TeamsErnst Klodwig: 1953 Formula One Season By Jeremy McMullen
In the years after World War II, Germany was in shambles. Its motor racing scene was in a state of disarray itself. Many of the main automotive manufacturers had to take time to get back up to production after the serious pounding they received form aerial bombing during the war. This fostered a state of independence and experimentation. It meant German racers had to look to themselves to build their own machines. But that meant they had the freedom to create designs that would seem to be the most competitive to them. One of the more radical approaches was Ernst Klodwig's Heck.
Ernst Klodwig was immediately recognizable in a race particularly because of the car in which he drove. While rear-engined cars were nothing new, in the years immediately following the end of the Second World War, the technology was certainly rather experimental and rather foreign. However, one thing Klodwig's Heck, or 'rear-engined', car certainly had in its favor was reliability. Klodwig would utilize this reliability advantage to earn a second place result in the East German Formula 2 Championship in 1952.
Even by 1952, the Heck was one Eigenbau, or 'home-built', that was past its prime. It had good speed and great reliability when it first debuted a couple of years prior. However, by 1952, all the car really had going for itself was its reliability. Nonetheless, the fragile state of motor racing in Germany at the time would enable Klodwig to take advantage. 1953; however, seemed to be one year too long for the chassis.
In early May, Klodwig would put his Heck through its first test of the 1953 season. It would be his first glimpse into what the season would hold for him and his aged machine.
In early May of 1953, the man originally from Aschersleben would travel to Chemnitz, in East Germany for the first round of the East German Formula 2 Championship. The first round would take place at a new venue. The race was the 1st edition of the Strassenrennen Karl-Mark-Stadt. The race consisted of 16 laps of a 3.1 mile autobahn circuit to the northeast of Chemnitz.
Chemnitz, or 'Karl-Marx-Stadt' as it would be known between 1953 and 1990, had been an important target during World War II. Auto Union had its headquarters in the city. In addition, the city also boasted an oil refinery that was a frequent target for bombing. Drawing its meaning from 'stony brook' which references the small tributary of the Zwickauer Mulde running through its downtown, the city is situated in the foothills of the Ore mountains and had been a center for textile and trade during medieval times. After World War II, much of the city lay in ruin. By the early 1950s, Karl-Marx-Stadt would begin to expand outward leaving the city center rather abandoned and the outlying areas beginning to build up. The autobahn network would help to spread Karl-Marx-Stadt outward. It would also provide the perfect venue for a motor race.
After the death of the favorite East German racer Paul Griefzu, Edgar Barth had taken his place as the dominant East Driver driver. Barth, driving an EMW 52/53, would go on to take the pole for the 16 lap race. With the travel restrictions beginning to get more-stringent there would only be one West German in the race.
Helmut Zimmer wouldn't start the race in his Eigenbau. The only West German in the race wouldn't last much longer as Willi Heeks would have his clutch fail on him during the early laps of the race.
All was not well for the pole-sitter as well. Barth had looked good during the early going but just past halfway trouble started to show up for his EMW. The engine wouldn't run as it should, and as a result, Barth would retire from the race after 10 laps. It was found he had magneto troubles.
This threw the race wide open for the rest of the field including Klodwig and his old Heck. Rudolf Krause was also running well in his Reif-BMW. He would be followed by Karl Weber in his Werkmeister-BMW.
Heading into the final lap of the race, the reliability of the Heck was again keeping Klodwig in the race. Though he really didn't have the pace of some of the faster entries in the race, the reliability was keeping his chances alive. However, he still had to finish the last lap of the race. And this would actually prove to be most difficult.
A sign that a car has reached its limits is when even a normally reliable car begins to suffer failures. On the last lap of the race, trouble would visit the Heck. The trouble would be too much for Klodwig to continue and he would retire from the race.
