The 2014 Mille Miglia Day-By-Day
by Ian Skellern
The 2014 Mille Miglia runs for four days from 15 through 18 May 2014.
- Day 1 (Thursday): Brescia to Padua – 251 kilometers / 156 miles
- Day 2 (Friday): Abano Montegrotto to Rome – 757 kilometers / 470 miles
- Day 3 (Saturday): Rome to Bologna – 505 kilometers / 314 miles
- Day 4 (Sunday): Bologna to Brescia – 256 kilometers / 159 miles
For the background of this historic road race, please read Quill & Pad At The Mythic Mille Miglia.
Thursday, May 15, 2014 was Day 1/ Stage 1 of the 2014 Mille Miglia.
The cars had already had their technical inspections and qualifying paperwork checked in a large exhibition hall on the outskirts of Brescia the day before the official start. You can see photos of this at Quill & Pad At The Mythic Mille Miglia.
On the morning of day 1, all of the cars drove into the Piazza della Vittoria, in the center of Brescia in Northern Italy.
As you might imagine when you have 451 high-performance, historic sports cars, this took a few hours.
And the roar of the exhausts could be heard for miles.
Drivers first collected their Chopard Mille Miglia Chronographs, each engraved on the back with the number of the corresponding car.
At 6:00 pm, the cars started crossing the start line in Brescia. From her vantage point at the Chopard VIP area at the start, my colleague Elizabeth Doerr reported that the Mille Miglia crowd looked to be as excited as the participants when the race got underway.
18:00 Day 1 (Thursday): Brescia to Padua – 251 kilometers / 156 miles
A few hours later
I’m now writing this at 11:30 pm from the back seat of the team Roland Iten support Range Rover as we follow the route of the first stage of the 2014 Mille Miglia.
I say “following,” but despite our three-ton handicap we are actually keeping up with the middle of the pack and are basically participating in the race.
And in a big heavy Range Rover, I can’t help thinking that’s not such a good idea. The power of the Range Rover makes it respectable in a straight line, but turning corners at high speeds is like turning a supertanker.
Then there’s the fact that more than a few of the many thousands of supporters lining the route and cheering enthusiastically appear to be driven by substantial amounts of a high-octane fuel of their own.
While there are regular checkpoints, marshals and police, it seems like anything goes; anyone can join in the race – while it’s called a time trial, the Mille Miglia is for all intents and purposes a Gumball Rally-type road race.
As night progressed (and it progressed quite a lot before we were through), normal traffic diminished, which was fortunate really because all of the competition cars were flying through the near-deserted streets of the villages, towns and cities along the route as though the roads were closed to general traffic. And the roads are not closed to normal traffic.
In fact, virtually none of the roads are closed for the Mille Miglia at all. And while the race director and the race rules clearly state that everyone participating in the Mille Miglia must respect normal road rules, I have the distinct impression that’s for the (international) audience only. It’s obvious to everyone on the ground here that from start to finish it’s pedal to the metal, all traffic lights are green no matter what their actual color, and road signs such as “Stop,” “Yield,” etc. are for decorative purposes only.
And the police seem okay with that.
One other thing being in close proximity to high- (and low-) powered, 70-year old sports cars teaches you is just how clean modern car engines and exhausts are. The Mille Miglia air is continually thick with petrol fumes.
And naturally, this is Italy after all, smoking is de rigueur.
It does add to the historic ambiance, though.
We arrived in Padua around 2:30 am; however, we then spent another couple of hours looking for spare parts and checking a few of the team Roland Iten cars that required attention.
Finally, we hit the sheets around 4:30 am and set the alarm for 7:00 am . . . and day 2.
Day 2 (Friday): Padua/Abano Montegrotto to Rome – 757 kilometers / 470 miles
Another very long day with light rain late afternoon making for uncomfortable conditions for all of the coupes. The arrival in Rome around 1:30 am was enthusiastic, but hard to appreciate due to lack of sleep.
Day 3 (Saturday): Rome to Bologna – 505 kilometers / 314 miles
Day three was yet another long day, but the scenery and reception along the route was exceptional. The crowds in Tuscany’s Siena were particularly enthusiastic and numerous.
We spent the night in Bologna. After so many nights with so little sleep, the hotel bed looked better than the stunning architecture in Bologna.