【Day4 & Awarding Ceremony】16 Oct 2017
Yokota and Oki win first title ever in 10th year
|A cold rain was falling in the morning on the final day. It was hard to cross a mountain pass in Hakone in this weather. A thick fog rolled over Izu Sky Line, blocking the view and their way. The entrants drove carefully on the road to Skyport Kameishi, the first stamp point. After getting a stamp there, they competed in a PC competition at the Cycle Sports Center.
A consecutive competition was set in the entire 5-km circuit in the Cycle Sports Center. The mountain circuit had many uphills and downhills, and in addition, its difference in height was 100 m, so it was hard to see the measurement lines and the entrants were struggling with it. As the competition started, the wind and rain got harder, whipping the entrants mercilessly. Whether they can synchronize their timing throughout the competition without losing concentration is the key. The entrants didn't mind getting wet and were leaning out of the car to look at a measurement line. They understood well that the final rankings would be greatly affected by the results here, so looked more serious than usual.
The entrants ran through Shizuoka Prefecture and entered Kanagawa Prefecture, but the rain didn't ease off. Instead, it got harder and the sea of Shonan looked cold. Despite such bad weather, many spectators were warmly cheering on the entrants today too. The cheers lifted their spirits and encouraged them to go on in the cold rain. The entrants were getting close to the finish line.
They passed through Kanagawa Prefecture and arrived at Tokyo. Passing Nihombashi Mitsukoshi, they finally drove to the finish line in Meiji Shrine. A large number of spectators were waiting for the arrival of the entrants at Meiji Shrine. As the cars came into the finish venue, the crowd said one after another, "Welcome back!", giving applause to the cars and the entrants who ran the whole distance of approximately 1,100 km over four days. Although it rained even at the very end of the event, every entrant said with a smile, "I was touched by the warm cheers from people on the street. It was an amazing four days. I'll never forget it including this weather." when asked at the finish ceremony. That's the word that symbolizes La Festa Mille Miglia (1,000 mile festival).
After the finish ceremony, the entrants elegantly dressed and enjoyed a lavish dinner while looking back on the four days. A 20-year-old video of the event was projected on the screen in the party venue, and watching the scenes from regulars' youth, the entrants burst into cheers. Some of them felt nostalgic about their friends' young days, and the others were interested in the history of this event. Each entrant seemed to be thinking about the 20 years. Singer Ayumi Nakamura entertained the attendees with her powerful stage, and now it's time for the awards ceremony.
This year, defending champion Mr. and Mrs. Takemoto, who had won the title eight years in a row until last year, was unfortunately forced to retire on the way because of car trouble, so it was hard to predict the winner until the end. The third place in the competitions held in the long spell of bad weather was the father and son team of Yamazaki, No. 20, who made their fifth appearance this year. They eventually finished in third place, but fought well to come in first place both in day one and day three. The second place was Mozzi and Biacca, No. 53, who have won the Italian Mille Miglia twice. This pair can keep their pace under any bad condition and this is their fourth consecutive top three finish. They are always smiling, even when competing, they step on a measurement line with a smile. Seeing that, I can tell that they enjoy competitions from the bottom of their heart. And the winner of this 20th anniversary event went to Yokota and Oki, No. 12. Their highest ranking was second place in the past events, but they won their first La Festa Mille Miglia title ever in their 10th appearance. The attendees gave a big round of applause and generous warm words to the pair on the stage. Oki's tears told us that they had put great effort into the competitions to win the title.
Thus, the four-day, 1000-mile festival came to an end. It was around midnight when the awards ceremony ended. In the afterglow of the celebration, the entrants promised to meet again next year, and went back to their daily life.
La Festa Mille Miglia 2017 will air in December on BS Fuji. In addition, the spring event La Festa Primavera 2018 will be held from April 13.
（text & photo：Mika Iwamoto）