Mille Miglia 2017
The world's most beautiful race just gets better every year.
Almost 450 cars from 43 countries; 84 automotive brands, four days’ driving from Brescia to Rome and back to Brescia through cities, small villages, coast, mountains and hills and even a Tornado base path. It’s 2017 Mille Miglia.
When I think about the most exciting days a classic car enthusiast should live once in life, I can only think at the Mille Miglia, an event I have been fortunate enough to follow every year since I was a child. The evocative smell of burned oil, clutch and overheated engines, sweat, and many virtually priceless cars that run in a tough race on the public roads of some of the most beautiful scenery in the world.
This year was an important anniversary for the Mille Miglia: the 90th from the first edition in 1927 and the 35th from its re-enactment. Until 1957 it was a speed race but is now a regularity race. It’s a competition to find the most consistent car and team over the stages, rather than the fastest.
Everything begins with the meeting at the fair in Brescia the day before the departure, in which the 440 cars taking part are inspected by commissioners who verify the actual overall originality, although carburettors, generators, lights, radiators can have upgrades.
And after Thursday morning scrutineering in the historic Piazza Vittoria, the cars are on display through Brescia streets to be admired by the spectators, but everything is ready for departure at 2.30 pm from Viale Venezia.
As a tradition, in honour of 1927 Millemiglia, the first car at start line was a 1927 OM 665 Sport Superba, led by Millemiglia veteran, Cané, who holds the most number of victories. He was one of the most likely winners, along with the Argentine duo Tonconogy-Berisso in a 1925 Bugatti Type 40, the Italians Vesco-Guerini behind the wheel of a gorgeous 1931 Alfa Romeo 6C 1750 – with which they won last year’s Mille Miglia – and Mozzi-Biacca in a Lancia Lambda.
The first leg was rather short with the passage from Lake Garda to Verona, arriving in Padua. The real Millemiglia high mileage taking place on Friday and Saturday. This year, due to the earthquakes in Italy, the route underwent several modifications and from Padua the ‘Mille’ convoy headed up to San Marino and Umbria, with its arrival marked by heavy rain in Rome on the Dolce Vita roads and St Peter’s Square.
The third day has always been my favourite and this year was no exception. Tuscan landscapes with the hundreds of people and their children who came to see the race pass through their villages. The route ran from Rome to Parma, through the Appenini and Motor Valley and passed the Enzo Ferrari Museum. The last day ran from Parma to Brescia. A short 120km stage that has passed Tornado aircraft base path before the grand finale in Brescia.
The 2017 Mille Miglia went down to the wire and was decided at the final stage, with two teams very close to each other. The winner was the young Vesco-Guerini team, for the second year in a row. A victory that boosted Alfa Romeo even higher in the list of the manufacturers that have won the event.
A 90th anniversary to be proud of, also witnessed the participation of teams from JD Classics and Zagato as well as VIP racers such as Jodie Kidd, and Toto Wolff, executive director of Mercedes-AMG F1. And it was an event that once again confirms its position as “the most beautiful race in the world”.
See you next year!
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