Cars from 1934 through 1998 in Spectacular Modena Cento Ore


 

As the curtain fell on the 2022 Modena Cento Ore, it was clear once again that this event is one of the most popular internationally. All its ingredients — circuit races, amazing scenery, road trips and uphill special stages— combine to make it extraordinary, but what makes it truly unique is the fact that the drivers, once they have taken off their helmets, have the opportunity to get to know a bit of Italian history and to sample some of the finest hospitality and superb culinary traditions that make this unique country so famous.

This year, the gala evening was held in the spectacular setting of Palazzo Vecchio in Florence, which was specially opened for the occasion. There could be no mistaking the crews’ surprise and wonder on entering the historic Sala dei Cinquecento, adorned with frescoes by Vasari.

The climax of the event was a celebration in the centre of the city of Modena, the heart of Motor Valley: a parade of all the cars past the foot of the Ghirlandina tower, after they had completed the last leg, in Piazza Grande.

The Cars

This year’s Modena Cento Ore, held in October, took place in remarkably warm and sunny weather. The participants in open-topped cars were all delighted to be able to top up their tans, and several said that they would be going home with great memories of a gorgeous early Italian autumn.

Several of the cars taking part in the Modena Cento Ore 2022 undoubtedly deserve a mention for their wonderful past and, often, sporting achievements. One such car is the 1974 Lancia Stratos HF Gruppo 4, a former Jolly Club car, driven by Lawrence Kadoorie and Daniel Philip Wells. Back in the day, it took part in various Italian and European championship events. Unfortunately, on this occasion, after looking very fast, it was forced to pull out following an oil pump failure during the race on the Misano Adriatico circuit.

Another is the 1977 Fiat 131 Abarth Rally, a former official team car previously used by Alen and Kivimaki and now driven by Peter Hanimann and Fritz Grab, still sporting its original “Olio Fiat” livery.

One of the most aesthetically pleasing cars was Diego Meyer and Sarah Amoroso’s 1953 Ferrari 250 MM, originally sold in Italy and used in period by Incom SpA and film producer Industrie Cinematografiche Sociali (ICS). Another Ferrari that drew admiring looks was Martin and Susanne Halusa’s 1952 212 Export, one of the first forty racing cars produced by Ferrari, and one of only four produced and originally sold to gentleman driver Augusto Caraceni.

Both of these Ferraris, quite apart from being considered among the most important collectibles in the world, have also raced in the past, achieving excellent results. It was a huge thrill for everyone to see them participating in the Competition section.

Also deserving of a mention is the 1980 Opel Monza 3.0 E driven by Stephan Jocher and Matthias Jocher. This car won the 1980 European Touring Car Championship and took second overall in the 1981 Nürburgring 24 Hours.

Superfast, fantastically noisy, and always spectacular were three Ford Escort RS 1600s, from 1972 and 1975, brought to the Modena Cento Ore by three British crews, who amazed and entertained the public enormously. The crews, who also prepared their cars, were Ben Gill – David Didcock, Kevin Jones – Lee Jones, and Ian Delglish – Jack Edward Didcock.

And finally, how could we fail to mention Dimitri Plaquet Florian Merckx’s 1972 Porsche 911 S, which took part in the 1972 Tour de France?

As always, the Cento Ore saw some cars suffering dents or mechanical problems, as well as the odd, even spectacular, accident in which no drivers came to any harm.

Day 1: Milano Marittima; Special Stages 1 through 4

The first day of the Modena Cento Ore 2022 unfolded in what is actually a little-known part of Italy.

Indeed, after starting out from Milano Marittima, the crews headed for Etruria, a historical-geographical region of central Italy that remains little exploited for tourism.

There, with around 90 km under their belts, the competitors tackled the first special stage of the day: Special Stage 1, the 6.9 km Spino Pass. The curbs, painted red and white in true racing style, are the feature that make this stage unique. It is a great stage to drive, partly because in many places the road is freshly resurfaced. It was thrilling to hear the scream of the Stratos’ 6-cylinder engines as these cars climbed the hairpin bends and straights of this special stage.