Krause would show good pace in his Reif. He would go on to set the fastest lap of the race, which would be more than what Karl Weber could handle. Therefore, Krause would take just a little more than forty-three minutes to cover the 16 laps and take the victory. His average speed of 69 mph would be more than what Weber could handle and he would just hold on to finish the race 2nd. Heinz Melkus would bring his Veritas-ARO home in 3rd.
The previous season, Klodwig had used his superior reliability to earn valuable points-paying results when many faster competitors fell out. 1953; however, wouldn't start well. Klodwig's pace wasn't certainly one of the fastest, but the retirement certainly wouldn't bode well if the pattern were to continue.
Almost a month would pass before the next race in either East or West Germany. The Eifelrennen happened to be the next race on the calendar but Klodwig would not attend the race. Since the Nurburgring had become the site for the World Championship even the Eifelrennen had begun to attract a number of very competitive foreign entries. These foreign entries were driving the latest and had speed and reliability to spare it seemed. A good result for a German was a hard thing to come by. The political landscape was also beginning to play a part in motor racing as well. Not surprisingly, only Edgar Barth would attend the race. He was East Germany's best chance for a good result. For drivers like Klodwig, the wait would extend into early June before taking part in another race.
The next race on the calendar for Enrst Klodwig would be a race memorializing one of East Germany's fallen heroes in motor racing. On the 7th of June, Klodwig was preparing his car to take part in the 1st Paul Greifzu Gedachtnisrennen. The race took place on the autobahn circuit south of Dessau; the very circuit in which Paul Griefzu had died during practice the year before.
While still the same venue, the event would be renamed in honor of the fallen hero. The renaming would come because of the fact the race now took on a different distinction. In 1952, the grand prix at Dessau had been something of a non-championship race. It didn't count towards the East German Championship. In 1953, it would all change. The 5th Dessauer Auto und Motorradrennen; the 1st Paul Greifzu Gedachtnisrennen, would become the second round of the East German Formula 2 Championship.
The 1st Paul Greifzu Gedachtnisrennen would bear something of a similarity with the first round of the East German Championship, the race at Karl-Marx-Stadt. The length of the two circuits were practically identical at 3.1 miles. Therefore, the race distance would also be the same at 16 laps, or, 50 miles. Even the type of circuit was practically the same.
Dessau was another circuit that utilized the autobahn. Unlike Karl-Marx-Stadt, the Dessau circuit only utilized the autobahn for about half of its length. The rest of the circuit made its way through the heavily-wooded Mosigkauer-Heide. Even though about half of the circuit disappeared into the woods, the overpass over the autobahn provided onlookers with an incredible sight as the cars would come streaking right under them headed down the highway. This overpass provided the lucky onlookers on the bridge an almost unparalleled view of the cars coming out of the woods and powering their way down and back along the highway.
The speeds reached at Dessau were certainly more than that reached at Karl-Marx-Stadt and certainly more than the Heck could really maintain while also maintaining its high level of reliability. Therefore, Klodwig would abandon the Heck for this race and would instead enter a Veritas chassis.
The race would be a memorable one. Yes it was renamed in honor of Paul Greifzu, but his spirit would live on as his famous Greifzu car would be seen racing once again. Greifzu's widow would allow the car to be entered in the race with Bobby Kohlrausch at the wheel.
As the race would get underway, it would become apparent it really didn't matter whether Klodwig had stuck with his aged piece of machinery or not. Within minutes of the start of the race, Klodwig would find himself in trouble. In fact, out of the fourteen starters for the 16 lap race, Klodwig would be the first out of the race.
This race would feature a few more West German entries. Both Willi Heeks and Theo Helfrich were talented drivers that had earned a good deal of success. However, neither of these West Germans would be as good this day as Hans Stuck. Driving his Bristol-powered AFM 50, Stuck would be all over Edgar Barth up at the front of the field. Rudolf Krause and Karl Weber, the top two finishers from Karl-Marx-Stadt, were also up there battling.
