Vernasca Silver Flag is a true injection of enthusiasm and passion

Laura Ferriccioli

The fun atmosphere, the strong relationship with the territory and the cars of great historical importance trigger a compelling alchemy

 

If anyone still doesn’t know it, they should know that the Vernasca Silver Flag is by far the most exciting annual event among the Italian historic car events. You go, you climb, you make some show (if you want), you face several shicane, as many beautiful hairpin bends, and you get to the top. Then everyone up in the main square of Vernasca, under the panoramic tower where Sunday lunch is served before the awards ceremony and greetings. It all starts on Saturday morning with the first go to Vernasca, after the arrival of the teams, the checks and the preparation of the paddocks on Friday afternoon in Castell’Arquato, next to the start-line. The game then goes on in the afternoon with the second ascent and again on the last day, Sunday. In its simplicity, Vernasca is an amazing event, of genuine passion. And the feedback is phenomenal.

 

The Maserati 3500 GT of the Scuderia Sant Ambroeus
Suixtil, the historical Argentinian racing clothing brand, was the main sponsor of the Vernasca Silver Flag 2021
With his presentation of the cars at the start, Gaetano Derosa is the soul of the event

Always kind and available with photographers and fans, Arturo Merzario drove the Lancia Stratos of the Bertone Collection put on track by ASI (photo below)

The Ferrari 212/225 Berlinetta Le Mans in its superb “sage green” colour


Really spectacular.
Every year it is necessary to make a selection among the registration requests, always higher than the available places. For this 25th edition, in particular, they had to choose more than usual given the reduction of the parterre from 220 to 170 cars due to the regulations against covid. For the same reason, the event took place until the weekend of September 10-12, with a gain, however, from the point of view of the temperature, which was rather mild and pleasant.

 

This spectacular De Tomaso Mangusta, that is completely restored, was bought 5 years ago by its current owner and now debuted at the Vernasca



The splendid Zanussi 1100 Sport of Nicolis Museum


Winning cohesion. From next year it is very likely that Vernasca will resume its usual round, which will return on the third weekend of June as per tradition. Meanwhile, once again the Cpae-Club Piacentino Auto Moto d’Epoca proved to be a fabulous team and was able to set up that load of racing culture, entertainment and unparalleled humanity that is the Vernasca Silver Flag. To realize the level of emotions it is able to generate, just think that the “marshals” are all volunteers, people who are happy to offer their commitment so that everything goes perfectly. Not to mention the drivers, all enthusiasts who come to Vernasca from all over the world and create a wonderful atmosphere of complicity, fun and friendship.

 

Uberto Pietra at the wheel of the Fiat Abarth 850 Scorpione of the Scuderia Sant Ambroeus

A racing version of the popular Fiat 1100, the 1100 TV of Gianpaolo Golnelli


The beginning of the Ferrari myth. In this edition, again for reasons of force majeure, the foreigners were mostly Europeans or from neighboring Switzerland. But there were also aficionados from England determined not to miss their beloved Italian event. Especially after the 2020 fast due to lockdowns. Cars? All big bits. Let’s start with the 815 Auto Avio Costruzioni, the very famous and only survivor of two built units. Yes, exceptionally this priceless wonder participated this year in the most famous “hill climb” in Italy. The car, from the Righini collection, is the first Ferrari ever built, marked like this because in 1940, when it was built, Enzo Ferrari was still under contract with Alfa Romeo and could not sign his creations directly. Still to remain in the Maranello area, some of the finest and most fascinating Ferraris of all time have been seen this year at the Vernasca, such as the 1951 212/225 Berlinetta Le Mans.

 

The 815 Auto Avio Costruzioni, the first Ferrari ever built

 

Track and rally beasts. There are also several Cavallino Barchettas, all to scream. Among them also a 1954 250 Monza. Moving instead towards the Trident, a Maserati Tipo 52 S200 and a two-tone 1954 A6GCS Berlinetta Pininfarina “low roof” broke many hearts. A couple of Lolas, a Cisitalia D46/48, several Lotus Eleven, several pre-war beasts… At the Vernasca Silver Flag the passion for racers spans all eras, from circuits to rallies. But the list of participants would be long, to get an idea just take a look at the photos. As for the queens of off-road speed, including the Fiat 124 Sport Spider 1600 from the Macaluso Collection this year, over twenty examples were seen, including two Renault Alpine 1600 SS and a Lancia Delta S4. While the Nicolis Museum was present with its splendid 1949 Zanussi 1100 Sport and the Alfa Blu Team with a 1900 C Sprint. Yes, because this was the year of the museum collections in the sector, that was the theme of the two days.

