It’s the morning of the 18th, Saturday, and a friend of my dad’s offered a vintage drive. The car: the VW 1303 Karmann. If something involves driving I will accept it, no matter what the car. Plus, I’d never driven a Beetle before, something that every auto-fanatic must try at least once. I had no real idea what I was taking part in, but we woke up the next morning and drove…
… to the meeting spot.
Dad’s friend’s beautiful 911.
The rain was out in full force, you’ll see just how strong it was.
We arrived at our destination and we were greeted with a mass of Volkswagens and Porsches. The Beetles dominated by far. I’ve never really known what to think about Beetles, most people either like them or hate them (largely due to the fact they are brain washed by Top Gear in hating them), but I honestly had never really thought about whether I liked them or not. You need to get used to their funky shape and accept that they will never be a 911, but they are so iconic. So there I was in a sea of Beetles and I was about to drive one in a Rally, I was certainly going to make my mind up by the end.
This type of rally is called a regolarita’, I wouldn’t know what to call this in English and I had never heard of it before Sunday. Because the entire Rally is on public open roads it’s obvious it can’t be about who’s the fastest, so instead it revolves around who is the most accurate. You have to cross the checkpoints at EXACT times, the professionals get it down to hundreds of a second. The rest of it is normal; pace notes, many stages and fun competition.
All of the in-car photos were taken by my dad, he was giving pace notes while trying to snap photos.
Just because it wasn’t about speed didn’t mean you didn’t have to go fast. The average speed between each gate was fairly high for wet mountain roads, so you couldn’t cruise. The old low grip tires of the Beetle made it all more enjoyable. The Regolarita’ system is also used in the 1000 Miglia today, but they have very high average speeds to keep to, that’s why many people loose their license during the historic rally.
The rain didn’t stop for a second…
… and it began bringing walls and debris down onto the roads, this made it all more challenging and exciting.
The stages got faster and faster as the afternoon progressed…
… and by the last one, we only had 12 minutes to cover 13km on these slippery mountain passes.
Which included going through slow towns.
We got to the gate for the last stage with only 15 seconds to spare after a fairly rapid run.
We pulled back into the original square after the 2 hour rally and we were rejoined with the rest of the participants.
All in all it was an awesome experience and the atmosphere at this event (and probably most of these events) was amazing. The range of people taking part was astounding, from families to friends to young couples. And the Rally was only a part of the day, there was plenty of time to socialize and even dinner. It seems like the perfect way to enjoy the act of driving while meeting new people, truly eye opening.
There are loads of these events all over Italy for all type of cars, even modern, and some very competitive but they are all about enjoying car life.
My dad’s friend was telling us about one he was going to do this winter in the Alps. Studded tyres are pretty much required and he has to mount proper fog lights as it’s an all nighter with very high average speeds.
So what position did we come: 5th out of roughly 30.