Willy Pöge

Willy Pöge

2/12/1869 - 12/5/1914

Willy Pöge was born in Chemnitz on 2 December 1869. He was a gentleman driver who won many races for Mercedes. He drove his last race when he won the Tsar Nichols's 1910 Russian Touring Trial. He took up flying and died of a heart attack in 1914.

Friedrich Elias Willibald Pöge, known as Willy Pöge, was born in Chemnitz on 2 December 1869. He studied electro-technology at the Königlichen Gewerbschule Univercity from 1887 to 1890 no doubt inspired by his father, Hermann Pöge, who founded the Chemnitzer Telegrafenbauanstalt in 1975.

He started racing on bicycles and in 1889 was the champion of Saxonia and the third-best cyclist in Germany. He took up automobile racing in 1902 and after a few races in small French cars he switched to Mercedes. He was particularly admired for his cornering technique and his abilities on hill climbs.

A gentleman driver, he entered the family business in 1894 and continued to manage and expand it until his death.

He won many races for Mercedes in the 1900s. In 1903 and 1904 he won the Frankfurt Circuit Race at Oberforsthaus in his 60 hp Mercedes-Simplex.

In 1905 the Bavarian Automobile Club, on initiative from Sir Hubert von Herkomer, sponsored three rallies (1905 to 1907). Named after their initiator Herkomer, the popular German-English portrait painter born in Waal near Landsberg, the rallies were international reliability trials for touring cars where the vehicles had to be owner driven, basically eliminating works entries.

The first Herkomer Konkurrenz, which became the Prinz-Heinrich Fahrt in 1908, was run between München, Baden Baden, Nürnberg and back to München, a distance of just over 937 Km. Pöge finished 3rd overall after winning the Kesselbergrennen stage and the Forstenrieder Park Rennen the following day.

In 1906 he won the Semmering hill climb (nr. Vienna), part of Herkomer Konkurrenz with his 60hp Mercedes in a time of 8m46.0s. He won the Semmering hill climb again in 1907 now in a 120hp Mercedes, trimming over a minute of his previous years time, in 7m29.2s

In 1908 he finished 5th in the Grand Prix de l'ACF (French Grand prix) at Dieppe driving a 13.6-liter Mercedes, delivering 140 hp at 1400 rpm. He entered the Prinz-Heinrich Fahrt held between the 9th and the 17th of June 1908. Out of the 107-car field, Pöge in his Mercedes came 2nd overall and was awarded the Preis der Stadt Frankfurt. In the special trials Pöge came second in the speed trial at Itzehoe and second in the hill climb at Bacharach. He finished second again in 1909

Willy Pöge drove his last race when he won the Tsar Nichols’s 1910 Russian Touring Trial. He took up flying and died of a heart attack in 1914.

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