Barth would finally get his season on track. In light of the pressure from Stuck, Barth needed to respond. He would do so turning in what would be the fastest lap of the race with a time of two minutes and seven seconds. Averaging more than 84 mph, Barth would go on to earn his first victory of the season. Hans Stuck would power his way to a 2nd place result. Paul Greifzu's car would again prove more than capable as Kolhrausch would take the car to a 5th place finish.
Unfortunately for Stuck, the points wouldn't count for him. But Stuck's result would end up aiding Barth as Rudolf Krause would end up finishing in 3rd place. While Krause maintained the lead in the championship, he garnered less points than what he would have if he managed to finish 2nd.
1953 was starting out much differently than 1952 for Klodwig. While it seemed his reliability would put him in a place to capitalize on the failures of others during 1952, in 1953, it would be others that would be able to capitalize on his failures. He needed things to turn around, not just for reasons of confidence, but also, for financial reasons.
Not only had Klodwig come to miss the reliability he had enjoyed just one season prior, he had also come to miss an incredible opportunity to become a race favorite. Greifzu's car had come to make an appearance at the Dessau race and it managed to take its driver to a 5th place finish. What wasn't known was that the ride was negotiable. Rudolf Krause had come to realize his Reif just couldn't achieve the pace and reliability anymore and would be bold enough to approach Greifzu's widow about racing his old car for the rest of the season. Surprisingly she would agree. This would prove to be an incredible opportunity lost for Klodwig and others.
Forced to make due with what he already had, Klodwig would next take part in a race on the 5th of July. The race was the third round of the East German Formula 2 Championship and it took place in Halle, Germany. The race was the 4th Halle-Saale Strassen-Rennen.
The 4th Strassen-Rennen Halle-Saale Schleife took place on a 3.25 mile circuit situated to the west of the Halle on the Saale river. Like many other circuits throughout Europe, Halle's circuit rested in the midst of such shadows from history as Martin Luther and his reformation, George Muller and the birthplace of George Frideric Handel.
Comprised of public roads running along the Halle on the Saale river, the circuit was generally flat on the portions nearer the river. However, as the course wound around the Weinberg campus to the Nordkurve the circuit began to rise steadily. Then, once the circuit wound around Friedensring and headed to the start/finish line, the course ran downhill quite sharply providing spectators an incredible view along the start/finish straight.
For the race, Klodwig abandoned the Veritas and would come back to his trusty stalwart. However, during practice, nobody would be able to beat Edgar Barth. Once again, the East German would prove his incredible pace. He would have company though. Hans Stuck was back with his Bristol-powered AFM 50 and Rudolf Krause had the Greifzu-BMW.
Eleven cars would start the race. However, like many of the other events in either the West or East German Championships, attrition would be high. A number of cars would fall out before completing the 20 lap, or 65 mile, distance.
Many of those that would fall out of the race would be West German entries. One of the faster West Germans to retire from the race would be Theo Helfrich. Helfrich had proven just how fast and capable he truly was when just the year prior he partnered with Helmut Niedermayr and finished 2nd at the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
While Helfrich ran into trouble with his Veritas, Klodwig's Heck was running as expected. He certainly wasn't up amongst the leaders but his car was certainly running steadily enough it seemed apparent he would finish his first race of the season. Of course he had had a race come to an end on the last lap; therefore, nothing was certain until he crossed the finish line.
What was certain was the Edgar Barth was certainly getting his season on track. In spite of Rudolf Krause setting the fastest lap of the race in the Greifzu BMW, Barth held onto the lead and was enjoying a decent advantage over the rest of the field.
Barth had hit his stride. He would go on to take the victory with his EMW 52/53. He would end up crossing the line to take the victory with a fourteen second lead over Hans Stuck. Stuck had a battle on his hands with Rudolf Krause. However, Stuck would manage to hold off Krause for 2nd place by just a little less than three seconds.
Another driver that managed to get his season going was Ernst Klodwig. Although he was not in the running for either of the top three positions, the Heck would hold together just as it seemed to always do so and would bring Klodwig home in 5th place. This was an important result for the East German.
