SCD members Martin and Sue expertise the primary Tour Delle Dolomites in all its glory from Austria to Italy.
Written by: Martin and Sue Brown
There’s one thing concerning the attract of ribbon mountain roads and crystal lakes that made the inaugural Dolomites tour a must-do. After two Tartan Florio excursions of Scotland, we fancied ourselves as skilled tourers with SCD and we had no hesitation in signing up and eagerly anticipating a incredible journey with like-minded members.
My spouse Sue and I opted to drive to Austria through Folkestone, France, Belgium and Germany with a pit cease for a blast on the Nurburgring. The drive was plain crusing other than a short diversion to take away a tattered warmth defend which we hoped wouldn’t upset our Jaguar XKR-S and detract from our mission, and true to kind, the Jag was as bombproof as we’ve come to anticipate.
Coming into Austria, we have been greeted with the kind of landscapes and cities which have been the pristine and ideal cliché of alpine magnificence. It was an enchanted journey to our first cease and assembly place for the beginning of the tour, the large and good-looking Interalpen-Lodge Tyrol. This five-star lodge is situated at an altitude of 1,300 metres and surrounded by imposing mountains, barely seen by way of a moist mist once we arrived. The grandeur of the lodge and the setting was matched by the spectacular inside, together with a drive-in reception and storage match for the array of fantastic supercars that arrived all through the afternoon and early night.
We have been early which allowed us the chance to satisfy the primary of our fellow tourers, Justin and Gill within the Ferrari 430 Scuderia, recognized affectionately all through the tour as ‘The Scud’.
We have been quickly acquainted with the remainder of our social gathering, most of whom had flown to Munich and picked up their automobiles from the transporter. The ‘attending to know you’ continued into the night the place we loved a standard Austrian buffet in a captivating setting within the lodge grounds.
We’re used to taking a knife to a gunfight when attending SCD occasions, however the wow issue when viewing the automobiles assembled collectively the following morning was thrilling. Fourteen automobiles with impeccable pedigrees in addition to some peerless examples of their sort included a one-of-a-kind Sign Inexperienced LaFerrari, 4 show-stopping Lamborghinis and a steady of Ferraris sufficient to show the heads of essentially the most discerning Italians. The good-looking Aston Martin DB11 pushed by Jonty led the procession as we set off on our first day — a seven-hour, whistle-stop itinerary taking in Liechtenstein and Switzerland as we sped by way of the Austrian mountains.
A spirited drive took within the anticipated dramatic landscapes and movie ebook excellent views as we drove the Silvretta Strasse and encountered the primary set of seemingly infinite hairpin bends. On good authority, there have been 34, and a few of us could have left some rubber as proof of the final power and enthusiasm. Some warning was employed in Switzerland as rumours of legendary fines and zealous police unfold all through the group, and new drivers and passengers appreciated the espresso stops which allowed us to drink within the unbelievable views and lots of cappuccinos.
The thrills continued till lunch within the spectacular Intercontinental Lodge the place we noticed the primary hints of the sunshine which had to this point eluded us. Our return to the Interalpen was through the Fluela Cross excessive within the Swiss Alps. The automobiles seemed mesmerising and shone in opposition to the gray, craggy backdrop with swathes of mist circling the mountain peaks. There was little time to spare earlier than convening for one more memorable (this time Asian fusion) dinner.
This lodge was the favorite of fairly a couple of of the tourers and the service and amenities actually have been firstclass. By now, the group have been all acquainted and sharing their experiences. A number of the passengers (and never simply the women!) have been discovering the tempo difficult and jokes centred across the welcome reduction passing by way of a village at low velocity can carry.
The following day we reluctantly left the Interalpen with excessive expectations for the day forward. Our route took us east with higher climate and incredible roads to get pleasure from. We cut up into two teams; James within the Pista headed the primary group with Jonty main the second, in the meantime Adam and Riad sought out one of the best picture alternatives and captured some memorable moments alongside the route.
