It’s no won­der Enzo Ferrari once called the Mille Miglia the “most beau­ti­ful race in the world”.

The Australian - Wish Magazine - - NEWS -

Lagondas and Mercedes-Benz 710s jostling with sci-fi­in­spired BMW 328s, late-1940s Bris­tols and Healeys and 1950s Fiat 500 C Topoli­nos. Ferrari and Maserati, Jaguar and Porsche are all in the mix too, and of course dozens of Al­fas. In the end, Law­son and Sedgwick would have stood a good chance of win­ning, with a 1931 Alfa Romeo 6C 1750 GS Za­gato com­ing in first, a 1933 Alfa Romeo 6C 1500 Gran Sport plac­ing third and an­other 6C 1750 Gran Sport Za­gato in fifth.

Over its three days, the race passes through 230 towns, in­clud­ing Ri­mini, Siena, Florence, Bologna and Parma, and a quick lap around the fa­mous track at Monza. Ev­ery street in ev­ery sun-bleached, red-bricked me­dieval town is lined with lo­cal well-wish­ers, and all around are views of olive and cy­press trees and stone vil­las dot­ted across the spring­time Tus­can land­scape. It’s no won­der Enzo Ferrari once called the Mille Miglia the “most beau­ti­ful race in the world”, even if win­ning it isn’t straight­for­ward, with pre­cisely mea­sured routes and a timetable clocked right down to the hun­dredth of a sec­ond.

It turns out this year’s win­ner “hired his vin­tage Alfa for 70,000 for the week on the pro­viso that if he won the Mille Miglia, the car was free. If he came sec­ond it was half,” Paul says. “No won­der he cracked the cham­pagne as soon as he was off the podium,” chimes his brother.

It’s the lo­cals’ pas­sion for the event, the cars and mo­tor­ing that takes every­one by sur­prise. The “Al­fistis” are out in force, chil­dren wav­ing lit­tle flags em­bla­zoned with the logo of the car­maker that be­gan life in Mi­lan in 1910 – the badge is based on the coat of arms of the Vis­conti, one of Italy’s most his­toric fam­i­lies, the red cross on a white back­ground rep­re­sent­ing Mi­lan, the snake a sym­bol of re­newal and the wreath in hon­our of the mar­que’s nu­mer­ous vic­to­ries on road and track.

Par­tic­i­pat­ing in the Mille Miglia was a chance “to take the fi­nal step on a jour­ney that my father be­gan years ago”, Paul Law­son says. “It would have been an hon­our to fin­ish it for him.” So there’s no doubt they all in­tend to re­turn in 2017 with even greater gusto. “We’ll bring the 1929 6C back and we might not win,” says Law­son with a wink, “but we’ll be close.”

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