Al in all, a great start to this eagerly awaited Modena Cento Ore.

The crews then had a couple of hours’ driving through the hills of Emilia, Marche and Tuscany, which allowed them to relax and enjoy a very pleasant and scenic stretch of the journey.

The second special stage, Croce ai Mori, 10.10 km, seems absolutely made for the most powerful cars, with its very open curves and long straights. Unfortunately, this stage saw some of the first competitors experiencing mechanical problems forced to stop at the side of the road. Obviously, everyone hoped to see them back in action in later stages, with nothing more than a few penalty points holding them back.

After a well-deserved lunch break, the crews immediately set off for the third special stage of the day: the 6.07 Vallombrosa stage deep in the Casentino Forests National Park. The most spectacular cars to watch going by were undoubtedly the 1967 Ford GT40 driven by Philippe Olczyk and Eric De Bolle, and Timothy A. Hartnoll and Rupert Bravery’s 1934 Alfa Romeo 8 C Monza, the event’s oldest car.

The day’s fourth and final special stage was the very fast 6.65-km Muraglione Pass.

All in all, the car that most impressed us today was the 1980 Opel Monza 3.0 E driven by Stephan and Matthias Jocher. This is the car that won the 1980 European Touring Car Championship and took second overall in the 1981 Nürburgring 24 Hours.

As we all know, it is really only by chatting to owners that you discover the best back stories to these cars, like that of the 1961 Jaguar E-Type FHC driven by Peter Wallman and Caterina De Bartolo, which, we learned, has belonged to the Wallman family for over 35 years.

This first day’s itinerary ended in piazza Aurelio Saffi in the heart of Forlì, where all the cars were exhibited and admired by the public.

Day 2: Misano World Circuit; Special Stages 5 and 6

A splendid dawn greeted the second day of the Modena Cento Ore 2022. At last, it was time for the crews to get straight on the track!

And so, the Marco Simoncelli Misano World Circuit woke up to the sound of classic racing car engines.

The large number of cars entered in the Competition section of the Cento Ore meant that it had to be divided into two races. We were therefore able to watch two separate starts, both equally exciting.

In Race 1, for cars built up to 1965, the 1964 AC Shelby Cobra 289 treated us to a real show as Mark Freeman and Mike Ellis harnessed the power of their V8 to gain position after position.

In Race 2, for cars built from 1965 onwards, both the start and the first lap saw a challenge to the last centimetre between the 1974 Lancia Stratos HF GR.4 driven by Philippe Lawrence Kaadorie and Daniel Philippe Wells, and Kris Rosenberger and Nicola Bleicher’s 1981 Porsche 911 SC Group 4. The latter got the upper hand.

The first race was won by the 1964 Jaguar E-Type driven by Philippe Nigel Walker and Gordon Shedden, and the second by the 1974 Porsche 911 Carrera RS driven by Glenn Janssens and Wim Decock.

After these races, the cars entered in the Regularity section took to the track for the average speed trials. In this case, the difficulty is making sure you do your first lap in a time that you can repeat with sufficient precision in the next three. Sounds easy, but isn’t!  

After leaving the circuit, the crews drove to San Lorenzo in Correggiano for a well-earned lunch at Villa Des Vergers. They then set off for the two special stages scheduled for the afternoon.

The first of these, special stage 5, Urbania (6.45 km), was followed by a stamp checkpoint stop in the charming historic centre of Urbino.

This was followed by special stage 6, Gabicce Mare (11.00 km), a stage this year included for the first time in the Modena Cento Ore itinerary. First, the crews took the chance to enjoy the wonderful view of the sea, knowing that, once they got under way, they would be too focused on their driving or their notes to be able to look around them.

The second day’s point of arrival was Piazzale Roma in Riccione, where the cars were exhibited to the public for a few hours.

A few cars were withdrawn at the end of Day 2, showing that the Modena Cento Ore itself serves as a kind of selection process.

After all, the combination of circuit stages, uphill special stages, and long drives always really puts the crews and cars to the test.

Day 3: From Milano Marittima to the Mugello Circuit and Florence

And so on to day three…

It was decided that, to be fair to everyone, Day 3 of the Modena Cento Ore 2022 should begin with the Regularity event.

