Tanya and Jason Field share mem­o­ries from The Ital­ian Job char­ity tour.

Mini Magazine - - Contents - Words Tanya Field Pho­tog­ra­phy Tanya Field, Jason Field and Ken Ma­son

The Ital­ian Job’s motto is ‘rais­ing money for chil­dren in a fun way’ and in short, it re­ally is as sim­ple as that! This year was the sec­ond time that we have taken part on the event, and it proved to be just as much fun as the first time in 2014. Our ve­hi­cle of choice this time was Paddy, our 1971 Mk3 Cooper S, partly due to his three­quar­ter-length We­basto sun­roof, which gets lit­tle use in the UK!

The con­cept is sim­ple. The of­fi­cial meet­ing point is in Italy – at a dif­fer­ent lo­ca­tion ev­ery time – fol­lowed by a week’s worth of care­fully planned routes past spec­tac­u­lar scenery and over moun­tain passes, vis­it­ing movie lo­ca­tions and vi­brant towns and cities along the way. Any­one can en­ter as long as they drive a ve­hi­cle with a con­nec­tion with the orig­i­nal 1969 Michael Caine ca­per. Part of the cost of The Ital­ian Job covers the ser­vice van, which is filled full of parts sup­plied by Mini Spares and has two vol­un­teer me­chan­ics. They fol­low the same route as the cars, fix­ing any bro­ken Minis (or other cars if they can help) along the way. You can also call the me­chan­ics if you have an ur­gent prob­lem with your car, or catch up with them at one of the stops where they will do their best to fix it. They have an ex­cel­lent record in keep­ing the cars go­ing and take real pride in get­ting ev­ery­one back home.


The first time we did the ‘Job’, we de­cided to pay ex­tra and fol­low the ser­vice van from Dover to Italy and back for ex­tra re­as­sur­ance. This year we felt brave (or fool­ish?) enough to go it alone for the trip down to Italy, al­though we did en­list fel­low Mini own­ers, Roger and Yvonne Hunt, to join us. This not only gave us an ex­tra pair of hands or two to as­sist with Mini prob­lems, the com­pany made the jour­ney down all the more en­joy­able.

We de­cided to leave the UK six days be­fore we needed to be in Italy for the start, and planned a route which in­volved stay­ing with Chateau de Bois Gi­raud (one of our spon­sors) for the night, as well as vis­its to the Magny Cours Cir­cuit and both the Sim­plon Pass and the Stelvio Pass. We were very for­tu­nate with the weather at Stelvio, with snow only on the very top, though we did slip and slide around a bit! We also woke to beau­ti­ful sun­shine, giv­ing us fan­tas­tic views for the route back down.


We ar­rived at the Molino Rosso ho­tel on the Thurs­day evening, which was our base for the fol­low­ing five nights. Fri­day morn­ing

was the start of the nav­i­ga­tional rally with sign-on and scru­ti­neer­ing, fol­lowed by the brief­ing, then lunch. For the rally, each team is given their start time, with cars sep­a­rated by 30 sec­onds. For ev­ery 100th of a sec­ond that you are ei­ther too early or too late over the line, you ac­crue a penalty point – it didn’t take us long to ac­quire quite a few! Each team is also given a very de­tailed route book, which al­though very sim­ple to fol­low, we man­aged to get wrong on a num­ber of oc­ca­sions. I was mostly the nav­i­ga­tor, but hav­ing a short at­ten­tion span, I would quickly get dis­tracted by the other cars, scenery or any­thing...

Our first stop was the lovely town of Dozza, where Paddy formed part of an im­promptu three-car IJ (red, white and blue) photo shoot! We then headed to Cas­tel del Rio with a short stop for re­fresh­ments at Pan­i­fi­cio Ghini, an Ital­ian Mini en­thu­si­ast’s bak­ery where each team was pre­sented with

“I would quickly get dis­tracted by the other cars, scenery or any­thing...”

a small gift and the chance to ad­mire En­rico’s lovely In­no­centi. We also sam­pled our first gelato of the trip be­fore com­plet­ing the first of the spe­cial stages – driving be­tween two tim­ing lines in ex­actly seven sec­onds, which is not as easy as it sounds! The last stage of the day saw us drive over the Ponte Ali­dosi, a beau­ti­ful sin­gle-span

arched bridge. It was quite a chal­lenge to cross, but slow and steady saw us suc­cess­fully over it.

The sec­ond day started with a short burst up the au­tostrada, which took us to the Panini Car mu­seum. Lo­cated on a cat­tle farm, it houses a fan­tas­tic col­lec­tion of Maser­atis, and they still make Parme­san cheese there. We were warmly wel­comed by lo­cal en­thu­si­asts from Mini Emilia Ro­magna Club. We then headed into Mo­dena and were given a po­lice es­cort into the city, where we had some free time to stroll around. A sec­ond po­lice es­cort saw us leave the city for the short trip to Villa Casino Riva for a well earned lunch, fol­lowed by a leisurely af­ter­noon at the Lam­borgh­ini mu­seum.

Day three was spent ex­plor­ing the fan­tas­tic hills sur­round­ing Ri­mini. The first stop was the lovely town of For­limpopoli, where we parked up in the Pi­azza for the lo­cals to ad­mire our cars while we toured around Casa Ar­tusi, the first cen­tre of gas­tro­nomic cul­ture. Here we had a Pi­adena (a flat bread) cook­ery demon­stra­tion with plenty of sam­ples af­ter­wards!

