Origins of the Raid
In 1908 a race was announced between fast boats on the Piacenza-Venice river route, a beautiful and courageous idea for a time when motor boating was still in its infancy. In 1929, reminiscing that undertaking, Vincenzo Balsamo, a Neapolitan engineer and passionate sailor who presided over the Motorboat Group of the Milan Naval League, proposed to the Canottieri Ticino company of Pavia to organize a nautical race along the Po, a Raid from Pavia to Venice along a route of 414 km that touched the Ticino, the Po and then, through the Brondolo canal which at that time was called Canale Vittorio Emanuele III, flowed into the lagoon at Chioggia, finally reaching Venice.
At that time, motor boating was already popular. Speed trials and competitions were organized on the lakes. It was obviously an elite sport, which fascinated the nobility and the wealthy bourgeoisie. To help Vincenzo Balsamo in organizing this daring distance test, were among others Piero Sozzani and Paride Negri with their sons Ettore and Tino who, already multiple rowing champions, owned a pier for boat rental on the Ticino.
The first raid took place on Sunday 6 June 1929. Ettore and Paride Negri competed, the first with an Elto 350cmc engine and the second with an Elto 500cmc and various teams where the pilot required a second not just as a mechanic, but for their precious knowledge in river navigation on the Po and Ticino: Quartana-Varesi (with a 500cmc Johnson), Carbone-Zanasi (350cmc Lockwood), Benzoni-Fregnani (500cmc Johnson), Castaldi-Borromeo d’Adda (Elto from 500 cmc).
The competitors left at 4 in the morning: the banks of the embankments were populated by a crowd of enthusiasts. Among the distinguished guests who accompanied the race marshals and the water commissioner Rear Admiral Camperio, Eng. De Capitani for the Touring Club, the journalists Emilio De Martino from Corriere della Sera and Arturo Pianca from the Popolo d’Italia.
The race was won by Ettore Negri’s tiny outboard, assisted by the mechanic Luigi Calvi (11.36’23 ”). In second place was Count Franco Mazzotti on a magnificent Pitta motorboat, which went aground 4 times, in the most insidious points of the Eridano, as the Po was called in ancient times. Miss Balboni, late due to countless accidents, arrived after more than 40 hours.
Starting from that edition, the Raid was carried out regularly and without interruptions until 1939. The first three editions were organized by the Società Canottieri Ticino in collaboration with the Lega Navale. In 1932, the Pavia Motorboat Association was born from an off-shoot of the Canottieri Ticino. The 1933 edition of the Raid started from the floating headquarters of the new association.
Within 6 years, between 1933 and 1939, the hourly averages were trounced. In just seven years it went from 35,670 km / h to 86,73 km / h, from over 11 hours for Ettore Negri to 5 hours and a minute for Theo Rossi di Montelera. Beautiful air boats appeared on the water and imposed their supremacy on submerged propeller hulls.
Count Franco Mazzotti won two editions of the Raid with SIAI Boat and Isotta Fraschini engine, Captain Attilio Biseo won editions of 32 and 34 with a SIAI airboat and Fiat and Farina engines. Count Theo Rossi of Montelera won three times in ’33, in 35 and in ’36. In 1937 the lieutenant was all detached Colonel Goffredo Gorini with SIAI hull and Alfa Romeo engine. In 1936, Vito Mussolini ran in the hydro category with a prince Ruspoli as a mechanic. The 1939 edition was the last before the war.
The champion Theo Rossi of Montelera
The Count of Montelera was an extraordinary character. Great connoisseur of engines, meticulous organizer, friendly to everyone. He loved his ‘machines’, those mythical airplanes that enchanted the crowds departing from Pavia and arriving in Venice, always leaving a lasting trace of themselves. With his victories and behavior, he aroused admiration and enthusiasm everywhere. On one of his trips to the US he was received by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. He remains in the history of the Pavia-Venice Raid for his heroic victories, obtained in tandem with the engineer Guido Cattaneo, in the years 1933-1936.
