by Richard Boudrias
The birth of my fascination for the Corsa più bella del mondo started back in 1989 when a friend and club (VEA) member, Marc Bourgeois, registered for the event as navigator in a Renault 4CV. The driver was an Italian friend of his living in Brescia. That was enough incentive for a friend of mine and I to decide to witness his participation in this legendary race. The next year, Citroënist Daniel Noiseux participated driving in his Traction Avant 11BL while Marc again navigated. Since then the fascination has seduced me every year, and even enough to watch the videos when they are available.
Last spring, my wife and I, as part of a Franco-Italian trip, assisted at the start of the race and were spectators, but this time with more finesse and experience…
We stayed at the Ai Ronchi Motor Hotel situated between the center of Brescia where all the 447 participating cars are displayed and the Mille Miglia Museum where all the competitors gather at 16.00h for cocktails. They must pass once in front of our motel to get to the museum, then back again to position themselves and finally at 18.00h they pass by as they leave Brescia individually, each 30 seconds apart. As a result, they must pass three times in front of us while we drink peacefully and unbothered, our cool bottle of Rosé wine while the waiter makes sure to keep our bowl of peanuts full…the civilized way of watching the MM.
It was exiting to wish good luck to Montrealer Louis Grenier who participated for the fifth consecutive year as navigator in his 1957 DS 19 (#445) while his friend Guy Gervais was busy driving. Also we greeted another friend, Philippe Tarcher driving a 1954 Traction 15/6H (#317).
The bottom line is; it’s nice to visit car shows, Concours d’Élégances and exhibitions of all kinds but what makes the Mille Miglia so spectacular is the fact that the cars are MOVING. They are alive. You can hear them sing and smell their perfume… Also the city of Brescia itself is dedicated to the event like Quebec City is during the Winter Carnival.
Can you afford not to go?…
PS: Should you want more information, do not hesitate to call me at 514-697-9037.