As some of you know, as well as managing The Italian Job (charity event)'s email marketing, we also enter a Mini every year. Here's the report from this year's Team 31.
The Italian Job started in 1990 as a fun way for Mini enthusiasts to raise money for children's charities by dashing to northern Italy and back, collecting that year's Novello wine en route.
Twenty-seven years on, the event's raised nearly £2,600,000 and, as well as still attracting classic Minis, is also open to modern MINIs and a variety of vehicles that can claim some association with the original film. There's also a Service Van, ably-manned by Gareth Davies & Paul Cooper, both first class mechanics, who ensure no car is left behind.
This year's run took in the notorious Nürburgring, Stuttgart and Innbruck on the way down to Imola, with a brief photo stop at Kissing, long story. While in Italy we had exclusive laps of Imola, tours of the Ferrari and Pagani factories and visits to fabulous olive oil and balsamic co-operatives. We also visited the awe-inspiring hilltop town of Brisighella, the Tenuta Santomè prosecco vineyards and Venice before heading for Turin.
While in Turin, it's become an Italian Job tradition to conduct the final stage of the Regularity Drive contest on the rooftop of The Lingotto, the FIAT test track that featured in the Michael Caine film. As well as the thrill of driving up and down the spirals and the view of the Alps from the top, the subsequent police escort through the city centre, closing off the side roads as we go is jaw dropping. As is the irony of the final traffic jam as we all park by the weir.
Then it was back to Blighty via Mâcon, the Route des Grands Crus, Reims and Calais. We had a fantastic time and are already looking forward to The Italian Job 2018. And we'd like to thank all of our sponsors, both individual and corporate, some of whom you can see emblazoned on our Mini, above.
If you haven't sponsored us yet and would like to make a donation to Variety, The Children's Charity, please do that at our JustGiving page. If you'd like to sponsor our Mini next year, we'd love to hear from you.
And if you'd like to join the fun next year and enter your own team, there's more information and an entry form at italianjob.com.