I Raid del Dopoguerra
The raid resumed in 1952, after the forced military halt which also hit the city of Pavia hard. On 4 September 1944, in fact, the bombs of the planes of the allied forces had also hit the three bridges over the Ticino river, to cut the way to the retreating German forces. The bombs also destroyed civilian homes near the banks of the river, especially Borgo Ticino. The raids continued for days, until the broken arches of the bridges were reflected in the river, witness to the tragedy.
The first postwar edition was set up after the disastrous flood of ’51. The bridges had been rebuilt and the river had returned to being the place of entertainment and attraction it had always been, boats and motorboats resumed sailing as before.
The 1952 edition saw the disappearance of airboats, strange objects halfway between the boat and the airplane. The scene was dominated by racers, who set the records for many years. These were motorboats of American origin, born for circuit racing. They were equipped with powerful inboard engines: their darting silhouettes under the arches of the reborn Ponte Coperto di Pavia, became the very icon of the Pavia-Venice Raid.
The racers had low and aerodynamic profiles, similar to those of the Formula 1 racing cars of the 60s-70s: with a small and narrow driver’s seat, fairing with steering wheel, long exhausts on the sides of the hull.
In the years of “Leave or double” and the economic boom, the less powerful motorboats left once again before dawn, then it was the turn of the other categories. At midday the engines of the most powerful boats roared. In the decade 1954-1963 the star of Augusto Cometti shone, who with his Pelaochi won six editions of the Raid. His racer, even though it was initially equipped with a less powerful engine than its competitors, raced safely on the river because the pilot traveled the Po by boat dozens of times a year, noting the most insidious points.
In the 1963 edition he touched 160 km / h, arriving at the finish line in 2.26’45 ”. The editions of 1964 and 1965 were won by Leopoldo Casanova from Parma. Flavio Guidotti in 1964 won the Montelera Cup. Ermanno Marchisio prevailed in the 1966 Raid. The 27th edition of the Raid in 1967 brought the pilot Enzo Faroppa to the fore. In 1968 the victory went to another standard-bearer of inborders, Guido Caimi.
But in 1969 the outboarders took their revenge with the victory of Carlo Rasini, who overtook Franco Caimi in the last minute of the race. Rasini drove a catamaran built by the Molinari shipyard, powered by a Mercury engine.
The old men who scrutinize the banks of the Po still remember today the exploits of the Pelaochi, the red motorboat of Augusto Cometti, holder of the world record for the inboard category in 1952. He enrolled in the Raid but needed to study the competition field for two years , before receiving the desired victory. He won again in 1955 (also the Montelera Cup) and in 1957. After a two-year break he returned alone in 1959, with a Timossi baptized once again Pelaochi, once again winning the race and the Montelera Cup. On the coveted trophy, he would have enrolled 209, 815. It is the speed that Cometti scored in the stretch between Piacenza and Cremona in 1959, but that the jury of the time did not feel like endorsing, preferring to assign him the trophy dedicated to the Count di Montelera on the speed measured between Pontelagoscuro and Volta Grimana km / h 174.344. Cometti took the sixth consecutive victory in 1963, the bestl in his opinion, of his exciting sports career.
The era of the Great Challenges
The sixties ended in the name of the eternal confrontation-clash between inboards and outboards and between catamarans and racers. In 1970 Renato Molinari shone with an outboard that exceeded 137 km / h. But the victory of the Raid went to Roberto Brunelli from Parma, who piloted a boat built by the Removed shipyard, powered by an 8000 cc BPM Vulcano engine, 8 V-cylinders, 4 double-barrel carburetors and a power of 500hp. Molinari and Rasini, on the podium with him, drove outboards built by Mercury.
