Race: 1955 Mille Miglia

From the co-driver’s seat

On one straight lined with trees we had marked down a hump in the road as being ‘flat out’ only if the road was dry. It was, so I gave the appropriate signal and, with 7500rpm in fifth gear on the tachometer, we took off, for we had made an error in our estimation of the hump’s severity. For a measurable amount of time the vibro-massage that you get sitting in a 300 SLR at that speed suddenly ceased, and there was time for us to look at each other with raised eyebrows before we landed again.

A hand appeared in front of me holding a sheet of paper. I snatched it and read ‘Moss, Taruffi, Herrmann, Kling, Fangio’. The times showed we had a lead of nearly two minutes. Bump went the car as it was dropped down off the jacks, and with a lithe bound Moss was into the driving seat again. As we took the hairpin after the control, I managed to yell in his car: “First by more than one minute from Taruffi.” The noise of the exhaust and wind prevented any further words.

From the finishing line we drove to the official garage where it was finally impressed upon us that Taruffi was out, Fangio was behind us and we had won. Yes, won the Mille Miglia, achieved the impossible, broken all the records, ruined all the legends, made history. We clasped each other in joy, and would have wept but we were too overcome. Then we were swept away amid a horde of police and officials, and the ensuing crush amid the wildly enthusiastic crowds was harder to bear than the 1000-mile grind we had just completed. — DSJ
June 1955