Boom! Is Pisa with that wonky building. Awesome. “Dan, I think I know where we are…”
The rest of the route is quite technical and we’re paying close attention to the road book again. The beautiful scenery and architecture whizzes by in a blur as we try to make up for time lost and catch the Heritage Racing crew who, we’ve heard, are not that far ahead of us. At Bologna, today’s final destination, we are not allowed to follow the classic car route and there’s nothing left for it but to set the sat nav once again for the hotel we will be calling home for tonight. And yes, relax and have a couple of well-earned beverages.
After the high of the previous day, the final 218km stage back to Brescia begins with a giant kick in the balls and chaos in Bologna. Many of the Mille Miglia drivers had been given completely wrong information regarding their starting times and some of them were well over half an hour late. The ensuing traffic build up with blood boiling from the more competitive teams results in the kind of language that I feel fortunate not to understand as I am an innocent chap. Who doesn’t speak Italian. Or German. And only has basic skills in English.
A stroke of luck (for me) in all this chaos was finally catching sight of Bruno Senna, Martin Brundle and that long nose D-Type celebrating 60 years of existence. On the previous days it had just been too fast to ever catch. Which is to be expected from something that accelerates like a Formula 1 car and can hit over 190mph down the Mulsanne Straight. Not bad for an old jalopy. Not bad at all.
But with Dan back at the helm we were on a mission to get to Brescia before the competitors arrive and cross the finish line completing their 2014 Mille Miglia. Shortcuts are taken and massive chunks of the route are completely ignored as we carve our way through the Italian road network in the shortest possible path to our final destination.
Within minutes of rejoining the road that leads to Brescia we get caught up with traffic again but this time it is appreciated. We are sitting right behind Senna and Brundle in the D-Type and seeing this thing push on is a real eye opener.
It’s Senna behind the wheel and he has obviously been pushing hard ignoring the regularity aspect of the Mille Miglia to get ahead of us. The D-Type leapfrogs traffic with a rapidity that we can only dream of in our 60 years younger F-TYPE and the noise that 393 RW emits when shifting is the soundtrack of automotive porn.
We catch up a little when traffic slows down at Mantova but we simply cannot keep pace on the open road and the D-Type pulls away from us. Time to cut our losses and make a beeline for Brescia and the finish line. The autostrade is a lonely place and we have left the Mille Miglia route for the last time. It is hard to acknowledge that we were never actually truly part of the Mille Miglia.
As invited guests in a modern car we have followed the drama and shared in some of the excitement. But the real Miglia Mille as it stands today, the “museum in motion, unique and charming, in a beautiful framework of jubilant visitors” as Enzo Ferrari called it, was never within our grasp.
The finish line in Brescia is therefore only crossed by those lucky few that get to experience the historic running of the most beautiful race in the world. And for that, I am insanely jealous.
Still, doesn’t mean I am not going to buy the guys beers and join in the celebrations. That would be stupid.