We rode behind the Aston within the second group, ably assisted on the radio by ‘queen of the airwaves’ Sandi and Paul, together with Marco and Janine bringing the Italian glamour of their Ferraris. Gordon and Lauren accomplished the F pack in his GTC4 Lusso which, because of Gordon’s kindness, doubled as a baggage van for different space-strapped tourers. We dubbed it ‘the capturing brake’, and together with Shanice and Tom (the youngsters!) of their Porsche 911 GTS, we ate up the miles assembly the primary group for lunch en route.
The day was a combination of highs (the sound of the de-catted Scud by way of the tunnels) and lows (the relatively eager Austrian Police), which means all of us had a lot to speak about once we finally straggled to the Falkenstiner Schlosshotel on the aspect of the lake at Velden. What a setting this was — a extremely stunning lodge with a tunnel to its personal seashore membership which edged the lake and made us all really feel like we have been actually on vacation after the challenges of the day.
The solar was shining because the Lamborghini Aventador SVJ and the LaF arrived on the entrance of the lodge, bringing the road to a jaw-dropping standstill. Energised, the entire social gathering headed out on the lake, to the pool and city with wakeboarding, swimming and cocktails earlier than the customary speedy brush-up earlier than dinner. We dined al fresco, overlooking the lake with glorious firm, and sure, it was nearly as good because it sounds.
The sunshine of the following morning, in addition to the extraordinary setting, prompted our first group picture earlier than we launched into one other day of laborious driving in superb climate. We have been heading for God’s race observe, aka Italy however weren’t ready for essentially the most spectacular snow-topped mountain ranges and the acquainted hairpin bends. The great thing about the panorama was breathtaking, Sue assures me, as as a result of tempo, I used to be banned from having a look myself!
We have been as soon as once more swathed in mist on arrival on the Alpina Dolomites Lodge the place we have been capable of regale one another with tales of the day’s occasions, numerous gasoline stops and mutual admiration of the driving abilities on show. Right here, as at most stops, the automobiles remained the celebrities, receiving much-deserved pampering. One of many funniest moments was the sharing of pictures of automobile cleansing cloths drying on numerous lodge towel rails — the culprits know who they’re.
The following morning introduced clear skies to disclose the snow-capped great thing about the mountains and a jaw-dropping descent by way of the hills and valleys of the spectacular Dolomites. An extended day of driving lay forward of us and we have been held up initially by parades of basic automobiles, teams of bikers and logging lorries. We have been promised intensive alpine passes and on this we weren’t deceived. It was an exciting experience as we hurtled down difficult roads with sheer drops into valleys beneath and towering cliff faces above us.
The welcome reduction of a lunch cease (full with the a lot longed-for apple strudel) was a welcome however temporary respite earlier than we sped off as soon as once more. We had the choice of a extra direct path to the lodge as some tourers have been drained from the tempo and distance, and a few passengers wanted a lie down in a darkish room. We have been subsequently a a lot smaller second group for the ultimate push to the lodge; we couldn’t miss the chance to wring each second from what these roads needed to supply. Jonty within the DB11 led us within the Jag and Sandi and Paul within the Ferrari 488 on a rollercoaster experience by way of essentially the most attractive surroundings which was an exciting blur as we plunged down in direction of Lake Garda and our last cease at Villa Cordevigo.
We had made it comparatively unscathed, as had all our social gathering, to the ultimate vacation spot. The automobiles seemed beautiful within the heat Italian sunshine with Villa Cordevigo offering essentially the most attractive setting. Drained exhilaration gave solution to a relaxed social gathering vibe and we gathered across the pool to share tales and check out the cocktails. With the prospect of a free day the following day, everybody felt capable of chill out and benefit from the night. Suffice to say, the wine flowed, friendships have been cemented and far laughter continued into the night time.