Brunelli also won the 1971 edition in which he also set the new absolute record at over 161 km / h., But he was unable to make an encore for the Montelera Cup: the record of 178,582 still remained in Cometti’s game bag. In second and third place came Franco Migliavacca from Pavia with a 2500 class racer and Giovanni Pallolio with a catamaran.
As many as 149 competitors registered for the 1972 raid, and of these around a hundred regularly reached the finish line. Roberto Brunelli achieved his third victory after a tough battle with Rasini, his usual opponent and this time he also won the Theo Rossi di Montelera cup, setting the best time in the Isola Serafini-Revere section. Gabriella Corti won in the 700cc traditional hull class.
1973 was the year of recovery for catamarans, favoured by the low level of the waters and the numerous shoals. Renato Molinari on board his Molinari-Mercury snatched the victory from Gino Lupi – on a Timossi racer with BPM engine – by only a few seconds. 1974 was remembered for the perfect conditions of the Po: Carlo Rasini obtained an hourly average of over 158km with a catamaran built by Mercruiser.
The fight between the giants of the R3, R4, R5, Roo classes was finally resolved in favor of the Paduan Antonio Petrobelli, who improved the absolute speed record, bringing it to 166,331 km / h. In second place was the Mantuan driver Luigi Mattioli, with a three-point motorized Alfa Romeo, in third place was honorably Gino Lupi.
The 1975 Raid made history for the final twists. It ended in practice in the middle of the night, after the presentation to the jury of complaints and counter-complaints by the pilots. Everything happened due to the incorrect interpretation given by some competitors to an article of the regulation concerning the Volta Grimana – Chioggia stretch, which had to be covered in a maximum time of 60 minutes. Until the previous year, 90 minutes had been granted: the variation was ignored by as many as 23 crews who committed a longer time.
In the end, the success was decided by the penalty times inflicted on the two pilots who recorded the best times and the palm of victory was withdrawn by Giuseppe Colnaghi he won with an in-outboard catamaran, powered by an engine built by Mercruiser capable of developing a power of 400 hp. The Theo Rossi di Montelera cup was won by Annibale Beltrami from Pavia.
The exceptional low-water of Ticino in 1976 forced the organizers to move the departure to the Ponte della Becca and to confront a troubled edition: it began with a threatened strike by the workers in the basins, followed by a very high number of withdrawals and accidents that involved champions of the caliber of Brunelli. In the end Giuseppe Colnaghi won again, overtaking Renato Molinari and Teresio Lupano.
Annibale Beltrami from Pavia won the 37th edition in 1977, giving the race a new speed record, 170 km / h. In the lower classes Ubaldo Becco, Alberto Mammuccari, Emilio Mazzocchi, Giuseppe Todeschini and Prince Diofebo Meli Lupi di Soragna excelled.
The following year, Beltrami’s record was demolished by the feats of Renato Molinari who flew from Pavia to Venice in less than two hours. The new record was set at 187,286 km / h. Giuseppe Colnaghi, initially celebrated as the winner, was relegated to second place behind Renato Molinari due to the delay in crossing the basins. However, he competed at an average speed of over 170 km / h. Molinari raised the record of the Montelera Cup to 192,408 km per hour.
The special 50th edition of the Raid, in 1979, saw the special collaboration of the Italian Power Boating Federation. Renato Molinari won driving a catamaran powered by a 2500cc Evinrude outboard.
The Prince of Zibello
oberto Brunelli is the man of glorious victories aided by a dashing smile and finish line defeats, those that reach the last buoy, on the last straight, at the last minute. But he knew how to celebrate on both occasions, feasting until late at night upon his triumphal arrival in Venice with friends or along the Po until late at night, bonding with the boatman who towed him ashore. On competitive and very fast boats he knew how to impose his style: he won for three consecutive years between 1970 and 1972. In 1975 he almost gained another victory. He retired for good in the early eighties, but his passion for racing and speed remained. Born on a motorcycle, before moving on to motorboating, he returned to his old passion (in the sidecar version).
