The Grand Prix Drivers Club General Assembly is being held in the Italian seaside town of Riccione and it usually results in rather odd competitive events.
However, thanks to the Adriatic Veteran Car Club the members tried something new: a downhill soapbox competition on a 1 km course from the hills behind Gabicce Mare down to the sea front. However, this was a soapbox event with a difference. Whereas most of us built our own soapboxes out of wooden platforms and pram tyres the club have various classes using modern karts with the engines taken out and self-built streamlined cars built like 1950s US Hot Rodders.
The plan was simple: each of the grand prix drivers who elected to take part were given one practice run down the hill where speeds reached over 50 kph and then two or three competitive runs changing cars each time.
As can be imagine the competition was fierce and in the end the winner was five-time Le Mans winner and Club Vice-President Emanuele Pirro with a time of 1 minute 6.05 seconds. In second place was, Membre d’Honneur and former head of Formula 1 for BMW Motor Sport, Mario Theissen in 1 minute 9.5 seconds, third was former Williams driver Jos Vonlanthen in 1 minute 10.67 and fourth was former Brabham driver Tim Schenken in 1 minute 10.94.