Adventures in the marvellous Mini of doom!

Dave Smart

Messing around on the Stelvio

At the top of the Stelvio
At the top of the Stelvio

I left the campsite about 10 and headed for Livigno for some cheap fuel ( about 85c/l) and then headed for the west (more gentle) side of Stelvio pass. At the bottom I fixed my hard disk camcorder to my home made seat mount to record the shenanagins and set off up the pass. Sadly the camera kept failing, I’m guessing due to the banging and cornering forces it was getting, bit of a disappointment, on the way up I met a bunch of Ferraris blasting their way down, hogging the road, didn’t really bother me, it was going to be much more expensive to repair their cars than mine if they hit me.

Once at the top I took a few piccies and had a light bite to eat, I then set off down the east side, coasting all the way (before any of you say that’s dangerous because the servo won’t work, there isn’t one) I stopped on the way down a couple of times for some pictures and towards the bottom the breaks started to feel a bit poorly (probably because I hadn’t been using engine breaking) Once at the bottom I jacked the back of the car up and adjusted the rear brakes and then jacked the front up and discovered the cause of the brake judder, worn balljoints, which were all adjusted properly for the MoT just a matter of weeks previous.

I then fitted my stills camera to the mount and as it would only record 15 mins of movie at a time I didn’t start recording till the nice little complex of hairpins around turn 42, hoping it would last till I got to the top. As it turned out it lasted till about the 5th turn from the top. On the way up I caught up with a lumbering pair of stickered up Corvettes, thankfully they both pulled over fairly quickly as they probably saw I was on a bit of a mission.

Once at the top I chatted with a couple who were travelling in a Morgan the same age as the Mini, but in substantially beter condition, and with a nice burbly V8 under the bonnet. I decided to head back down Umbrial pass instead of the west side of Stelvio and into Switzerland again, I popped through a tunnel costing €10, somewhat negating the cost of the cheap fuel in Livigno to fill up again, but there a principle to be had.

I headed for Tirano where I met Erico and Angelika from the hotels Corona and Bernina, this waa a couple I had promised to meet three years ago after Staples 2 Naples 06, but didn’t manage, still, better late than never eh?

After a beautiful dinner in the hotel I had a bit of a race on to get back to the campsite before the gates closed at 11, The GPS said I would arrive about 11.05. Fighting the twisty Italian roads with only Lucas ‘Prince of Darkness’ headlights wasn’t fun, but I made it with 10 minutes to spare.

Keith Adams
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