The great knights of the Po
The seventies ended with fireworks. But 1980 with the Po running low again, was a year to forget. Few members and few new faces, although there was no shortage of welcome returns, such as that of Count Antonio Petrobelli. The volcanic Fabio Buzzi took to the race a beautiful boat of his own design powered by a diesel engine, but after a few kilometers it was necessary to have him towed by a boat ..
A premature end to the race also for Eugenio Molinari and for Renato Molinari after Isola Serafini. Antonio Petrobelli took home the winner’s cup and the Montelera Cup after 2 hours and 15 minutes of running at a nice average of 170,348 km / h. Behind him came Rasini and Manfredini. Eugenio Molinari won the 1981 edition, while Virgilio Molinari broke the helm on the boulders above the water of the famous curve of Riva di Suzzara, in the province of Mantua, which he recklessly attempted at 180 km / h.
1982 was another ‘black’ year for racing. Aldo Martinetto, journalist of “Vela e Motore” stressed the importance of relaunching the race which saw fewer and fewer participants. The edition was won by Giovanni Cima, preceding Giulio Ricci and Bruno Malugani.
1983 the wind changed: there were more than a hundred boats at the starting line in Pavia and there was no lack of public attendance along the entire route, who witnessed the amazing performances of Fabio Buzzi’s racy three-point, powered by an Isotta 12-cylinder. Fraschini. The pilots faced in the first part, from Pavia to the Isola Serafini basin, at an average speed of 200 km / h. In short, the first 87 kilometers were covered in just over half an hour.
The race was won by Alberto Fioretta on a Molinari-Mercury, exceeding 152 kilometers per hour. The Montelera cup was instead won by Giulio Ricci. The 1984 edition will be remembered for its records. Count Antonio Petrobelli covered the entire route in less than two hours, resulting in a final hourly average of the highest value, equal to 188,704 km. Pierluigi Calderoni ranked behind Petrobelli, while Nico Malinverni climbed the third step of the podium. But the real star of the Raid was the British driver Tony Williams, known for his participation in the Formula 1 championship.
Count Petrobelli also won the 1984 edition of the Raid and entered, with this test, the Olympus of the champions. Buzzi, Beltrami and Eugenio Molinari had had to retire during the race. Due to logistical and environmental problems in 1986 the Pavia-Venice became the Pavia-Chioggia de facto. But there was no lack of challengers: 130 crews signed up for the start and some of these were the glorious airboats, which disappeared in the post-war editions. Antonio Petrobelli won again, driving his “Biso V” built in the Celli shipyard and powered by an 8-cylinder BPM engine.
The beautiful three-point driven by a 12-cylinder Lamborghini of Fabio Buzzi was destroyed in a close encounter with a sandy island. Petrobelli reached a speed of 179,880 km / h. Zocchi Ballabio won in the reborn hydroplane category, contenting himself with reaching 67km / h. In the forty-seventh Raid of 1987, the Paduan noble Pietrobelli obtained the victory that allowed him to equal the record of cups won by Augusto Cometti.
The conquest of the finish line, however, was rather troubled. A semi-submerged wood damaged the Paduan’s boat, jeopardizing its seaworthiness until the arrival. This edition will still be remembered as that of the ‘Three Marys’, given the presence of an all-female crew consisting of Silvana and Nicoletta Mora with Paola Petrobelli, who reached the finish line with a Marlin Boat Suzuki in 10 hours. Stefania Bartoli finished third in class 1.
The following year (1988) Petrobelli reached dizzy heights of five consecutive victories and seven overall victories. The end of his unstoppable pursuit of records was a mechanical failure, a few kilometers from the finish, in the 1989 edition which was won by Mauro Danini driving a Molinari hull with Lamborghini 8200 cc engine. The Mantuan driver also won the prestigious Montelera cup. Behind him stood Ranieri and Franco Leidi.
