Story and Photos by Jonathan Sharp
A little about the history of this fascinating event: The Vernasca Hillclimb was originally sanctioned by the Automobile Club Piacenza between 1953 and 1972. The 1953 event attracted 40 entries, and was won by Alfa factory driver Consalvo Sanesi with a 3000CM. The race continued to grow, with 90 cars entered by 1955, when Massimo Leto de Priolo took first overall.
A Stanguellini Formula Junior achieved the fastest time in 1960, and by 1961 Odoarado Govoni took a Birdcage Maserati to win. The cars were getting bigger and faster as Govoni’s competition was Nando Pagliarini with a Ferrari SWB. Pagliarini returned in 1962 with the Ferrari to win. Abarth 1000s, Porsche 904s and Alfa TZs were popular entries in the 1960s, followed by the bigger, faster Abarth 2000s. In the early 1970s Lualdi brought the Ferrari 212 E hillclimb car to compete with the Porsche 908s. The last edition of Castell’Arquato-Vernasca was held May 14, 1972.
This segment reflects the cars at the event from Giannini to the one-off Serenissima. All in all, the 20th Vernasca Silver Flag Hill Climb was my sort of weekend. If you go next year, and as we understand, the event is already approved, you won’t be disappointed.