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47 Cars Reach Finish of Modena Cento Ore


Courtesy of Canossa Events

Courtesy of Canossa Events

Courtesy of Canossa Events

Courtesy of Canossa Events

Courtesy of Canossa Events

Courtesy of Canossa Events

Courtesy of Canossa Events

Courtesy of Canossa Events

Courtesy of Canossa Events

Courtesy of Canossa Events

Courtesy of Canossa Events

Courtesy of Canossa Events

Courtesy of Canossa Events

Courtesy of Canossa Events

Courtesy of Canossa Events

Courtesy of Canossa Events

Courtesy of Canossa Events

Courtesy of Canossa Events

Courtesy of Canossa Events

Courtesy of Canossa Events

Courtesy of Canossa Events

Courtesy of Canossa Events

Courtesy of Canossa Events

Courtesy of Canossa Events

 

Modena’s Piazza Grande, the 2019 Cento Ore Classic finish line, is largely seen as the most extraordinary place visited these days. Along the architectural context, and the excitement of the finish line, there’s elation of being in the birthplace of Italian auto racing. You can just close your eyes and imagine Enzo Ferrari, Stanguellini, or the Maserati brothers walk these very same cobblestones which today are hosting the cars and the crowd of people they drew.

They have been four intense days where all gave 110% and the marks on the cars’ bodies are a testament to it. The sheer smiles and finally relaxed expressions on the competitors’ faces as they sip on a long desired and well deserved beer, is worth a thousand words. Many friends are still missing: 47 cars in the competition section made to the end; 35 in the regularity. Regretfully, 22 never made it and had to withdraw before ever making it to Modena.

But this is the deal. The Modena Cento Ore is a challenging and amazing race. Many of the teams who withdrew still came here to salute friends, arrange future meetings, say goodbye and, of course, challenge each other for 2020.

100 hours may be few in the span of a lifetime but surely everyone here feels that the last 100 hours on the Italian roads and tracks have left indelible memories. It’s been exciting, at times heart-stopping out there on the road and such moments were alternated by blissful dining and dancing experiences. The race with time by the stopwatch in the special stages was breathtaking and nerve-racking. Often disputed on narrow roads, they were at times so technically difficult that often it’s up to one’s instinct, experience, and confidence with the car, as well as a good dose of courage to make a difference and the final time lap.

Day 1 – Arrival & Scrutineering

It’s hugging day! As the Modena Cento Ore 2019 competition crews gradually gather, those who have the pleasure to organize this outstanding event are filled with pride and joy seeing them shake hands, hug, and kiss as they meet new faces as well as old friends from previous editions. Proof that, despite the arduous spirit of competition that otherwise characterizes the rally, this event has the power to connect people and generate lasting friendships.

Still dozing from the effects of a prolonged winter, Rimini, the great Italian capital of fun and entertainment, was readily awakened by the sound of the cars’ engines roaring into Piazzale Federico Fellini, attended by the technical inspectors who immediately engaged in the scrutineering of the cars’ safety systems and the pilots’ equipment. The first scrutiny went to team Roddie Feliden and Simon Jeffries from the U.K. and their 1965 Shelby American Mustang GT 350, followed by team Stephen Bond and Terry Hopley’s 1956 Maserati 250S.

First leg of honor for the competitors after scrutineering is the Blackfin stand, where they’ll pick up the much appreciated complimentary sunglasses.  Next up, the rite of race numbering application, performed by both mechanics and competitors. Some experts used soap, others simply eye-balled the correct position of the sticker hitting it at first try.

Co-pilots got to work immediately after receiving their roadbooks where they duly marked important passages as well as take a first glance on the notes regarding the Special Stages.  All eyes are on 3-time rally world champion Christian Geistdörfer, epitome of the successful copilot.

With such excellent representatives of 60’s to 80’s race cars, the quality level couldn’t be higher. The German Albert Otten, along son Julius, brought his fabulous 1939 BMW 328 Roadster, the only pre-war automobile present this year at the Modena Cento Ore. At the other end of the spectrum, stunning in beauty and fierceness, the 1986 Aston Martin V8 Vantage Zagato, from the Britons John Dennehy and Paul Halford.

According to tradition, the Modena Cento Ore kicks-off in style with the first of the dinners at the Rimini Grand Hotel, a Fellinian charm.

Day 2 – Arezzo, Misano

What a thrill! We knew Modena Cento Ore. We’ve lived through it before, but hearing those engines roar, and following them as they leave the cities barrelling down the isolated roads of the Special Stages is always an extraordinary, magical experience. The thunderous sounds clamour through the valleys of the Apennines between Romagna and Tuscany as they climb up the stretches and out the bends. The Stratos Group 4, Daytona Group 4, Porsche RSR, and AC Cobra, all have their own distinct sounds and we feel like we’re kids all over again playing who guesses first by sound recognition as the view of the cars is eclipsed by geologic barriers and trees.

