by Rose Atalante Veenenbos
On each rally I might make some mistakes, but the most important is that I learn a lot too, and on this rally it was all about the safety concerns with vintage automobiles and the need for regular checking of the brakes, etc. The experience I gain is a valuable lesson and a reminder for you all, especially when this is all new to you…
Luckily the last day of this magnificent rally was very safe, because Tino and Luca had fixed the brakes as well as possible the evening before. Safe enough to drive across the Simplon pass back to Brig. It is very pleasant to wake up and have the view of an amazing collection of cool bolides with the hills of Lago Maggiore as a backdrop, palm trees, and petrolhead friends already preparing their car for the next tour. And then there is the best part! Roaring engines which are just awakening and excited to hit the road again.
The most fun part is overtaking as many others as possible, though that is not always successful when driving alone without navigator. Black Beauty was leading the way in front of me and this way we passed all the nice Italian villages towards the first stop which was the fortress castle of Bellinzona, a place with an amazing history… To reach the castle there was a very small uphill castle road which was epic to drive. After we all parked it was time to be a tourist. Our guide was giving us, I believe, a 2 hour long speech in French, so after 5 min I was off greeting the King! Plus a number of Chinese tourists. Bellinzona was an important and strategic place in history. It was a super nice view to see all the cars from above the castle and the CGS ,CGSs and C6 line up looked really handsome from this view.
And then someone told me between all interesting conversations about bungee jumping which was not that far away… I let you guess if I did it or not. Anyway, it was another fine tour with a tropical temperature, which means inside the car you feel overheated… The brakes behaved well, but I was extra careful and skipped the steep parts just to make sure. And then all of a sudden you see water in front of you! The lunch stop was directly at the lake and many people were impressed by the cute sporty vintage cars. I got to speak with a couple from Minnesota, USA, and I enjoyed so much their enthusiasm for these cars. It is so great to get connected with people due to a common interest and to share nice stories. In the streets everyone, especially the Italian men, were so cool and curious. Amillion is really a super star and people are taking pictures of us all the time and everywhere. Really amazing!
Just look at Lago Maggiore, really a superb location for a rally! And we were not the only ones, because there was a huge turnout of supercars joining us on the boulevard. I admit that I love modern supercars and that Maserati GT is really very handsome! Sun, exhaust fumes and screaming engines, what more do you want? Only the Italian food does not suit a vegan at all times, but that was the least of a worry. Sadly some friends were already heading back home, but not for me! Time to leave the hot and sunny villages on the shores of the lake and to hit the Simplon pass again. I don’t have pix of this cool part of the tour, sadly, because my iphone storage was full, but I can ensure you that the view was idyllic and most impressive! It is almost like you are having a very nice dream, maybe because I was feeling a bit high as I was climbing the Simplon… My ears were totally out of order and in my head I felt a bit light. No drugs needed to get into another world. It was also a bit cold, but I like the different circumstances within one day. Amillion did climb very well and Black Beauty was all the time in front of me to keep an eye on me…
The end station was the first hotel in Brig and it was time for the last dinner together with the other participants, sadly. It is always sad when you reached the end, but we will be back next year! Because… Amilcar un jour, Amilcar toujours! Vive la marque! (I did borrow the last quote from the BCN, not stolen…).
The next day was the day of the return, but this time a bit different than usual… Amillion drove the first part of the return journey, 80 km, on its own power before the diva was back on the trailer. I like to explore my car, so I searched for its limits and it was quite surprising! My dad, who was again in front of me with Black Beauty measured a speed of 110 km/h! After I had overtaken several trucks it was time for a well deserved rest and Amillion went to bed/trailer. What a performance! It felt amazing to go this fast without a windscreen and feeling like and ant next to a mammoth. What a day and the good news is that this was just one of the many upcoming events…
Once more I like to thank Chantal and Guy Clavel and the incredible Valentino Belotti for having organized this super event, the Escapade Cyclecars et Grand Sport in the beautiful Ticino.
Btw, the brakes are working very well at this moment, so no more horror stories during the Bugatti Club Netherlands (BCN) rally!