Fol­low­ing lunch we headed to Borghetto di Brola in the Modigliana hills, which pro­vided some fan­tas­tic scenery. Af­ter our evening meal back at the ho­tel, we were ‘treated’ to karaoke from Renzo. Now this isn’t karaoke as you or I or any­one else might know it, it’s karaoke with words trans­lated from English to Ital­ian, then back again to English, which is a lit­tle like Chi­nese Whis­pers!


The fourth day gave as a chance to try our hand at kart­ing, or for those like me who aren’t big fans, to cheer the Job­bers on from the side­lines. In the af­ter­noon, the teams all headed out to the Au­to­dromo In­ter­nazionale Enzo e Dino Fer­rari, Imola. Af­ter driving half a lap be­hind the Thames Dor­mo­bile, we de­cided to ig­nore the ‘no over­tak­ing’ rule and found our­selves in clear air, al­low­ing us to push Paddy a bit harder and have some real fun. We caught up with the back of the pack just as they stopped near the Ayr­ton Senna me­mo­rial. Two more fly­ing laps were en­joyed and then it was out into the car park to com­plete the se­ri­ous busi­ness of not one, but three spe­cial stages. First up was a chi­cane chal­lenge, then ‘squash the cups’ fol­lowed by a fi­nal chi­cane and re­vers­ing course, all need­ing to be com­pleted in ex­actly 40 sec­onds. Some took it more se­ri­ously than oth­ers with

spec­ta­tors all en­joy­ing the ban­ter be­tween ri­val teams.

The fol­low­ing morn­ing saw us head off to Monza. As we ap­proached the cir­cuit, it dawned on us that we weren’t the only ones head­ing there. Amongst the many high end per­for­mance cars, we spot­ted a pair of Fiat 500s, one an Abarth. Once at the meet­ing point, we were set three more spe­cial stages by or­gan­iser Fred­die St Ge­orge and the red hat­ters, with each one pro­vid­ing much en­ter­tain­ment for those wait­ing for their turn. While this was go­ing on, Gi­u­lia St Ge­orge was work­ing her magic and af­ter much dis­cus­sion (ap­par­ently she shouts loud­est in Ital­ian!), she man­aged to ar­range three laps of the cir­cuit for ev­ery­one. What an ex­pe­ri­ence!


A leisurely drive to Turin which was made even bet­ter by a crack­ing sun­set, with the fi­nal day’s high­light a trip up on to the Lin­gotto rooftop (the old FIAT test track) for three more spe­cial stages and the chance for some photos on the iconic bank­ing.

Af­ter yet an­other fan­tas­tic lunch in the ho­tel, all the cars gath­ered to­gether await­ing the po­lice to es­cort us around Turin. First up was the Gran Madre do Dio, the church where the Minis drive down the steps in the film. Then it was on to Pi­azza SanCarlo, where we parked the cars up for the pub­lic to ad­mire the them and chat to the own­ers, lan­guage bar­ri­ers al­low­ing. Fi­nally, we made our way to Castello del Valentino for yet more great pics and a guided tour. We de­cided to split from the main group at this point in or­der to take Paddy to the fa­mous weir for a quick photo be­fore fad­ing light got the bet­ter of us. What a great way to fin­ish the Ital­ian Job!

Of course, there was still the re­turn trip, dur­ing which we had some prob­lems with Paddy not run­ning well and mis­fir­ing. We stopped at the ser­vices and called the

“The fi­nal day’s high­light was a trip up on to the Lin­gotto rooftop...”

ser­vice van me­chan­ics, who gave Paddy a full check over, car­ried out some di­ag­nos­tics, and re­placed the ro­tor arm and con­denser – all while be­ing ac­costed by some Je­ho­vahs Wit­nesses! Maybe they thought we could ben­e­fit from di­vine in­ter­ven­tion!

To top off our ex­cel­lent Ital­ian Job, Paddy was voted as ‘Best Dressed Mini’ against some tough com­pe­ti­tion. We would like to thank our spon­sors Somer­ford Mini, New­ton Com­mer­cial, MINI Clubs In­ter­na­tional Of­fice, MINI Plant Ox­ford, Lan­caster In­sur­ance Ser­vices and Vil­lars Hay­ward. We’re hop­ing to take part in our third Ital­ian Job within the next few years – we rec­om­mend ev­ery­one should do it least once, but once the bug bites...

No Ital­ian Job is com­plete with­out a drive on the iconic Lin­gotto roof track bank­ing.

An im­promptu blue, white and red pho­to­shoot in Dozza. Brother and sis­ter team, John Thew and An­nie White, drove the blue car, while the red RSP was driven by Martin and Sue Law­son. They’ve had it since new!

With the fel­low white Mk3 S of Huw and Aled Evans in Mo­dena.

Parked up at the Imola cir­cuit.

Paddy and Roger’s RSP at Magny Cours.

Snow at the top of the Stelvio Pass.

Bobby the Dor­mo­bile!

Roger and Yvonne head up the Stelvio.

The Job­bers gather for a photo at the kart­ing cir­cuit.

Awe­some ma­chin­ery at the Lambo Mu­seum. Roger Hunt with Tanya and Jason in per­suit. Sue Law­son at­tempts a bal­anc­ing act.

Cheese aplenty at the Panini Mu­seum.

Paddy at the fa­mous Monza cir­cuit.

Minis and foot­ball - both loved by the Ital­ians!

All lined up in sunny Turin.

Jason on the old Fiat test track. Been to Lin­gotto, got the T-shirt...

With a po­lice of­fi­cer at the Castello del Valentino.

Driving on the fa­mous Lin­gotto bank­ing.

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