Wednesday, May 13, 2009

"Lo Spino" Speed, Dust and Scenery on the Tuscan Umbrian Border

The weekend of the 15th May will see the start of "Lo Spino" this is the 37th time this annual up hill speed race has been run. Competitors, in powerful, modified sports cars or special production cars will thunder their way, through some of Italy’s most beautiful mountain scenery in search of victory. Starting from the little town of Pieve Santo Stefano they will climb 1000 metres, over 7Km in under 3 minutes against the clock, on a steep, twisting course towards La Verna.

The crash barriers and bleachers are in place, the navigators signs indicating the direction and degree of turn have been put up, all that is needed now are the cars and crowds. The first event was run back in 1965 and won by Sangry La in an Alfa Romao TZ1, averaging 102Km/h. At the end of the 60’s its fame was already established and over 6,000 spectators made their way to this remote Tevere valley to watch the spectacle. The fastest ascent was by Parschal Irlando in 1992, driving a BMW with an average speed of 143Km/h.

Safety concerns in 2002 however saw the introduction of measures to ensure the well being of both spectators and drives, the course was shortened from 12Km to seven and modifications to cars were made to limit their speed. Fortunately this has not dampened the race for either the drivers or those watching. It is still as exciting to watch the cars speed their way around this torturous route with breath taking views all about.

If you can’t make the trip to the Upper Tiber Valley, then check out this clip on Youtube to experience the thril from the drivers vantage point. Click here.

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