【Day1】16 Sep 2022
La Festa Mille Miglia 2022 Kicks off, Celebrating Its 25th Anniversary
|This year marked the 25th anniversary of La Festa Mille Miglia. While it started in Fukushima Prefecture last year due to the spread of COVID-19, it started in Meiji Jingu Shrine this year as previous years. Since this year's event was the 25th anniversary, we saw many first-timers as well as teams who participated for the first time in a while, and the lineup of 83 cars was a little different from usual.
Although the late summer heat was severe, we were lucky with the sunny weather on day one. Meiji Jingu Shrine, which was also the vehicle inspection venue, was filled with participating cars early in the morning. The entrants spent morning in the shrine for the first time since 2019. They looked excited to start the rally from here and each of them enjoyed their time before departure.
The entrants set off from Meiji Jingu Shrine at 11 a.m., seen off by Her Imperial Highness Princess Akiko and Italian ambassador to Japan Gianluigi Benedetti. After leaving the shrine, they headed straight for Fukushima Prefecture.
At the first point, Yabuki Driving School, after competing a PC competition (a measurement competition to drive a designated section in a designated time in seconds and compete for a difference from a set time), the entrants received a stamp, then headed to Nakamachi Pocket Park.
At Nakamachi Pocket Park, many local people welcomed the entrants and the cars. Both small children and the elderly welcomed them by waving small flags. When the entrants are tired, it cheers them up. The cars lined up in order of participant number in this park once, then departed for the next destination.
After receiving stamps at Tenei Village Office and the Hideyo Noguchi Memorial Museum, the entrants headed to the final destination, Inawashiro Ski Resort. It was past 4 p.m. There were subtle signs of autumn in the sky and it was getting a little dark.
The entrants competed the last PC competition at Inawashiro Ski Resort, and as they headed to the hotel, the autumn scenery of Urabandai spread out. It was a hot day today but cooler in the evening and I felt autumn in the air. You can feel the changing of the seasons in the wind and the scenery in each place you visit. That is one of the great parts of La Festa Mille Miglia that travels through nine prefectures.
Almost all the cars arrived at Urabandai Lake Resort by around 6 p.m. In the parking lot, the cars, which had traveled approximately 325 km, were being checked and repaired. Tomorrow will also be a tough journey.
On day two, the entrants are taking a route of approximately 417 km that travels across Fukushima, Miyagi, Yamagata and Tochigi prefectures. I'm excited to see the scenery this time of year, when it's starting to feel like fall, and to meet local people tomorrow, so I should get ready for a long drive.
（text & photo：Mika Iwamoto）