For the 2022 Lonville Classic we took our beloved rally back to Tuscany, one one of Italy’s most beautiful regions. After the high paced previous Lonville Classic (2018) “The ultimate road trip”, the 2022 rally was all about La Dolce Vita: enjoying the beautiful Tuscan landscape, food and wine together with a group of like minded classic car enthusiast.
This year was extra special, as it was the first rally after the long covid-break. Amongst the 40 participants (limited to 20 cars) there were many familiar faces from previous rallies. So the vibe was fantastic and first-time participants soon blended into the group. Our objective is to make this rally feel like a group of friends on a roadtrip, and this year certainly felt like that.
This was also our wettest rally with unusual amount of rain for September in Tuscany. But participants from over 10 different nationalities took the weather in their stride and truly made the most out of the four days together.
Surrounded by the hills of Volterra and 750 hectares of private gardens and woods, Hotel Borgo Pignano was the rally base for all four nights.
For each of the 3 days, the crews were guided by a road book divided in different stages, with regularity stages, interrupted by lunch and wine tasting visits in unique locations as well as special test inside and out of the historic cars. The Driver Briefing apero explained all rules and regulations whilst enjoying a local glass of wine.
The first day was named “Super Tuscan” and took participants from the hills surrounding Borgo Pignano through the crowded and narrow historic town centre of Volterra. From here the roadbook guided participants to a timed coffee stop in Quercetto and from there toward the Tuscan-coast to a secret olive oil tasting test at a tuscan wine producing family.
The surroundings of the historic village of Bolgheri boast some of the most famous ‘super tuscan’ wineries. So a lunch stop with paired wine from Guado del Tasso was only appropriate! A hillarious reverse-parking challenge completed the lunch stop and Jenny Kim and Max Albertini in the 1955 Alfa Giulietta took about 5 minutes for one manvouvre but then got it pretty much spot-on. Piere Maneint is the winner with a perfect centered parking – nearly imposssible, and that more or less set the tone for his, and co-driver Christian, exceptional timing throughout the rally.
By the time the first evening’s dinner was over the group started to bond with plenty of stories from the drive that day as well as many (true, exaggerated or never-confirmed), stories of previous Lonville Classics.
Day two took participants to the world famous Chianti Classico vineyards and scenery. It was un unusually wet day for Tuscan standards, but that did not stop the fun and laughter. This day had multiple different stages, secret time keeping and a tour of the gorgeous Badia di Passignano for coffee, cakes and a visit to the wonderful monestry with it’s famous frescos.
From the Badia on to one of our favorite places: Villa Bordoni (near Greve de Chianti) for a fantastic lunch served by David, Ricardo and the team. Obviously some of the local wines were sampled during a typical Tuscan ‘family’ lunch. After lunch a typical winding road through the beautiful chianti….with two secret timing sections to serve as a surprise for the participants and keep them engaged and competitive after lunch.
During dinner at Borgo Pignano Joost recalled, in his informal and humoristic style the things that went very well and things that went less well during the rally day including Graham’s gentle encounter with a tuscan tree. Interim results also revealed that Christina and Lorenzo in their white and red Austin Healey 3000 were putting in very consistent results across both days, while some others frequently got lost while admiring Tuscan country side. Who can blame them!
When night time comes, some crews go to be early while others choose to relax with that last glass of wine and some great stories, with both Simons leading the story telling. These are the moments when new friendship are made.
Day three ‘Val D’Elsa’ took the crews from the morning time-out to a secret time check with breakfast stop, including jazz soundtrack, close to the natural reserve of Berignone. Back on the winding Tuscan roads to a special stage where the crews need to paint their car in the Tuscan landscape. Lots of fun and our resident artist Mark Humphries experienced some stiff competition this year from new crew members. Following this artistic moment we made our way to experience the excellent hospitality and views of Castello do Casole.
The last evening was reserved for Tuscan Fiorentina paired with a big super Tuscan wine. It was also the time to relive some of the fun moments of the rally and to listen to Joost run through of special prizes and the overall results.
Pierre Maneint and Christian Loverius in their Austin Healey 3000 (1966) delivered a consistent performance on the different stages, getting all the tests right and dressing fantastically to match their car. Pierre has participated in a number of Lonville Classics and this is the second time he won!
Troels Levering and Peter Zennek from London, finished second overall in their 1969 Mercedes Pagoda and Christina and Lorenzo Rijk from the Netherlands took a well deserved third placewith consistent drivers and fabulous outfits matched to their 1959 Austin Healey 3000. Daniel Webber and Marianne Attiger from Switzerland won the prize of the couple that best matched their dress to their fabulous 1973 Citroen SM, and they were also the 4th overall finishing crew.
And while we applauded the best results, we also celebrated the fact that the Lonville Classic was back after covid and that this rally is all about new and old friendships and having a fatastic time enjoying our shared passion for classic cars, gorgeous landscapes, good food and great wine — la dolce vita, or shall we say a Tuscan Romance?
Throughout the rally Lonville also introduced the new limited edition chronograph watch “Rallymaster”. A number of watches travelled back with their new owners to New York, London, Lausanne, Basel and other cities around the world. We hope to see them all back for the September 2023 edition of the Lonville Classic around lake Como.
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