Noblesse oblige: Count Petrobelli
Antonio Petrobelli’s first boat was the result of a barter: a motorboat in exchange for a bull. Then he got a used Celli with a perfect trim, then an old Timossi hull that was arranged a little haphazardly with glue, vinavil, wood and sticks and repainted gray, then red. Hence the name Biso I. When he showed up in Pavia for his first Raid, the young Count Petrobelli pretended nothing had happened, in the midst of all those shiny hulls. But inside his trustworthy mechanic Italo Ruzza, he thought: “The rest of us have the color given with the penis!” . The engine exhausts had been homemade. At a certain point they broke apart, the mechanic sitting behind the pilot first tied them with wire, then ended up holding them in his hand, while between his legs he had the bag of tools. After Biso I there were five more. The evening before each raid the Count and the mechanic would go to some tavern along the Ticino bank to eat fried frogs, then finish with strawberries and sugar and go to sleep early. Antonio Petrobelli’s first overall victory was in 1980, then the other consecutive ones from 1984 to 1988 followed.
The era of the Big Show Raid
1989 ended a decade of great drivers. And with 1990 the Big Show Raid-began. First twist: the departure from Cremona due to the low level of the Po. On such a narrow path, a quintet of champions formed by Petrobelli, Buzzi, Danini, Caramelli and Casanova unleashed.
Petrobelli and Buzzi challenged each other at maximum speed with only one idea in mind, to demolish the record of 200 km per hour. The race was dominated by Buzzi who ran at the hourly average of 195.149. But Petrobelli surprisingly overtook him in the final, recording an hourly average of 198.868 Kn / h. The victory in the special prototype classification was won by Andrea Bonomi at the helm of a beautiful boat.
In 1991 the Raid returned to its old route, covering almost 400 km. Somewhat surprisingly, Gervasoni and Bianchini imposed themselves at the helm of their Mostes inboard powered by a BPM engine. It was an edition characterized by dire weather conditions and a very strong wind. The winners in fact closed with an hourly average of 147,286.
The victory of the Montelera Cup was won by Balocchi. Giuseppe Landini won the 1992 edition – once again starting from Cremonea – at the age of 50 and with many participations in the raid behind him, reaching the hourly average of 192,509. Behind him stood Luca Radice and Mauro Danini.
But the real star of that edition was the tennis player Adriano Panatta who, at the end of a troubled race due to the malfunction of the trim, finished in fourteenth place and fifth in the timed section for the Montelera Cup.
In 1993, Maurizio Caramelli, a great veteran of motor boating and raids, finally won the Pavia-Venice after a duel engaged since the start with the team formed by the Swiss Sandro Gianella and the Borettese Giuliano Landini. The pilot from Pavia brought his Lucini-Mercury powered by a 12-cylinder Lamborghini to the hourly average of 191,289 kilometers per hour. Another VIP team participated in this edition, Alessandro Benetton, paired with Andrea Bonomi, who finished the race exceeding the average speed of 150 km per hour.
The 1994 raid was overshadowed by the loss of the legendary Antonio Petrobelli, by the protests of ecologists and by the weather that ravaged the race with a very strong wind. Of the few participants, some were stopped by the jury in Boretto, only a few were able to leave again and reach the finish line. The crew formed by Nordio and Comparato won. The Montelera cup was awarded to Giuliano Landini.
The 1995 raid brought a new name to the podium, that of Remo Ranieri, who in previous years had achieved excellent placings. The following year, a Swiss won, the pilot Secondo Spacio: he won the victory with a small class 3 racer. The Montelera Cup was instead conquered by the new rising star Dino Zantelli who would soon be talked about.
In 1997 another new name, that of the doctor from Chignolo Po with powerboating in his blood, Giuseppe Sterza. In the first part of the track Giorgio Lucchini overtook him driving a magnificent DAC which again earned him the conquest of the Montelera Cup. Lucchini got on the podium in second place with a gap of only 10 seconds. Behind the two contenders stood Romanello Balocchi and Marco Maran.
