Elba Tourist Trophy - 17-18 Settembre 2022 - Special Stages

Elba Tourist Trophy - 17-18 September 2022

Chris Leustean

Every year there is an event on which we focus a lot. Usually these are distant events, perhaps held over 2 days, where we want to give something more than the classic events.
For this 2022 the event in question was the Elba Tourist Trophy, an event held precisely on the island of Elba, scheduled for the month of September.
As I said, we have focused a lot on this event, but it will perhaps be due to the "short" notice, due to the two years of pandemic from which we are emerging, due to the "difficulty" of the ferry ... in terms of the number of participants, it was a bit of a bust.
But the event still took place, and the quality of the same was a great success, so now we'll tell you about it!


The event program takes place over two days, Saturday 17 and Sunday 18 September 2022. The meeting point is directly on the island, in the early afternoon of Saturday and directly at the Hotel Villa San Giovanni in Portoferraio, the hotel where we will then stay overnight in the evening .

Unfortunately, the chosen weekend was not the best in terms of weather, in fact Italy is hit by a perturbation which in these days marks a drop in temperatures and therefore the end of summer.

It's fine on the island, at least as far as rain is concerned. Only a few bad clouds and very few drops at lunchtime, while we await the arrival of the participants. Unfortunately there is another aspect that is not insignificant, namely the wind!
In fact, the participants who arrive completed the journey in very rough sea conditions, and in fact on the island, especially on the southern side, 60 km/h of wind is expected!
The wind is so strong that the sea conditions become prohibitive for the ferries, which are stopped in the ports. And this leads to a delay of a participant stuck on the ferry in Piombino.

So we decide to upset the plans, we can't kick off the Tour without all the participants. The program envisaged a counter-clockwise itinerary on the eastern part of the island, with a stop for an aperitif just before returning to the hotel, but to wait for all the participants we decide to do the reverse tour, heading immediately for an aperitif and then calmly the tour.
But now we're at the hotel, there's sun, it's hot, a beautiful swimming pool in front of us and we have an hour to wait for the ferry to arrive… And we go to the bathroom!
At 16.30, with all the participants on site, 9 cars ready to go!

As mentioned, we head straight to the aperitif. From Portoferraio we take the SP26, a road that cuts the island from north to south, and then take the SP30. In this first part we find traffic and the short stretch certainly doesn't prove what we're here for, but it's a short 15-minute transfer, so it doesn't matter.

The stop is at the Acquarilli Bar, a wonderful place to say the least! It is located on a promontory facing the sea to the south, the bar is actually just a caravan with various tables scattered on the ground of the promontory, between rocks and vegetation.
The panorama is enchanting and we are thankful that the very strong wind that raged until recently has magically disappeared. This location is even more beautiful than what can be appreciated in the photos found on the internet. The panorama, the music, the scattered tables and seats made with practically whatever happens, are very characteristic of a place like this.

After having an aperitif and a few chats, the time has finally come to leave for this Saturday's tour.

We take the SP30 to the west. Here we find some traffic up beyond the town of Lacona. Leaving the village, the very winding road begins to climb towards the Passo del Monumento. Traffic begins to drop a bit and allows us to start having fun.
Beyond the pass we descend towards Marina di Campo to then take the SP25.

Obviously being a very touristic area we still find some traffic also considering that the first part of this stretch passes through many villages and above all accesses to the beautiful beaches of the island.
The traffic begins to decrease towards Fetovaia from where, shortly after, we find practically a deserted road with a wonderful panoramic view!
The roadway is also quite wide, well paved, although unfortunately a bit slippery, certainly due to the saltiness.

It is really exciting to drive on this road overlooking the sea and with practically no traffic.
We continue towards Pomonte, Chiessi, climbing north to Colle D'Orano and then returning east to Marciana.

After passing by Poggio we take the SP37. This stretch of road is quite narrow, but the total absence of traffic allows us to still have fun on this stretch that climbs towards Monte Perone where we stop at the top for a break.
Here is a pine forest with various car parks and picnic areas, which are obviously practically deserted given the time of day.
Grouped all the participants and had a chat we leave to return to the hotel.

The descent towards Marina di Campo is always on a rather narrow stretch of road, and apart from the first part where we can go down having fun we must then slow down for 2 cars that we find in the same direction that proceed very slowly and do not want to leave us any space. Once in the valley we take the SP25 northwards up to Procchio. From here we take the SP24 which is also fun at times but we find again some traffic up to Portoferraio to then return to the Villa San Giovanni hotel at 19.00, in perfect time to allow us to have a moment of relaxation before the dinner 20.30.
Dinner is always at the hotel so that we can relax and enjoy the beautiful structure even after dinner with the usual chats between the participants at the poolside bar tables.

We are on Sunday. Ready to go at 10.30.
The forecasts promise sun and no wind for the whole day, a detail that certainly guarantees peace of mind for the return by ferry.
After checking out of the hotel we get back in the car for the second part of this event.

Like the day before, we take the SP26 again. On this stretch we still find traffic, among other things from many Germans who evidently also this not very hot climate is gold for them, but once they arrive on the east coast, after Porto Azzurro the traffic again becomes much smoother .

Up to Rio Nell'Elba the road is very winding and far from the coast. It turns out to be a traditional mountain road until we descend towards Rio Marina where we find ourselves along the coast. Even today we find ourselves driving with beautiful landscapes and here too the traffic is light.

We continue along the SP26 up to Cavo where we stop for a lunch break.
We chose the Mistral Cafè, a characteristic bar and restaurant furnished in a very maritime style, overlooking the small tourist port.
This is where the event tends to end, but obviously there is still a way to go back to Portoferraio to catch the return ferries. From Cavo we take the SP33, this too an inland road that climbs not too steeply towards Rio Nell'Elba from where we take the road to Nisporto which bypasses Monte Strega. In the first part we drove quite briskly, but then we had to lift our foot due to the narrowing of the roadway, particularly as we approached Nisporto and then as far as Bagnaia where we made the last few bends before returning to the SP26 towards Portoferraio, once again in traffic, but it's only a few kilometers now.
All together we arrive in Portoferraio where some before and some after, some on one and some on another, all the participants embark the cars to return to the mainland.
Success or Failure? Economically speaking, it was an event that dug deep into the Special Stages coffers, such a "demanding" trip in the face of a few participants did not help in this respect, but I consider the quality of the event to be an absolute success, despite the unforeseen events of the weather.

The chosen locations were all satisfactory and even if with few participants we were able to enjoy the chosen roads to the fullest.
The very choice to do this event over 2 days allowed the participants to arrive on the island on Saturday morning without being in too much of a hurry and to return home on Sunday afternoon without being too late. Although you can get around the island in just one day this was the best choice
Surely in the future we will have to re-propose this event, because it deserves to find a wider participation, as we are on average used to the Special Stages events.

We thank the participants, as is often said: few but good; and this was certainly the case on this occasion, because in addition to the roads, in addition to driving, it was an enormous pleasure to spend 2 days not with participants but with friends, even if for some it was the first time.

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