15th – 17th May 2015

Guest Marques Welcome


About the Italian Connection Trophy

The Italian Connection Trophy (ICT) is a social motoring event with the added objective of raising money for charity.

“If you love your wheels, you won’t want to miss being a part of one of the best touring road events on the calendar The Italian Connection Trophy

To quote one of our competitors”

“Awesome roads, amazing scenery and great company! One of the best experiences of my life!”

The 3-day event uses totally sealed roads from start to finish, protecting those precious machines. Using exciting and challenging roads, entrants will drive the Alpine passes, picturesque valleys, lush farmland and historic towns – the ICT encompasses them all. Plus there’s further driving challenges with exciting Speed Tests, Khanacross and  Motorkhanas taking place each day..

And while having an amazing time we are also looking to raise some much-needed funds for an extremely worthwhile charity Muscular Dystrophy NSW  www.mdnsw.org.au

Below you will find regular updates on the next ICT.

Happy New Year!

Well here we are beginning another year full of expectations in this fabulous country of ours.

Less than five months to go before we start the eighth ICT.

We have all wound down for the Christmas break and while we all love driving, the roads at Christmas can be a big put off so I hope everyone got through the break safely with minimal road rage…

Just before Christmas I received a call from Peter Olsen young Philip Olsen’s Dad (the winners of last year’s ICT). As some of you may know McCarrolls Motors has been sponsoring Team Olsen with a car for the past three years. Phil decided he want to do something to thank them for their generosity and support so with the help of his family Philip created a beautiful coffee table book commemorating the ICT with a focus on the last three years.

Peter and Phil wanted to show me the book before they presented it to Stefano Tommasini McCarrolls’ sales manager and the man that ensured they got their wheels each year.

I met with them and Phil showed me the book, when I looked at the cover it was magnificent and made me very proud of what we had achieved with the ICT.

I opened the cover and inside Phil had written a dedication in gold I began to read and blow me down I suddenly realised the dedication was written to me!

Unbeknown to me Phil had produced two books, one for McCarrolls and one for me; it suddenly became unexpectedly a bit emotional. Phil’s message was sincere and most touching, this book has become a treasure I will never part with.

Below is a shot or two that do it no justice, I will ensure to bring it to the next ICT so you can check it out, under strict supervision of course.

The book will be truly enjoyed by those that have competed in the Italian Connection Trophy because of the moments, memories and personalities that are an integral part of the ICT.

photo 3 photo 5 photo 1 photo 2 photo 4 photo 3

I attended the presentation to McCarrolls Motors, the book was received by Stefano who was overcome as he read the dedication.

ICT also struck a special award to recognise McCarrolls’ ongoing support for Team Olsen as the provision of a car has enabled Phil to raise thousands of dollars for the Duchenne cause over the past three years.

McCarrolls have committed to providing Phil and Peter with a car for all future Italian Connection Trophies.

However Phil was the next one to be surprised…

Most of you will already know about the brilliant new Alfa Romeo which will be arriving here in just a couple of months.

The 4C.

McCarrolls gets theirs first.

McCarrolls have invited Philip to be one of the first in Australia to ride in what I think is Alfa Romeo’s most outstanding car in decades.


 18 November Update


Congratulations to everyone that has registered so far for the 2015 Italian Connection Trophy. If you registered before the end of October you each qualified for the free Boeing 737 800 Simulator Flight; the final three winners are Peter Richards, Laurie Warfe and Peter Ishak (a new ICT competitor).

I hope you all have had or will have a great experience, no reports back yet but I will keep you posted and remember winners need photos – even if you crashed…


You will have already heard that we postponed the launch of our new Charity Muscular Dystrophy New South Wales at Lido Russo’s Cavallino because of the sudden tragic passing of Lido’s dad Umberto. We will re-schedule shortly keep an eye out for the invitation.

We are losing two of our stalwart competitors next year, Ian Allison and co-driver Lindsey Cox but it’s all in a good cause. They are entering their new(ish


According to Ian ” …this is my bucket list…” .

Good luck guys try not to bend the car too much…


If you have been reading the recent newsletters and updates you will know we are doing some different things at the next ICT. We are still massaging where we are going and what we are doing don’t be surprised if we finish the rally in a different location this time. 

For us the most important thing is to ensure that we keep the rally fresh with new challenges while giving everyone a terrific three days of driving.

We must have at least twenty competitors to hold the event, in the last ICT we had twenty five starters the most in our history, this next rally we want to try and get that up to our maximum of thirty starters.


To ensure we have a start we need twenty registrations before the end of December, this means   we can send off our Clerk of Course to recce all the new roads and start setting the courses for the three days.

You will find the registration form attached to this email so if you are intending to join the ICT next year please complete the form and email, fax or post it along with your payment.


An important change to procedures next year; we will be operating under CAM’s not AASA, this doesn’t mean a whole lot in terms of your requirements but organisers have to follow a more stringent set of rule and regs


Don’t forget that if you are the overall winner of the 2015 Italian Connection Trophy you will also receive a thirty minute flight aboard a fighter jet, this is no simulator this is the real deal!

Great flying area (spectators can see most of your flight)

Aerobatic instructor-rated pilot


Modern L-39 fighter jet (as seen in the James Bond film “Tomorrow Never Dies”)

Your Mission, should you choose to accept it, is to embark on the most heart thumping, adrenalin filled Jet Fighter Strike Mission available. Live your Top Gun dream for a day in an L39 Albatros Lead in Fighter Jet in Melbourne. Feel the G-force and speed as your pilot performs aerobatic maneuvers across the sky and simulates a strike attack.

