02/28/2016. Remarks by Kees Kort: "The 1920 Gordon Bennett Cup Race became a fierce struggle between SPAD with star designer André Herbemont and Nieuport with their top designer Gustave Delage. Both had concentrated on refining an existing wartime design. André Herbemont concentrated his efforts around the late wartime two-seat biplane SPAD-Herbemont S.XX, which he gradually refined as a single-seat racer. These racers were identified as Spad-Herbemont S.XX bis followed by a number of its refinement.
In the photo above is pictured the fifth refinement which was specially made for the 1920 Gordon Bennett Cup Race, entered with racing number 9. It had the upper wing lowered to the top of the monocoque fuselage and an ultra short wing span of 21 ft 3.1 in (6,48 m) against a length of 24 ft 7.3 in (7,50 m). Powerplant was a 320 hp Hispano Suiza 8 eb eight-cylinder water-cooled in-line V-engine. Another refinement, the S.XX bis 6, was also entered.
As only three French racers could be entered for the Gordon Bennett cup there were preliminary races for the three French contestants. On September 25, 1920 they raced over a track of 62,14 mls (100 km). Sadi Lecointe on a Nieuport came first with a time of 21 min 28 sec and an average speed of 173.67 mph (279.50) kmh. Second came George Kirch on a Nieuport and third came Bernard de Romanet on the S.XX bis 6 with a time of 23 min 16 sec and an average speed of 160.24 mph (257.88) kmh. Jean Casale on the S.XX bis 5 came in with a time of 25’ 27” and as a result did not race in the 1920 Gordon Bennett Cup Race."