Throughout the first part of the racing season in Germany, the events, whether they were East or West German, seemed to be spaced out. In some cases, almost a month would separate races. However, by the time July rolled around, the racing season began to pick up its pace. Just one week after taking part in the 20 lap race at Halle, Klodwig would travel to Berlin to take part in what was the second round of the West German Formula 2 Championship. The race was the 9th Internationales Avusrennen.
The Avusrennen was yet another grand prix to take place along a portion of autobahn. However, what made this race most unusual was the layout of the circuit itself. Taking place along sections of highway running between Charlottenburg and Nikolassee, Avus was merely an out and back circuit utilizing the public highway.
Originally, the circuit was devised as a motor sport venue and testing track cut out of the Grunewald forest. The circuit would open in 1921 and would host a number of races throughout the years. However, Avus would come to an end hosting motor racing after 1937 due to Bernd Rosemeyer's death while attempting a land speed record along one of the long (about 6 miles) straights. This led to the circuit becoming disused and the circuit becoming part of a network of highway.
After World War II, like Germany, Avus would experience a rebirth. The circuit would be shortened to just over 5.14 miles. It would feature a tight hairpin turn on the south end and the infamous 'Wall of Death' still at the north end. The 'Wall of Death' was a fearsome corner. Paved with bricks, the steeply banked corner was only made worse by its lack of a retaining wall at its very top. It was entirely possible for people to stand at the very top of the corner and look down the banking as the top of the corner featured a flat rim providing access to any portion of the corner.
Like the Eifelrennen at the Nurburgring, the Avusrennen began attracting a number of foreign entries. The circuits were famous throughout Europe and many drivers would take advantage of the opportunity to race at such a venue as Avus.
The technological and equipment differences between the foreign and domestic entrants would be quite a study in contrast in practice. Jacques Swaters would come with Ecurie Francorchamps' Ferrari 500 and would prove to be the class of the field. He would start the race from the pole. He would be joined on the front row by fellow foreigners Alan Brown and Rodney Nuckey.
Although average speeds around Avus routinely exceeded 115 mph, Klodwig would come to take part in the 25 lap race with his BMW Eigenbau Heck. The lack of speed would be obvious as he would start the race a little further down in the field.
Twenty-six would take the green flag to start the race. Swaters would take advantage of his Ferrari and would lead throughout the first stages of the first lap. Kurt Adolff and Alan Brown would both suffer accidents that would end their races after just one lap. Another favorite in the race, Prince Bria, wouldn't last much longer with his Maserati A6GCM. Despite being outclassed in outright pace, Klodwig's Heck would look strong in the early going but it would be obvious he would need some help to have a good result.
While Swaters was out front of the field and beginning to pull away during the early going of the 25 lap race, Klodwig would begin to receive the help he would need. There would be seven entries out of the race by the time of the race completed just five laps. Some were lost to accidents. Others would drop out due to mechanical failures. The high speeds would push the technology to the limits and for many it would end up being too much.
Swaters was in a class unto himself, but he wouldn't absolutely dominate the German field. In fact, while some of the foreign entries would fall out of contention and would be trailing by more than a lap behind Swaters there would be a few local, most West German, racers that would remain relatively close. Klodwig was one of those that would end up down by more than a lap but that would be hanging on for dear life so not to fall any further back.
Although Helfrich would turn what would be the fastest lap of the race, Swaters would utilize the advantages of the Ferrari to pull out a comfortable lead. Averaging greater than 117 mph over the course of the race, Swaters would cruise to victory by more than two and a half minutes, or almost a whole lap, ahead of Hans Klenk in his Veritas Meteor. Swaters would back off over the course of the final lap, this is the only reason why Theo Helfrich would finish the race two minutes and fifty-six seconds behind in 3rd.
After suffering from a terrible start to the season, Klodwig would enjoy two-straight solid performances. Although never really in the running for a top five finish, Klodwig would manage to overcome the carnage that would claim seventeen other drivers and would come in one lap down in 7th place.
