The Legend

Imagine you live in a small village on a hill, where car races are watched on TV and are expected to be held in circuits. Suppose this village is the starting point of one of the many Italian “state roads” (precisely the 208 road to “La Verna”) climbing for 12km along a mountain gap to reach an altitude of 1000m. Consider the perfect combination of bends and straight stretches of this road, which has earned it the definition of “natural racetrack hanging onto the mountain”. Add to this scenario a well-known resident of Pieve who is driven by his passion for motorsports and decides to organize a little “homemade grand-prix” on the SP 208 – together with Automobil Club of Arezzo and Scuderia Chimera… and here is the very essence of "Lo Spino" hill-climb race.

In 2012 “Lo Spino” celebrates its 40th birthday, an important achievement for a hill-climb race that is very appreciated among the other events of the Italian Hill-Climb Championship. The prestige of this competition has not been clouded at all by a few years of interruption. As it happened with other titled hill-climb races that had been interrupted for years, when it was re-entered in the racing calendar, Lo Spino was welcomed back with great affection.

The Pieve – Spino race is the symbol of local motorsports. It features an excellent context and the race course is so technical that it was defined as a “natural race track hanging onto the mountain” by Carlo Benelli, alias "Riccardone" (winner of the 6th edition of the race).

This race was born a long long time ago. On the 5th of September 1965, the Tiber-valley side of the SP 208 road hosted a car race with 86 drivers in the entry list, including "Shangry-la" on an Alfa Romeo TZ1, the fastest driver with an average speed of 102.5 Km/h (7’ 26” 0). The race was a real success, with great appreciation from both drivers and the public. The SP 208 road became then a leg of the “Giro Automobilistico d'Italia” on the 30th May of the following year.

It is impossible to describe in just a few lines the technical and racing features of this legendary hill-climb race. Some references, however, can help rebuild its glorious past.

At the end of the 60ies, over forty-thousand spectators used to fill the natural “terraces” of this race course, and the entry-lists registered up to 300 competitors. In 1969-70-73 the Spino hill-climb race was a special trial of the “Alpe della Luna” rally (Italian Championship), and among the competitors of the 1970 edition there was young Luca di Montezemolo on a Fiat 124 Spider. From 1974 until 1979 (together with the “Rieti Terminillo”) this race was one of the most selective hill-climb events of the “Giro Automobilistico d'Italia”, counting among its participants well-known names such as Androuet, Govoni, Munari, Cheever, Giacomelli, Brambilla, Patrese, Alen, Villeneuve, Rohrl, De Cesaris.

For years “Lo Spino” was an event valid for the “Campionato Assoluto della Montagna” (Absolute Hill-Climb Championship) and was also an International event. During the difficult 70ies, it was the only hill-climb race surviving in Tuscany.

The Winners’ Roll includes the greatest hill-climbers of all times, like "Noris", Lualdi Gabardi, Schetty, Scola, "Riccardone", Ortner, Bogani, Varese, Nesti, Baribbi, Regosa, Irlando, Braconi. The max speed records belongs to Mr. Irlando (1992): 143.811 Km/h, a speed which clearly explains the highly selective character of this track.

Dalla 30.a edizione del 2002, le velocità possibili sono state verificate nelle loro compatibilità con le più restrittive norme di sicurezza. Lo "Spino" sarà, quindi, in due manches ed anche in questa nuova formula confermerà ancora se stesso, continuando ad emozionare piloti e spettatori.

Starting from the 30th edition of 2002, the max speed has been curbed based on the new strict safety requirements. Today “Lo Spino” is raced over two heats on a shorter track compared to the original one, but it is still capable of offering unique emotions to both drivers and spectators.

Lo Spino 2019