The Battle for Control of the Mille Miglia
Five months ago, soon after the last car had crossed the finishing line at this year's Mille Miglia Retrospective, the Automobile Club of Brescia (ACI) announced that they had awarded the rights to stage the legendary race for the next five years to a new consortium hailing from the port town of Genova. Known as 'ATI', this young team is responsible for organizing the historic Milano-San Remo rally. It was widely known that ATI had made a knockout financial bid for the Mille Miglia but this has not stopped major sponsors and others close to the event from expressing their concern that a well-tried formula might be replaced.
Legal wrangles have ensued and a court hearing in August found in favour of the existing organization, Dr Costantino Franchi's MARVA of the Mille Miglia's home town, Brescia. This decision was appealed by newcomers ATI and another court date set for 26th September, when the appeal was dismissed on the grounds that ATI did not have sufficient experience in 'managing an international brand'. So it looks as if the event is set to stay in the existing hands, assuming that a further appeal to the State Council in Rome is not successful. They have 40 days to pronounce their verdict.
One thing is certain though- if the event is this keenly contested, one way or another it will certainly take place next year!
(Illustration: 60 years ago, competitors didn't even get a free watch!)