For the 10th Lonville Classic we decided it was time to bring the rally back to the lakes of Lugano, Como and Maggiore. We are very privileged to call this beautiful Swiss-Italian lakes and mountain region our home and it is always a pleasure to show participants our own backyard.
Our rally base was Villa Principe Leopoldo, one of Lugano’s most historic Hotels. With a spectacular view across lake Lugano, Principe Leopoldo proved a perfect setting for the driver briefing Apero, as well as a number of the evening dinners and drinks.
This year’s participants represented more than 10 nationalities from all over the world. With a good mix of familiar and new faces the group settled in quickly during the driver’s briefing on Sunday. Our objective is to make the Lonville Classic feel like a group of friends and this year certainly achieved that. Perhaps sampling some local wines helped.
Day one: Lake Como
The first day took participants from Lugano over the hills towards a very narrow, multiple hair-pin Swiss-Italian border crossing . From there onwards to Lake Como and coffee with a view on Villa del Balbianello. The wet weather gradually started to clear as the crews made their way by ferry to Bellagio, and then all the way south to Como. A big drive with a combination of winding roads as well as longer stretches along the lake.
We stopped for lunch at the famous il Gatto Nero restaurant and passed Villa d’Este, the home of one of the oldest and most prestigious concours d ’elegance in the world. From there we made our way back toward Switzerland through some of the Merlot vineyards near Mendrisio and Lugano.
Day one is normally the ‘warm-up’ day for drivers and navigators to get familiar with our tulip and picture based navigation and sometimes rather bizarre control questions. Newcomers Kasper & Kjersti in the sharp looking Jaguar e-type put in the best overall effort, followed very closely by Christina & Lorenzo in the white and red Austin Healy 3000. Hellen and James Haigh in their lovely Pagoda settled in third place. Overall scores were very close, the weather had been challenging on the way back, so basically, anything was still possible.
Day two: Lake Maggiore
Day two brought glorious blue skies and warm weather as the crews made their way from Lugano towards Luino on lake Maggiore. Coffee followed by a blind-fold-reverse-driving (yes!) test pushed up tension levels in the cockpits. But all was soon forgotten during a fabulous lunch at our favourite Villa Aminta near Stresa. The views and classic décor are a sight to behold. No wonder lunch took a little longer.
A picture-map based navigation took the crews into the hills before catching a ferry back across the lake, followed by a casual last drive to busy Lugano. Day two saw Flemming & Nikola take first place in their fire-spitting speedster. Returning Lonville Classic participants Gabriela & Christoph followed within just a single penalty point difference in second place. Ralf & Marion took third place in their elegant Tickford bodied Aston Martin DB2/4. For dinner during day 2 we swapped the Michel star of Villa Principe Leopoldo for Joost’s local and informal restaurant Concordia in Muzzano.
Day three: Lake Lugano
The last rally day took the crews all around Lugano including multiple unplanned roadworks and traffic jams, even high up in the mountains above the beautiful village of Morcote. Following an artistic stop the navigators guided the cars to restaurant Bigatt offering panoramic views over Lugano while sampling local wines.
Day 3 was a more challenging drive and this is where Lorenzo & Christina, Kasper & Kjersti and again Gabriela & Christoph all did very well. Also Ralph and Marion and Flemming & Nikola put in a very strong and consistent performance.
There is actually not a real final in this rally. Our objective is to create a group of friends, a great time enjoying our shared passion of classic cars in beautiful surroundings. As everybody knows by now, dress-to-match-your-car is an important part of the fun and the competition. And this was also a factor in the final scores of participants.
In the end Flemming & Nikola drove the Porsche Speedster to the third overall positions (and also celebrated a very special moment together). Christina & Lorenzo came all the way from the Netherlands to take second place, just like the Lonville Classic in 2022 in Tuscany. They are formidable competitors. In the end though, it was the beautiful S1 e-type Jaguar with Kjersti and Kasper that took the overall victory in the rally – well deserved from driving, timing, incredible dress and, importantly, great fun to have on the rally.
A final thank you to all participants, also those that have been on most of the 10 Lonville Classics that we have organized over the years. All of you make the ambience, the laughs and the friendships which make the Lonville Classic just that little bit extra special. Looking forward to the next edition!
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