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Targa by Corvette

4 months ago

Writer:

Mel Nichols | Journalist

Date:

23 June 2022

In the spring of 1973, Sicily was the place to be. The word was out: after this the Targa Florio was losing its World Championship status. The last great road race, with its 44-mile lap weaving in and out of the mountains, was being demoted to a mere national event because it was not practical to line it with safety barriers as the FIA now demanded for all races it sanctioned. It struggled on as a national event until 1977, but it was never the same again, not remotely.

I flew in from Australia, a young man leaving his homeland for the first time. Sicily was staggering. Sinister walled towns teetering on mountaintops. A tranquil coast giving way to a harsh interior. Enthusiastically friendly people. The spectre of the Mafia omnipresent.

As the Targa drew near, motorsport fans trooped in. Many had driven from as far away as the United Kingdom. Among the pilgrims in 1973 was a young American. His name was Pete Lyons. He was travelling Europe reporting the Grand Prix season for Autosport. And he was doing it with panache: to journey from circuit to circuit, he’d imported a 1973 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray.

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