But the real star of this edition was Aldo Aielli, 73, known as the Caimano del Po, with the record of 37 participations in the Raid, who for the first time was forced to retire due to an engine failure just a few steps from the finish. The 1998 edition was won by Dino Zantelli, who finished second in 1999 but returned to the top step of the podium in 2000 and 2001.
The ‘Leonardo’ of the Raid
For engineer Fabio Buzzi, born in 1943, the Raid has never been just a race. It was always an opportunity to try out new engines, new hulls, new technical solutions, new devilry of his own invention. In 1969 he entered the Raid with a three-point overboard and a borrowed 700cc Mercury engine. He managed to capsize in the lagoon on the wave of a ship, sinking the hull and managing to fish it out with the help of a barge. After three hours, he drove off, after drying the engine. It had to stop for another wave in the exposed carburettors, no more than 100 meters from the finish. The endowment paddle had been lost before: so he paddled with his hands almost to the finish line, then used the oar of a gondolier donated through pity. He came gloriously placed second to last, out of over 100 competitors, amidst a sea of applause. In the 1986 edition, Fabio Buzzi ran into a semi-submerged island of the Po at top speed, breaking the hull. In 1987 he had to change three batteries one after the other, borrowing them from spectators along the way. In the 1990 edition, he took the wrong channel at Volta Grimana and found himself at the Porto Tolle lighthouse. When he noticed it, he turned back at full speed, recovering just in time to finish second, behind Petrobelli, with a gap of one minute. In 1992, after a 30 km journey, he found himself on a shore in Stradella, with a broken hull. Rescuers found him at the table with the owners of the houseboat that he had miraculously avoided. In 2005 he ran aground on the sand, ‘plowing’ a long stretch of Serafini Island.
Clash of the Titans
The end of the twentieth century and the beginning of the new millennium brought a newfound enthusiasm of the motorboat environment around the Raid Pavia Venezia. In 1999 the victory went to Dino Parmeggiani driving an O3000 Clerici hull, powered by a Mercury outboard. On the third step of the podium went Paolo Ferrari. Behind them were the Swiss Spacio, Cocozza and Pievani.
The first raid of the Third Millennium was won by Dino Zantelli driving the faithful Lucini-Alfa Romeo, imposing himself at an average of around 160 km / h. Behind him were Giuseppe Pievani and Gianni Sarti, while in fourth place came Giorgio Siviero. All 4 competed in the R2000 class. The 2001 edition will instead be remembered for the innovative boats that showed up at the starting line and for the opening of the raid to jet skis, which added a strong component of showmanship.
The water centaurs have proved to be able to keep respectable hourly averages, exceeding 100km / h. Dino Zantelli, at the helm of a class 0 3000 outboard catamaran powered by a Mercury engine, took his third success despite his rather cautious driving. In fact, he did not exceed the speed of 174 km / h. Behind him was Pierluigi Nordio, second on the podium by a whisker and third was Fabio Buzzi, at the wheel of his “Monster”, the historic FB Design-BMW.
The 61st Raid in 2001 was won by Dino Zantelli with Pierluigi Nordio in second place and Luigi Abbiati in third. Dino Zantelli also wins the Montelera Cup. The 62nd Raid, won by Fabio Buzzi which reached 182.820 km / h saw a great return of women.
Cinzia Treossi won fifth place overall in tandem with Carlo Bentivogli. Mara Mazzucotelli paired with Achille Mazucotelli finished in 8th place in the 2002 Raid, just ahead of Caterina Croze, who came in ninth place overall in the team with Giampaolo Focchi. Graziella Fontana on a jet ski is in 26th place. In 41st place comes Jennifer Milani, Francesca Gava retired due to an engine failure.