Drivers and automobiles alike have been rested the following day as most set off for the lake. We opted for a lazy day across the pool to chill out and benefit from the lodge. The night discovered us scrubbed up in our greatest for a drinks reception and enjoyable award ceremony which actually did mirror the celebrities of the tour. They should be remembered right here so congratulations to all of them for giving us so many unforgettable moments.
Marco described driving his superb Blu Corsa Ferrari 488 in Italy as ‘the dream’ and it was laborious to consider he had by no means pushed overseas or executed a driving tour earlier than as he was usually seen flying alongside in our rear-view mirror. He deservedly gained Tour Virgin and his enthusiasm was an instance to us all.
Tour Veteran was amended to Conflict Veteran in a hotly contested class when Ashley in his spectacular Lamborghini Aventador SVJ tried to achieve the sympathy of the Swiss Police by claiming accidents sustained in fight — essentially the most spectacular in a variety of tall tales informed to the officers of the regulation in a futile bid to keep away from hefty fines. My very own memorable drive within the SVJ confirms it truly is the beast it appears and its driver justly enjoys cult standing as his Instagram followers will attest.
The Passenger award may have been given to any of the girls and boys being thrown round all week as noticed by Jonty. Many adopted the legendary brace place of ft planted within the footwell with each fingers gripping the door deal with and there have been a couple of respite journeys the place passengers opted for extra sedate rides — this in fact is relative. Chris and Jason have been stalwarts however the award went to Kirsty who bravely and finally beat the nausea with Ryan in his Lamborghini Aventador S.
The Commentary award was in style because it was usually so entertaining. We didn’t get to listen to the element that Buzz dropped at the primary group however it clearly warranted the massive jar of Nutella he gained for his position. He was a preferred member when not being berated by his proud dad Myles within the Porsche GT2 RS.
Joint winner was in fact Sandi who backed up the second group and saved the group protected and collectively when Jonty ploughed forward in a Better of British spin with the Jag. Her readability and diction is one thing to behold.
Automobile of the Tour went to the person who embodied the kindness, generosity and good-natured spirit of the tour, Gordon within the GTC4 Lusso — an amazing all-round supercar which doubled up as a baggage van.
Spirit of the Tour went to Mark in his La Ferrari. This true unique has hardly been seen or pushed till now. After a couple of close to misses and a smashed windscreen, it was wonderful for us all to see it flying alongside being pushed as Ferrari meant it to be, and perhaps a bit additional! What a deal with for us all to see Mark and machine in motion.
The particular thanks went to Jimmy within the Pista, rumoured to be Michelin’s greatest buyer. He’s laid extra strains on the highway than the highways company and was a large assist main the primary group all week. Most frequently noticed sideways, Jimmy was one of many huge personalities of the group which made the tour so entertaining.
A last night meal within the Michelin-starred restaurant Oseleta at Villa Cordevigo because the sundown ended the tour within the model we had turn out to be accustomed to as we mirrored on the week’s occasions and highlights.
The following morning noticed many heat goodbyes as we dispersed to search out our manner house within the superb Italian sunshine. A collection of occasions discovered an surprising finish nevertheless, when I discovered myself driving a Lamborghini to Spain and Sue went again to Wales in a non-public jet courtesy of the beneficiant Mark — a as soon as in a lifetime expertise she is going to always remember.
We gained’t neglect this tour or the individuals and locations that made it nearly as good because it will get. Jonty organised a top-class tour with one of the best of lodging and driving experiences and we might haven’t any hesitation in recommending it. It could be sensible to remember that in case you are searching for a soothing break with ample time to understand the beautiful surroundings, this will not be for you. This was a whistle-stop, thrillingly paced tour and many people have been usually exhausted on the finish of every day. Lots of the passengers additionally struggled with the breakneck tempo so solely essentially the most dedicated want apply. If, nevertheless, driving quick in one of the best surroundings in Europe on God’s racetrack appeals to you, what are you ready for?