Nevil Lloyd (Self - Commentator)
The Mille Miglia, a thousand mile motor race around Italy, starts and finishes at Brescia and passes through Rome, Florence and Bologna. This video documents the twentieth Mille Miglia of 1953. In Italy, where the design and construction of competition cars is a significant industry, the most famous names are Ferrari and Alpha Romeo. Enzo Ferrari was responsible for building the winning cars of the previous five Mille Miglia. Enthusiastic supporters travel to Maranello to see the Ferraris testing for this year's race. At Alpha Romeo, in Milan, designers consider racing as part of a process for developing cars for conventional motorists. Over five hundred cars have been entered for this year's race, with one thousand drivers and co drivers. The competitors are numbered and start one at a time, with the smallest cars first. All vehicles are divided between four touring classes for standard production cars, and four sports car classes. As well as the main race, there is close competition for each class prize. As tension mounts at the start, where cars set off every half minute, the police struggle to contain an enthusiastic crowd. As most of the leading drivers possess the skill and experience to win the race, greatest interest focuses on them. Each car is issued with a card, which the driver must ensure is stamped at control points along the route. After the first 180 miles, the Ferraris have broken every record, with an average speed of over 100 mph. From a control point at L'Aquila, the route descends through the mountains and down to Rome. Special flags are used to warn drivers of hazards, which include unexpected corners, narrow bridges and level crossings that may be closed. Around the circuit, many cars have run into difficulties and some are already out of the race. As the race continues, hundreds of different types and sizes of car compete around the circuit. French cars are leading in both classes on the stretch to Bologna, the last control point before the finish at Brescia. The remaining 140 miles forms the fastest section of the course. On the last leg, Ferrari takes the lead to win, with Alpha Romeo in second, and Lancia third.