By Pete Vack
Note: Black and white photos are from the new book “O.M. The men, the cars, the races” and are typical of the oustanding and rare photographs presented in the book. Click to enlarge and our thanks to Fondazione Negri for permissions.
A two o’clock in the morning, Giovanni Canestrini was awakened by the sound of someone calling his name. Going to the window, he saw four figures in the courtyard below gesturing to Canestrini to let them in, for it was cold in December in Milan. The four – Count Aymo Maggi, Count Franco Mazzotti, Renzo Castagneto, and Flaminio Monti – wanted to talk, and Canestrini knew about what.
No sooner had he invited the foursome inside than they began the familiar complaint…Brescia needed to regain its place as the center of motorsports, lost to the nearby city of Milan when the new Monza Autodrome was constructed in 1922. And they presented another scenario; Italy’s car manufacturers were no longer building race cars. Bugatti dealer and racer Aymo Maggi well knew that if one wanted to buy a car to race, it seemed the only choice was to buy a T35 from Bugatti. Something needed to be done. If a successful cross-country race were launched, it would encourage the manufacturer to enter, and build Italian cars like the Bugatti. Automotive journalist Canestrini, of course, we help to promote the event. It would be good for the state, the roads, the people, communications, and of course improve the breed.