In full military helmet and flight suit you’ll climb aboard the Fighter Jet. Once strapped in and secured in the cockpit you will be given the final brief. Feel the power as the jet engine spools up, complete the check-list and prepare to taxi down the runway for take-off. Get yourself ready for launch as 4000 pounds of pure jet thrust propels you into the atmosphere. You will be blasting along at speeds of up to 910km per hour in the sleekest and most modern Jet Fighter conducting adventure flights in Australia.

Your Fighter Strike Mission will begin with a climb to the maneuvering area up to 8000ft. You are the co-pilot with one to one communication with your pilot. The flight commences with a steep turn to introduce you to the feeling of positive G. Feel the amazing high performance of the L-39 Albatros Fighter Jet as the pilot flies you through the aileron roll, barrel roll, loop, 4 point hesitation roll, Cuban 8 and the vertical roll if you dare. Prepare to move into position for your strike attack – a positioning run at low level and high speed towards the enemy target with a simulated delivery of fire power and weaponry, finishing with a high speed getaway! Cruise back to the airport for a mission debrief

 Want to know what to expect? Check out the video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0A58VShh900   

If you win you will fly from Melbourne (Echuca) or Sydney (Hunter Valley)

So you will have better than a one in twenty five or thirty chance of winning this and it’s not about luck it will be about your team’s skill so the odds of you suiting up in your pressure suit to board your fighter jet reduce dramatically.

Go to the registration and fill out the rego form now if you haven’t already to ensure you get a start at the 2015 Italian Connection Trophy.

Club secretaries it would be great if you could share this communication with your members.

2 October 2014

Congratulations to Nick, Todd, Julian, Frank, Robert, David and Christopher the  latest to join our Boeing 737 800 simulator test crew who all qualified for a free hands on experience flying a 737 in an official Boeing simulator just by registering for next year’s ICT.

This will be fun but the ultimate prize is to become the overall winner of the 2015 ICT because as well as the cherished trophy there is a 30 minute flight aboard a real Jet Fighter!

30 September 2014

Re-connecting with our Italian Connections

 As time has passed with the ICT we have changed event locations, participating towns and to some extent the mission.

During a recent chat with my friend and ICT competitor Lido Russo he mentioned that some of the regular members of the rally were talking about our heady beginnings.

When we all arrived on Lygon Street Carlton led in by a hundred Vespas; when we stopped over for the first time in Myrtleford, a town with a large Italian population and a long heritage of wine making and tobacco growing arriving at Savoy Club for dinner and being amazed that almost the whole town had decided to join us for dinner.

The Mayor turned up a local choir performed and there were lots of wonderful speeches.   We had absolutely no idea, we just came for dinner. Those of you that were in the first rally will remember what a fantastic surprise that was.

The result of all this enthusiasm was that the following year a whole Italian Festa was created to celebrate our arrival; it is called La Fiera. La Fiera now has a life of its own and is one of the most popular festivals in the region.

Next year we are going to re-visit our favourite town Myrtleford and re-connect with some of great people that supported us.

I know we have held the odd Motorkhana there since and we have eaten at the Savoy Club but this is going to be different.

The original creator of La Fiera who is now my friend Noel Stone is going to prepare a celebration with all sorts of things going on. I will let you know what is happening as it evolves. But Italian food and some fine Sangiovese is definitely involved, some authentic Italian entertainment and maybe a lunchtime friendly soccer match between the ICT and Myrtleford township – who knows, the possibilities are endless.

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Some of the 2008 ICT competitors at the Savoy Club


Some of the hundred scooters that escorted us into Lygon Street

Some of the hundred scooters that escorted us into Lygon Street                                           

I have also noticed a shortage of fine Italian espresso at some of our stop-overs, we will remedy that maybe by having our own Espresso and Cappuccino barista follow us along with our sweep.

We are instructing all our dinner chefs that we want only fine Italian food at our dinners next year; I can guarantee there will be some terrific food adventures at our dinners especially the Victory dinner.

I should hasten to add that we are still welcoming our Guest Marques that are a growing division in the ICT.  But if you are competing as a Guest Marque you will be under no illusion that you have participated and experienced authentic Italian Connections over the three rally days and will have had a fantastic time to boot!      

Mystery Sponsor

You may have read in the September ICT newsletter about the special incentive for early registration, the incentive being a free flight in the Captain’s seat of a Boeing 737 simulator, and this is awarded to the first fifteen registrants. It doesn’t matter whether you are in Sydney or Melbourne there is one in each city.

What I didn’t tell you was this has been provided by an anonymous sponsor who said “…I just want to ensure the ICT keeps going so I thought this might encourage drivers to register early…” He is also providing the amazing bonus prize of a flight in a Fighter Jet for the winner of the overall rally.


I am pleased to announce Nick Wood winner of the 2014 ICT Motorkhana was the very first registration who will be qualifying for his 737 Pilot’s licence in coming weeks. I will be posting photos of “Captain Nick” when he sends them to me. In fact as he is the first maybe we should refer to him as the “Skipper”?

Special Invitation to ICT participants and supporters

You will have read about our new exciting association with New South Wales Muscular Dystrophy and we would like to make it a bit official and have a little gathering so you can chat to them.

Once again Lido has come to the rescue. All of you are aware of the monthly gathering at Cavallino affectionately known as Cavallino Cars and Coffee.

This wonderful, very laid back gathering of car crazy owners and fans has grown to ridiculous proportions where Lido might have to buy Mona Vale Road to accommodate everyone.

Anyway Lido has offered to host a small informal gathering at the November CCC, 2nd November so regulars and potential new entries into the ICT can meet up with representatives of the charity. There will also be an early Christmas drink for those of you that join us.

