[su_dropcap style = »light» size = »2 ″] L [/ su_dropcap] as current A thousand miles -Mille Miglia in Italian- it is an evocation of the legendary sprint race. The first edition was held in 1927 and was discontinued in 1957 as a result of the tragic accident of the Marquis de Portago in which nine spectators, the pilot and the co-pilot, died and left many injured.
With a route of approximately one thousand miles, the caravan travels through Italy from the city of Brescia to Rome and returns to the starting point. For Italians it is «The corsa piu bella del mondo», the most beautiful race in the world: Impressive cars, beautiful landscapes, beautiful routes and spectators who turn upside down with the race ...
The organization is preparing the event even several years in advance. Participant registration begins many months before departure. Numerous requests are received but only cars that have run it in its original format are allowed, although those that have historical interest are also valued.
If there are several units of the same model, the organization only wants those with the best pedigree; For example, if a specimen has sporty palms, it will be easier to cut the cut.
The figures that are handled are impressive. In mounting Between 10 and 12 people work throughout the year, which increases to 2.000 on D-days. More than 430 cars compete, to which must be added another two caravans of cars that "officially" pay tribute to the race. I say it in quotes because, in addition to these, other groups of fans join with their classics or sports.
It does not surprise me. If you are lucky enough to drive a section of the Thousand Miles, you realize how Italians feel about their race. Not to mention what it means to be overtaken by one of the participating racing cars ... A real joy, yes sir.
Because we must not forget that, except for some very specific sections, the vast majority of the Thousand Miles are held on roads open to traffic. People of all ages come out to greet the participants, some of them with Italian flags, others with their cameras, the rest applauding. If you want to see the passage of the race at the same point you can spend more than 3 or 4 hours or even more, a whole festival.
At the gates of the dreaded «Punzonatura»
The week of the celebration begins with the technical and administrative checks of the participants and their mounts, which are carried out at Brixia Expo, the Brescia fairgrounds. All documentation is checked and the numbers and road books are delivered.
Cars pass one by one and you walk meticulous checks by the commissioners. Each participant and each car will receive the signatures and stamps that fill the sheet that will be passed from hand to hand until the final verification that takes place in Piazza della Vittoria. Is the call «Punching ».
A magnificent atmosphere is breathed in the fairgrounds, and not only because of the absence of smoke. The racing cars turn off the engines and are pushed inside by the mechanics or by anyone who lends themselves to it; once inside, you are left with your mouth open to see so many jewels together.
More than a dozen Mercedes-Benz 300 SL perfectly aligned, a score of Bugatti, several dozen Ferraris black leg, Jaguar in quantity that is difficult to list, as well as such unusual brands as the Italian Cisitalia, OM, Osca, Siata, Bandini or Ermini.
Immersed in this heavenly place, it is surprising to meet some charismatic and participating drivers, such as Derek Bell or Jochen Mass, and authentic motorsport legends such as Stirling Moss or Hans Herrmann.
No less surprising is knowing the stories of the participants and their classics. For example, that of the Danish Peter Koux, who was making the last adjustments to his Bugatti T37 Grand Prix from 1926 that had come walking from Denmark. Peter proudly commented how the car had belonged to his father and was unrestored (!).
Moreover, a spanish mechanic Enrolled in a team that participated officially, he told me about at least seventy employees, including mechanics, public relations, and photography and filming equipment, among others. And this event is a splendid showcase to increase the prestige of brands.
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Blessed departure: The party in Brescia
The Punzonatura is the last procedure before departure, and consists of the sealing of the steering bar of the registered vehicles by means of a lead wire. At this point the verified sticker is also placed, which in the vast majority of cars is subsequently preserved, to give them more cache. Some even go through one more process… They are blessed at mass in Piazza Paolo VI, next to the Duomo Vecchio.
The day of departure from Brescia is a party. The laggard participants go to pass the Punzonatura and those who have already passed it are exposed in the center of the city, in a successive coming and going of cars that make their way through the people. As this year marked the 60th anniversary of the victory and record of Sir Stirling Moss's test with the mythical Mercedes-Benz SLR No. 722, the three participating silver arrows were exhibited next to the Teatro Grande in 1955.
The 658 of Juan Manuel Fangio, the 722 of Stirling Moss and the 704 of Hans Herrmann. These numbers are not so high due to the number of registered participants who took part in the race, but they refer to the departure time of each one of them in the mythical Viale Venezia in Brescia. This simple fact favored the spectators being able to calculate the time they had been in the race.
Two consecutive victories
In 2015, the first participant started at 14:30 p.m. The first to start were, as always, the classics of the OM brand It is a tradition, since the first edition of the race held in 1927 was won by a model from this little-known Italian brand. The first stage took them to the city of Rimini. The second to Rome, the Eternal City ...
The third stage led to Parma and the fourth and last, on the way back to Brescia, passed through Milan. This year the Expo was held there, so the city was not crossed. In exchange, the organizers pulled a special stage at the Monza circuit out of their sleeve, including a round by the old racetrack.
In the purely competitive part, repeating their 2013 victory, Argentines Juan Tonconogy and Guillermo Berisso won aboard a Bugatti T40 from 1927. In second place, after a tough fight with the winners, was the Fiat Siata 514 MM from 1930 of the duo formed by Andrea Vesco and Andrea Guerini, while the third step of the podium was occupied by the couple Ezio Martino Salviato-Caterina Moglia, crew members of their Bugatti T 40.
The arrival of the survivors was celebrated in style. There were only good words for the race, and many of these expressed the desire to repeat next year. I too would like, revisit the most beautiful race in the world ...