Classic Marathon 2015
DAY ONE, LECCE-OTRANTO-LECCE
The very experienced Barry & Roma Weir lead overnight in their Mercedes-Benz 280 SL and have the chance for a lie in due to reverse seeding, they had a great run at the La Conca test and a superb run on the Giudignano regularity – dropping just five seconds. In second place are Stephen Lord / Kim Porter in their Austin-Healey 3 Litre just one second behind. The purpose of today’s action was to settle crews in and to establish a running order for tomorrow. Giudignano was a relatively straight-forward regularity, the topography and fauna were used to full advantage, with only the wary coming away relatively unscathed from the last timing point – almost within sight of the end of regularity.
The weather is wonderful, wispy blue skies and temperatures in the low 30’s meaning that crews in convertible / open cars were in need of plenty of sun cream and copious amounts of water to keep them going. Puglia lies in the ‘heel’ or south east of Italy, there are many olive groves and vineyards here, the land is relatively flat and dry, the coastal areas benefiting from a breeze that cools the ever present heat at this time of year.
A crew that didn’t fare too well today were Richard Prosser / Richard Dix, an uncharacteristic slip from Dix meant he forgot to zero both trip meter and clock, leaving the normally unflappable Richard wondering where he was in the roadbook, dropping the pair time.
In the top five we have many well – known names battling it out for top honours, Howard & Matt Warren lie in wait for any mistakes just ahead of legendary Irish RallyCross driver Dermot Carnegie who as usual is partnered by Paul Bosdet. Marcus Anderson / Matthew Lymn Rose are going well in the Series 1 E-Type Jaguar, as are Paul Bloxidge / Andy Pullan in their Porsche 911, this first time pairing looking for a good result over the coming week’s competition. Michael Moss / James Ewing had to evict a family of mice from their Sunbeam Rapier to get the vehicle to the start of Classic Marathon, a frenetic 48 hours saw the vehicle – which hadn’t turned a wheel in five years – be readied and loaded up for the event, despite having the family of resident rodents in the boot, the car was soon purring away and back into competition, the mice are less than impressed apparently.
Following a fine showing on the Three Castles in their MGA, Mark & Sue Godfrey have brought their MGB Roadster to Italy and are currently in 8th, they are headed up by Chas Colton / Ryan Pickering who are rumoured to be seeking sponsorship from Flymo or Qualcast after their sprited attempt at the La Conca test saw them take to the grass, it was a bitter sweet start line for the ever cheerful Andrew & Sarah Mallagh, after driving down from Cheshire via a Porsche Club meeting in Germany, their immaculate 914/6 was parked close by to Andrew’s old Porsche 911 – now an Arrive & Drive car and caused him to cast a wistful glance or two in the 911’s direction. Alexander & Jane Postan were going well in their supercharged 962cc Austin-Healey Bonneville Sprite, sadly though a gasket blew between the blower and engine dropping them down the leader board and giving Alexander the task of making a new gasket witht he aid of some liquid metal.
The first car is away tomorrow at a relatively leisurely 09:00, Joe & Sharon Heyes have the honour of being first car on the road in what has to be one of the most breathtaking vehicles on the event, their Mercedes – Benz 300 SL Roadster. Monday will still be relatively tame in Classic Marathon terms at almost eight hours long, after leaving Lecce we pass through Alberobello before overnighting in Matera, giving crews chance to sample a UNESCO World Heritage site, The Sassi.
More news and snippets as we receive them.
Marquis Giulio Romanazzi-Carducci & Giuseppe Ceci lead seventy crews away from the beautiful town of Ortranto to start the 26th running of the Classic Marathon in Italy. The locals of Otranto were out in force to wish the starters well as they left the town to embark on the first action of the day.
We have a very cosmopolitan field of competitors with entries from Australia, New Zealand, Greece, Sweden and Norway to name a few, the Norwegian crew of Ole Rasmus Robak and Agnete Segalstad have had problems on their journey from home – their Mercedes-Benz 200/8 developing brake master cylinder problems after leaving Hamburg. They made their way to Rome and were incredibly fortunate to find a replacement which was fitted within a day, the mechanic even arranging for them to stay in a bed & breakfast that was run by a classic car enthusiast!
