Stephen Paddock writes :
In May three members (and somewhat sceptical wives) of the Wessex section joined Nick Clancy’s organised trip to the 90th Mille Miglia. We chose to fly and hire cars and stayed at Desenzano del Garda, a delightful town on the southern shore of the lake, less busy with tourists, and crucially on the route of the Mille Miglia itself. The agenda Nick prepared offered plenty to keep the motoring enthusiast happy and by tacking some days at either end of the event we hoped that partners wouldn’t rebel.
Having met the rest of the 25 strong AROC group on Wednesday evening we travelled by train to Brescia on Thursday to view the cars in-situ and in-motion. Here we saw the entrants at close quarters including the 50+ Alfa Romeos ranging from 6Cs, 8Cs, 1900s up to 1957 Giuliettas. Most were being driven through the streets by their crews in period attire and some in a spirited fashion despite the close attention of the spectators. Then back to Desenzano to see the last 100 or so cars go through the streets by the lake on their journey to Padova. All of this free to view.
Whilst the event unfolded to Rome and back, on Friday we paid homage to the Alfa Romeo Museum at Arese. This is a magnificent statement about Alfa Romeo and why it stirs our blood. The mix of the cars in the metal and the audio-visual offering is quite stunning. Saturday brought a return to Brescia, this time by car, to the Mille Miglia museum, which is more traditional in presentation and housed in a former Monastry. Well worth a look, but given that a large proportion of the exhibits were otherwise engaged in the event itself this was more like an Aperol Spritz versus the Barolo of the previous day.
Sunday and back to Brescia for the arrival of the cars at the finish in a general atmosphere of relaxed celebration. An example of the charm of this event is the way the competitors park up leaving their riding gear and presentation materials unattended in their cars and retire to the cafes and bars whilst spectators admire their steeds and pose for photos.
Away from the event our evenings were enjoyed in the traditional Italian manner with dinner al fresco and we managed to explore Lake Garda and Verona as well as sample the coffee and ice cream at every opportunity. A truly enjoyable trip.
For the record a 1931 Alfa Romeo 6C 1750 Gran Sport from the Arese collection (pictured above having a well deserved rest) won the time regulated event.