Sure enough, the Heck was beginning to find its usual reliability but it was just lacking the speed to make it as competitive as some of the other cars in the field. Ernst would take part in just one more race before he would attempt his second World Championship race. And even though he was suffering sheer speed he would need all the reliability he could get. However, after the next race, Klodwig couldn't even count on the Heck's usual reliability.
A couple of weeks after the Avusrennen, Klodwig would head back into East Germany in order to take part in the next round of the East German Championship. The next race on Klodwig's calendar was the fourth round of the East German Championship. It was the 1st Dresden Autobahn-spinne and it took place along a portion of the autobahn that ran between Dresden and Berlin.
Dresden was yet another German circuit to use the autobahn for a portion, or all, of its layout. Whereas former airbases would become homes to motor racing in England the vast highway system throughout Germany would become to perfect setting for a motor racing. Dresden followed a pattern similar to Bernauer and Dessau in that it would utilize not only the highway but the on and off-ramps to create its layout. One of the differences to the Dresden circuit would be the fact that it would actually wrap over itself during the course of a lap. One other change compared to the first couple of circuits of the East German Championship that utilized the autobahn was the fact the circuit was longer. Instead of 3.1 miles, Dresden would measure 4.00 miles.
The race distance was to be 15 laps for a total of 60 miles. In practice, it would be more of the same from the previous rounds. Edgar Barth would take his EMW and would prove to be the fastest, and therefore, would start from the pole. Klodwig would again be back behind the wheel of his Heck. Klodwig would turn in a good lap during practice and would start from the second row of the grid in the 5th place starting position. Theo Helfrich was also back with his Veritas RS. Rudolf Krause was also enjoying his second start behind the wheel of the Greifzu-BMW. He would start the race from the middle of the front row of the grid in 2nd.
The race would get underway with Barth at the front. Krause would be right there in the Greifzu-BMW. Klodwig got underway looking and hoping for trouble with his competitors ahead of him on the road. And trouble would strike.
There would only be nine in the starting field and almost immediately attrition would begin to lessen that number. Werner Jager would be one of the first out in his EMW-BMW. He would be joined by Willi Heeks in his AFM 50-BMW.
The race would only be 15 laps but many of the competitors would find it difficult to finish if it had only been a five lap race. A couple more would end up out of the race after just a couple of laps. One of those would be Krause.
With Krause's retirement, Barth would do what he could to pull away from the rest of the field. He would turn a fastest lap time of three minutes and seven seconds. This would help him to stretch his advantage and look on course for yet another victory.
All of the retirements of the other competitors also seemed destined to help deliver Klodwig to a good result. He would need to make it to the end of the race, however. Once again, the Heck would show some signs of vulnerability. It seemed no longer the sure thing as Klodwig would find himself out of yet another race. He would soon be joined out of the race by Theo Helfrich. This meant there were just two cars left in the race.
Knowing top results were waiting each of the two remaining drivers would take it easy and would cruise to the finish. Barth would go on to enjoy an advantage of almost two minutes but would enjoy his third-straight victory in the East German Championship even more. Kurt Straubel would take advantage of everyone else's misfortunes and would make his way to a 2nd place result in his BMW-powered Eigenbau.
The retirement was a very unfortunate event for Klodwig. Only a week separated Dresden from Klodwig's next race. This left a short amount of time to get the car ready. What's more, the next venue wasn't a place for an ailing car. The one thing Klodwig did know coming into the race was the fact there was very little chance at any finish inside the top ten. Therefore, he could just focus on beating the West German entries.
There was very little chance of a top ten finish for Klodwig at the next race precisely because the next race would be the seventh round of the World Championship. The race was the German Grand Prix and it took place on the notorious Nurburgring.
When the World Championship first visited Germany in 1951there was only one German entered in the race. The vast majority of the German racers were prohibited from taking part not because of talent but because there was no Formula One car to speak of in Germany, at least not one that any privateer German driver could afford.
