Adventures in the marvellous Mini of doom!

Dave Smart

Mini at Maranello
Mini at Maranello


Had a bit of a lie in after the stresses of last night and left the hotel about 10.30 I went for a quick drive around town and headed to the front gate of the Ferrari factory, while I parked up one of the employees was leaving to go to his car and I asked if he would take my photo at the gate, he thought the Mini was fantastic and took great delight in adding his name to the already heavily covered car.

I intended going in to the Ferrari Galleria and on my way there I passed between the two parts of the factory, there were dozens of red boiler suited guys wandering between the factories, many of whom stared in amazement, a few smiled and others gave me the thumbs up, seemed strange when they were all working on such exotic machinery.
I had been toying with the idea of paying to drive a Ferrari, having heard from some of the guys on the rally that had done it a few days before, so once I’d visited the Museum I wandered over to the area you could book to drive the cars.

I chose the F430 Spider and duly handed over €100 for a 15-20 minute drive. It was a real mixed bag, it was very daunting, but easy to drive at the same time, and the exhaust note once you reached 3000rpm was awesome, however the road we drove along was a very busy highway and there was no way to give it a blast, even for a second or two. Eventually there was nothing coming the other way and I asked if I could overtake the two cars in front, the escort just nodded so I planted the right foot and we took off like a scalded cat, sadly however it was all over too soon and we drove back to the site. I was really a little disappointed, not in the car, but in the experience as it was well talked up before hand, and it just didn’t happen. Still, at least I can say I’ve done it and got it out of my system (hopefully) I really should have saved up a bit and done a track type experience where you can give it a bit more laldy in controlled circumstances.

I decided to head for Tirano to try and meet a hotelier that I knew from previous rallies as I intended in blasting up and down Stelvio pass over the next day or so. As I headed north I passed Lake Iseo that I had always seen from the main road, so I decided to look and see if I could find a campsite.

As I drove round the lake, there was a beautiful hazy sunset with the island in the middle silhouetted beautifully. As spent too much time photographing this I ended up putting the tent up in the dark, again.

I tied the beer I had been given by the guys the day before to a couple of unused guy ropes and pegged it to the bank then threw the container into the lake to cool, headed for a supermarket and picked up some pasta and pesto for dinner. Once cooked the pasta went down well with the lake cooled beer.

Keith Adams

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