Peter & Rayna Jackson are also experiencing mechanical maladies in their MGB GT V8, the starter motor proving problematic, their car having to be bump started to get them over the start line. The leg today was a great bedding in exercise for crews with just one test and a regularity that would count towards further seeding. Howard & Matthew Warren did well on this regularity, dropping a reported ( subject to confirmation) five seconds. Other crews doing well here were Seren Whyte & Leigh Powley dropped seven, Chas Colton & Ryan Pickering dropping eight. Many competitors fell foul of the intricacies of the olive groves, some faring far worst than the previously mentioned.
The famous Kart Circuit of La Conca welcomed crews for the first test of Classic Marathon, this open and flowing test proved very popular with crews, Colton & Pickering were spectacular as always, unfortunately pushing a little too hard caused them to mow the grass for the owners of La Conca.
DAY TWO, LECCE – MATERA
Barry & Roma Weir have wilted slightly in the intense heat that Italy has bestowed upon us today, slipping to fifth equal with Andrew & Sarah Mallagh who have mounted a comeback in their Porsche 914/6. The roads and scenery have changed a little as we have headed north, the flat and sometimes featureless roads (reminiscent of Belgium) have given way to a more rolling and hilly topography.
The lanes are typically European, hidden slots and farm tracks are there to catch out those who lapse in concentration, Howard & Matthew Warren lead the way from fellow Cestrian’s Charles Colton / Ryan Pickering, both in Porsche 911’s. Richard Prosser / Richard Dix have recovered well from an uncharacteristic mistake from Dix yesterday, they lie in third. Daniel Pfirter is partnered by Max Behrndt in their Datsun 240Z, they are having the run of their life positioned in the top five but ineligible for overall awards due to the age of their car.
Today has seen Classic Marathon 2015 run in a north-westerly direction along the easterly edge of Italy’s ‘heel’ and then head west to overnight in Matera, the beautiful Sassi of Matera providing the final check point of the day before crews made their way back to their respective hotels. We are happy to report that Geremy Thomas & Tracey Kent have re-joined us at the overnight halt and we look forward to seeing them back in competition tomorrow.
More information to follow.
The heat is building as we head north from Lecce and pass through many olive groves and vineyards once again. The roads here in Italy have a distinct flavour to them – caution is needed in places due to agricultural traffic and sinewy nature of the lanes.
Geremy Thomas & Tracey Kent are newcomers to the sport of regularity rallying, they had a good opening day but seemed to struggle this morning – they missed the first regularity section and we have yet to see them at lunch. We may have the first retirement of the event, the now 35 degree heat is taking its toll on crews and cars alike, Stephen Lord & Kim Porter had held second overnight, unfortunately we are hearing that their big Healey has head gasket problems and are out of the running at this moment.
The driving test at Pista Saraceni was an instant success with the competitors, the owners of this open and flowing test providing competitors with a lovely cake to commemorate the Classic Marathon’s visit to their track.
We are taking lunch at Alberobello- a world heritage site that is home to the beautiful Trulli style of house that you see below.
We await results to allow the re-seeding to go ahead, we will post as soon as we have them.Marquis Giulio Romanazzi-Carducci & Giuseppe Ceci have pulled out from the afternoon’s proceedings, a pressing business matter has forced them to take leave – their beautiful Lagonda will be missed as it draws a crowd wherever it is parked- they hope to return tomorrow.
DAY 3 TO LUNCH (LAGO DEL PERTUSILLO) INFORMATION
The pressure of the Classic Marathon is starting to tell on some crews, today has seen the event move from the low foothills of Basilicata and into the higher reaches of Campania before descending into Salerno tonight for a final test before competitors rest up for the overnight.
