Portello Factory stories – Over destiny limits: Tazio Nuvolari
By Filippo Gamba
He was nicknamed in many ways, he is an authentic legend whose deeds I will try to narrate “with the eyes of a child who attends his first race” (Enzo Ferrari), given that, having just sixteen, I should be able to combine a innocent vision of a child, where there is no danger, only emotion and passion, with a greater realistic vision, therefore being able to perceive the danger of mechanics and the indelible value of time that flows uninterrupted over the years, where the only factor in constant growth is the passion, which makes the pen move on the paper to write these texts.
This rider remains (hopefully will remain) in the memory even after more than 70 years, and his story will always be told, a story that speaks of an authentic hero, who runs without hesitation or fear, because he has always raced: “beyond the limits of destiny ”on dirt roads, with a carriageway edge, I would say, at times non-existent on cars that unfortunately, indeed very often, have become a deathbed filled with petrol and covered with red sheet metal, bolts and tires.
This theorem of risk and danger applies to all pilots since the dawn of time, except for Nuvolari, he had, as Lucio Dalla said, a talisman against evils.
He was the victim of several accidents, including serious ones and he came out unscathed, this cannot be said of his health in old age and not even of his wife and children, but to think even after seventy years his myth remains immortal and indelible almost gives goosebumps!
Perhaps because even hearing about Nuvolari always comes to mind something legendary, immense, super light, like a cloud (as well as its extremely low weight), and instills the idea of something super fast … after all, he never really
slowed down, with his famous “controlled skids” which I will talk about later, which were a different concept in driving styles because like all the teams of that time, technical evolution was sought in an extremely free way , without limits…what a fantastic year!
Retracing the events of Nuvolari there is really a lot to say, starting from his historical rivalry with his partner Achille Varzi, described by Enzo Ferrari as cooler and more precise from the point of view of driving, so much so that two
“currents” were created, that of “Nuvolariani” and that of the” Varziriani”, extended even to a European level.
I will recount an episode that took place at the Targa Florio, when, departing from the North, Ferrari said to Mantovano: “I also booked the return ticket from Sicily” and Nuvolari replied: “They told me that you were a good administrator, instead I realize that it is true, we must expect to return from a race in a wooden trunk, moreover he asked Ferrari for a mechanic who weighed little to be able to take to second gear (The Targa Florio always runs in double), and once we arrived at the start Nuvolari asked the young mechanic (such as Gigione Arcangeli) if he were afraid, and before leaving he told him that whenever he started screaming before a curve (to warn him in case of a hypothetical exit from the road) the young man would have to throw himself under the dashboard to ensure that the cèntina protected him in the event of the car overturning: when he returned home Ferrari asked him: “how did it go” and he replied “Nuvolari started shouting at the first corner and you he stopped doing it at the last
minute, I stayed huddled under the dashboard all the time “.
A second episode, also during the Sicilian race, when Nuvolari and Varzi in the same car lost control, slipped due to an irregular dirt road and ended up in a relatively deep ditch, Varzi came out almost unharmed and began to call Tazio aloud, very worried because he was under the destroyed and overturned car, on the bottom of the moat. At a certain point Achille saw Tazio’s head emerge from the red sheets and with his finger in front of his mouth he made him understand to shut up and in a low voice said to him: “come here and be quiet, there is a quail nest with quagliotti just born ”… This was Tazio Nuvolari!
Ferrari said of him: no one, however, managed to imitate his technique in steering with controlled skid, many tried, however, “telegraphing” with the pedal and never with all the strength and at a tablet like him, he managed to have an inhuman courage and such sensitivity in the steering that later, when the suspension scheme for each wheel became independent and the tire pressure stabilized, no one was able to perform this maneuver anymore, only hinting at a drift with a few sharp strokes of the steering wheel always with the maximum available power, the his
technique remained however “an unsurpassed prodigy of instinct at the limits of human possibilities and
Centro Documentazione Museo Storico di Arese
Tazio Nuvolari vince su ALFA ROMEO P3 (N.2) nel 1935 sul circuito delle mura di Bergamo. Ogni anno viene celebrata questa vittoria del mantovano volante nella rievocazione storica BERGAMO HISTORIC GP organizzata da Simone Tacconi che ha messo gentilmente a disposizione le immagini.
BERGAMO HISTORIC GP – 30 maggio 2021