 7th September 2014

Winner of the 2014 ICT Motorkhanas Nick Wood was first to sign up for the 2015 Italian Connection Trophy and receive his Boeing 737 Pilot’s licence. Keep checking in we will post some pics when Nick sends them in.

1st September 2014

The Italian Connection Trophy celebrated its seventh year in 2014 with the biggest field of competitors in its history. For the past four  years we have been raising money to assist in the support and research in the fight to find a cure for Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. Over the past fours years we have raised tens of thousands of dollars. In 2015 we are delighted to welcome NSW Muscular Dystrophy who will take over the fund raising reins for the ICT.

We have thirty weeks and counting until the next Italian Connection Trophy. Some important developments are in progress for the ICT and it is important I keep you all abreast of things.

Following the responses to our competitor survey where we asked competitors to nominate  whether they wanted us to go to another location next year, while a couple of responses were flexible (they will go wherever we decide) the remainder have voted to return to Albury and the beautiful Victorian Highlands and Wine Country.

So we are returning to Albury as our base again but we will be looking at new locations and a different programme just to keep it fresh and you on your toes.

For the first time since the rally began we have to slightly increase the fee for next year to cover the increases in accommodation and some meal costs and some new insurance cost increases that have cover. The new fee is $2,655.00 which is just a .062% rise in fees.

We want to encourage you to confirm as early as possible so we can begin surveying the new challenges so for each of the first fifteen paid registrations we are offering a free experience in a Boeing 737 simulator in Sydney or Melbourne.


Strap into the captain’s seat, plant your feet on the rudder pedals, clamp the thrust levers and control column… You’ve had a full briefing from your own personal instructor and you’re ready to fly the plane!

After clearance from Air Traffic Control, you advance the throttles and your Boeing 737 hurtles down the runway and lifts off, climbing to 2000ft before banking into a 45° turn away from the airport.

Forget sightseeing; you need to manage your air speed, maintain your altitude and watch your heading whilst simultaneously monitoring a dazzling array of screens and indicators.

Once we have received your registration and payment we will contact you to arrange for your first flight as a Captain of a Boeing 737 – Please fasten your seats we have been cleared for take-off!

…and while we are up in the wild blue yonder, guess what?

the winner of the 2015 ICT will also win a breathtaking experience on a fighter jet in fact an L39 the same fighter that you will have seen in the James Bond movie Tomorrow Never Dies. (This can only be for one so there will need to be discussion between the crews before you collect the trophy and your passport to your fighter jet experience)


Keep checking the site for more exciting developments about the 2015 Italian Connection Trophy.




 2014 Photo Gallery is now live

For those of you that have not experienced the Italian Connection Trophy I have included some photos of the extraordinary roads and scenery we experience over the three days. For a complete photo profile go to the gallery to check out over 200 images of the 2014 ICT.

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They also won the Dealer’s Challenge Trophy for McCarroll’s Motors.

It’s important to note that this was no “flash in the pan” last year Peter and Philip came third and Peter won the Motorkhana and the year before (their first year competing) they came sixth. This year they actually won every section.

Philip ignored the significant difficulties he has to contend with every day and got on with the job at hand. Even in the Fiat Panda that left Peter Olsen a tad underwhelmed they got it done. Needless to say Peter didn’t defend his Motorkhana title in this year’s car.

Congratulations to new competitor Nick Wood for his win of the Motorkhana section. The Passat is a big machine to throw around a Motorkhana course and interestingly he also came second in the speed tests. I think Nick is one to watch in 2015.

Also congratulations to another new competitor Garry McGrath for his win of the Sprint Section. His beautifully tuned Holden Walkinshaw performed impeccably. Interestingly all three place getters in the speed tests were Guest Marques.

Where were the Ferrari’s, Maseratis and Lamborghinis we had better do something about that in 2015…

Here are the major place getters congratulations to all:

We should also congratulate Jon Dickson and Cecelia Olsen for their win of our first Guest Marque Trophy. Jon was also selected to receive the inaugural Peter Doig Memorial Trophy awarded for his dedication to the rally over the years and the charity we support The Duchenne Foundation.

Jon has competed in all but one of the ICT’s and is definitely one of faces of the ICT. His diligence in fund raising, his generous nature is enhanced by his genuine concern and passion for doing the right thing makes him a perfect recipient. Peter Doig I am sure would have heartily concurred.

Finally the Phoenix Award presented to an individual or team that has overcome adversity to rise from the ashes with spirit and passion.

This year the well deserved recipient began his fight back at last year’s ICT when his beautiful Dino Ferrari had to be flat bedded back to Melbourne. He fixed the car and was the first registration for this year’s ICT.

Just after that he had nasty accident and about two months before the rally called to say he may not be joining us.  You can’t keep a good man down, he relinquished the driver’s seat to his friend Allan Robins also a very good driver and took on the navigation role. Roger Greenway was certainly well deserving of this year’s Phoenix award.

Well what a great rally this year. We had the most entries in its history, we covered our costs for the first time, the weather was outstanding and the roads extraordinary.

We ate very well we made new friends and caught up with old ones.

What was particularly pleasing for me was the returning crews not just from last year but from the beginning; Lido Russo, Frank Vasile and Joe Parisi from the very early rallies, and returning after a year’s absence Julian and Helen Besestri and Wayne Green and Ben Doig.

We had a large helping of competitor spirit this year but all in good humour.

In an effort to keep things interesting, we added some new and challenging roads like the Omeo Road and the spectacular drive up Mount Buffalo and we increased the number of Speed tests and Motorkhanas.