 

Nicola Fortuna took part in 11 Vernasca Silver Flag, most of them with his Lancia Fulvia Sport Zagato Competizione
A few bolides after their arrival in the piazza Vittoria, in Vernasca. The path is nearly 9 km long

This beautiful 1948 Citroën Traction Avant was bought 30 years ago by its current custode, a professional in the car domain who took advantage of the calm due to the lockdowns to put it back in shape

The Cisitalia D46/48 parcicipated many times in the event


Pure motoring passion. And here we are with the VIPs, who never miss the re-enactment of the Castell’Arquato-Lugagnano-Vernasca. There were Arturo Merzario, who drove the Lancia Stratos from the Bertone Collection owned by the Asi-Automotoclub Storico Italiano, the Formula 1 driver Erik Comas aboard a Lancia Rally 037, the German engineer and former driver Jürgen Barth in a Jaguar XK 120 OTS and Anneliese Abarth. And then there was the territory: the beauty of this corner of the Apennines and its welcome. If it was done elsewhere, the event would not turn out so well. Vernasca is so successful precisely because it is here, sparkling like a glass of Malvasia, which is the most common grape in these area. Not only that: the organization is top class but there is no trace of winks at marketing, just as there is not the slightest commercial malice. Vernasca is authentic, spontaneous. Unique.

 

Do you remember the 1962 Alfa Romeo Giulietta SZ which was found in 2019 after 25 years of abandon in an underground garage in Italy? Here it is!

Even the gala dinner at the Vernasca is something special. At open-air in the Castell’Arquato main square, it’s set in a magnificent historical location and the feast with the many fireworks makes it really extraordinary

 

And the winners are… Despite being structured like a hill climb, the Vernasca Silver Flag is a dynamic contest of elegance, and there are many prizes that are awarded. This year, first of all Fausto Bardelli was awarded for not having lost even a year of the event – this time it was on a Lancia Appia GTE Zagato – and Silvia Nicolis of the homonymous museum in Villafranca di Verona for having participated. Here is the list of other awards:

Best restored Asi car award
1955 Mercedes 300SL Gullwing – Massimo Sordi

Best state of conservation
1962 Alfa Romeo Giulietta SZ – Bahr Biner

Tourism class
1956 Fiat Abarth 750 – Patrizio Cantù

Paolo Silva Award for the most significant car linked to the Castell’Arquato-Vernasca
1967 Porsche 910, never restored – Bern Becker

Best Abarth trophy
1969 Abarth 1000 SE018 Cuneo – Angelo Miniggio

Giuseppe Merosi Trophy for best Alfa Romeo
Alfa 33 8 cilindri Spider – Alessandro Carrara

Best GT
1952 Siata SS Daina, took part in the 1952 Mille Miglia – Paolo Bordi

Sport class
1949 Veritas RS Prototype – Aldo Gadioli

Sport Prototype
1965 Genie Huffacker MK10 – Giorgio Marchi

Rallyssima Trophy
1984 Lancia 037 Safari – Carlo Digrandi

Single-seater with front engine class
1954 Marino Lancia Barchetta Formula 1 – Aldo Baroli

Single-seater with rear engine class
1967 Cooper P85 – Nicola Bodini

Prewar Car Trophy
1929 Alfa Romeo 6C 1750 Super Sport – Martin Kapp

Most Representative Car Trophy
1951 Ferrari 212/225 Berlinetta Le Mans – Paolo Casella

Trophy for the most refined technical solution
1961 Lotus Elite – Luigi Strata

Piacenza Circuit Trophy for the Best Ferrari
1953 Ferrari 340MM Scaglietti – Roberto Crippa

Best Maserati Trophy
Maserati Tipo 52 S200 – Nicola Sculco

Swixtil Award for Best Driver & Vehicle Combination
Lancia Stratos – Asi Collection

Special Trophies:

Most representative post car
1966 Porsche 906 – Jean Cyrille Rocher

Awards for their participation to:
Club Italia, Fondazione Macaluso, Alfa Blu Team

Most representative Ferrari Trophy
1955 Ferrari 857S – Massimo Comelli

Swixtil Award
1954 Marino Lancia Barchetta Formula 1 – Aldo Baroli

Awards to the three centaurs who animated the event:
Arturo Merzario, Erik Comas, Jürgen Barth

Fiva Award
1975 Lancia Stratos GR5 – Michael Lipps

Best of Show (Pre War Cars)
1929 Chrisler 75 – Massimiliano Bettati

Best of Show
1940 815 Auto Avio Costruzioni – Righini Collection

Trophy for the largest group
Mathis Group

Fiat Registry Award for the most representative Fiat car
Fiat Uno Turbo Group A 1985-86 – Daniele Turrisi

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