The alarm call for this morning must have come as a surprise for some crews, the previous two days start times had been quite late in Marathon terms, a push back to 08:00 this morning was the beginning of earlier start times for the rest of the event. Today was definitely a ‘press-on’ sort of day with crews covering 397 Kilometres before reaching Salerno.
Richard Prosser & Richard Dix seemed to be improving all the time, unfortunately their Reliant Scimitar suffered suspension failure meaning they are effectively out of the event, in true Marathon spirit we believe they are having the faulty part replaced and hope to re-join for the end of the event as soon as a repair can be effected. One of the drives of the event has come from Claus Coester / Tjorven Christine Schroeder in their 1935 Bentley Derby Special Sports, they are showing much more modern machinery a clean pair of heels and posting some outstanding times, they lie in twelfth overall just one second in front of Steve & Alex Chick in their Austin-Healey 3000.Three regularities headed the event away from the fabulous town of Matera, the ancient Sassi that nestle in the town are widely regarded to be the first settlement in Italy, dating as far back as 7000 BC. Picciano was the opening reg of the day at 15 Km, winding its way over Mount Igino before running virtually straight into Regularity 3/2 ‘Appia’ which took in Mount Saint Vito and the series of hairpins at Grottole caught quite a few crews out. Charles Colton / Ryan Pickering were once again in top form, their eleven seconds regularity penalties and zero test penalties took them past last night’s leaders, Howard & Matthew Warren and into first place at lunch. There are several crews challenging for the top spot however, the top five are separated by just 20 seconds meaning anything can happen. Top performers up to lunch were Mark & Sue Godfrey in their MGB, a superb regularity score of just nine seconds coupled with zero test penalties mean they are still in the hunt.
The third regularity ‘Salandra’ seemed innocuous at first glance at just 7.71 Km long, the series of hairpins meaning that all competitors needed to be on their mettle to achieve low scores here. John Abel / Ali Procter are starting to gel well together, up to lunch they had amassed just 12 seconds in penalty points in the wonderful sounding Triumph Tiger V8 raising them into third and nipping at the heels of the Porsche pair at the top of the tree. The first test of the day was at Pista Salandra Kart circuit where crews were made incredibly welcome by the owners and locals of the area, they provided us with freshly baked croissant and cakes and drinks, the test also being a time control allowed all to watch and enjoy this open and flowing test which even had some gravel sections in to keep things interesting. Shorter regularities with many hairpins have featured heavily this morning, affording some of the best views of the Parco Regionale di Gallipoli for competitors and marshals alike! The final two regularities slotted nicely into this theme also and brought crews to lunch close to the shores of Lago del Pertusillo, it would appear that the HERO Assist crews were kept busy with a few jobs, Colin Nursey & Nina Taivassalo’s Lotus Seven had a sticky starter motor, this was cured by a quick reversing manoeuvre to keep them in the running. A crew on the slide sadly are Marcus Anderson and Matthew Lymn Rose in their E-Type, they were reported as stopped close to Padula and were awaiting the services of the HERO Assist team, who were attending to another E-Type, this time the one belonging to Ron Hughes and Steven Dixon.
DAY 3 TO SALERNO
Marcus Anderson & Matthew Lymn Rose escaped their earlier mechanical woes to climb another place and lie in third as we go into day four of the Classic Marathon. Slipping away slightly are John Abel / Ali Proctor who had a difficult afternoon yesterday, their excellent morning was spoiled by a problem on the final test and regularity penalties that drop them into sixth overall. Top dogs are still Chas Colton / Ryan Pickering in their Porsche 911, they have extended their lead to nine seconds from Howard & Matthew Warren but a gap of just 47 seconds separates the top five crews who are eligible for overall awards
Leaving lunch at Lago del Pertusillo Classic Marathon 2015 headed north west through the Parco Nationale del Cilento with three regularities that bore a similar feel to earlier sections – the terrain here is challenging and the roads wind up and down the local mountains in a series of hairpins making regularity rallying very testing. Charles & Kit Graves are running well, their beautiful Jaguar XK 150 Open Two Seater having no issues with the heat and hairpins to see them lie 16th overall into the overnight halt. Jon Edward / Des Wood are a crew to watch in their Ford Lotus Cortina Mk II, they lead their class with a series of excellent results that place them in the top ten with a five second buffer over the Porsche 911 pair.