Then, in 1952, an opportunity would present itself. The World Championship would switch and run according to Formula 2 regulations. This would open the door to a whole wave of German competitors. However, the equipment available in Germany in the years following the Second World War was certainly not on par with the rest of Europe. Therefore, Ernst Klodwig, like practically every other German in the 1952 German Grand Prix were nothing more than window dressing creating an interesting background to Alberto Ascari's assault on the World Championship. Interestingly, in 1953, the story wouldn't be any different. And when comparing East German technology and that from the rest of Europe, it was obvious drivers like Klodwig would only be fighting with the West Germans for nationalistic pride.
1953 wasn't any different. Coming into the race, Ascari was on the verge of another World Championship. Were things to work out for him it would be the first time in the short history of the World Championship that there had been a repeat World Champion.
In the case of Klodwig and many of the other German racers, the German Grand Prix wouldn't seem too much like a race on home ground. While the vast majority of the spectators knew their national racers quite well they had also either seen or heard of names like Ascari, Fangio, Farina and others and would be quite interested in seeing these great champions go.
The crowd wouldn't have to wait too long before they would see these great champions strut their stuff. Alberto Ascari would go and put on one incredible show just during practice. The Italian would go on to show why he was the reigning World Champion and very close to being the first back-to-back World Champion. In practice, Ascari would record the fastest lap. His time would be an incredible nine minutes and fifty-nine seconds. He would be the only one to crack the ten minute mark and would; therefore, start from the pole. The rest of the front row would include the 1951 World Champion Juan Manual Fangio in his Maserati A6SSG, Giuseppe Farina and Mike Hawthorn in Ferrari 500s.
The performance gap between the East and West Germans and the rest of the foreign entries would be more than obvious at the end of practice. Hans Hermann would end up being the best starting German in the field. However, his best time would only be good enough to start from the 14th position on the outside of the fourth row.
This did not bode well for Klodwig whose Heck was already well known for not being the fastest car in the field. While Ascari would manage to crack the ten minute mark in practice, Klodwig's big goal would be to try and break the twelve minute mark. Unfortunately, he wouldn't really even come close. Klodwig's best time would end up being twelve minutes and twenty-four seconds. This meant Klodwig would start 32nd overall and on the outside of the ninth row.
Originally, the Eifelrennen took place on public roads that wound through the Eifel mountains. This arrangement would be deemed to be too dangerous and too impractical. Therefore, it would be decided that a new circuit should be built to host such races. What would be built would be a dedicated circuit drawn from the same vein as Monza and Avus. However, what would end up being built would be a circuit much the same as what had been deemed too dangerous and impractical.
When finished, the whole course measured an impractical 17.563 miles in length. The more practical Nordschleife measured only a little more than 14.1 miles in length and featured somewhere around 170 corners. Featuring a number of fast straights with kinks and corners with blind entries, the much safer Nordschleife would only offer hedges or nothing at all along the edge of the course. This 'Green Hell' would come to be considered extremely dangerous and demanding and would lead to only a very few to actually be considered Ringmeisters. And this creation was to be safer than what had been used?
Thankfully, the large starting field would have only warm temperatures and dry weather to deal with the day of the race.
As the race received the green flag and got underway, the German racers were positioned toward the middle and back of the grid all bound up. Up ahead on the track, Fangio would make the best start of everyone and would actually lead through the first few turns. However, Ascari's pace, which was nearly three seconds faster in practice, would be too much to hold back. Therefore, Ascari would go through into the lead of the race well before the completion of the first lap.
Once in the lead, Ascari put his head down and was intent on gapping the rest of the field. He had a World Championship to win. He would be chased by the rest of the front row starters.
A number of other entries would find the road tough going. A couple of German racers, Ernst Loof and Hans Stuck, wouldn't get through one lap before they would end up retiring from the race. Thankfully, for the other Ernst in the race, his Heck was running steadily.
Fourteen German racers would start the race. By the time Ascari had come through to complete eight laps, half would be out of the race. However, not even Ascari was free from trouble.
