By: Marcel Winkelman
The Mille Miglia: between 1927 and 1957 a road race over 1000 miles from Brescia to Rome and back. Since 1977 again the "remake". It was nice that we went this year with the young timer with which I visited my first edition in 2003, an appropriately "Sien-red" colored BMW 330d from 2000. More than two years ago I bought it again and started his second life. The mileage has now risen to 547.000. No obstacle to following the participants again this year to travel deep into Italy.
Well, participants. They have become more and more in recent years. No less than 467 teams started this edition. In fact, every car enthusiast in the field of participants will find something to their liking. Of course many Italian thoroughbreds from brands such as Alfa Romeo, Ferrari and Maserati, but also, for example, a wide range of beautiful models of Fiat origin. Certainly the smaller models of that brand, such as the Balilla and Topolino, can always count on the support and encouragement of the public. Mercedes is prominent. The historical record from 1955 is cherished when Stirling Moss managed to complete the race with a Mercedes 300 SLR in 10 hours 7 minutes and 48 seconds. An average speed of almost 160 kilometers per hour. On country roads ... In Brescia, a fur with the face of Stirling Moss painted "Flügeltür", with modern technology, recalled this heroic achievement. The large number of Dutch participants and visitors shows that the Mille Miglia is popular in the Netherlands. This year, among others, AMK editors Perry Snijders and Martin Utberg participated. Martin even as navigator of former Formula I driver and Le Mans winner Jochen Mass. In AMK's number 7 you can read an interview with Martin about his adventure. It cannot always be disappointing ☺.
With so many car enthusiasts on their own, a beautiful party will naturally arise. Many visitors take their classic with them. Visitors enjoy a cappuccino on the terraces of the view and "petrol calls" that naturally arise. The enthusiasm of the Italians for the event knows no limits. School classes are given free time to wave at the participants with flags. Almost everywhere are visitors who encourage the participants to accelerate a lot, so that they can hear the sound of the engine. Along the route, the police turn a blind eye and many participants and visitors take the opportunity to take a walk in the classic. The possibility of driving over the legendary Autodromo di Monza also awakens something in the policeman. A go-pro is turned on for the ride on the police motorbike ...
Many of the places along the route are worthwhile, so making choices is necessary. A visit to the Piazza della Vittoria in Brescia, where the technical inspection of the cars is concluded with a bump on the steering column, is actually part of it. For years the drivers came together to participate in "the most beautiful race in the world". In San Marino, the participants ride through the historic old town, to be addressed by the notables of the city. The mountain village of Radicofani, about 185 kilometers north of Rome, also offers a wonderful place to enjoy with the passage over the square of an 13 century church where the spectators look on the stairs. The Monza circuit is of course historical ground!
Every day we enjoy good weather and nice conversations with participants and the public. Driving through the vast Italy, the kilometers quickly increase. Almost 100 dropouts make it clear that the Mille Miglia is an attack on technology and that the omnipresent service teams sometimes have to give up the fight. Once at the finish the fatigue of the faces of many participants can be read, but the enthusiastic welcome in Brescia makes everything right. Best Dutchmen are ultimately John and Rutger Houtkamp with a great 10e Place. Our 330d passed the battle brilliantly and did not seem impressed by 3.700 kilometers. What do you want with so much experience?