Day four’s route is incredibly linear, heading north for the majority of the day with a late finish once again to keep the pressure mounted on crews, as this snippet is written clews are leaving Salerno for a day that has seven regularities spread over the day.
DAY FOUR, LUNCH, PETTRORANELLO DI MOLISE NEAR BENEVENTO
There is a real change in the weather today in middle Italy, crews started out at 08:00 and were greeted with a downpour of torrential proportions almost immediately as the y started the first regularities in the Parco Regionale del Partenio in the shadow of Mount Vesuvius. The scenery is vastly different to the first part of Classic Marathon 2015, Lecce and the surrounding area had a parched look to it, where we are now is lush and verdant, the mountains almost emerald in appearance.
Just after the Monte Taburno regularity section at Frasso Telesino, Niklaus & Gisi Freuler (Jaguar XK140 DHC) were seen stopped with no electrics in monsoon like conditions – which has left the road incredibly slippy after the extended period of dry weather Italy has experienced – this has also caused problems for Ron Hughes / Steven Dixon who have had issues which may lead to a body repair… Urs & Denise Mezger have been on the pace throughout the event, this came to an abrupt halt today as the slippery roads meant a visit into the scenery for the Swiss couple’s TR4. In a smiliar vehicle, Douglas and John Hampson have oil pressure problems after losing their filler cap earlier in the day, it has been found by a vigilant member of the HERO team and we hope to re-unite the lost part with its rightful owners!There have been some casualties in the event this morning, Marco Carnaroli & Camillo Costa have been forced to retire in their Porsche 964 with transmission problems, HERO cup leader Paul Crosby has been forced to retire from the day’s proceedings as navigator David Groom has a bad case of car sickness and cannot carry on, we will confirm this later, if this is true this will dent Paul’s assault at the HERO Cup again this year leaving Stephen Owens in the lead should he and son Thomas finish the event in their Austin-Healey 3000.
DAY FOUR AFTERNOON HALT GAMBERALE UPDATE
This afternoon has seen a real shake up in the results with several crews having problems with the weather and the tricky road surfaces in the Italian mountains around the central part of the country.
One of the crews in contention for an award have had real problems, John Abel & Ali Proctor have suspension problems, losing a front wheel and hub from their Sunbeam Tiger, as well as this Claus Coester / Tjorven Christine Schroeder have visited the scenery coming into a time control at Gambarale. Digby Leighton-Squires & Yue Ma have retired their Bentley T1 at Salerno, they have not taken part today – the reason is yet to be found out.
The rain and terrain have both been relentless today meaning pressing on was the order of the day, most crews have anecdotes and stories about their perils caused by the monsoon-like downpours, with several stories coming in of being drenched by standing water or those brave enough to be in open cars being thoroughly soaked.
Dermot Carnegie / Paul Bosdet have been ‘shopping’ in a different way today, Paul accidently caught the trip meter adjustment buttons in the car with a resulting loss of accuracy putting their calculations all to pot. Another high flying crew, Marcus Anderson / Matthew Lymn Rose came into the time control at Gambarale to find they had missed a control point, they will have picked up many penalties and this is sure to affect the standings later on tonight when results are published. It’s great to see the Reliant Scimitar of Richard Prosser / Richard Dix back with us, after a suspension component failed last night they found a garage with welding gear and a repair was made to allow them to continue.Stephen Lord / Kim Porter were showing well early in the event, an intermittent misfire on their Austin-Healey is hampering their progress and has dropped them down the leader board. Nicholas & Janice Maris have also struggled with conditions, their Datsun 240Z taking so much water on board that the heater could not demist the windows, amassing many penalties. Paul Crosby has been soldiering on without a navigator and doing a fine job in getting to controls, we hear that David may be back in the car tomorrow allowing the pair to hopefully carry on and finish the event. Mike Cowburn / Ron Sinclair have been caught out with the treacherous conditions, battling on after an excursion off the road, we are very pleased to say that they have managed to keep going with a few war wounds on the Arrive & Drive Alfa Romeo 1750 GTV. Also back in the hunt are Urs & Denise Mezger, despite being stuck in a ditch for a while they caught up at lunch and are now going well once again, real grit and determination. The roads have been so slippy today that one competitor has commented that it felt like driving on olive oil!