By the time he had completed 8 of the 18 laps, Ascari was enjoying a lead with a good margin over the rest of the field. However, all of a sudden, Farina, Fangio and Hawthorn all came flashing by a red Ferrari limping on three wheels. Ascari's incredible pace, and the nature of the circuit, had caused one of the wheels to break loose on his Ferrari. And with the World Championship picture still up in the air, Ascari was doing everything he could to make it back to the pits for repairs.
The repairs would certainly take too long. He needed help to keep his chances of taking the victory alive. Ascari's mentor would bail him out. Luigi Villoresi would end up pulling into the pits handing Ascari his Ferrari. In turn, Villoresi would wait until repairs had been made to Ascari's car before re-entering the race himself.
Ascari's ailments would hand the lead to Farina and Hawthorn. Hawthorn would only spend a couple of laps in the lead of the race. Then it was Farina's turn. Farina had had the lead the year before and had been unexpectedly passed by Ascari on the last lap of the race. He was intent not to let that happen this time. His motivation would be helped by the presence of Fangio not too far behind. Other drivers, like Klodwig, would be too far back to even have to worry about holding Ascari back once he rejoined the race in Villoresi's car. He was already too far back to have to try and hold the World Champion back.
Farina and the rest of the front-runners would have reason to be concerned. Ascari knew he had some time he needed to make up. As a result, Ascari would plant his foot firmly to the floor and seemed to not take it off from there lap after lap. As soon as he rejoined the race, Ascari would drive like a man possessed. Over the course of the next few laps, Alberto would put together lap times that were almost beyond belief. It would all culminate with his turning the fastest lap of the race on the 12th lap of the race. His time around the circuit would be nine minutes and fifty-six seconds. This time was less than a second off from his own pole time he set back in 1951 with a more-powerful Formula One car.
Farina would keep his head down, pushing toward the finish. He knew he had Fangio and a quickly approaching Ascari behind him. However, just about three laps away from the finish, Farina would be able to breathe a little easier. The incredible pace Ascari had been putting together would prove to be too much. And after completing 15 laps, the engine in Ascari's Ferrari would expire leaving his championship hopes in the hands of his competitors.
Ascari needed to watch out for Hawthorn. Thankfully for Ascari, Farina would help him out. After a little more than three hours and two minutes, Farina would come across the line to take a hard-earned victory. He would enjoy a margin of over a minute up on Fangio at the finish. Ascari's main competition, the young Mike Hawthorn, would end up coming in 3rd place almost two minutes behind Farina.
Ernst Klodwig would end up being just one of five German racers to complete the entire 18 laps. His Heck would not fail him over the course of the 255 miles of racing. But it also wouldn't bring him up in the running either. By the end of the race, Klodwig would finish in 15th place some three laps down to Farina. That translated to, over the course of a lap of the Nordschleife, into a margin of about thirty-seven minutes that Farina had in hand over Klodwig by the finish. Even though he ended up well out of the running, Klodwig did manage to take his aged machine and actually improved upon his results from the previous season.
In 1952, Klodwig would end up finishing the race but he would do so some five laps down to Ascari. Therefore, Klodwig would go on to improve his results by some two laps in 1953. Unfortunately, for all of his effort, Ernst wouldn't leave the Nurburgring with any points. However, this wasn't all that important as it would be the only round of the World Championship in which he would compete.
After taking part in what had been only his second World Championship round, Klodwig would leave West Germany and would head back into East Germany. There were only a couple more major races on the calendar for the 1953 season. One of those races would come in early September. Between the two remaining, the next one would be the most important one to Klodwig. Therefore, in early September, Klodwig would leave and would head back towards Chemnitz.
However, upon arriving at Chemnitz, Klodwig would continue travelling a few miles. His destination lay to the west of Chemnitz. Finally, he would arrive in the small village of Hohenstein-Ernstthal. Just to the west of this tiny village lay the fifth, and final, round of the East German Formula 2 Championship. The final round would take place on the country roads that comprised the Sachsenring Circuit.
