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  • Angela Louie and Allan de la Plante

Memories of Monza

Our last day before leaving Italy proved to be another emotional one for Allan. He wanted to make a stop at Monza before heading to Switzerland. First we had to find it. Martha could get us to the city centre but we had to rely on the signs that said “autodrome” to lead us to the track. When we lost the signs, Allan talked to anyone standing on the street that looked like they might know the city. Eventually we came to Monza. Things had changed in 30 years. Even the statue of The Great Juan Manuel Fangio standing beside his Mercedes looked like it was a new addition. Five time World Champion. Move over Lewis Hamilton!

We talked to a young woman who was very helpful. They were already setting up for Monza weeks before the big Formula One race so we weren’t able to access the track although Allan still got some shots from the grandstands.

Monza has a long history. The track had evolved and expanded over the decades and we were able to access the old oval track that had the steep high banks. The original Ascari track was also intact.

Allan specifically wanted to see the oval track and to get images of the banks. Although it is no longer used for cars, it carries many memories for those who remember the way it was. The movie Grand Prix with James Garner shows life in Formula One and used the oval track of Monza before the banks were deemed too dangerous to use.

After we were finished the shoot, we were in for another treat. We were introduced to Mario Acqoate. He recognized Allan immediately. Mario had been involved in the Formula One world since the early 70’s. He owns Libreria Autodromo, selling books and other memorabilia. He had also known Gilles and pointed out pictures in Allan’s book where Gilles was wearing the custom flameproof underwear that his wife made for him (and many other drivers).

Not often have I had the chance to see Allan with his racing contemporaries but when I have, it is very special to see the magic of the remembering and honoring of the times that they shared in common. There is a love and a passion that they all share about the world of autoracing.

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