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The following three days were spent within the Imola region undertaking various routes and navigational stages working of a route book and having to identify numerous details presented on photographs. All this taking us around the Emilia Romania region of Italy the routes having been very carefully prepared by a member of the local Cesena Motor Club. During our navigational stages we visited many places of interest with the local residents lining the roads to wave us past, again stopping in many town piazzas for the local inhabitants to see the cars and talk to the competitors. On the final day we finished in the central piazza of Imola which was closed off by the police especially for this event. What an atmosphere with all the minis parked-up in the square and people everywhere. The local band was playing but was so important about this stage was the presentation of toys to children of the local orphanage by the car crews who had taken gifts from the U.K. especially for this occasion. A very moving and touching time.
The town was totally closed off by the police and to be part of a cavalcade of minis parading through the streets with their horns blasting and flags waving was again something to experience.
On our final departure from Imola the convoy of minis was led by the local police to the famous racing circuit of Imola where the San Marino Grand Prix is held every year in April. We were fortunate to be allowed to drive two laps of the circuit and to experience the chicane that had been built along the straight where Ayrton Senna was killed. A very interesting circuit with the track rising and falling quite quickly which one does not appreciate when watching racing from the circuit on the television.
Unfortunately it was today that we saw the departure of our Cooper 'S' on a low loader as we did not want to risk any more problems with the electrical circuit should we need to use the lights. It was from here that we arranged, via Europe Assistance, to have a hire car to see us through the remainder of the rally visiting the Ferrari museum at Maranello and test circuit and on to San Remo, near Monte Carlo, Annecy, Reims and eventually back to the Lancaster Gate Hotel, London for a final gala dinner.
What can we say after a trip of just over 3,000 miles in ten days. Hard work, yes, tiring but great fun and at the end of it we raised with your help £2600 for charity. The total raised during the ten years of the rally for charity should this year top the 1 million pounds. Thankyou.
Brian Williamson and Daughters, sandblasting and powder coating
Del-tech, Minilite wheels.
East Grinstead Lions.
Maidstone Mini Centre.
Makers Industrial Ltd. Sawtry, Huntingdon.
Manor Royal Motors, Crawley.
M.G. Car Club, S.E. Centre.
Natwest Bank S.E. Region.
Pladdys Mansfield & Rowe.
Rapesco Group PLc. Sevenoaks.
Swallow Dental Practice, East Grinstead.
West Hoathly Garage, East Grinstead. specialist body and coachpainters
Womans World, Canterbury.
Wurth, Erith, Kent.
Friends and Colleagues who have made personal donations.