Some of our crews just came to have a wonderful drive, mix with a great bunch of people and enjoy the conversation and then there were others who wanted that trophy.

From all reports thus far everyone had a terrific time and that is just what we intended.

Before we get into the rally proper a lot of activity happened on the day before; most cars and crews arriving on this day, Wodonga Car World opened their service bay for our scrutineers so we could ensure all our entries were up to scratch – they were.

Then back to the Manor House for the Mayoral Reception where we received the Clerk of Course’s briefing and shots of Limoncello courtesy of ICT regular Domenico Cece.

Unfortunately Dom couldn’t join the rally because of a broken car but he made sure we had our Limoncello the best you will ever taste.  Then to our traditional Reunion Dinner and what a reunion it was, the Manor House excelled itself serving the best food we have ever had there, it was a great way to start a terrific three days of unmitigated fun.

Day one took us on the Omeo Road that now has the entire length now sealed. There were quite a few drivers and navigators that experienced some gastric challenges, phrases like “…never again…” “…I thought I was going to die…” were overheard but there was no denying what an extraordinary drive it was. The difficulties may have been influenced by the altitude nevertheless the other locations were wonderful – Bright, a jewel sitting in amongst the high country, Hotham Heights, still no snow but beautiful in any season then down through historic Myrtleford and home for a well earned beer and dinner at La Maison.

Day Two was another new road we wound our way up the 1,700 metres or 5,000 feet road to the top of magnificent Mount Buffalo. There the team from the Albury Wodonga District Car Club prepared a hearty lunch for us; then a nippy ride down the mountain via Bright and enchanting Mount Beauty through historic Yackanandah and home.

The Saturday night dinner was held in a converted railway station aptly called Broadgauge another special evening.

We discovered that this night was Tom Snook’s fiftieth anniversary of his involvement in motor sportso a very noisy toast was raised.

The music was retro and all played on old vinyl records – another great evening.

Day three was the big day for extra competition with Motorkhanas and Speed tests at two different locations. Corryong Airport and a Test Track in Wodonga but the day began with the final observation legs of the rally travelling through Granya, Jingellic Tintaldra and on into Corryong.

Everyone was chomping at the bit to get out onto the runway to see what their cars would do over the quarter mile but they also had to contend with two complicated Motorkhanas.

Once all the tests were done it was back to the Manor House for a few drinks to talk over the last three days of adventure and enjoyment.

Our Victory Dinner was held at another fine Albury restaurant, Café Victor who put on a terrific spread for us.

As we always do we raised some money with an auction, sold some merchandise and collected money that had been raised in the lead up to ICT.

I am trying to ascertain exactly what was donated as there was some direct donations, some collected on the night and some coming as I type this, once I know the total I will post it in the next newsletter.

It was a terrific night to end the 2014 Italian Connection Trophy and it is fitting that we thank the people that have supported the ICT.

First and foremost it is the crews that turn up every year in their beautiful machines to compete or just enjoy what the ICT has to offer. I have produced literally hundreds probably thousands of events over the past (unnamed number) decades. I can say that the ICT is one of my all time favourites and it is because of the people that are involved, the competitors, the officials, the sponsors, people who are providing our comforts and supporters.

Rarely could you find such great bunch of people and I for one really appreciate it.

A special thanks to Tom Snooks, Steuart Snooks, Bruce Morisset and the ICT Marshalls, The amount of time and effort put in to make this event happen is significant and they are focussed on giving competitors some challenges, new experiences and above all give everyone a great three days.

Also we must thank David West and the team at Albury Wodonga District Classic Car Club who provided much of the marshalling and scrutineering over the three days not to mention lunch at Mount Buffalo

Our sponsors this year have provided another outstanding level of support including: Quantum Printing, Albury City, Fiat Chrysler, 105.7 The River, Tygon Engineering, Hue Graphics, Wodonga Car World.

Then the people that provided the merchandise we sold: Ferrari, Fiat, Alfa Romeo, Pirelli and the Illawarra Brewing Company.

While not a sponsor, The Manor House always steps up and provides outstanding service for us.

Finally a huge thank you to Domenico Cece who sent a case of his world famous Limoncello so we could finish our meals in a proper Italian way.

Domenico did insist on one proviso; on the last night we were to share shots of Limoncello at the end of the Victory Dinner and raise a toast to our mutual late friend Peter Doig – we gladly honoured that request.

Thank you to everyone that makes this event what it is.




                             16th – 18th May 2014


You can’t keep a good man down Jon Dickson is currently swanning round Europe and he has sent his ICT hat entry from Holland.

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Welcome Back to Jon Dickson – Team Tazio he is bringing back his beautiful 1953 Porsche Spyder 550.

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Jon and Alex in the 2013 ICT

His 2013 co-driver daughter Alex has since been married and is away so can’t join her Dad but Peter Olsen’s daughter Cecelia has put her hand up to navigate, so we have almost a full family of Olsens competing! Cecelia last navigated (and came second) with the late great Peter Doig in 2012.

So now we have Peter Olsen, winner of the 2013 ICT Motorkhanas, third in the ICT rally overall, son Phil navigated, Cecelia came second the year before – is this the beginning of a motoring dynasty?

Remember the ICT hat competition? Well, Tony Harris three year veteran of the ICT was in Freemantle recently and encountered a chap called Bon Scott (actually a bronze statue) nevertheless Tony placed the ICT  hat at an elegant angle and is now a contender for that fine bottle of Barolo.

Bon Scott

Does this mean that AC/DC supports the ICT? 

Still 10 weeks to go and we have a full house!

