Another weekend of rallies, in the company of my faithful FIAT Berlinetta 508 1000 Miglia from 1935.
The goal this time was Emilia, for the third edition of the Garisenda Cup, organized by the Bologna Autostoriche Club.
The event is part of the ASI national calendar “tourist with tests” and in fact, in addition to the twenty regularity tests, there were many tourist ideas.
First of all, the conciliatory views of the hills of Modena and Reggio, with their villages detached from time such as Brescello, the poetic village of Don Camillo and Peppone, or Gualtieri, home of Ligabue (the beautiful museum room dedicated to him) and the ” tailor of the divas ”Umberto Tirelli (to see the collection of works honored to him by the greatest artists of the Italian twentieth century).
Without forgetting the Castle of Montegibbio and Parma, with its Palazzo Ducale and the large park (look for the greenhouse with the delicate double-flowered violet).
Then the motor valley, with a visit to the Dallara Academy, a futuristic training center that brings enthusiasts and professionals closer to the wonderful world of motorsport through a guided tour where experience has a priority role.
Finally, needless to say, the Emilian cuisine, rich and tasty, experimented in various declinations, and of course the wines, from Pignoletto to Lambrusco di Sorbara.
Thanks to Mario Sandrolini, president of the Bologna Club, and to all his team, for the frank friendliness and attention to detail that made every moment of the meeting perfect. And thanks also to my Berlinetta: at her age, five hundred kilometers in three days is a lot of effort!
Another 1000 Miglia is over, and as usual we find a multitude of objects on our desk that remind us of those days of waiting, tension, tiredness and joy.
The beautiful watch that Chopard gives to the conductor every year, the passes, the medals, the large amount of information circulars, the gadgets but above all the five full-bodied road books that have guided us for almost 1800 kilometers on the most beautiful, unknown and sometimes inaccessible roads of Italy.
All filled with annotations, edits, scribbles, in some places with torn pages and others stuck with tape.
Scrolling through these pages it is inevitable to relive moments of sharing, anger, fatigue, demoralization and euphoria.
Because this is what the 1000 Miglia leaves you.
We start friends, and if we still come friends it means that we were a good team.
My friend Cesare, who participated this year for the first time, had absolutely no idea what it meant to run the race.
From the moment of the checks on he started to be really apprehensive to see the large amount of preparations we would have had to make before departure.
Studying the road book, for him who had never seen one, was already a shock. Entering all the special stages in the time trial, having never competed in a regularity race, was the same.
The navigator is a very important member of the crew. It is his responsibility to guide you on the right path, to check the distances to arrive at the time controls on time, to calculate when there is enough time to refuel or stop for a meal. The strategic responsibility of the whole race is in his hands, and I must say that he was very good.
I certainly do not want to diminish my commitment, which this year was certainly more demanding than usual: the climate was very hot, and enduring high temperatures in the passenger compartment for 15 hours of driving a day was really tiring.
The route of this edition was particularly beautiful, with new itineraries and surprising views, but among the ones I participated in it was certainly the race with the most challenging tracks. I believe that out of about 46 hours of driving, at least 70 per cent was on often very narrow and steep mountain roads.
Before leaving, we were worried about the Cisa, Futa and Raticosa stretches, but what we found along the way was far more challenging. And here comes the third crew member, the aerodynamic Balilla 508, which despite its only 997 cc never batted an eyelid for the entire race.
I scrambled it in all possible and imaginable ways, exasperating first and second gears at incredible revs to overcome steep climbs, exerting extreme pressure on the brakes on steep descents in a way that not even a modern car could have endured. Instead she, always impassive, never missed a beat, never consumed a drop of water or oil. When we passed much more powerful and noble cars, smoldering on the side of the road and a lot of mechanics with their heads in the hoods, I must admit with a little embarrassment that we were all a little pleased.
We are grateful to her for having led us to our arrival without difficulty, I want to believe that it is her way to reward me for all the care and love I have dedicated to her over the years.
100 cars representing 19 car brands, from Bugatti to Jaguar to Alfa Romeo, from 14 countries around the world and about twenty motorcycles. All sports cars and all pre-1939: a great rarity. With the Ballot winner of the First Italian Grand Prix and the Harley Davidson motorcycle winner of the Circuit of Nations one hundred years ago.
Quattroruote, June 1973 issue p. 188 an interesting article on the fourth re-enactment of the historical MM by Federico Robutti.