his racing career the city of Albi, in France, would be the site of his first race of 1955, and what a site it would be.
A veritable treasure trove of splendid architectural history and of art dating back throughout many generations, Albi certainly would have to be considered an absolute gem of a city, an artistic masterpiece in its own right. Therefore, it was naturally fitting that such a city would become one of those on the forefront of motor racing history and a popular draw for a number of years.
Though the city itself might forever be remembered and recognized by the Cathedrale Sainte-Cecile that dominates the skyline, what most every motor racing driver would remember and recall about Albi, especially before the middle 1950s would be easily summed up in one word—speed.
Initially nothing more than a triangular-shaped circuit with very few flowing esses, the circuit was one of the ultimate high-speed venues in its day. If not for the tight hairpin turns the circuit's average speed would have likely beaten some of the fastest circuits in the world. However, by the middle of the 1950s, Albi would be anything but a picture of its former self.
Originally, Albi measured in at 5.7 miles in length. Then, in 1934, one corner of the triangular-shaped circuit would be cut off but the circuit would still be ultra-fast and would still be some 5.5 miles in length. But then, in 1954, the circuit would change dramatically. Gone would be the majority of the triangular circuit. Instead, just a 1.85 mile portion would be used. Being quite a bit shorter than its former self, the average speeds of the Albi circuit would drop quite significantly.
Still, Albi would present Gould with his first opportunity to face foreign competition with a car capable of competing. Gould would do his best to get used to the 250F quickly, and would perform well in practice. However, he would not be as near as fast as the 250F being piloted by Frenchman Andre Simon.
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