The Italian (Job) Trip
Well it was all organized, Ferry from hull to Zebrugge, travel down through Belgium, Luxemburg, France, Germany, Switzerland through the Gothenburg Tunnel and in to Italy. We arrived at the ZPF factory on Friday morning, to
once again be greeted by the Zanetti Family.
We spent that day settling in and being shown the latest innovations to ZPF products.
Saturday: we all made the trip to the track at Bergamo, where Alex tested last year, and under watchful eyes, Alex got down to the business in hand, and proceeded to circulate almost a second faster than last years times.
Also on display were the talents of Alex younger brother Ryan who prefers the sun and dry tracks, to damp and slippery ones and he to showed great improvement through the day.
Sunday: and the trip to Flori, the track at Alexandria which on the following Sunday is to stage the first race of the year which counts towards qualifying for the Italian championships, and indeed Alex first race in Italy. Both Alex and Ryan enjoyed the experience, Although once again Ryan after a few hours practice decided that he had better thing to do and
diapered into the camper to play his gameboy, Alex stayed out and got his times down to what I thought was a respectable 34.4 that was until I timed the Italian riders constant 33's the track record set at 32.2 on a restricted bike! We have indeed got a long way to go.
Monday: Was spent at the factory stripping the junior bikes. Both Alex and Ryan helping Alessandro (Zanetti's youngest son) build some other minibikes. That evening we travelled to Curno to meet Andrea Cavalries "Cava" web master of www.minibike.it The Curno circuit is similar to the one at Bayford Meadows, so we planned to return to it before or return to set the bikes up for the first round of the British. Cava brought along his friend "WHEELER" so named, as he seems to race minibikes on the back wheel. Alex practiced with the two for over an hour and a half and had a really good
Tuesday: was spent rebuilding the junior bikes for the trip to Cattolica on Wednesday to the NEW MOTOR PARK track for training with the ZPF team and in particular "Billo" Gregorini. Arriving at around midday the two boys met and took to the track Alex first, Then "Billo", the difference in style and speed noticeable immediately, After only six or so laps a high side saw Alex rolling around on the ground, this is unusual as Alex is always first back on the bike after an incident. A quick trip to the local hospital, and I mean local, we could have walked to it. Resulted in Alex in a cast with a fractured wrist. That evening we visited Billo's home, to sample some more Italian hospitality.
You know it's funny, but the difficulties adults have with the language barrier does not seem to affect children, both Alex, Ryan, Billo & another young Italian pilot Nazzspidi (pronounced Nazerano) managed to play together with no problems what so ever, I put it down to children talking a lot of nonsense all the time anyway.
Billo gave the boys a parting gift, one of his many impressive trophies inscribed, "In Italy it is not important to finish first, But to finish in front of the second place".
The next day we returned to the factory, to the obvious disappointment, every one had been looking forward to the race on Sunday, now the trip that was supposed to see Alex train and learn from the Italians had turned into a holiday. We spent the rest of the time making the most of the weather, and with visits to local theme parks and attractions, both boys enjoyed the rest of their time in Italy.
We would like to thank every one, for making this, despite the obvious disappointment. Such a great experience for both boys, for every ones help, generosity and hospitality. If possible, we will be back!