The 63rd edition was suspended in 2003 due to water shortages in the Po and Ticino rivers. It was therefore repeated in 2004 and won by Fabio Buzzi with an inboard designed by him that ran at an average speed of 197,610 km per hour. He also won the Montelera Cup, reaching 215.72 km / h in the Ponte della Becca-Isola Serafini section (where he then ran aground).
The last edition of the raid in 2006 was won by Dino Zantelli with a beautiful yellow and red outboard that reached 203.341 km / h (Clerici hull, Mercuri engine). He won the Montelera Cup in the Revere Pontelagoscuro section, hitting 199.155 km / h. In 2007 the classic river powerboat did not run due to the scarcity of water in the Po and Ticino rivers.
Dino Zantelli, the flying “Parma” man
For the multiple champion of the Raid and the Montelera Cup, the Pavia-Venezia is a race of incredible charm. He has been racing it for twenty years now and with it he has been able to demonstrate not only his professional growth at the wheel, but also the great manoeuvrability and resilience of catamarans, qualities that allow these boats to prevail even over the traditional top speed of racers. The man from Parma, who went from the red-green of the Lucini Alfa Romeo racer to the flaming yellow of the Clerici-Mercury catamaran class 0.3000, is known for his meticulous preparation of the race, the boat and the engine as well as his team of collaborators. Who take get upset much more than him when the victory doesn’t come home. And they are right: Dino Zantelli is certainly a worthy heir of the great motorboats of the past.
The women of the Raid
The first woman of the Raid, the last to leave in the first edition of 1929, was Miss Franci Balboni. An Elto engine pushed his boat out of the Taroni shipyard in Stresa. Pina Capè in the three editions of the raid that ran between 1933 and 1935 was always at the top of the rankings. Irma Lucchini, winner of motorboat races in Geneva and Munich in 1937 and 1938, also ennobled the Pavia-Venice raid with her presence. Several years passed before seeing the fairer sex at the top of the raid. In 1954, alongside the extraordinary Augusto Cometti, as co-driver and mechanic of the red “Pelaochi” was his reckless sister, Camilla. But it was 1972 before celebrating a female podium: Gabriella Corti won in the 700cc traditional hull class.
Fifteen years later, the 1987 edition will be remembered as that of the ‘Three Marys’, given the presence of an all-female crew consisting of Silvana and Nicoletta Mora with Paola Petrobelli. They reached the finish line with a Marlin Boat Suzuki in 10 hours, after several accidents. They were then mercilessly disqualified by the commission for the crew’s failure to show their boat license. In the same edition, however, Stefania Bartoli came third in class 1. In 1990 Milena Clerici placed 19th overall and first in her class, who finished the race at an hourly average of 124km.
In the 2002 edition, the presence of women is again noticed. Cinzia Treossi won fifth place overall in tandem with Carlo Bentivogli. Mara Mazzucotelli paired with Achille Mazucotelli finished in 8th place in the 2002 Raid, just ahead of Caterina Croze, who came in ninth place overall in the team with Giampaolo Focchi. Graziella Fontana on a jet ski is in 26th place. In 41st place comes Jennifer Milani, Francesca Gava instead retires due to an engine failure.
The Lady of the Raid
In the 1930s, very few women in Italy could hold the steering wheel of a car in their hands. So you could count on the fingers of one hand those who knew how to drive a motorboat and decided to launch it at 72km per hour (in 1935 it was a good speed) over a distance of 400 kilometers. Pina Capè ranked first in her racing category for three years, at the Raid Pavia Venezia, in front of pilots who, launched at full speed on the Po and the Ticino, certainly did not observe the rules of male cavalry in front of the fairer sex . Ms. Pina Capè arrived at the Motonautica di Pavia in a white overalls, Superga shoes on her feet, a duster coat, a foulard and racing glasses, arousing looks of admiration and respect. She was discreet, a lover of her privacy, had a sure and penetrating gaze. She gave off that air of emancipation that in her day was an ideal, a secret desire in the hearts of women, rather than a widespread reality.