Giro dei Vulcani 2014

New Zealand Classic Car - - Nationwide News Classic News & Views From All Arou - Words and Pho­tos: Gor­don Camp­bell

Or­ga­niz­ing a first-class rally is a sure-fire way to put pres­sure on your­self — par­tic­i­pants come back ex­pect­ing at least the same stan­dard. Those who re­turned for the fourth Giro de Vulcani weren’t dis­ap­pointed. It was a chance to see familiar faces and a few new ones at an event that fully met, or ex­ceeded, pre­vi­ous ones. Held ev­ery sec­ond year for a limited num­ber of clas­sic Ital­ian cars, the Giro is metic­u­lously or­ga­nized by Carteroni, the Lan­cia spe­cial­ist of Man­gaweka. As its name im­plies, vol­ca­noes are part of the itin­er­ary.

Fur­thest-trav­elled were David Lowe and his fa­ther, Peter. David had bought a Lan­cia Thema on line from Dunedin, and he and Peter flew over from Syd­ney to col­lect it and take part in the Giro. From Christchurch were Giro stal­warts, Ge­off and Erica Tie, in their al­ways im­mac­u­late Lan­cia Mon­tecarlo. Also from that city was Tom Bruynel in his Alfa Romeo Guilia Su­per in Ital­ian po­lice-car livery. He was part­nered in full po­lice re­galia by Mike Apthorp, and the pair at­tracted a lot of at­ten­tion and pro­vided plenty of en­ter­tain­ment. Oth­ers came from Auck­land, Napier and Welling­ton for the ini­tial meet and greet at the Awa­stone River­side Haven, a new estab­lish­ment on the bank of the Ran­gi­tikei River near Man­gaweka.

The cars were sent off from Carteroni’s Man­gaweka head­quar­ters at one-minute in­ter­vals with tulip in­struc­tions that guided them on loops around su­perb and de­serted Ran­gi­tikei back roads prior to a leisurely lunch at Upokon­garo, north of Wan­ganui. A trans­port stage to Raetihi was fol­lowed by a tour to the Turoa ski field. The re­ac­tions were priceless as the Carteroni Lan­cia Rally 037, the Squadra Volante ‘po­lice car’ and two Lan­cia Stratos recre­ations drove through Ohakune in con­voy. A man bowed low sev­eral times as they passed, a woman tooted her horn and flashed her lights, while kids gave plenty of two-handed thumbs-ups.

Back at the overnight stay at the Snowy Wa­ters Lodge, the for­mer Raetihi nurses’ home con­verted to a lodge by the lovely and very en­thu­si­as­tic young Sandy Wa­ters, a fine roast din­ner was served, com­plete with a hos­pi­tal-themed who­dunit. It re­quired the ral­ly­ists to dress ap­pro­pri­ately and take part, and some got into char­ac­ter to an al­most dis­turb­ing de­gree. Lo­cals Jerry and Jo Jor­dan joined the party in Carteroni’s Lan­cia Beta Spi­der, along with Nick and Sharon Wil­cox in their newly-ac­quired and gleam­ing Maserati 222.

Stunning views of Mount Ruapehu on a per­fect morn­ing set the scene for Satur­day’s run via the Gen­tle An­nie road from Tai­hape to Napier. Now sealed all the way, this road presents breath­tak­ing vis­tas and Ital­ian sports car heaven. There is lit­tle to match crest­ing a rise to see the road fall­ing away in de­li­cious curves down to the sparkling up­per Ran­gi­tikei River, and sweep­ing away up the hill on the other side into the far dis­tance.

Lunch was a pic­nic at the beau­ti­ful Kuri­pa­pango DOC camp­site, fol­lowed by a rel­a­tively leisurely cruise over swoop­ing roads to Hawkes Bay, and the overnight stop at the Ma­sonic Art Deco Ho­tel on Napier’s Marine Pa­rade. There was plenty of time to re­lax, or wan­der around the city cen­tre, which was hum­ming with ac­tiv­ity for the ben­e­fit of a vis­it­ing cruise ship.

The Giro wound up with din­ner at the Ma­sonic and the usual any­thing but se­ri­ous prize-giv­ing. The cov­eted En­gi­neer­ing Ex­cel­lence tro­phy was pre­sented to John and Vanda Lis for their beau­ti­fully pre­pared Alfa Romeo V6-pow­ered Lan­cia Stratos replica.

Great peo­ple, great cars, great food and ac­com­mo­da­tion, won­der­ful roads and scenery wrapped up with lots of fun — it re­ally doesn’t get much bet­ter. Gra­zie mille Carteroni.

01 All-ital­ian line-up on Napier’s Marine Pa­rade

02 Lan­cia Stratos replica owner by John and Vanda Lis

03 Carteroni’s lovely Lan­cia Rally 037 recre­ation

04 Nick and Sharon Wil­cox in their newly ac­quired Maserati

05 Nabbed by the Polizei! Tom Bruynel and Mike Apthorp with their Alfa Romeo Guilia Su­per at Turoa

06 Wim and Astrid Le Roy’s Lan­cia Ful­via

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