Travel: 23 Shots From Italy’s Unforgettable Rally Valsugana

23 Shots From Italy’s Unforgettable Rally Valsugana

By Jacopo Villa
May 5, 2016

Photography by Federico Bajetti

As it stands, historic rallying is a sport for guys. No matter what you think, racing a car through the woods with out-of-this-world speed will do wonders for your manhood. Historic rallies are just the cream of the crop: fast, often fragile, old cars tearing up tiny mountain roads is a sight worth seeing.

Regional events like the Rally Valsugana are the place where you can see the matter of passion for motoring. Who would love to see an old beat up Volkswagen Golf or Alfa Romeo Alfasud trying to make itself heard from distance? Don’t expect huge crowds, either: just devoted enthusiasts here.

Most importantly, each historic rally is a showcase of indigenous car cultures from a region, aka “gangs” as they’re called here in Italy. You can get the desperados, or tame drivers still revving their regular Autobianchi A112s, Fiat 127s, and Golfs to the limit, looking like the most fun you can have–before grandma notices her daily driver is missing, of course.

All for the exhilaration that hits a fanatic when the distinctive sound of a hot-cammed one-thousand-something-cc engine is being revved to the limit.

Racing these little tiny boxes on four wheels next to giants like the Lancia’s Stratos and Fulvia is just exhilarating. For fans, watching the sport is almost complete relaxation, compared with a larger event. Bring along a folding chair, don’t stand on the outside of a corner, pay attention, and you’ll get an afternoon from eco-friendly first class seats, climate controlled by Mother Nature.

Here, car classes change quickly, and after the last of the small capacity cars has passed (and god, they’re fast!) the distant sound of the giants echos against the pine trees as they approach your position, like a cavalry charge. Nothing can best the ferocious roar of the Lancia Stratos ringing in harmony with the hot-rodded flat sixes from Porsche 911s. Alfetta GT’s racing against Ferrari 308s? Priceless…

None of the teams in these rallies races for glory; some race for victory, but most race because of the sake of racing. Honestly, as an enthusiast, I get a lot of satisfaction in seeing perfect mountain roads closed for the purpose of competitive motoring is immense.

I think that events like the Valsugana Historic are pure gold for the true enthusiast. We’re pretty lucky here in Italy with regional motorsports, but I know there are similar events around the world—is there a historic rally near you? If so, I’d love to read about it in the comments!

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Bryan Dickerson
Bryan Dickerson
7 years ago

Thanks for the nice account of this sweet little event. Sounds like one I’d like to attend someday (dream on). I don’t, however, understand what the opening line has to do with rest of the article. Try telling Michelle Mouton that historic rallying is for guys!
Nice pictures, especially the Ferrari 308 passing the stone wall. The head on picture of the Stratos cracks me up. It looks like it’s tail-gating itself!

Guitar Slinger
Guitar Slinger
7 years ago

” I think that events like the Valsugana Historic are pure gold for the true enthusiast ”

As far as genuine competition and actual racing is concerned ? Not so much . But for an incredible mix of cars not to mention beautiful scenery and an ‘ event ‘ completely devoid of attitude and numbers matching obsessives though ?

Absolutely ! Nice photos by the way Jacopo but in all honesty I’m wanting for a whole lot more !

Guitar Slinger
Guitar Slinger
7 years ago
Reply to  Guitar Slinger

And yes Jacopo .. here in Colorado we have one of the premier historic rally events in the world . The Colorado Grand .

Amazingly despite the high level of corporate involvement not to mention the ridiculously over the top quality of the cars [ one year alone saw the single largest gathering of Ferrari 250 GTO’s ever ] and participants … the overwhelming majority seem to leave their Hattitudes and Attitudes at home [ unlike Pebble Beach Goodwood etc ] …… assuming they had any to begin with . I’ve been telling the Petro crew to get their tails out here to cover the event for the website .. but so far … no go !

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