The Targa Florio

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In the FIA calendar of races each year events are listed as Full International Events or International Events and the races are marked 1+ or 1, thus an event like the British GP is marked 1+ and a Mallory Park saloon car race is marked 1. Since 1974 the Targa Florio has been marked 1, which is to say that it is restricted to National Italian licence holders, even though the drivers may have fully international licences. This was because the FIA decided that the Circuit of Madonie, near Palermo, was no longer suitable for the heroes of full International Sports Car racing, but it was all right for local lads from Sicily and the mainland of Italy among those “local lads” being drivers like Vittorio Brambilla, Arturo Merzario and Sandro Munari. Since 1974 when works Porsches were no longer encouraged to race in the Targa Florio the race has been held every year with Lancia Stratos and Alfa Romeo 33/12 cars as the stars.

Now in the FIA Calendar for 1978 the Targa Florio, on its usual springtime date, which this year is May 14th, is given at 1+, which means it is uprated to Full International. And there was a great rejoicing in the lands among mooring enthusiasts, and plans were made to return to Sicily to see this great event one again. Alas, it was all a terrible mistake; and 1+ was a typists’ error, and it should have been the usual 1. It doesn’t mean the Targa Florio won’t happen, but drivers and teams outside of Italy will not be there. It is doubtful whether anyone in Sicily will know what happened or even be aware of the excitement that was caused in the outside world. For the Sicilians, springtime is still Targa Florio time, but for the rest of the world the Targa Florio is forbidden.

It is often said that public opinion sways governmental decisions, if this is so, then the FIA had better take not of the remarkable amount of motor sporting public opinion that was aroused over the thought of the Targa Florio returning to full International status and if the typist makes the same mistake in the 1979 calendar then it should be left alone.–D. S. J.

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