This decision also allowed the mechanics to enjoy some extra hours’ rest, given that they had spent long hours working on the cars following the previous day’s races.

The first destination was Faenza where, after a stamp checkpoint stop in the historic town centre, the crews made for Imola, where there was another checkpoint in the crowded centre.

From here, they drove to the hills for the start of the 7.48 km Monte Faggiola stage (the day’s first and the seventh of the event). This is very much a driven stage that includes some downhill sections that, albeit slowed down by chicanes, should, on paper at least, favour lighter, less powerful cars.

Just 10 km further on, and the crews were already embarking on the 7.47-km Passo Sambuca stage, the eighth overall. This is a stage that still perhaps boasts the narrowest roadway, a feature that makes it technically challenging; it also includes a number of bends and closing up corners and these severely tested the crews’ navigation and driving skills.

After the lunch break, it was on to the Mugello Circuit.

Being both beautiful and tricky, this Tuscan track has always held great appeal, becoming one of the most iconic stages of the Modena Cento Ore. After the timed laps for the Regularity section, the circuit hosted the speed races. The top speed reached at the end of the main straight by the most powerful cars was amazing, just as it was great to see how hard the drivers had to work to maintain perfect balance on the corners of the Arrabbiata. As always at the Mugello Circuit, some of the cars limped off the track with steaming engines or slightly dented bodywork.

A word should be said about crew no. 10, Anthony Pozner and Richard Nathan, who drove a 1998 Porsche 993 Turbo S, one of only 23 right-hand drive specimens out of a total of 325 of this model produced. In 1963, Richard Nathan, at the wheel of a Lotus Elite, became the youngest driver in history to win the UK Autosport Championship, going on to repeat the feat several times over the following years. In 1970, he raced at the Mugello road circuit in an Astra RNR-2 EVO Group 6 that he had built during the period he, too, made racing cars.

The Modena Cento Ore 2022 marked his return to a different, but still exciting, Mugello.

After the day’s racing was over, the crews left their cars at the circuit and went to Florence, for the gala evening, which was held in a wonderful setting in the heart of the city: the Salone dei Cinquecento in Palazzo Vecchio in Piazza della Signoria.

Day 4: From Florence to Modena

The participants’ departure from the Mugello Circuit on the last day was a wonderful sight, set against a backdrop of valleys shrouded in fog and sunlit hills.

The first special stage of the day, and ninth of the whole event, the 5.27-km Giogo Pass stage, began just a few kilometres from the start, testing the drivers’ and navigators’ powers of concentration, given that they were still “cold”. The road surface, still wet from the night, was rather treacherous, with some sections left in the shade proving unexpectedly slippery.

A further 16 km on, and the participants embarked on the 6.29-km Cornacchiaia special stage: the second of the day and tenth of the section, it marked the end of the competitive part of the Modena Cento Ore 2022.

After lunch, the teams made for Emilia, where, as always, they were greeted by enthusiastic crowds in Modena’s Piazza Grande.

The Rankings

In the pre-1965 C/D/E/F Competition category, first place went to Thomas Kern and Stephan Peyer driving a 1964 Jaguar E-Type, second to Stan Novakovic and Christine Novakovic-Leitner in a 1965 Shelby American Mustang GT 350, and third to Mark Freeman and Mike Ellis in a 1964 AC Shelby Cobra 289.

In the post-1965 G/H/I Competition category, first place was won by Kris Rosenberger and Nicola Bleicher in a 1981 Porsche 911 SC Group 4. They were followed by Paolo Marzatico and Federico Ferrari in a 1975 Porsche 911 Carrera 3.0 RSR, while third place went to Glenn Janssens and Wim Decock in a 1974 Porsche 911 Carrera RS.

The Index of Performance category was won by Albert Otten and Silvia Zanardi in a 1939 BMW 328 Roadster. Second place went to Martin Halusa and Susanne Halusa in a 1951 Ferrari 212 Export, while Augustin Sabatié-Garat and Mark Donaldson in a 1951 Jaguar XK 120 O.T.S  took third place.