As usual, the juxtaposition of race cars over the majestic renaissance of the Logge Vasari in the Piazza Grande of Arezzo makes for a truly enchanting atmosphere.  Modena Cento Ore is known for merging the thrill of racing with the delights of Italian good living. Shortly after luncheon, the pilots moved from the sumptuous dining room back to the race road for the afternoon special stage all the way to Misano for the very first Modena Cento Ore nocturnal track race.  Among other rare treats, the Modena Cento Ore offers the opportunity to hold a Ferrari 250 Tour de France in your rear view mirror for some half hour or see a rare BMW M1 Pro Car, one that raced at the 1980 Le Mans, with open exhausts, booming its way through narrow medieval streets.    It’s such a sight to behold the way people smile as they gaze at the cars showing such genuine enthusiasm at the passage of the thunderous convoy. Clearly the mild inconvenience the Cento Ore brings to the city is easily outweighed by the enthusiastic awe it inspires.    As we wait for the official results to come in, the prize for “the best look” goes to the all female English team Sharlie Goddard and Suzy Harvey on a 1969 Morgan Plus 8. Their flashy coloured head scarves already made fans.

The first free stages at Misano were disputed under an awesome sunset that lasted through the Regularity section.

The Competition section of the nocturnal started at 21:15.

Day 3 – Imola

The previous day’s first race of the Modena Cento Ore 2019 had been challenging for the competitors, the assistance teams, and cars alike. 15 hours on the road left their mark on the pilots’ faces and, sometimes, on the body of the cars showing a tough confrontation. After only a few hours sleep, we started this morning from Rimini headed for Imola to race at the historic Enzo and Dino Ferrari circuit, and where the name of Ayrton Senna will be forever remembered.  As expected, the race has been combative and high speed. Some strays into the sand were a reminder for all of how difficult the Imola race track can be. The swift bends and rolling hills of the circuit of Santerno gave us all the opportunity and pleasure to appreciate the power and top speed of the great American 8 cylinders which, just as they did back in the 60’s, yesterday met their match in the Ferrari 3 liters and 12 cylinders. Once the track competition came to an end, the irresistible charm of the Modena Cento Ore was back to fascinate participants with its unique, extraordinary magic. After a four minute route, the hot and messy cars were left parked in front of the Rocca of Imola which hosted the luncheon. As we entered the handsomely arranged Giardini della Rocca, we were reminded of how spectacular the Cento Ore can be. 200 people can be transported through completely different environments such as a blazing, thunderous autodrome, and a quiet garden inside a medieval castle suitable for a gala.  The signs of kilometers as well as some close body contacts begin to show on the cars. However, it’s refreshing to see the harshest duels consumed on track fade into smiles, pats on the back, and some friendly tease. In the afternoon the competitors head towards Florence which they’ll reach after two challenging Special Stages. After all, we all know… no pain, no gain.


Day 4 – Florence, Mugello

To wake up in Florence is always a spectacular experience. That cool sunlight kissing the sprawling rooftops expanse is quite a sight to behold.  In this idyllic frame, Modena Cento Ore manages to blend in new colours and shapes with its amazing display of classic race cars which, as of tradition, spent the night in Piazza Ognissanti.  The morning wake up call came with the sound of the engines warming up.

The short drive from Florence to Mugello proved once again that this area of Italy is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful spots in the world - and the circuit of Mugello does it great honour by being one of the most beautiful ever built.  Driving through the Mugello, be it the rolling hills, the tight bends, or the sheer beauty surrounding the drive, it’s the beauty of the landscape to ignite such enthusiasm making the Tuscan circuit something to look forward to.

The powerful American V8’s on Ford GT40, GT 350 GT, and AC Shelby Cobra, were tested uphill only by the 12 cylinder Ferraris. Among these, as usual, the 6 cylinder Jaguar E-Type Lightweight, though not the highest horsepower but the best balanced in terms of frame and break sections.

Porsche 356 and Alfa GTA were numerous and beautiful yet shorter in horsepower. Spectacular as ever the 911’s as represented in all its versions and models which gave us all the opportunity to appreciate the evolution on this model’s last couple of decades.

The level of competition has been definitely higher than expected in the Mugello special stage, also for the Regularity section, as some competitors took better advantage of the track than others.

We particularly enjoyed the sound and looks of crew 74, 1957 Ferrari 250 Tour de France. But the most exciting sound probably comes from the 1965 AC Shelby Cobra 427 audible anywhere along the route.  The cars moved then to Montecatini Terme, after two special stages in the morning.

