Only few words came to mind: awesome, beyond words and enthralling.
All of this proved true since my arrival in the city with a visit to the Fiera. Hundreds of cars worth millions of euros. A place where mechanics and pilots were busy making final checks before leaving the next day. The world’s most valuable traveling museum was ready to leave. And I was ready to go along with them for the first time in my life.
Since the first stage of Thursday everything was clear: a thousand cars including historical race cars and support vehicles through the streets of the city of Brescia, ready to cross the lower part of Veneto and Emilia Romagna. Rumbling, smoke, heat, all in one street in the centre of Brescia: Viale Venezia.
My itinerary aboard a Jaguar XE (an amazing car that needs no excuses against German rivals) expected to follow some parts of the race then taking the highway to get to strategic points before the passage of the nine-car official Jaguar Heritage team.So we set off on the road after witnessing the departure, in the direction of Verona. Nothing unusual so far.Until the first refueling stop in the countryside of Ferrara where people were crammed to see the historic cars (which have thirsty appetites) to refuel, admire them up close, feel the rumble at the restart, see the evolution first hand that we have witnessed in the automotive world.
So far you probably think this is a nice ride, but fairly ordinary.
Almost true. But remember one of my original thoughts: beyond words.
The crowd. Yes. After the landscapes, the crowd is perhaps the most beautiful thing that makes the Mille Miglia what it is. Unique. Although it is true we love cars, we can see them in various motor sports events. No other event goes through half of Italy: no other event has so much to discover; no other event attracts so many people. In no other event does the race, the real one, become irrelevant.
No other event excites the children so much, who reach forward to touch the hand of us privileged, lucky, crazy, call it what you like, sitting in cars. We said hello to them with high fives through the open windows. They excitedly turn to their fathers, mothers and grandparents saying: “He touched me! He greeted me! I touched a Jaguar!”
Or even more when, with a stop at the gates of Pisa, our convoy of Jaguars saw some curious children, attracted to these new cars rare to see in Italy. With interiors so well crafted, the LED lighting, the gear selector that rises from the centre console when the ignition starts, or the Start/Stop button beating like a heart asking you to fire up the engine.
For us, the third day was then concluded with a pass on the highway Cisa: the convoy of Jaguars and Range Rover all lined up to race to Parma, following the road as it slalomed from left to right and leaving behind other motorists attempting to follow us. Our car’s audio system played music from James Bond car chases: It was like a movie.