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Mille Miglia – Pageantry like no other rally

Posted 20th February 2024 | Category: News

Once again Phoenix MRC are Race Passion sponsors in the 2024 1000Miglia in Italy. This year Team Phoenix will be hosting a Low Chassis 1930 Invicta in the race. Well, it's called a race but the current 1000Miglia is as much a pageant as a race. In our previous blogs on the 1000Miglia we highlighted its history and how it has moved from an all-out road race, showing off the combination of driver & navigator skills and mechanical design, to feature regularities, which have more emphasis on control than mere maximum speed on the road.

Mille Milgia 2023 entry 250 Team Phoenix

With all this, the thing that probably elevates the 1000Miglia from other modern road rallies is the pageantry. Italians love motor cars and they embrace the 1000Miglia with all their hearts. The rally runs on ordinary roads through major cities and tiny villages. As the rally drivers pass through, at all hours of night and day, Italians from all walks of life line the streets to cheer drivers on. These make up my favourite memories of driving the 1000Miglia. 

Catching the eye of a boy of around 8 or 9 years. As we and other cars in the rally wound through his town, he and I made eye contact. He literally leapt in the air, high in the air with a huge grin on his face.

Team Phoenix youngest supporters

Another day in the late afternoon we crested a mountain top deep in the glorious Italian countryside far from anything vaguely built up. There, on folding chairs with nothing else to be seen for miles, were an elderly couple, waving and cheering us to go faster, faster, faster. 

In some towns, podiums are erected in the town square and the cars process around while details of each car, their drivers and history are announced. There still aren't that many female drivers in the 1000Miglia. On one occasion, as we processed around the square towards the podium, we suddenly realized that the crowds were chanting my name. 

In larger towns, the lights are often held for clutches of cars bearing the 1000Miglia roundels to be able to nip through. When there is congestion, motorcycle police magically appear to ensure safe, uninterrupted race flow while the towns' inhabitants pause their daily routines to wave, cheer and drop all manner of food, drinks and local gifts into the backs of the open cars. In one small town the local primary school had the afternoon off. Complete with teachers, the children lined the narrow streets, and we high fived our way along as we threaded to the display platform in the village square. In other towns the entire square is lined in red carpets for the cars to stop and be admired while the rally competitors have their lunch break.

Team Phoenix cars 249 and 250

When the rally reaches Rome, late at night, the police motorcycle outriders lead the weary competitors on a great pageant through the town, past the Colosseum and other iconic sites, still through cheering crowds.

Team Phoenix enjoying the pagentry in the 2023 Mille Miglia

The warm embrace of seemingly everyone in Italy and the connection with the pageantry of the event make the 1000Miglia a truly unique, life-affirming experience.

Team Phoenix - proud to present the EV-type

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