The Sachsenring Circuit came from the same lineage as the Nurburgring. The circuit was comprised of public roads that rose and fell with the local terrain. It featured a number of straights and fast, sweeping corners with blind entries and numerous elevation changes. At 5.41 miles in length, the circuit featured more than a couple of dramatic viewing points. But none were better than the steep depression that swept around the left-hand MTS Kurve and then steeply rose before heading down the Jugend-Kurve straight, and then, the steep downhill run to the final tight left-hander at Queckenberg.
Even before heading to the race it was well known that Edgar Barth would be the champion. However, there were still a number of other places still up for grabs. Therefore, Klodwig would come with his Heck fully intent on earning the best result possible.
As usual, Barth would be fast in his EMW 52/53. However, he would again be joined up towards the front by Rudolf Krause who was again driving the Greifzu-BMW. Klodwig was in need of some speed as well as reliability for this race. If he could pull out a really good finish he had a chance at a top three finish in the championship standings.
On the 6th of September, the final round of the East German Championship would get underway. Nine starters would take the green flag for the 12 lap race. At 65 miles, this race would be one of the toughest tests the field, who hadn't taken part in the World Championship race at the Nurburgring, would face all season long.
The racing up at the front would be fast and close. Barth and Krause would be joined by Hans Stuck in a battle for the head of the pack. Even Klodwig would be looking good throughout the early going of the race.
However, as the race began to wear on, Klodwig began to lose touch with the leaders and would be hoping for a number of the competitors to run foul of mechanical problems to help his chances of earning a top result. Heinz Melkus and Martin Janocha would oblige Klodwig's desire, but otherwise, the field would remain relatively intact. It would be up to Klodwig to find some extra speed in order to earn a better result. But of course he still had to be concerned with finishing the race as well.
Barth still had Krause close by, as well as, Stuck. However, Barth would begin to draw away. His escape would be only further aided by him setting the fastest lap of the race with a time of three minutes and fifty seconds.
It would only take a little more than forty-six seconds for Barth to earn what had become his fourth-straight victory. Out of five rounds of the East German Championship, Barth would go on to win four of them. His fourth victory would come with a twenty second margin over Krause in 2nd and about a twenty-five second advantage over Stuck in 3rd place.
Klodwig had managed to remain on the lead lap with Barth throughout the race. However, his pace would be such that he would only manage to finish the race in 5th place.
When the results were tallied it was obvious Barth would win the championship. He would score 32 points compared to Krause's 26. Klodwig had the opportunity to battle with Karl Weber for 3rd place in the championship standings. While Weber wouldn't score any points during the Sachsenringrennen, Klodwig wouldn't manage to score enough points to unseat Weber. The two failures at the very beginning of the season would end up costing Klodwig the most. Had he managed to score any points in either one of those races he most likely would have finished in 3rd place in the championship. Instead, he would finish 4th.
The end of the 1953 East German Formula 2 Championship would end up marking the end of the season for Klodwig. It would also bring about a lot of question marks for the future. Earning good results with the Eigenbau Heck were becoming much harder to come by. In addition, travel restrictions were becoming more and more stringent. This meant Klodwig wouldn't be able to really look anywhere outside of the East German borders to make a living racing.
Then, on top of it all, the World Championship was going to be changing for 1954. The new Formula One regulations had been decided upon, and once again, almost all of the privateer German drivers were out of an opportunity to take part in the World Championship. Just when the German racers were finding a means to take part in their own grand prix race they would again be excluded.
Facing such tough circumstances and issues, Klodwig would make the decision to retire from the upper levels of motor racing in East Germany. Therefore, the last few laps around the Sachsenring would end up being the very last of Ernst Klodwig's career. He and his easily-recognizable Eigenbau Heck would be no more.
After retiring from major motor racing at the end of the 1953 season at the age of 50, Klodwig would go on to live another almost twenty years. In fact, he would end up dying just a month shy of his 70th birthday.