Mille Miglia 2022, the 40th edition
The 1000 Miglia, which Enzo Ferrari defined as 'the most beautiful race in the world', ages without losing an inch of charm. Indeed, in an epoch of scarce historical memory, when the event that evokes emotions and memories is back, it is appropriate not to turn to the other side. Thousands of motor enthusiasts or simply curious people who admired the passage of 425 extraordinary cars, are ready to revive the myth of the 'Red Arrow' on the roads of Italy, crossing about 250 towns for a total of almost 2,000 km, travelled in four days.
Just a brief recall: the modern 1000 Miglia is the reenactment of the major road competition held in 24 editions between 1927 and 1957. It was an in-line speed race starting and finishing in Brescia, in which the competitors should reach Rome via numerous passages in central and northern Italy. After the golden years, it was resumed in 1977 becoming a regularity race: this year for its 40th edition, at the start there were 71 veterans of the original 1000 Miglia.
Credits photo: Reniesa Rebujo
The Astura of Corrado Lopresto
Among them was Lancia Astura Stabilimenti Farina of 1934, brought by Corrado Lopresto and Marco Mattioli: a car with an important history, built on commission of Count Giovanni Lurani (1905-1995), famous driver of great classic cars who competed in the period between the First and Second World War, and then restarting in 1954.
The project was prepared by Revelli di Beaumont and carried out by the Farina factory: Lurani had it delivered still incomplete with the chassis and four seats to participate in the Lecco-Maggio 1934 hillclimb race, with a track of 12 km and 500 meters of altitude difference. 'In the vintage photos you can see the Count running at the wheel of the Astura 3 litres with which he won in the Tourism class to continue the race downhill', as Lopresto says, 'under the gaze of the commissioners who thought he had not seen the finish line. He went down to the valley where his trusted mechanic, Facetti, delivered him a Maserati 1500 cc with which he set off again, recording the best absolute time in that category'.
Lopresto is the best-known Italian collector in the world, 24th in the Forbes ranking and number one under 65. He owns a lot of dream cars, including unique pieces and prototypes of Alfa Romeo, Isotta Fraschini and Lancia, even the oldest model, the 1908 Lancia Alfa. And from 2001 onwards he won 260 awards in competitions of elegance scattered around the globe, such as the four Golden Cups at Villa d'Este. A record.
A sea of people
'It was my seventh participation as a competitor, a very lively emotion: we found a lot of people along the streets, I was struck by the passage to Siena and that to Parma but also along the road from Milan to Bergamo, there was a sea of people, from children to the elderly, who arrived with their chairs to be more comfortable,' he says.
Lopresto did not start to win: in short, there are about fifteen crews who aspire to that at the start. 'Of course, the Mille Miglia remains the regularity race par excellence, not really a tourist trip, but it depends on how you want to face it. In any case, the organizers are right in leaving the basis of the regulation without changes: also because they have no problems filling the parterre, indeed, the waiting list is long,' he says.
Then in the end, in addition to the people and the wonderful Italian panorama, the real protagonists of the competition are the cars: who is on board, known or not, may enter the roll of honour or not, but the cars are there. 'And they must be perfectly preserved, as if they were works of art: they bring to our days the technical and cultural history of the car, they must not be abandoned,' is underlined by the great collector who received the FIVA prize, sponsored by UNESCO, for the restoration of the Giulietta SZ. A pure masterpiece, the restoration which was carried out as if the car were a sculpture.
The absolute success of the Mille Miglia went to the 6C 1750 Super Sport Zagato of 1929 driven by the Brescia crew Andrea Vesco-Fabio Salvinelli. For Vesco – first in 2020, alongside his father Roberto - there is the satisfaction of having broken a taboo that had lasted for 22 years: in fact, only Giuliano Cané, between 1998 and 2000, had managed to be among the winners of the regularity race in three consecutive editions.
At the second place there are Andrea Luigi Belometti and Gianluca Bergomi from Bergamo, at the wheel of the Lancia Lambda Spider TIPO 221 (also from 1929). Finally, the third place is held by Lorenzo and Mario Turelli from Brescia, with their OM 665 S MM Superba 2000 (also from 1929, it seems incredible). With this car they have also won the Tazio Nuvolari Trophy, dedicated to the 130th anniversary of the birth of the legendary pilot. The Monza 2022 Autodromo Centennial Trophy instead went to Alberto and Giuseppe Scapolo on the OM 665 S MM Superba 2000 of 1929. Silvia Marini and Irene Dei Tos have won the Ladies' Cup. Finally, the runway in via Venezia was also opened to the racing cars of the Ferrari Tribute (won by Andrea Milesi and Giordano Mozzi) and of the 1000 Miglia Green (won by the driver Giancarlo Fisichella) But, in the end, the winners are all those who have participated.