EVVIDA LO SPORT!

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EVVIDA LO SPORT!

AT one time I used to think the stories about the enthusiasm shown by the crowd at Italian Motor Races were mildly exaggerated, but a visit to Monza recently showed me that they were absolutely true.

On the day of the race, even on the road leading to Monza, the intoxicating influence of speed is everywhere manifest. Aged family motor carriages rock perilously along, their drivers crouching fiendishly over the wheel, one hand riveted to the horn button and the muscles of their accelerater legs tensed like steel bands. Young Italy, meanwhile, leers triumphantly from the rear window eager for the music of tortured tyres. Expensive sports cars join battle with one another, their drivers striving to be victor in the exciting game of touch last with wings and hub caps, which they so dearly love to play.

The ceaseless blare of horns, the screeching of brakes, the bellow of unfettered exhausts, the eloquent cursings of thwarted motorists all mingle together in an atmosphere of castrol, garlic and perspiration. There are policemen everywhere with batons drawn instantly prepared to club any unfortunate pedestrian should he dare to interfere with this crazy turmoil. Menaces all, but who cares ? At the race itself an even greater spirit of ardour prevails. Some perch themselves precariously on huge advertisement hoardings, which latter occasionally yield under the pressure of such concentrated enthusiasm, depositing their burden in the mud. Undeterred, these speed gluttons take to the trees, remaining there like

vultures with eyes that never miss any morsel of sensation. Others entwine themesives in the railings throughout the entire day, faint with hunger but determined to have their money’s-worth or die. Some, glutted by a surfeit of maearoni and sausage, lie stretched upon the earth completely unconscious of their surroundings until, roused by the whinings of their beloved racing cars, they rush to the railings oblivious to the pangs of indigestion. Ecstatically they shout the name of their favourite, imploring him to pass a hated rival, or to negotiate a bend even more daringly than before. Wellinformed as to the technique of motor racing, the Italian crowd is quick to ex

press vociferously its approval, or the reverse, of any daringly successful effort or the smallest blunder on the part of a driver.

It is no uncommon sight to see a respectable Milanese shopkeeper frenziedly shrieking in accents of demoniacal glee while he belabours the head of his unfortunate neighbour with a sausage.

Probably a great national figure may be seen with a roll in one hand and a bottle of wine in the other, exchanging quips with. his friends in his box all through this irregular lunch so that he need not leave and miss one moment’s excitement. Evvida lo sport 1

P.O.

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