The Classic Marathon is sure to have many twists and turns before it ends, today crews have covered almost 310Km and are looking at a similar amount tomorrow, we have better weather forecast for the next couple of days, however it looks like the final day of the event will be tricky as there is further rain forecast for Brescia. More news to follow.
DAY FIVE TO LUNCH, MARCHESE DEL GRILLO, FABRIANO
An early start away from Silvi Marini for the first crews this morning, an 07:30 start to make their way along the stunning Adriatic coast and into the mountain ranges of Umbria and Marche, words cannot describe the majesty and beauty of this region, many competitors have commented on the roads and views that change round every corner. As you would expect, the roads are constantly winding their way up and down the mountains in a series of hairpins, these are causing some problems for Dermot Carnegie / Paul Bosdet in their Volvo due to a coolant leak, as well as this and to add to their woes, a tricky junction caught them out, landing them with a one minute penalty.
The days are getting longer now in terms of distance, today will see those who take the correct route total almost 461 Kilometres with tomorrow being even longer at 490 Kilometres. Daniel Gresly / Christian Prunte had a real scare on a regularity, Christian forgetting to re-set his trip meter but with great skill he made some calculations to drop just one second on that section.
Jon Edward & Des Wood are improving all the time and are mounting a challenge for the top five they are battling with Gresly / Prunte and Barry & Roma Weir, just six seconds the difference between all three crews.
It’s still nip and tuck between Chas Colton / Ryan Pickering and Howard & Matt Warren, unofficial reports say the gap is now just three seconds with three regularities to go today.
We are happy to receive reports that Digby Leighton-Squires and Yue Ma are ok after not starting the leg today, they have decided to tour the rest of the event rather than compete. The incredibly brave Claus Coester / Tjorven Christine Schroeder have also retired due to mechanical issues, the weather and local road surfaces taking them out of the running. Paul Crosby now has a new navigator in Ali Proctor – this is due to the retirement of John Abel after a stub axle snapped on his Sunbeam Tiger.
The event runs east this morning before heading north into our overnight halt in San Marino, there will be plenty of action, more news from the coffee / rest halts as we receive it.At the top of the tree we still have a battle between the similar Porsche 911’s of Charles Colton / Ryan Pickering and Howard & Matt Warren, just five seconds separates them at the re-start this morning. Paul Bloxidge / Andy Pullan have had a great run yesterday, some solid performances on the regularities have elevated them into third place just 19 seconds adrift of second. Consistency has been the order of the week so far for Andrew & Sarah Mallagh, despite being caught in yesterday’s deluge they have improved all week to hold fourth overall, these last two crews are ineligible for overall awards though due to the age of their vehicles.
DAY FIVE – SILVI MARINI TO SAN MARINO
We are just about to set off for the longest leg of the Classic Marathon 2015, at just over 490 Km it is sure to bring up some surprises and maybe even a change round in the leader board once again.
At the sharp end, Chas Colton / Ryan Pickering have extended their lead to eleven seconds after Howard & Matt Warren booked in eight seconds early into a control, this is a tiny margin and the pressure is now on to maintain their lead in what is turning out to be a tough event for cars and crews alike – a testament to the event’s history. Colin & Jacqui Wilson have retired their TR3A with clutch problems, they made it into San Marino last night and to the service crews, unfortunately the HERO Assist crews couldn’t repair the ailing Triumph to allow them to re-start.
