It’s not everyday that one’s invited to join the Mille Miglia. So when Andrea Zagato extended just such an invitation to a couple of the Petrolheads Welcome team, we thought about it for a split nanosecond!
If you’re not familiar with this most historic of motoring events, read our blog from last year (here). Enzo Ferrari described it as “the most beautiful race in the world”. Say no more. You can also read about it’s history and the aims of the modern version on their website.
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Days 1 & 2 – Leaving the UK
With less than a week to do all of the paperwork, have a medical (honestly) and plan our route, thankfully the Petrolheads Welcome site helped us speed-up the latter! Our first night’s rest was at La Manoir de Gavrelle. We then enjoyed the scenic route through Switzerland to get to Brescia for scrutineering on Day 3…
Day 3 – Scrutineering
Our role is to ‘escort’ the pre-1957 competitor entries. Zagato is this year celebrating it’s centenary which is how they got their starring role for 2019’s race.
We, along with Ferrari (naturally) also have to undertake various rally disciplines along the 1000 miles circuit from Brescia to Rome and back in 3 days. Thankfully we have some historic rally experience, but we’re yet to find out how useful our experience will be!
Day 4 – Day 1 On the Road (350km to Gambettola)
It would be inadequate to describe here the route, the scenery, the smells, the atmosphere and the sheer joy of everyone we pass by. Or are we simply saying that the full-on driving at ridiculous (allowed) speed and the very long days in the saddle, rather discourage longer prose than these? Hopefully, a few more photos will suffice (for now) and tempt some of you kind readers to consider coming here next year!
Day 5 – Day 2 on the road to Rome
Starting the day with a good breakfast is always a smart move ahead of another long day’s driving. Cake anyone?
Today involved some high speed driving, time trials and some amazing traffic. The contrast between the older cars (all pre-1957) and the modern ‘escorting’ cars adds another a beautiful dimension to this scenic tour-de-force.
Day 6 – Day 3 on the road from Rome to Bologna via Sienna
Rome by night was something special. The cars, the people and the historic buildings. Bella!
We then set off for the return journey, north to Sienna and on to Bologna where another sumptuous dinner awaited the drivers (and navigators).
Day 7 – Day 4 on the road back to Brescia
A wet start for the final day (slippery road, hmmm). Last stop will be where it all started, Brescia.
Day 8 – Final Day of the Mille Miglia 2019
What an experience! Hurtling around Italy at silly speeds with the blessing of the police, local authorities and most of all, the public.
Only in Italy! We were whizzing along so called closed roads at 160kph+, on the wrong side, only to find ordinary traffic coming along in the opposite direction. It kept us on our toes!
As you can imagine, the prosecco flowed at the closing ball in Brescia on Saturday night in anticipation of some well-earned sleep… once the adrenalin has subsided!
How did we do? 4th in class. Less than a week to prepare and inexperience of this event means we are utterly delighted with that result.
What better way to celebrate and wind-down than a few days with Gregory Canzini, proprietor of our gold-rated venue, Hotel Benaco…
And so back to Blighty. The Zagato Shooting Brake will require some serious cleaning after nearly 5,000kms.
Beats us why these cars aren’t used more, rather than hidden away in collections. Comments welcome!