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Diary from the #IJ2023 – Day 13

Tuesday 17th October – Without question the easiest start to an IJ event day and a Police Escorted Tour of Turin

Apologies for the slightly ‘later in the day’ update than you have become accustomed to in recent days / weeks. This is V2 of today’s update as V1 was drafted and then lost whilst Kenjay Savvy drove us from Turin to Dijon today (the day after the events I’m about to share with you now happened).

The morning of October 17th started like no other on this #IJ2023 thus far. For teams had the greatest gift of all ….. a completely free morning at leisure with no commitments, time controls or special stages whatsoever. The first thing they had to do was EAT at 12.30pm from a delicious buffet at the NH Lingotto. We thought hunger pains would start kicking in if there was a sudden end to the daily 18,000 calorific intake. Untill lunch they were footloose and fancy free and many used the time well to either visit the shopping centre adjacent to the hotel or Eataly nearby. We saw a few people milling around the shopping centre looking for bow ties, cufflinks, clutches (bags not pedals) and other fine details to complete their outfits for our final and closing dinner later in the evening.

We also saw a few of our people in Eataly (more M&S than Aldi though it’s got a tonne more bells and whistles on it than even M&S). Kenjay purchased a weighty wodge of parmesan cheese (not sure wodge is a technical term), a delicate bottle of Limoncello (that I fear mightn’t survive the journey home in the boot of the Clubman) and a Ferrari Trento Brut F1 bottle of bubbles. Ferrari of Trento (the winemakers not car makers of Maranello) have replaced the French house of Mumm as purveyors of fizz for F1 podiums and every ounce of my Italian-ness is screaming ‘Forza Italia!

Lunch came and it was very nice as it filled a hole. Then as we were finishing a couple of Turin Traffic cops walked into the restaurant and began discussing the route we had selected with the quite wonderful Veronica Rossi of Turismo Torino. A few tweeks were made and then a message was sent on the Whatsapp Group that Jobbers should assemble in their cars by 2pm in readiness for a prompt departure in convoy for a tour of Turin. Our cars were joined by a dozen or so from Mini Friends Torino (including our good mate Alessandro Copersito). We mixed the Italian cars into the middle of our cars as these guys are locals and know the streets like the back of their hand!

As the clock struck 2.01pm the convoy headed off and our first stop was the Regina Margerita Children’s Hospital in Turin. We deposited a veritable sea of toys, games, gifts and teddies for the children who are frequent users of the hospital. It really was a wonderful sight to behold and a genuine reflection of what the Italian Job is really all about.

From the hospital the convoy went to the Villa Reale (see pic). If you don’t recognise this building you haven’t seen the 1969 movie #MoltoBeneDad. We had permission for three cars to enter for photo’s so the first three in the convoy (behind mine) were chosen. It was at this time that I noticed Team 11 was smoking (I later realised this wasn’t smoke but steam). I asked team 11 how long they’d been vaping for (so dense was the smoke / steam). Thankfully pianist hands Bryan was close by with water and soon Gareth from the Service Crew arrived to take control and supervise the pouring in of coolant and water. Fluids replaced, Geoff turned the car over and all was fine and dandy. Next up was the church of the Gran Madre di Dio (made notorious by the minis roaring down the steps of the church during a wedding in the film #toottootGoodLuckHaha). Again we parked some cars for a Kodak Moment whist the rest snaked around the island on which the church sits(not really an island). The next stop was the weir (crossed by the escaping minis in the film forming one of the most iconic cinematic car chase moments). It was here though that Nod and Emma (not their real names and it’s not because of GDPR that I’m not sharing their real names) decided now would be a grand time to overheat and dump their water. Before anyone could say ‘blimey… not another one’… Gareth appeared our of nowhere with a huge and heavy looking container of water. He again took control masterfully and all was well. Onwards we rolled. Our final stop was the bustling Piazza San Carlo which is a beautiful piazza. The police left us here but not before an exchange of gifts (baseball caps) and words of sincere thanks and heartfelt applause. The police were magnificent and saw us through countless junctions, traffic lights, roundabout and busy city centre intersections without once breaking the line of the convoy. We burned so many red lights that if points were being handed out I think we could easily have had enough for an economy class return flight to a European destination with BA.

Convoy over, we returned to our hotel for a shower and a change (and perhaps a libation or two) ahead of our closing dinner. A drinks reception started at 7.30pm and jobbers were super punctual (many in-fact incurred fewer penalty points at this Time Control than they had amassed in previous days during the navigational event). At the final dinner we announce the winners of the various highly contested awards up for grabs and hear from the CEO of Buttle UK, Joseph Howes who takes the opportunity to tell the assembled jobbers just how awesome they are (and they really bloody are).

We organisers, also permit ourselves a little frivolity during the dinner and evening by presenting a little film / slideshow filled with photo’s of the previous days of the Italian Job with a slightly sideways glance at teams. We don’t have much time or indeed opportunity to stitch this filmette together but we are lucky to have a ‘Robin’ on board who is an absolute whizz at this stuff and works incredibly hard to create it. Judging from the reactions of teams I’d say we got the balance just right.

The end of the dinner marks the official end of the Italian Job 2023 save of course for the final schlepp home from Turin to Dijon and from Dijon to Calais (two 6 hour drives). I’ll bring you news of that journey (today) tomorrow in the final instalment of this #IJ2023 little Blog!

Thank you as always for reading this and apologies for exceeding my self imposed 50 word limit again (haven’t managed it once).

Over and out till tomorrow (actually tomorrow)

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