Drexel & Pat Gillespie had a great day in the mountains, Drexel mentioning that even though he has spent most of the week with his wife in the car under some pretty tense conditions that they are still speaking to each other! The route started out from Silvi Marini and headed east through Umbria before turning north and taking in Marche, several mountains were crossed as Classic Marathon delivered a total of eight regularities for the day. The roads selected were new to many of the experienced crews and tested them at all times, there was a distinct change in scenery as crews passed through the leg – Umbria is quite mountainous and then gives way to a more rolling and open feel after entering into Marche. Lunch was held at the fabulous Marchese del Grillo (Marquis of the Grill), the setting, hospitality and food drawing many a compliment from those taking a well-deserved rest at the halt close to Fabriano. Stephen Johnson / Andrew Duerden came into San Marino last night and mentioned that although their Alfa Romeo Giulia Sprint was performing well back in her homeland, the engine was sometimes struggling on the steeper inclines, Charles & Kit Graves had a little niggle with their Jaguar XK 150 OTS, the exhaust developing an annoying rattle in what is normally a wonderful sounding vehicle. A crew that seem to be improving all the time are Edward Hughes / Wayne Gooding in their Austin-Healey 3000 Mk I, their first ever long distance event has seen them get to grips with the navigation and relentless pressure to lie in a very respectable 34thoverall, a crew that had a difficult day yesterday, Jon Edward / Des Wood have slipped a little, an overshoot on a hairpin costing them time and sending them sliding down the order – not the best birthday present for Jon unfortunately, but from all the organising team, marshals and competitors on the event Jon, a very happy birthday!Michael Moss / James Ewing have reported some transmission issues with their Sunbeam Rapier, we understand they are able to continue but the length and terrain in today’s leg may well test it to the limit, only time will tell. Patrick Burke / Christian von Sanden have broken the anti-roll bar on the Arrive & Drive MGA, a deep pothole catching Christian out as he took a turn at the wheel, it has been a tough event for Urs & Denise Mezger, not only did they endure a visit to the scenery a couple of days ago, yesterday saw them lose time when their TR4’s fuel pumps decided to fail, they did make the final control in San Marino and will re-start this morning. Paul Bloxidge / Andy Pullan dropped some time to Andrew & Sarah Mallagh yesterday, Andy commenting that they had lost 44 seconds (21 seconds was the time to beat, Ryan Pickering and Alex Chick best navigators on regularities) due to cleverly placed speed changes that were there to catch the unwary.
We head east first today before running north into Maranello for the final time control at the Ferrari Museum, there is a real anticipation and sense of excitement amongst crews about this, from Maranello we head almost due north to overnight in Brescia,
Day six – San Marino to Brescia.Charles Colton / Ryan Pickering took a well-deserved win on the 26th Classic Marathon from the very similar Porsche 911 of Howard Warren / Matt Warren, they in turn held off Marcus Anderson & Matthew Lymn Rose in their Jaguar E-Type Series one who finished a fine third despite this being just their second event ever. Going in to the final leg which started in Brescia, the start and finish venue of the world famous Mille Miglia, competitors took in a final loop which took them north east and then back south to finish in Salo on the shores of Lake Garda. Colton / Pickering held a fifteen second lead going into the final day, a slip on the last regularity by The Warren’s cost the Father and Son team dearly, the winning margin some 44 seconds between the top two.Classic Marathon has always rewarded those using historic vehicles, this year was no different- overall awards were presented to those in vehicles registered pre-1968, other competitors were eligible for class and special awards. Amongst the other crews, Paul Bloxidge was partnered by Andy Pullan in their Porsche 911 Carrera 2.7, after a shaky start the new pairing really gelled together and ended the event just one second in front of The Warren’s to take top honours in class 8. One of the drives of the event came from husband and wife team Andrew & Sarah Mallagh, their immaculate Porsche 914/6 was lightning fast on the driving tests netting them second in class 8. Fourth overall went to Dermot Carnegie / Paul Bosdet in a Volvo PV544 they took first in class one by a considerable margin, Barry & Roma Weir headed up the official top five in their beautiful Mercedes-Benz 280 SL.