Currently our entry number is 30 with four more pending so we are almost officially full. Our Clerk of Course tells me he can fit in another five entries bringing us up to 35! If we were just touring we could take up to 45 entries, but with our Motorkhanas and speed tests we would be getting back in the middle of the night – so 35 it is!

We have now taken over the entire Manor House Hotel for four days.

The manor house our home for four days in May

The Manor House our home for four days in May
(STOP PRESS: We have just received confirmation that Fiat Chrysler is now fielding two entries, not one as first thought.)

Our Clerk of Course leaves in about two weeks for the final course survey. This time he will take his team with him as this trip is to finalise the road book and observation questions, as well as the Motorkhana and speed test  layouts and limits. The Supplementary Regulations will be distributed on 16th April.

We have some more very good news. Fiat Chrysler has confirmed it will once again provide a car free of charge to the official Duchenne Foundation team, Tiina Raiko and Angela Solomou.

Also McCarroll’s Motors of Chatswood are, for the third year, providing a car for Peter and Phil Olsen. For those who don’t know, Philip Olsen suffers from Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. Phil has become a favourite of the ICT family.

Phil with his trophies and Angela Solomou one half of the Duchenne Team
Even though Phil can’t get around much unless he is in his (very fast) motorised scooter, for the rally he can sit in the passenger seat and navigate his dad, which he does superbly. They came third last year. So our sincere thanks once again to the great people at McCarroll’s Motors. Albury Council is holding a Mayoral Reception for the ICT at 6.00 pm on Thursday 15th May. It will be held in Hovell Street Park. A special area is being reserved for all the ICT vehicles to be on display for the duration of the reception.  As the ICT is growing, and one of our important missions is to promote the Duchenne Foundation, we have engaged a public relations director this year. Her name is Liz Swanton. Liz is a specialist in motoring and motorsport. One of her current clients is Bentley Motors, which entrusts her with cars that cost more than a small house! Liz worked with us a few years ago and we are delighted to have her back. As mentioned in last month’s newsletter, I went to Albury to make final arrangements for the ICT including scoping out new (and good) places to eat.  First I can confirm that the Albury Wodonga and Districts Car Club will be preparing a barbecue lunch for the entire group on top of Mount Buffalo on Saturday.   For a good dinner in a country location, it is always a bit of a challenge with large numbers but I am pleased to say that with the expert guidance of locals we have located three very different but excellent venues. As is traditional we will be having our reunion dinner at the Manor House on Thursday 16th May. On Friday we will be eating at a restaurant called La Maison right on the NSW/VIC border. On Saturday we move just over the border to Wodonga to a restaurant called Broadgauge situated in the old Wodonga Railway Station and, finally, for our victory dinner we will be at Café Victor right in Albury. It is fitting that our last dinner should be truly authentically Italian and this restaurant certainly is.SPECIAL REMINDER: Don’t forget: AUTO ITALIA, Lawns of Old Parliament House, Canberra: Sunday, 30th March, 2014.http://www.autoitaliacanberra.com/

ICT Sponsor decides to compete in the Rally!

Clinton and Sandy Van de Stadt owners of Quantum Printing and one of the ICT’s most important sponsors have decided to compete in the rally and purchased a very nice Alfa Romeo GTV V6.

Clinton and Sandy Van de Stadt's Alfa Romeo GTV V6

Clinton and Sandy Van de Stadt’s Alfa Romeo GTV V6

Welcome to another Guest Marque we are reaching the limit of guest marques so Nick Wood it’s good to have you on board. Nick is driving his very nice looking 2009 VW Passat CC.

Nick's VW Passat CC

Nick Wood’s 2009 VW Passat

Mercedes  Club of NSW enters the ICT

Welcome Nick Harris driving another guest Marque. Nick is driving his 2012 C-63  Mercedes sedan.


Nick Harris’s Mercedes C-63

Another new entry and fellow member of the Mercedes Club Vince Thompson is driving a very classy 1983 380SL nicknamed “DELILAH.

Vince t

Vince Thompson’s 380 SL “Delilah”

A very healthy turn out at Lido Russo’s Cavallino Restaurant for  coffee and a chat, Lido was expecting around fifteen – twenty cars about fifty arrived a strong contingent of Italian Connection competitors turned up.


A few who came for coffee last Sunday

Welcome Shalin Perera new addition to the ICT driving his 2005 Lamborghini Gallardo.


Shalin’s 2005 Lamborghini Gallardo

We also grabbed a shot of Lido’s stunning 1968 Fiat Dino Convertible at his Cars, Coffee at the Cav event. The photo is courtesy of the President of the Fiat Club of NSW Tony Studans this is the car Lido will be driving in the ICT (as long as it doesn’t rain).


Lido’s  2014 ICT entry his 1968 Fiat Dino

We were a bit worried about the 2012 ICT winners Dana Dupere and Todd Gilmour joining us this year because Dana is recovering from an injury, I am delighted to announce that Dana has beaten her malady and today we have confirmation that they are joining us  again.

Dana Dupere's 2005 Maserati 4200

Dana and Todd in their 2005 Maserati 4200 Spyder

We have started 2014 with a bang with a record number of registrations lodged by the end of last year this guarantees we have a start for the seventh Italian Connection Trophy.

Some new roads and we add more opportunities to in the Motorkhanas and the speed tests. Our Clerk of Course has already conducted a full survey for this year’s ICT and we have prepared a  special overview of the three day event; just click on this link -     http://www.italianconnection.com.au/ICT_2014_3_day_overview.pdf

We welcome all the new and returning ICT entries. Here are just some of them:

We are delighted to announce a former competitor from the early days of the ICT Muzio Cantarella is returning this year. Muzio will be driving a Fiat 695.

