Just under four minutes. Almost 9 kilometres. Hairpin bends and straight retches. Applause, fires, improvised campsites and the inevitable noise of the cars. You could sum up the Trofeo Vallecamonica thus in two lines. A race which, over the years, has earned a place of honour in enthusiasts’ hearts. One of the most popular and complete hill climbs in Italy; one on whose slopes great names and real legends have competed.
Although there are essentially three versions of the route, the spirit of Malegno-Borno, as most fans define it, its DNA, has always been an extremely fast hill climb which also requires good driving technique. Speed and the best-performance car are not enough to win here, you need to use your head, knowledge of the course and method. Here the best always wins.
There are those who have dreamed of being able to win and never succeeded, those who have won it ten times, those who have given up many other opportunities to be able to compete, to be able to say “I’ve been there too”.
The real thrill, in any case, is the satisfaction you experience up there in Borno at the finish line, the objective you have to reach in the shortest possible time. Some say that they could climb those 8,800 metres with their eyes closed because you need to know them by heart, like a circuit, to win a hill climb.
The only real truth is that the public always comes here on a pilgrimage; they are already spread out along the route the night before, fires lit, tents pitched and experiencing the same emotions felt by the spectators at the first event in 1964. The engine noise rising along the valley, the last-minute heavy braking, the absolute precision. It doesn’t matter if it’s a Porsche Carrera making the climb, like the one which “Noris” drove to victory in 1964, or a powerful Osella FA/30, the scream of the engine will thrill one and all.
Because here, after all, what matters is knowing that you’ve reached the summit, perhaps beating your previous year’s time by a few tenths of a second.
Trofeo Vallecamonica is first and foremost history, automotive heritage. Since the victory of “Noris” in the first event in 1964 the anecdotes could fill books. The unbeaten run of Mauro Nesti, for example, who was able to win the race ten times and is currently still the driver with the most victories. Or the Caffi family tradition, with the enterprising victory of Angelo in 1965 at the wheel of the Alfa Romeo Giulia, and Alex’s two successes in 2005 and 2011, not to mention the tremendous performance of 2018 with the Porsche 911 GT Cup. Or even Gian Antonio Franzoni’s 34 entries, currently the undisputed record holder in terms of participation.
In addition to the winners, the Vallecamonica Trophy reserves great importance for the fastest.
On the old 8,600 metre route the unbeaten record is still that of Mauro Nesti, who in 1984 made the ascent in 3 minutes 46.00 seconds with the Osella BMW 2000. The heat record on the current 8,800 metre route with chicanes belongs to Christian Merli (3 minutes 41.60), established in 2015 at an average of 139.5 km/h. Alex Caffi holds the record as regards the total time, with a total of 7 minutes 26.60 obtained in 2011, while the fastest is still Pasquale Irlando, who in 1999 made the climb at an average of 140.913 km/h on the Osella PA20/S .