The city of Gradisca continues to be the reference point for offroaders, both tourist and challenging.
Despite the skip to 1st of February 2015 in what had been scheduled for December 7th and then suspended due the strong flood throughout the Country of Friuli Venezia Giulia, nothing seems to stop the great multitude of 4×4 enthusiasts who met in Gradisca off road for the traditional International Meeting.
It was again a big party for many fans arrived in Friuli Venezia Giulia from every part of Italy, Central Europe, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Croatia and Slovenia.
Several sport utility vehicles were present but especially many fully prepared 4×4’s as proven tradition of Gradisca.
The peaceful invasion of the town began in the early afternoon on Saturday when, mindful of past experiences, many off-roaders have parked their 4×4 in the large central square to be among the first to depart.
Already in the early hours of Sunday all parkings, even those bordering the square, were filled by apperaed 4x4s, and to 08.00, after the helicopter organization was placed in the start area, the Mayor Linda Tomasinsig and the regional director Rudi Ziberna, cut the tricolor ribbon flag to kick off the “event”.
The first starting was the Jeep, the official sponsor of the event along with Michelin and Mobil 1.
Following were the vehicles of the State Police, civil protection and ambulances.
Then the great moment for all other participants, road-book, actually 68 pages. Start has been immortalized in the photo shoot on the ramp along with Anna Buratti, Miss Friuli Venezia Giulia.
The long snake of 4×4 began to split after a few kilometers when the tourist route took the north towards the Collio, the deep snow track of Natisone valleys through the lovely Slovenija and back to Italy.
The majority of the crews opted, as a tradition, for the ascent of the gravelly rivers, cause the recent rains, had several rivercrossing not particularly challenging.
Later in the program, and quite another thing was crossing the Natisone at the legendary rivercrossing of the City of Manzano.
The final part of the course was characterized by ups and downs in the hills of Collio, in the midst of vineyards and rather challenging terrains, where not all the 4×4 was allowed to pass according to the size and kind of tires.
As usual at the gathering of Gradisca, several refreshment stops have abundantly satisfied the palate of the participants with dishes and wines.
On Sunday breakfast welcomed the participants at 6 AM, in the square next to the start ramp. Tht was followed by various meals along the route, feasts based on pasta, local cheese and the famous Friulian ham from Dentesano brand, gnocchi, cevapcici and wine.
At sunset, the 4×4 guided by road book came in the floodplain of the River Isonzo those technically savvy could express their passion before reaching the historic walls of Gradisca with its cozy Square .
Summing up the 528 off-road cars this year with all of the previous ones, the total number of crews that can say, “I was there in Gradisca”, reached the important figure of 16,238, this is an event that will remain forever in the annals of the 4×4.
TEXT & PHOTO: Damiano Dambrosio