2008 ICT winner Lido Russo confirmed he will be driving his beautifully restored 1968 Fiat Dino Spider convertible. Lido and Silvia may need to be rugged up if they intend to have the top down ready for those sometimes very brisk May morning starts.

Lido and Silvia

Lido and Silvia ICT 2008


Winners of last year’s ICT Ian Allison and Warren Smith are both returning this year but in separate cars; both will be driving the same model Fiats a 1997 Coupe 20V Turbo. So we will have two people in identical cars defending their titles separately…


 Ian Allison and Warren Smith preparing for the 2013 ICT Ian Allison and Warren Smith preparing for the 2013 ICT



  Warren Smith and David Filipetto at the 2011 ICT Start                           

Dominic Votano who returned last year following a break and who won the 2013 Speed Test is leaving his Holden at home and bringing his 2000 Porsche 911 Millennium.

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Dominic Votano’s Speed Test defender

Domenico Cece a very popular competitor who, besides being a very nice guy also brings along a serious supply of his extraordinary Limoncello. Domenico will drive his bright red 2007 Maserati Gransport.

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  Domenico Cece “resting” in his Maserati Gransport at the 2012 ICT

Another one of our guest marques is being driven by new competitor Peter Richards. Peter will be driving his 1972 MG B     



  New ICT entry Peter Richard’s Guest Marque 1972 MGB

 The last time we saw Joe and Charles Parisi was in the 2009 Italian Connection. We have just received their registration form but the vehicle description has been left blank, that’s because they are still deciding which machine will end up on the starting grid.

Another guest marque joining the fun and it is their third year is Karen Maric and Ken Churcher driving their sometimes fast moving lounge room the 1979 Chrysler Regal SE. 

 Karen Maric's 1979 Chrysler Regal SE

Karen Maric’s and Ken Churcher’s  1979 Chrysler Regal SE

After deserting us for the F1 in Monaco last year (and we understand) Julian and Helen Besetri are returning in 2014 this time driving their 1978 Ferrari 400A. 

Julian Besetri

Helen and Julian Besetri’s 1978 Ferrari 400A

2013 competitor Roger Greenway brings back his immaculate 1974 Dino Ferrari. Roger advises that the 308 is in perfect shape.    


Roger Greenway’s pristine 1974 Dino Ferrari

Also as I mentioned in my recent email Fiat Chrysler has officially confirmed their support and participation in the 2014 Italian Connection Trophy.

They are keeping their choice of their entry vehicle close to their chest right now after all they do have a few to choose from…

Welcome Giovanni Melisarri another new entry representing The Italian Made Social Motoring Club is driving a very lively 1973 Alfa Romeo 105 coupe 1600 GT Jnr.


Giovanni Melissarri 

Mel Giovanni Melisarri ‘s Alfa Romeo 105 1600 GT Junior

We welcome the return of all women team Tiina Raiko and Angela Solomou who will once again drive the official Duchenne Foundation entry. Tiina or Angela will be touch in the coming weeks and months to offer any help if you want assistance in fund raising for our charity. Obviously fund raising is entirely optional but if you want to help either of these classy ladies are ready to assist. By the way they won the ICT in 2011.

A few months ago I launched a completely unrelated competition, just for a bit of fun. A challenge to anyone who owns an ICT hat to send in a shot FROM anywhere you might be in the world from Sydney to Siberia.

A very nice vintage bottle Barolo will be presented to the most creative shot. We will all judge the best by a round of applause at the Victory Dinner. We have a few great shots already but we need more. We have shots from South Africa, Mount Vesuvius, Rome, Isle of Capri just to mention a few.


Warren Smith ‘with ICT hat’ at the Trevi Fountain

As you may have read in the recently distributed profile of this year’s ICT the road to Omeo has finally been bitumised giving us a whole new route to take. The scenery will blow you away.

We may encounter a bit of snow but we’re ready…


 Just hitch ‘em up and “Mush Mush”!





On behalf of the ICT organising team we wish everyone a great holiday season, enjoy the company, the cars, the drives and the destinations.

Have fun but keep safe.


Buone Feste Natalizie




Clerk of Course begins charting the 2014 ICT

Tom Snooks our Clerk of Course  is leaving in a very few days to begin surveying the courses for 2014. Already he has discovered  some new and extraordinary roads. This will be the first of three surveys to design courses and challenges that will test but deliver up some fun as well.

We have a star in our midst!Autosave-File vom d-lab2/3 der AgfaPhoto GmbH

This is not really about cars but our young runner up last year Philip Olsen just starred in the Schools Spectacular and it was outstanding. Phil suffers from Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy he has become a favourite among us; last year navigating for his Dad Peter, they came sixth in the ICT and this year they came third.  We could all learn a lot about courage and commitment from young Philip Olsen. Congratulations!



We have an airport for our Speed Trials

A380 taking off

A recent new entry this year is Giovanni Melissari driving his 1973 Alfa Romeo 105 coupe 1600 GT Jnr. Giovanni is a member of the Italian Made Social Motoring Club.

Giovanni Melissarri

Registrations rolling in!

2013 winner of the ICT Ian Allison has confirmed he is returning to defend his title driving his Fiat 20V Turbo. The next question is will his co-driver from last year and 2008 Warren Smith decide to enter the 2014 ICT in his own right to try and wrest the trophy from his old friend?

Ian Allison's 1997 Fita Coupe 20V Turbo

Ian Allison’s 1997 Fita Coupe 20V Turbo

Also we are delighted that Roger Greenway is back for his second try in his immaculate 1978 Dino Ferrari.