Just outside of the top five saw some excellent performances, Steve & Alex Chick, Jon Edward / Des Wood, Mark & Sue Godfrey were all challenging at some point, it seemed that The Godfrey’s were in real contention to be the first crew ever to make it a hat-trick of wins on this iconic event, however, an uncharacteristic slip saw them finish seventh overall and first in class.
Classic Marathon 2015 was a really tough event, towards the end of the week crews were covering in excess of 350 km per day in high temperatures, the roads in the mountains of Italy can be very testing and in need of repair in many places, couple this with days reaching over 35 degrees and it soon becomes obvious this was no walk in the park.
HERO-CRA would like to thank the Italian authorities, Police forces, local motor clubs and local people who made us incredibly welcome throughout the event, a huge thanks to all the travelling marshals who were stood in baking heat one minute and then a torrential downpour the next, without you we wouldn’t have had such a wonderful event.
The next Classic Marathon takes place in 2017, we hope to see you in Greece as the Marathon goes to Marathon.
We have a real cliff-hanger on our hands as we head into the final day here in the beautiful region of Lombardy. The scenery has changed constantly as we have made our way up from the arid and sometimes sparse lands of the south into this verdant and colourful section in the north of Italy. The hills and mountains here are more rolling and open up into the Italian Lake District, a place of outstanding beauty.
Competition wise it could not be more intense – Chas Colton / Ryan Pickering have a slender fifteen second lead over Howard & Matt Warren, although the day ahead is relatively short to the previous days, there is some frenetic action in store with there being five regularities in just under 200 Km. One of the regularities is very short at 1.34 Km, however there is a sting in the tail with the final section having no less than eight timing points to keep the crews on their toes.
Yesterday saw the retirement of Martin Shaw / Les Mc Guffog with mechanical issues in their Austin-Healey 3000, it was a tough and relentless day that took its toll on all of the crews at some point or other. It would appear that punctures seemed to plague competitors throughout the day, Michael Gerber / Christoph Kueng and Dan Gresly / Christian Prunte both report having to change tyres.
Coming out of San Marino – the tiny republic which is perched aloft a hill – Classic Marathon descended into Emilia Romagna from the rugged outline of the Apennines, the contrast quite stark as we headed out into open and rolling hills, totally different from the previous days. Clerk of Course Bob Rutherford kept competitors entertained with a series of tight and intricate regularity sections which utilised the local terrain to the maximum, one particular section took time from almost all of the crews after they turned into what appeared to be a dead end, it was in fact a road between two buildings that could not be seen until you were upon it.
A lengthy run back to Brescia saw a huge thunder and ice storm take some crews by surprise, the ferocity and scale of the storm was incredible, a drop from almost 30 degrees Celsius all the way to 15 degrees in a matter of seconds with hail the size of golf balls, the lightning was so constant it was difficult to keep track of. The setting for the penultimate night’s dinner could not be more fitting, set down a long driveway competitors stayed in the history and splendour of the Villa Fenaroli Palace on the outskirts of Brescia.Morning coffee was taken in Civitella di Romagna where the locals were out in force to greet the crews as they stopped in the town, heading north westerly the route wound its way through Marradi before stopping for lunch at Baragazza – a little south of Bologna where competitors enjoyed a fabulous lunch. There was a battle royale ensuing with the top five crews swapping seconds constantly, real nip and tuck stuff as they headed north passed Vergato before the final control of the day in the Museo di Ferrari in Maranello where the assembled cars and crews drew as much attention as the stunning creations on show.
We end today with a control in Salo on the shores of Lake Garda before making our way to the finish in the Mille Miglia Museum where we will return later for the gala dinner, this has been an incredibly tense and exciting Classic Marathon, it’s not over yet, there will be some real twists and turns, can Chas Colton make it two in a row?