Miglia was by now firmly ensconced within the Italian psyche. For Brescians
the end of winter brought the sound of motors unshackled by normal decorum.
A preponderance of young men and women in a hurry juxtaposed against a still
mostly rural background. In each town where there lived dreams of
motoring laurels a nervous excitement greeted the prospect of deeds backing
up words. A champion of the living room or of the dining table would now
have to be confirmed on those 1000 terrible miles. The starting list that
year had nearly doubled over the previous.
was a changing of the guard at the upper echelons of Italian motorsports
with the ascendancy of Nuvolari and Varzi and their great rivalry that would
continue from two to four wheels. All of Italy it seemed would split into
two camps, each proclaiming their champion was the greatest of those that
put hand on wheel. The impeccable man from
Milan whose tailor made overalls made him appear the
of the rough-hewn Mantovan in his peculiar
racing attire of yellow jersey and blue
trousers or leather jerkin only they knew the awful truth, that at the core
of their being they both coveted the same piece of road. Other drivers often
remarked that the two would continue to fight their own personal battle
after all hope of overall victory was no longer possible. A battle that cast
the other drivers also rans irrespective of their actual positions. For
Varzi it seemed that only Nuvolari existed, that only Nuvolari needed to be
beaten for victory to be assured and for another week at least it would be
to Varzi's name that the newspapers of Italy would direct their accolades.
an eye towards increasing the number of entries new classes were added to
the race allowing anyone basically to take their family car and go racing!
The organizers introduced special prizes for 'non-expert' entrants, not included in the main list of participants and who are not directly or indirectly part of a manufacturer’s team.
This initiative was reinforced by the Gazzetta della Sport, which published a column called 'Volunteer drivers for the Mille Miglia' to enable aspiring young drivers to advertise their availability to car owners.This resulted in nearly doubling the amount of entries but did nothing for
the competition because by then Alfa Romeo had clearly stamped their
dominance by employing three of the top drivers in Campari, Varzi and
Nuvolari. To this effort was added the semi-works team of Scuderia Ferrari
and an additional 3 Alfa Romeos.
This is not to say that they were without
rivals, chief amongst them were O.M. and Maserati with their new 8C but most observers were
placing their bets on one of the Alfa Romeos. A new entrant from Germany did
pique some interest. Driven by a young German driver with an Italian
sounding name, Rudolf Caracciola was 29, driving a Mercedes-Benz SSK.
coming in 3rd
in 1929 Varzi was ready to assume the top rung.
Campari, the winner of the last two events did
not figure to give up his crown so easily. This year's race began at 11:00
am. Though they were required to have co-drivers both Varzi and Nuvolari
were determined not to let go of their respective mounts. The Maserati of Luigi Arcangeli, a motorcycle racer of some repute took
the early lead closely pursued by the Alfa Romeo of Nuvolari. To
Bologna he led, the fastest part of the course but with fading
brakes Arcangeli crashed out in the Apennines and Nuvolari assumed the lead
on time. Having started behind Varzi who was now in second but ahead of
Nuvolari on the road the
Mantovan crept ever closer to his rival. Legend has it that he had switched
off his lights in the early light of dawn only to switch them on as he
overtook the surprised Varzi. Other reports had it that Vittorio Jano,
fearing that his leading cars would ruin themselves fighting for first place
actually told Varzi that he was leading and to ease up. In Nuvolari's case
Jano knew that words were not enough to slow down the Mantovan and had
attendants carry him off to rest. In any case Nuvolari had the race
hand at that time setting a new record average speed of 100 kph. The cars of
Alfa Romeo would come in 1-2-3-4.