GIORDANO MOZZI: LIFE IN POLE PO­SI­TION

All About Italy (USA) - - All About Italy - Rally de la Mon­taña (Cór­doba, Ar­gentina).

A life of vic­to­ries and hu­man ex­pe­ri­ence: Giordano Mozzi, one of the most im­por­tant rac­ing-driv­ers in au­to­mo­tive his­tory tells us about his ca­reer and how he learned from ev­ery race.

A man of dis­ci­pline and good hu­mor: such is Giordano Mozzi and thanks to his skill and de­ter­mi­na­tion he has man­aged to be­come, in a very short time, the elected ‘top-driver’ within the sport of his­toric au­to­mo­bile time-tri­als. He has also won two Thou­sand-mile (Mille Miglia) events and has a long list of plac­ings in all the im­por­tant com­pe­ti­tions within his cho­sen branch of motorsport. It be­gan with his coun­try­man, the myth­i­cal Tazio Nu­volari who in­spired him to bet­ter him­self in a sport, which is first-and-fore­most about rac­ing against the clock rather than head-to-head against other com­peti­tors. At his side, in life as in sport, there is a woman al­ways point­ing him in the right di­rec­tion: Stefania Bi­acca, his wife in pri­vate life and map-reader in com­pe­ti­tion. The two have part­nered each other at al­most ev­ery event of his ca­reer shar­ing joy and ten­sion and ben­e­fit­ting from an en­tire gamut of emo­tions. So, Giordano Mozzi is no pes­simist, on the con­trary, he wears his badge of op­ti­mism with pride: earned through an acute aware­ness of how much his ca­reer and life ex­pe­ri­ences are priv­i­leges. He told us of the time he found him­self be­hind the wheel of the old­est Fer­rari in the world, driv­ing to­gether with the two other women in his life, and of when he had the honor to be ac­com­pa­nied by a young man who was blind. But - let’s start at the be­gin­ning…

How was the pas­sion born which car­ried him on to be­come one of the finest ex­po­nents of timed auto-tri­als in the world?

Sim­ply and ba­nally, for a laugh. The dad of a mate of mine en­tered his son and me in a vin­tage car event. It was in 2006 and I was a com­plete stranger to this type of com­pe­ti­tion: I only had ex­pe­ri­ence of mo­tor­bikes and cars in full-on rac­ing events, a dif­fer­ent thing al­to­gether. The fa­ther though, owned this his­toric car, which he hadn’t used for ages, and he in­vited us to com­pete in it: me to nav­i­gate and my mate as driver. We were new­com­ers, but ex­tremely cu­ri­ous, thus we en­joyed ourselves and even did well and got a good place in the re­sults although it was our first time. Af­ter that my mate be­came in­volved in other projects but by now I was hooked: I cer­tainly would have liked to have another go. I went home and asked my wife Stefania if she would be my co-part­ner. Another time, for fun, we were com­pet­ing in an event: this time I drove, she nav­i­gated. The re­sult was pos­i­tive both in terms of enjoyment and our plac­ing. From there we be­gan to com­pete at re­gional level gain­ing good re­sults and build­ing a rep­u­ta­tion. I was over forty years of age and it felt like a rein­ven­tion of my­self: I had never imag­ined my­self tak­ing part in his­toric car com­pe­ti­tions, still less reach­ing the po­si­tion where I am now, win­ning at in­ter­na­tional level.

Your CV shows a long list of vic­to­ries. Is there one that you re­mem­ber in par­tic­u­lar?

Cer­tainly my first win in the Mille Miglia in 2011. It’s the race, which de­cides for the rest of the year who is go­ing to rep­re­sent the his­toric au­to­mo­bile world, it’s the best known, the great­est and most pres­ti­gious and to win it was un­for­get­table. Even to be se­lected, as one of the com­peti­tors is an honor, man­ag­ing to cross the fin­ish line is in­de­scrib­able. I won it dur­ing the early years of my new ca­reer, and more­over, in a car which un­til then, had never won, the As­ton Martin Le Mans 1933. From that point on, a world of op­por­tu­nity opened up to me and my wife: we have been rec­og­nized and feted wher­ever we go, thanks as well to our nat­u­ral, easy­go­ing na­ture: a well-matched cou­ple, ap­proach­able and smil­ing, al­ways trust­wor­thy, both from a hu­man­is­tic point of view as well as a pro­fes­sional one. We’ve al­ways been this way and that’s one of the rea­sons why many col­lec­tors chose and con­tinue to choose to trust us with their cars.

A lit­tle bit about what be­came of chas­sis No 002… Okay. It be­longed to a col­lec­tor from New York who had hardly used it for many years - partly through lack of

The more open-minded one is, the bet­ter to face life’s dif­fi­cul­ties, by un­der­stand­ing them, one can over­come them.

Giordano Mozzi and Stefania Bi­acca tri­umph at the New Or­leans 100 Mile event for his­toric cars driv­ing the world’s old­est Fer­rari, chas­sis num­ber 002.

mo­ti­va­tion, partly out of jeal­ously. He’d been in­vited to take part in the 100 mile race in New Or­leans the pre­vi­ous Novem­ber, and the or­ga­nizer, who we knew from the Mille Miglia of the year be­fore, sug­gested my­self and my wife, should the col­lec­tor de­cide to get some­one to drive his Fer­rari. So it hap­pened that we found ourselves driv­ing the old­est Fer­rari in the world, chas­sis No 002, the only sur­vivor to this day of the four prod­ucts to have been fit­ted with body­work 159C dat­ing from 1947. To race this car and ac­tu­ally to win in it was the most glo­ri­ous mo­ment, es­pe­cially for an Ital­ian.