Ben Doig "doing it tough" on the Isle of Capri

Ben Doig “doing it tough” on the Isle of Capri



Yes we are at that time again the 2014 registrations are now open for the seventh Italian Connection Trophy.

This is the third year we will anchor ourselves in Albury travelling out to the Victorian High Country, the Alps and the Wine regions. Our C of C will be leaving in a couple of months for his first recce of the course. Tom assures me there are still plenty of roads, places and challenges that will impress and astound. We already know about a brand new road that will take us to some breathtaking views. 

I can confirm we will be including three Motorkhanas and two Speed Tests in the 2014 event. We will be borrowing at least one airport again for this exercise. We will also be using the brilliant Barnawatha Test Track which those of us that were at this year’s event did a little test run on.

There will be some new and challenging inclusions in the event but I can’t tell you about those yet until we have completed all the preparations.

Manor House will accommodate us all again and we will search for new and tasty dinner locations in the coming months.

I am currently waiting on the design of the Peter Doig Memorial trophy and as soon as it is approved I will put it up on the website.

We will have some exciting announcements over the next couple of months and don’t forget Guest Marques are welcome.


Just for Fun

There is also a new challenge I am mounting just for a bit fun in the lead-up to next year’s rally. Last year a friend of mine who was not in the rally went on Safari to Africa. I told her to take an ICT hat and send me a photo of her wearing it on location which she did.

I mentioned this Warren Smith one of the winning crew of the 2013 ICT Trophy telling him I am starting a competition. Warren was in Italy recently and he sent me a photo of him outside of the Colloseum wearing his official ICT cap.

We don’t care what year the cap is but if you have been or are going somewhere in the world take your ICT hat and send me a photo. We will display them at the Manor House next year and we will select a winner who will receive some very fine wine.


Figure 1 Warren Smith – Winner of 2013 ICT in Rome – ICT Hatted

2014 Registration

 We have reduced the deposit amount down to $500.00 securing your registration to ease the impact on your cash flow. This is fully refundable until 31 December this year.

We need confirmed numbers by 31 December 2013 so if you are intending to join us please complete the attached form and send with your deposit before this date. As we all tend to put things aside until later and then forget about it I encourage you to do it now!

More to come! Attached to this newsletter is the 2014 Registration page.


 17th – 19th May 2013


2012 Peter Doig and his navigator Cecelia

Yesterday I received a call from Ben Doig, Peter’s son who advised me that I had lost a good friend and a favourite and stalwart supporter of the Italian Connection Trophy and the charity we support the Duchenne Foundation.

Peter competed in all the Rallies except this year’s but more importantly worked diligently in garnering support for the ICT’s charity.

2011 Peter and his beloved Alfa 156 GTA with David Small, Wayne Green and Peter’s son Ben

I know most of you know Peter and had become his friend he was an easy man to like.  He was a close personal friend of mine and that of the Foundation’s Chairman Peter Hojgaard Olsen, Peter and I met last night and raised a glass to a special man.

Peter Doig didn’t just help when the rally was on, once he first learned about the Duchenne Foundation he made it his mission to help the cause and has been singularly responsible for raising tens of thousands of dollars and increased awareness of the disease.

Peter had been fighting a severe condition for some time and things appeared to be improving. He had a new job and just a week ago in his usual spirit sent me some images of an F1 hat

2011 Peter Doig receiving Rally Spirit Award from his friend Peter Olsen

he was offering to auction off for the Charity. His passing was sudden and tragic and he is going to be missed by us all.

I am awaiting details of the services that will be held and with the family’s permission will share that with you when I receive the information, I believe the service will be held in Sydney but that is yet to be confirmed.

Peter was the epitome of the great spirit of the Italian Connection Trophy and all it stands for indeed he won a special award for the best rally spirit in 2011. This award is only presented when an individual or team are outstanding in their support for the event and the cause it supports.

I believe it is fitting that we re-name this award, so 2014 will be the introduction The Peter Doig Memorial Award.

I know you will join me in offering our sincere and heartfelt condolences to Julie, Ben and Peter’s entire family.


2013 Italian Connection Trophy Wrap-up Newsletter

“Fantastic! Brilliant! Loved it! The best yet!”


These were just some of the comments from ICT competitors this year.

It was a great weekend, not without its dramas but that’s part of the adventure.

Congratulations to all the winners and place getters, these are listed later in this missive.

Where to begin?

Scrutineering at Wodonga Car World

Once again our friends and sponsors at Wodonga Car World provided their service bay for scrutineering carried out by senior members of the AWDCC.

Then it was back to the Manor House on Thursday evening for our now traditional Mayoral reception followed by the official briefing from our intrepid Clerk of Course Tom Snooks.

Domenico Cece ensured he brought a copious supply of his incredible Limoncello, just to keep us warm.

Then on to our Reunion Dinner the Manor House did us proud. There was a lot of catching up and speculation on the coming three days of competition.

7.30 am on a crisp Albury morning we gathered at QE II Park in the city centre.

We had to move day one and two around a bit because of unexpected road closures and on day two we were forced to invoke the alternate routing plan because our original route took us to Falls Creek which was covered in snow for the second year.

So day one took us on some fabulous roads, a bit foggy to begin with but when it lifted the vistas were something to behold. The trees were glowing ambers and reds the hills and valleys sometimes it felt just like you had driven into Monet painting.

Figure 1 Just a taste of the beautiful scenery

Day one was not without it’s dramas I was driving a little ahead of the pack and had just driven past the famous old Keotong pub  swung around the a couple of bends and came within inches of crashing into a giant tree which we calculated had fallen across the entire road just seconds before.

