Back in 2009 when I started off road reporting and journalism, I thought it would be a piece of cake to write reports even without being at the event. Just by talking to visitors later on… And it can be done, that’s not an issue. But to really experience the thing you are writing about, you just have to be there! And it was of utmost importance to visit Gradisca off road 2015 meeting.
This was a unique opportunity to experience so much friendship and positive energy among the visitors and crews in more than 600 vehicles. After 30 years of tradition, this 31st edition was very special. At least to me, it was my first time being here. I believe it is enough to say that Jeep was the official sponsor, I am not sure this can be achieved just by randomly asking. You need to have a proof of quality and that proof is obvious once you arrive at the site.
The organizing capabilities of the GFI Alpe Adria off road club are amazing. Wherever you look you can see a yellow “GFI” jacket waiting for you to provide information or anything else you need. Hard work and a lot of patience are the key to provide best quality of the event. Just imagine 600 vehicles in a perfect round line-up.
Inscription table was also very well organized. Two inscription tables actually. Both working on the first and the second day of the event.
Sunday is the time when action starts. One by one, six hundred vehicles start their engines early in the morning and off they go to the roadbook. At the end of the day, Gradisca off road 2015 offers you the possibility to exchange your roadbook for your photo, which is taken at the ceremonial ramp on the start line. So it was important to start early, even without stopping at the ramp, it takes a lot of time for 600 cars to depart. But we did it…
The roadbook is nearly as thick as a Bible. Until you realize you can skip pages (when it is possible!) if you don’t like a certain part of the route. It sounds so complicated. And it was in the beginning. But it is nicely arranged and you soon realize it is a piece of cake.
You can drive for miles on a soft route and you decide you want to go for a “swim”… No problem, just follow the notes and you’ll experience a car-wash soon enough. After that you can choose again, whether you want to eat on one of numerous food stops on the roadbook or just continue… As you wish!
Roadbooks at the Gradisca off road meeting are different. Isonzo is a river near the city of Gradisca, hence the name Gradisca d’Isonzo. The riverbed is mostly dry or narrow throughout the year, but when the snow in the Alps melts, Isonzo river gets deep and wide. Fortunately, Gradisca off road is held in October so the riverbed is perfect to drive through and enjoy a special experience!
We went through 80 kilometers of roadbook, constantly choosing only the extreme routes. And that was without the additional roadbook which would prolong our driving for almost two hours.
I can only say one thing, it was a great experience and I am coming back next year. It’s a nice event organized by professionals in a beautiful town. If Jeep is sponsoring, if teams come all the way from Germany… Something tells me you should be there next year!
More photos from the roadbook route will be available soon. I haven’t had the time for roadbook photography. Was just enjoying the experience, I would be crazy not to!