In the last cou­ple of years your com­pe­ti­tion sched­ule has taken you round the world. What have you learnt af­ter com­pet­ing in so many coun­tries?

Ev­ery­where we’ve been there are dif­fer­ent rules and the same com­pe­ti­tions are dif­fer­ent, rang­ing from vari­a­tions in timed tri­als to lo­gis­ti­cal is­sues and how the re­sults are drawn up. From each we have learnt so much and so if to­day we are still the world’s num­ber one driv­ing cou­ple, it’s thanks to our ex­pe­ri­ence at in­ter­na­tional level, more open-minded, fac­ing dif­fer­ent chal­lenges, much more knowl­edge­able.

The ex­pe­ri­ence that we take back home with us is an ex­tra­or­di­nary legacy, which the ma­jor­ity of com­peti­tors do not have, per­haps through fear of the un­known. We’re talk­ing about a unique sport­ing per­spec­tive, and also a life ex­pe­ri­ence which en­riches us pro­foundly and which goes be­yond com­pet­i­tive re­sults. Nev­er­the­less, if one can bag a vic­tory, one re­turns home ful­filled.

You take part in most events along with your wife Stefania. Does the ten­sion help you both in your mar­riage part­ner­ship?

I al­ways say, and so many other cou­ples will con­firm, it’s a re­li­a­bil­ity test, an in­cred­i­ble test of love, some­times it does put a strain on the re­la­tion­ship be­cause when you’re there ev­ery­one wants to do well, but if you make a mis­take it cre­ates ten­sion within the car and that tests one’s self­con­trol. In our case though, the com­mon goal is al­ways to do the best we can to­gether, to help each other and work as a team so we can over­come bad feel­ing and at the end of the event we feel even stronger as a cou­ple pre­cisely be­cause we have mas­tered the ten­sion and that al­lowed us to un­der­stand each other bet­ter. Ba­si­cally, our ap­proach - which is prob­a­bly the key - re­mains that of enjoyment, we’re well aware that what we have ex­pe­ri­enced has been a great priv­i­lege: trav­el­ling the world, get­ting to know so many cul­tures and peo­ple, do­ing what we love, com­pet­ing in the Mille Miglia, tak­ing part in im­por­tant events world­wide, is without doubt great good for­tune and so it only fair to live all this joy­ously, shar­ing our hap­pi­ness be­tween each other and those folk who fol­low us.

Mille Miglia 2017 in the vin­tage car con­ceived by Enzo Fer­rari.

Another great priv­i­lege for you has been to com­pete along­side the other two women in your life, your mother and your daugh­ter. How was that?

Amaz­ing, not just be­cause we com­peted, but also be­cause we won. I’ve had the honor of win­ning with each of the women in my life, at least one im­por­tant com­pe­ti­tion. With my wife Stefania, we have won two Mille Miglias, a Dolomite Gold Cup, three Alpine Stars, more than eighty com­pe­ti­tions around the world, while with my daugh­ter Ari­anna in 2015 we climbed to the top of the podium in the Florida Car Marathon in Mi­ami, which is still the most fa­mous clas­sic timed-trial in Amer­ica.

Then with my mother, in 2012, we won the Flo­rio Plate in Si­cily, the old­est com­pe­ti­tion in the world. It was a four­day event, 1,100 kilo­me­ters with loads of timed sec­tions: my mother was 78 years old when we won, the per­fect nav­i­ga­tor. To these three women can be added a male fam­ily mem­ber, my son, who comes with us as an as­sis­tant to the more im­por­tant events such as the Mille Miglia or the Monte Carlo Rally: you can rest as­sured that he knows how to help us keep our tem­pers in check and main­tain calm, so im­por­tant in com­pe­ti­tion.

For three years now you and Stefania have been part of the M.I.T.E Pro­ject, which of­fers the op­por­tu­nity for blind and par­tially-sighted peo­ple to par­tic­i­pate as nav­i­ga­tors at in­ter­na­tional and na­tional ral­lies and timed-tri­als. How does that work?

At one of the events that we par­tic­i­pated in, amongst the en­trants were three young peo­ple from the M.I.T.E. pro­ject: one of whom, Os­car, stood out in per­son­al­ity, en­ergy and bravura, so much so that we found ourselves cross­ing the fin­ish line vir­tu­ally at­tached. Dur­ing the prize-giv­ing he showed him­self un­abashed by, all of a sud­den, very point­edly say­ing to me: “Right, well now I can’t wait to do a race with Mozzi”. It was enough, it was done. We en­tered a rally in Biella and won eas­ily. Within him and the oth­ers there was a pas­sion, which over­whelmed us im­me­di­ately. Later on we got to know the founder of the pro­ject M.I.T.E., Gil­berto Pozza who in­tro­duced us into this world of grit and de­ter­mi­na­tion. These young peo­ple have a unique sen­si­bil­ity, and a ca­pac­ity to ‘feel’ the car, which gives them a greater gift for nav­i­ga­tion than ev­ery­one else. We live this ex­pe­ri­ence, us and the young peo­ple, with ex­treme serenity be­cause we know that for us all it is a unique mo­ment which gives us back so much.

To go through such an ex­pe­ri­ence changes ones out­look and that is also a priv­i­lege.

What are the val­ues, which in­spire you in your pro­fes­sional ca­reer?

Well, shar­ing: we lose to­gether and we win to­gether. Only by shar­ing ev­ery mo­ment of the event do we manage to sa­vor ev­ery morsel of the plea­sure: you start off to­gether and you don’t get to the fin­ish on your own.

Vic­tory in the 2014 Mille Miglia driv­ing a 1928 Lan­cia Lambda.

The “Mille Miglia Fes­ti­val” in Ja­pan.

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