The hours and kilometres begin to show on the men and their cars on the fourth day of rally. Some empty slots on the grid reveal just how many of them were forced to withdraw, and you need only a tour of the paddock to notice the marks on the bodies left by the tough confrontation endured on the race tracks and special stages.  After today’s stages, all bets are off tomorrow as the last day of races to determine the final ranking.

Therefore, simply making it to the arrival platform in Modena is quite a success; confirming the old adage that in order to win, you must get all the way to the end of the race. Undoubtedly, the finalists will be those who best manage their cars and piloting abilities. The final evening will be spent at Forte dei Marmi with its iconic dinner at Bambaissa, which will host the competitors on the beach at sunset for a moment of much needed relaxation.

Day 5 – Modena, Finish & Awards

The Modena Cento Ore 2019 ends with the cars on the podium in Modena. The awards evening takes place within the enchanting atmosphere of the Cortile d’Onore of the Modena Military Academy. Decked in the Italian flag tricolor, the Palazzo Ducale opened its doors to the delighted competitors exclusively for this special occasion.

The awards celebration was itself a spectacle watching as competitors celebrated each other. After all, if there’s a drawback in the Modena Cento Ore, it must be the fact that there can be only one winner.

The cars’ level of elegance could make for a world class pageant except that the Modena Cento Ore allows for these magnificent cars to be shown in motion and, for their owners, to take the ride of a lifetime through the most beautiful Italian landscapes - it’s the most perfect automotive museum imaginable. It’s difficult to communicate certain experiences, yet the applause that erupted at the screening of the film shot during the event sums it up perfectly.

Scuderia Tricolore once again supported projects benefiting adaptive sports for disabled youth with its donation to the Modena Panathlon Club, while Canossa Events reconfirms its commitment to the environment by applying the CarbonZero protocol to all its events. It will completely compensate all residual CO2 emissions of the Modena Cento Ore 2019 through planting of new trees in the Tuscan-Emilian Appennine.

The exact dates for the June 2020 edition of the Modena Cento Ore will be announced in September.

Winners

  • Competition, before 1965: #5, Richard & Claire Cook, 1963 AC Shelby Cobra 289
  • Competition, class G/H/I: #31, Glenn Janssens / Tom De Geetere, 1981 Porsche 911 SC
  • Index of Performance: #30, Albert & Julius Otten, 1939 BMW 328 Roadster
  •  “50’s Sports Car”: #28, Marc Mezey / Jack Chatham, 1955 Austin Healey 100/4 M
  • Regularity: #108, Earnst Schroeder / Philipp Rüppell, 1961 Porsche 356 B
  • Team Competition: M66
  • Team Regularity: Bulles & Rires
  • Ladies’ Competition: #59, Sharlie Goddard / Suzy Harvey, 1969 Morgan Plus 8
  • Ladies’ Regularity: #107, Ute Otten / Brigit Saget, 1960 Porsche 356 B Roadster

Special Awards

  • Race Tracks: #58, Paolo Marzatico / Federico Ferrari, 1973 Porsche 911 Carrera 2.8 RSR
  • Special Stages: #55, Kevin & Lee Jones,1972 Ford Escort RS 1600
  • Ayrton Senna Prize: #31, Glenn Janssens / Tom De Geetere, 1981 Porsche SC.
  • Modena Autodrome Super Special Stage: #47, Philip Kadoorie & Daniel Wells, 1974 Lancia Stratos HF GR.4
  • Modena Autodrome Regularity Stage: #92, Axel & Andrea Urban, 1972 Porsche 911 T
  •  “Mechanical Miracle 2019”: Colin Bastead / Damian Le Breully (supporting Lancia Stratos #47).
  • “Spirit of Competition”: #55, Kevin & Lee Jones, 1972 Ford Escort RS 1600
  • Brandoli Special Prize: #48, Ferrari 365 GTB/4 Daytona Competition.





Acknowledgements

Special thanks to all who made the event possible: first and foremost the competitors, which with their enthusiasm have made this edition of the Modena Cento Ore truly unique.

Thank you to all the Municipalities’, Provinces’, and Regions’ Administrations crossed through.

The Italian Automobile Club, the many race officials, the men and women of the Polizia Stradale, all collaborators and volunteers without whose support none of this would have been possible.

The Modena Cento Ore’s success is made possible also by the participation of partners of excellence such as world leading auction house, RM Sotheby’s; Blackfin, which created exclusive models of sunglasses for the teams; Brose, excellence in mechatronic industry; Cristophe Claret; Greppi; Brandoli; Straight Eight Logostics.