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Targa Florio Sicily Classic insights

The Targa Florio Sicily was a great opportunity to participate in one of the great classic car events. It was too good to pass on for Australian Husband and Wife combination Paul and Nikki Lawson. As one of the organising committee for the Australian Edition of this great motorsport event, it was a great way to see how the Italians did it.

The following is an account of Paul Lawson’s time during the Sicilian event this year in October.


A dream come true

Visiting Sicily for the first time was a dream come true, competing in the Targa Florio a truly wonderful experience.

We met Angelo Pizzuto, ACI Palermo President on Wednesday to attend the opening press conference. We then headed back to pick up the beautiful MG we had been assigned to drive. It was time to take the plunge into the chaotic Palermo traffic. We made it through the traffic to the document check and pre-race scrutineering.

The following day was spent preparing for the prologue through the streets of Palermo. That night the route took us past the many highlights of this beautiful city. We often went down one-way streets the wrong way and finished with the welcome dinner at the spectacular Royal Palace.

The Main Event

Thursday finally arrived. We were into the main event with an 11 hour day ahead. The first day included 60 PC trails and 6 PM trials. A baptism of fire for my navigator who took it all in her stride.

Highlights of the day included the mountainous countryside. An amazing lunch venue and a trip to the valley of the temples outside of Agrigento.

The next day was big! We would get to experience the original loop of the Targa Florio course. It started at the grandstand and pits in Floriopoli which everyone thoroughly enjoyed.

A baptism of fire for my navigator who took it all in her stride.

Car trouble

As we pulled up someone noticed that we where leaking fuel from the tank. After getting some assistance it appeared we had reached a premature end. The car was being loaded on the truck to be taken away for repair. The main mechanic suggested putting a piece of Wood between the chassis and the offending hole and tightening it up. To everyone’s amazement, it worked! While the whole field had departed, we were back in the event just before they shut the road.

The bonus was we had the road to ourselves and could really enjoy the mountainous roads, some were pretty rough but we had a great time.

We made up time and passed a few of the field and managed to arrive without losing any penalties at the lunch break in beautiful Cefalù. We stuffed in some lunch and continued for the final section back toward Palermo and another extremely large mountain stage. The downhill intervals really tested the MG’s brakes.

We pulled into Palermo feeling very happy to make it to the end as the tank had started to leak a lot.

Speaking to the owners mechanic, he confirmed that we had a hole in the tank that would need welding so we would need to skip the Sunday drive to the piccolo circuit that was a separate event.

We pulled into Palermo feeling very happy to make it to the end as the tank had started to leak a lot.

Zero Timing Device

We were pleasantly surprised that we had moved up from 30th overnight to a pretty credible 23rd overall after 100PC and 10 PM trials. The Zero timing equipment we were utilising for the event made a big difference.

We then headed to the Gala dinner in a very happy mood to celebrate with our fellow Australian competitors who had performed well and loved the event and all the Italian and European competitors we meet along the way.

Angelo insisted the car was safe and would not get worse so we managed to also do the Sunday drive to the piccolo circuit which was a real high light before the drive back to a finish at Teatro Massimo in Palermo where we enjoyed the final lunch and the presentation for the Targa Florio Sicily.

Wow-what an event, truly amazing both for the driving, great competition and countryside.

1937 MG in Targa Florio Sicily