How do you get into the best Italian classic hillclimb experience that 95% of the historic world knows nothing about? Easy, go to Milan and turn right.
The Silver Flag Hillclimb dates back many decades but was officially discontinued in 1972, only to be revived for “mainly historic cars” a few years ago by the Automobile Club of Piacenza and the towns of Piacenza, Lugagnano and Vernasco.
The 2001 running, held June 16-17, featured a significant number of prewar cars, some of which had competed in the event in the 1960s. Among these were Alceste Bodini’s 1935 Delahaye 135 Special and Lucia Roveggio’s 1922 Lancia Lambda Sport, as well as a number of Bugattis, Rileys, Bentleys and Lancias. In the Touring Car category there were no fewer than 11 Fiat derivatives, including Abarths, Gianninis and Autobianchis.
Spectators were also treated to the sight of over 20 GT cars flying past the local bars and shops, with a particularly big welcome for the tail-wagging Ferrari 250 GT Boano of Giancarlo Marchesi. But perhaps the loudest welcome of all went to the impressive ex-Steve McQueen Porsche 908 of German August Deutsche, driving the car which McQueen codrove to second place at Sebring in 1970. Between the historic racecars, scenery, food & wine, the Silver Flag Hillclimb won’t remain the best-kept secret in historic racing for long. See page 40 for more photos.