Mugello Road Race (Mugello Stradale) 12-14 June 2009
With a name like ‘Mugello Road Race’, I simply had to take part. In Italian it’s called the Mugello Stradale and each lap of this mountain race is 66km long. It has been going since 1914 but in 1974 it was temporarily stopped. The revival is now managed by Scuderia Biondetti.
Previous result sheets from this demanding Targa-Florio-style road race read like a who’s who in the history of motor racing. As I write this, I keep peeking at the drivers’ names and hundreds of fabulous road-race pictures in Libelli’s new book on the Circuito Del Mugello (Focus Press). The list is endless; I recognise over 300 famous drivers. Here are just a few names: Merzario, Van Lennep, De Adamich, Vaccarella, Hezemans, Siffert, Elford, Stommelen, Giunti, Borzacchini, Ascari, Maserati, Ferrari, Pierpoint, Piper, Scarfiotti, Schetty, Widdows, Borzacchini, Brambilla, De Filippis, Edwards, Hezemans, Konig, Campari, Kinnunen, Ligier, Nuvolari, Munari, and Galli. Those last two were present at this particular revival event.
June 2009 saw the 22nd running of this dramatic two-day event, which included laps of the historic 66km circuit on Saturday and a 22.5km circuit on Sunday. The route takes you to an altitude of 3000ft over the Futa and Raticosa Passes. Open to competition and classic cars from 1914-1974, modern-day competitors can choose to run in one of three categories: Rally, Regularity or Tourist. This year, the cars entered were split 55-17-29 respectively.
The Rally is a flat-out timed Tarmac event and part of the Italian Historic Rally Championship. There are 95km of timed stages and 105km of transfer, i.e. 200km in all. Squadrons of seriously quick Porsche 911s dominated the top end of the Rally result sheet, while more historic cars competed for the many class positions. Fabulous cars in the Rally category dated back to Paul Schouwenburg’s 1958 Ferrari Testa Rossa and a 1930 Lea-Francis Hyper – offering great diversity.
The Regularity field of 21 cars was equally interesting and included Taylor Smith’s Ferrari 250 Tour De France. Finally, there was the Tourist group, from which yours truly enjoyed a driver’s eye view from the 1965 ex-Ian Walker/Team Lotus 26R. The 29 Tourists tackled the same breathtaking routes over the Apennine mountain passes, with the legendary Sandro Munari leading the exotic free-for-all which included an Alfa 33, Ferrari 250TR, Ford GT40 and a pair of Abarth Sports Prototypes. Overall winner in the Rally was the 1973 Porsche 911 of Sicilians Marco Savioli and Alessandro Failla; and the overall winner of the Regularity Trial was the Porsche 911E of Pagni/Baldasseroni.
Entry fees are 240 euros (Tourist), 360 euros (Regularity) and 840 euros (Rally). This includes a gala dinner for two, a handsome goody bag, and all the organisation that goes with the event. The ‘paddock’ is in the town square of Firenzuola and is surrounded by cafés and restaurants. There are plenty of local hotels and the countryside in this secluded part of Italy is simply stunning. British cars that contested the original Mugello Stradale include Ginetta, Triumph, Davrian, Austin-Healey, Marcos, Nomad, Darren, Jerboa, Lola, Unipower, Elva, Ford, MG, Chevron and Lotus. The organisers are looking to attract more UK teams by having next year’s event one weekend away from the Vernasca Silver Flag hillclimb. The Mugello Stradale has something for everyone and is certainly one of those ‘only-in-Italy’ events.
Text and pictures: Roberto Giordanelli
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