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A Little Bit Of Italy - For A Day

As the small but enthusiastic band of marshals gathered in the early morning brightness of Saturday 25th April, the omens were good for the 7th Bristol Italian Auto Moto Festival, organised as always by the local enthusiasts from the Italian AutoMoto Club and Ducati Owners Club. The forecast precipitation had cleared the area just in time for what has become the greatest free celebration of Italian vehicles on two and four wheels the United Kingdom has ever seen. On cue, the heart of the Old City began to rumble to a symphony of thoroughbred exhaust notes as the 400 cars and two wheelers streamed into the historic centre of Bristol.

The entrants came from the four corners of our nation and it's offshore islands. Italian music sang out over the public address system, endowing the metropolis with cosmopolitan and Neapolitan overtones as the streets thronged with classic Italian machinery. Bristolians and visitors from far and wide turned out in their hoards to mix with the enthusiastic vehicle owners and share this celebration of superb style and engineering. One short shower of rain ensured that Spider hoods were deployed but we were mostly bathed in springtime sunshine - almost as if Bristol had become a jewel on the Amalfi Coast.

The featured car marque was Lancia and we were enthusiastically supported by scores of Lancia enthusiasts who celebrated 30 years of the Integrale with many superb incarnations of the model on display. There were also many delightful Fulvias, Appias, Montecarlos, and numerous other confections of the Marque. There was, as always, a strong turnout by the Stratos enthusiasts. Alan Parkes' Fulvia Zagato was chosen as the organizers' favourite and Ben Courage's 1937 Aprilia received the Moto Guzzi Club's unique, special award for their best choice of the featured car marque.

This year we held a special display of cars with alternative bodies of Italian origin, such as Zagato, Touring, Farina, etc. Amongst them was a pair of locally produced Bristols, one of which, the immaculate 412 Zagato of Paul Wilson, received the organizers award. Favourites from the other marques were David Newby's Maserati Bora, Paul Jeuh's Ferrari 355 Spider, Steve Denning's enchanting 1938 Fiat Topolino Siata Smith Special and Ryan Higgins' Alfa Romeo Giulietta 116 2.0 RS. The Lamborghini display was remarkable for it's content, ranging from Jan Pettifor's startling white Gallardo Superleggera to the choice of film stars - two Isleros. Iain McFarlain's had at one time been loaned to Brigitte Bardot and Ed Stratton's had been driven by Roger Moore in the thriller 'The Man Who Haunted Himself.' All deserved praise but Ed's bagged the prize.

We cannot forget the great support always afforded to the Festival by the Bristol MODs and Somerset Scooter clubs. Again we were treated to the ever-popular presence of their classic retro scooters of all shapes, sizes and colours. Our pick of the scooters was Bristol Mod Jim Burnham's Lambretta which, resplendent in it's union jack livery and myriad spotlights truly caught the attention of all who beheld it.

The official 'Ride In' to the Festival has now become one of the main highlights. Bang on cue, the bikes streamed away from the M5 Gordano Services led by our featured marque -the Moto Guzzi contingent- for the cross country ride to the show where we were treated to a magnificent display by the Owners Club and it's members. Two Dealerships (Moto-Guzzi Southampton and Moto Sport in Wareham) providing the best of both old and new. Brand new were the 1200 Sport 4V and a 1200 4V Stelvio, a along distance semi-off road bike, equally at home darting around country lanes.

Other highlights were the Griso, the V7 Classic and notably the 500cc 1960 Falcone Sport. These epitomised motorcycling in Italy in the 1950s and early 1960s and the latter was also the bike of choice of the various Italian police forces throughout that period. Among the many notables were Gordon de la Mare's 500cc Dondolino, one of only 54 made between 1946 and 9151 and undoubtedly the noisiest bike at the show and John Davis' Magni Australia. Bridging the gap between the cars and the two wheelers was Nigel Bentley-Beard's intriguing Moto Guzzi powered Tri-King which he had constructed himself and there were several Moto Guzzi sidecar outfits.

The other famous marques were also to be seen in abundance, with ample displays of M V Agustas from the beautiful Brutales & F4’s and 750s Magni, to the classics such as the 125sports. The Aprilias were resplendent with fine examples of their flagship RSVR, Tuonos, Falcos, Caponords, some Tauregs and an amazing F1 Futura. Ducati enthusiasts provided an array of everything from the classic favourite, 'Il Mostro', through to every possible example of the marque, with a Desmocedici RR, a blue and silver NCR’esque Sport Classic 1000, 1098 Tricolore and a beautiful 851 worthy of particular notice.

Riders Bristol brought along the newly launched Streetfighter model, unashamedly the highest specification naked motorcycle on the market, powered by the incredible Desmodromic 1098 engine with it’s unprecedented electronics and variable street-going traction control, as well as great data analysis capabilities. Benellis and Moto-Morini were also in attendance presenting us with prime examples of a Tresette, Corsaro,3 ½, 250 Turismo, 350, and a Dart. Laverdas, celebrating their 60th anniversary and Gileras -celebrating their centenary!- were also present and notable amongst the lesser-represented marques was Michael Viret's enchanting Aermacci two-stroke racer, an amazing piece of motorcycle history

We were privileged to host a display by the Bloodhound SuperSonic Car project which, under the guidance of Richard Noble, Andy Green and other like minded adventurers, is focused on the ultimate land speed record of 1000 mph. Click here and prepare to be amazed.

Remember, this year we also have an official DVD recording of the Festival and much, much more! For details and to get your own copy click here or to see a preview click here.

Please also enjoy some of the photos of the day from our official photographers:





A further report and pictures can be found here.


If anyone wishes to promote a product or a company through the Festival, please contact us via the email below. Sponsors will receive a full 12 months of publicity on our websites.

We also welcome feedback and suggestions regarding the event. These and any other enquiries should be addressed to: biamf@italianautomotoclub.co.uk.

BIAMF is organised by the Italian AutoMoto Club with the assistance of the Bristol branch of the Ducati Owners Club. Click on the logos below for details of these clubs.

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