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Coppa Day 2

0600 Day 2. Long stares after a short night’s sleep and aches everywhere from the physicality of driving an old car that hard for that long.

Enthusiasm very limited for the day ahead.

Waiting for the start on Day 2

One Winged Wonder plots the route from here

But back in the garage, the Aston is looking superb in her stickers, I manage to patch the suspension with tie wraps, she’s used no oil and just a splash of water and fires first turn of the key! We head down to the start line alongside the river in Central Turin, taking in some spectacular sights on the way as we pass through the stunning old town and as we meet up with a few of the other English speaking competitors we’re pretty excited about the day ahead which will see us head down to the Italian Riviera with a late lunch planned in San Remo and then overnight in Genoa.

The car is running well and heading South across the plains she’s clearly finally enjoying herself, as are we! We make great progress and are one of the earlier cars arriving at the Passage Control in Carru after the first 2 hours and 80kms of running. Out of Carru and it’s into the hills of Clavesana for 5 regularity sections. Our trip system is down and we’re amateurs at this! After a couple of misfires, by the end of the sections we’re hitting the timing line within a second of the required times, but the good guys are sub 1/10th of a second of error! No clue how...

Cats at rest in Carru

Ferraris waiting to leave Carru control

Long run now up to the Colle San Bartolomeo (another 100km, another 2 hard hours at the wheel!) and running behind a classic police car from the Italian Police collection we start to get the hang of running all the red lights and generally pushing along and causing a pain of ourselves to the other traffic who seem extremely tolerant of any classic car with stickers on the side!

Time at this stop for a quick Mars bar and a Hot Chocolate before hearing into 10 linked regularities. Still without electronic assistance it’s down to some steady driving and the co-pilots skills on the stopwatch and we start to get much much better, with our error on one of the legs being exactly 0.00!!! For the record, errors were 0.56, 0.40, 1.36, 1.06, 1.04, 0.50, 0.00 (!), 0.21, 0.49, 0.04 (!) so we end the section feeling pretty pleased with ourselves and power down out of the hills to lunch in San Remo is high spirits.

Astons rest at the top of the Colle San Bartolomeo

Co-pilot sweating like a royal marine on a spelling test
as he prepares for the regularities

1 hour later and we’re back on the road, in the coastal traffic and it’s not going to be easy to make the next passage control on time. Car still running well but it’s raining hard and old English car electrics and water and not always a good mix. Lots of aggressive overtaking and general hooliganism sees us make it to the passage control in Finale Ligure with 5 mins to spare, but the car dies. We try to restart, but the battery is dead. It appears that the rogue fan has kicked back in, and drained it. Another fuse pulled stops it finally, but we’re dead in the water (literally) EXCEPT that a support crew from the Father and Son Houtkamp crew is right behind  us, they see us stop and pass a jump battery pack to us as they pass. I manage to connect it up, and fire the car in time to rush through the passage control bang on time. Which is more than can be said for most of the crews, it’s pretty lonely here...

Stunning Ex-Mille Miglia Jaguar of the Houtkamps

Germany vs Italy competing to be the most valuable car

Up the coast some more, and the rain is torrential, climbing hard into the clouds to Le Manie and the final 5 regularities of the day at the top of some serious hills. Once more water in the electrics stalls the car and I empty a can of WD40 into the appropriate under bonnet areas, and restart her off the jump battery.

We roar into the regularities somewhat stressed and damp, but running again! Our errors are: 0.23, 0.00 (!) and 1.26 for the 3 stages that the organisers have released results for, so once again some serious beginners luck going on!

Just 70km left into Central Genoa, but timing is still tight, traffic is bad and we’re struggling on the voltage side with the alternator not happy to run the engine AND the headlights at the same time... so we’re jumping traffic queues and red lights with just sidelights on in torrential rain. All a bit nerve-wracking until we pick up a police escort that sweeps us in towards the final control on the water front just 5 mins behind schedule. From there it is up the hill into the historic old town where we are presented to the assembled crowds and indulge in some sideways motoring on the wet cobbles to the delight of the somewhat sodden spectators!

The car has only wobbled twice on the run into town, but she’s definitely struggling in this weather, while her crew are battered and bruised after a long day on the road. We arrive at the hotel with 30 mins to shower, shave and change into black tie for the gala dinner at the stunning Ducal Palace.

Your happier but hurting all over correspondant!


Dinner at The Ducal Palace

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