CRITERIUM RALLY AND RIVA WORKS

Day two and time to hit the road again early in the morning for 200 km of fine driving. Let’s see if I can repeat yesterday’s performance with no breakdowns.

Everything went very well with Amillion, in fact almost too well. Perhaps I even start to miss the trouble we had in the past, because it gave so much adventure and it is an excellent way to make new friends. Cyclecar drivers are very pragmatic when it comes to repairs and fixing all kind of issues you come across when en route. Since I am not the best mechanic, at least not yet, I always need someone to help me. Luckily I am often surrounded by plenty of great petrolheads. With those breakdown adventures I met a lot of great friends. Friends who I meet again during other cyclecar rallies, which typically are always well organised. 

The second day of the rally was again a real challenge for the cars, having to do many climbs and descends (up to 18%!) and of course many hairpins. The only two little issues I faced were the fuel tank and the clutch. The tank has been repaired at least four times now, but each time it starts to leak again. It looks like I just need to make the fairly small effort to get a new one made. During the rally I already got a very good address for that job from a friend. One of the benefits of being member of a club is that you will easily get access to parts and addresses for repairs – thanks to this one big happy family called the Cercle Pegase Amilcar, there is a Dutch saying “Away from home together and back home again together”. This applies to the Cercle Pegase club as well, because we all want to finish and no one should be left behind. 

The clutch is also something I mention, because it is slipping when climbing steep mountain roads. It is an annoying thing, because you try to accelerate, e.g. after a hairpin, and then you need to release the throttle for a second to stop the slipping. It is not a mayor issue that can ruin your day, but we need to fix it. The clutch is a wet multi-plate clutch which shares the sump with the engine, so changing to another oil is something to carefully consider. But apparently motorbikes also have this and they run on 10W40 oil – we now use 20W50.

The special treat of today was not so much the beautiful lakes and climbs, but especially our visit to the RAM, see www.riva-ram.it, the Riva boat restoration and maintenance works. The Riva company has been sold to the Chinese, but RAM is still up and running with a different purpose. They restore, repair and maintain the Riva’s that they once built there on Lago d’Iseo. It was a real pleasure to see so many of those beautiful wooden boats being cared for. Riva number 3, in delapidated condition, was there for a total rebuild.

During our visit it was just an ordinary day of work at the RAM works, but yet we were allowed to witness everywhere in the factory the craftmanship of the RAM team, marvellous! Somehow almost all car enthusiasts seem to love Rivas. Why would that be? Because they both have an engine and a body? I must say I am also a fan of Rivas, especially after seeing this smashing RAM works.

The rest of the day was just lovely with fine sunny weather, magnificent roads and much Italian food - actually, a bit too much for me. Twice a day 5 courses and tabling for 3-4 hours is serious eating. If you ask me, it is something I would prefer to see a bit different. Less dining and wining and even more driving. Perhaps it is because I am not Italian or French and not really a burgundy type person. I just want to drive the entire day with only the necessary stopping and eating with simple food like a few fruits. 

Tomorrow is another well filled schedule with a very special local visit. We will be received as VIPs with our bolides…