First place in the Regularity event went to Peter Kappeler and Marie Tourneur in a 1958 Alfa Romeo Giulietta Sprint; Axel Urban and Andrea Urban in a 1972 Porsche 911 T took second place, and Mike Sheehan and Carolyn Sheehan in a 1962 Jaguar E-Type Series 1 came third.

The winners of the Period categories were:

  • Period I: Kris Rosenberger and Nicola Bleicher in a 1981 Porsche 911 SC Group 4
  • Period H: Paolo Marzatico and Federico Ferrari in a 1975 Porsche 911 Carrera 3.0 RSR
  • Period G: Max Banks and Andrew Banks in a 1969 Alfa Romeo 1300 GTA Corsa Autodelta
  • Period F: Thomas Kern and Stephan Peyer in a 1965 Jaguar E-Type
  • Period E: Diego Meier and Sarah Amoroso in a 1953 Ferrari 250 MM

The prize for the circuit stages went to Didier Sirgue and Arthur Sirgle, who drove a 1976 De Tomaso Pantera GR IV.

The prize for the special stages was awarded to Kris Rosenberger and Nicola Bleicher in a 1981 Porsche 911 SC Group 4.

The Best Team prizes went to Edi Wyss Engineering for the Regularity section and the GTO Racing Team for the Competition section.

The Mechanical Miracle prize for technical support was awarded to the service crew working with Timothy A. Hartnoll and Rupert Bravery, and their 1934 Alfa Romeo 8C Monza, in recognition of the fact that they managed to get the oldest car in the whole Modena Cento Ore across the finish line.

The Oldest Crew, Youngest Car prize was won by Anthony John Pozner and Roger Nathan who competed in a 1998 Porsche 993 Turbo S.

The Scuderia Largest Team award went to Scuderia Formula GT.

Finally, the Meyer family took home the special Largest Family prize.

The Stats

The 1029 km covered in the course of the Modena Cento Ore 2022 is only one of the amazing statistics from this year’s edition.

Others are:

  • 10 uphill special stages on closed roads, some of the most beautiful in the Tuscan-Emilian Apennines
  • 10 average speed trials in the Regularity section
  • 18 countries represented with the largest numbers of crews coming from the UK (67 people), Germany (33) and Switzerland (24). The crews that had travelled the furthest came from Mexico and Hong Kong.
  • 19 car brands were represented. Porsche, fielding 22 cars, was the carmaker with the biggest turnout, followed by Alfa Romeo with 16 and Ferrari with 14.
  • 2 circuits hosted the track races: the Mugello Circuit and the Marco Simoncelli Misano World Circuit
  • The legs ended in 3 different cities
  • The oldest car was a 1934 Alfa Romeo 8 C 2.9, aged 88
  • The youngest, at 24, was a 1998 Porsche 993 Turbo S, a special guest at the event
  • 90% of participants were from abroad, confirming the Modena Cento Ore’s status as one of the sector’s most international events
  • 10 traffic police agents escorted us throughout the journey, making us feel protected throughout
  • 0 residual C02 emissions
  • Over 600 people were involved in the event in various capacities, including organisers, staff, marshalls, timekeepers, photographers, cameramen...

 

At the end of the event, Luigi Orlandini, President and CEO of Canossa Events and Cavallino, commented: We have finally seen a return to the good old pre-pandemic days, with 100 fantastic cars arriving from all over the world, from Hong Kong to Brazil, and 18 countries represented. It was a very hard-fought competition, right up to the last special stage, and we couldn’t have asked for better conditions: five full days of summery sunshine. My thanks to all the participants and the whole team for this 21st edition, which has been a huge success.”

Continuing a Modena Cento Ore tradition, part of the proceeds from the event are being donated to charity, specifically to the Panathlon Club of Modena. The donation will help to support sports projects for disabled children.

Also, the Cento Ore continues to be the only green event in this industry. Comfirming its ecofriendly outlook organizers implemented a CarbonZero protocol. The residual CO2 emissions produced by the Modena Cento Ore 2022 will be completely offset by the planting of new trees in the Tuscan-Emilian Apennines.