Figure 2 The Koetong Pub with its special ceiling hangings

We knew this because a big semi drove past us going the other way at speed just as we came around the bend, very lucky.

So the entire rally was banked up waiting, waiting…

It was decided that we all retire to Koetong Pub which had just opened and wait for a trusty lumberjack with his chain saw to remove the blockage. The Pub thought all their Christmases had come at once.

Meanwhile the marshalling team were waiting for us at chilly Corryong Airport.

Remarkably we had barely finished our cappuccinos when Dominic Votano came back from his recce announcing that the road was clear. Within moments the Koetong invasion was over leaving a bewildered publican and his wife collecting half drunk cups of coffee.

I headed straight for Corryong Airport opting not to follow the rally route so I arrived before any cars arrived.  The Boys from AWDCC had everything under control with the Runway closed to air traffic and marked out at one end for the speed test and the other end or the Motorkhana.

There was a lot of anticipation about the speed test and no one was disappointed well, except for the fact everyone all wanted to keep having another go. A lot begging went on but our C of C was strong and immovable.

There was some serious speeds attained and Dominic Votano in his extraordinary Holden Ute with its hand painted Red, White and Green bonnet won the prize.

Figure 3 Dominic Votano’s beast

Domenico Cece Maserati Grand Sport was second fastest and used most of what was left of his tyres so later he had some major adjustments to make.

Ken Churcher driving the classic Chrysler Regal one of the original eight cylinder moving lounge rooms had the time of his life. He had never had the chance to drive the car it these speeds before and it performed beautifully, not so nimble around the Motorkhana course unfortunately.

Tiina and Angela arrived in their little Mito and decided not to do the Motorkhana (Angela later regretted that decision) but wanted to do the speed test. Angela was the hoon (her words) so she drove and while she was complaining about the power of car when she drove back from the test she was absolutely delighted.

Figure 4 Angela Solomou ready for action

One of the original members of our exclusive little ICT club Jon Dickson returned this year after taking a year off brought his replica 1953 Porsche and it handles beautifully.

The one thing about this lovely car is that it has no roof; so Jon and his co-driver, daughter Alex have been seen rugged up in Artic resistant coats and hats to keep the chill off. Jon told me that he has a giant golf umbrella   so when it rains they pull over and put the brolly up – very sensible.

Figure 5 John and Alex Dickson ready for the next leg

Roger Greenway’s stunning Dino was next and it performed beautifully but there was to be some issues with the car which I will talk about later.

Even the quiet reserved Bill Maslin (we refer to him as the Next Prime Minister or NPM for short) said in his much understated way “it was just like flying an aeroplane…”

One of the pleasures for me watching the Motorkhanas was seeing Robert Panetta in his rare almost perfect Alfa Z work his way around the course. Robert who brought his son Tim as his navigator told me later that they were both having a great time.

Another sleeping giant while it didn’t win the speed test it went very fast indeed and judging by the huge grin on Ian Allison’s face his Fiat Turbo had never driven this fast.

Everybody enjoyed our visit to Corryong Aerodrome

Then there were a couple of dramas evolving with a couple of over enthusiastic drivers on the country roads and couple of over zealous country cops dispensing their duty. Following the rally and some long discussions between me and the relative police officers we are all friends again with the police offering to assist next year with road condition reports etc.

Roger’s Dino Ferrari suffered a fatal malady after the first day. While I was not privy to the exact details suffice it to say that the electrics completely failed and there was no way a solution could be found in Albury. Roger had to flatbed the Dino home after the first day.  Roger and Co-driver Alan drove a rental home but not before they slapped a couple of decals on their car.

Figure 6 Roger Greenway’s 1974 Dino Ferrari 308

We spoke later and I learned that the Dino is in complete recovery and Roger will be a starter in 2014.

We lost a Maserati before the start of the ICT with last year’s winners Dana Dupere and Todd Gilmour losing their car to a broken shock absorber just a day before the start. Disappointed but not phased they called and asked if they could bring their Audi instead of course we said yes.

The second day was almost without incident except Domenico Cece’s Grandsport arrived home with tyres down to the canvas. Not drivable for the last day and nowhere in the region sold the correct size tyres so we lost our second Maserati but rescue was at hand; our friends at Wodonga Car World while they couldn’t help with tyres gave Domenico their own Proton rally car to drive on the last day. Dom and co-driver Angelo had a great time driving this nippy and quite powerful Proton on the final day. They found some interim tyres for the Maserati that would get them home if they drove at 80 KPM all the way… ouch.

The last day was fittingly a real highlight, apart from some great drives on the last day the final destination was a fantastic test track at Barnawatha Wodonga just a few kilometres out of Beechworth

While the test track is not yet rated for speeds over 80 KPM (it will be for next year) the track apron provided a huge area for our last Motorkhana.

Under the watchful gaze of President David West members of the AWDCC once again laid out the Motorkhana track and stood ready to Marshal the final event of the 2013 ICT.

As I have mentioned before young Phil Olsen was navigating the Team McCarroll entry driven by his dad and chairman of the Duchenne Foundation. Phil’s mum drove the Tarago to Albury which carries Phil’s amazing electric transport.  Since he got it a few years ago we have got used to him zooming around the paddocks and Motorkhana courses.

This year while we were waiting ever enthusiastic assistant Clerk of Course Bruce created an identical Motorkhana course but in a reduced size that would fit Phil’s machine and after the last car had done it circuit of the big course everyone clustered around the Motorchair Motorkhana Course to cheer on Phil in his quest to beat the clock and the witches hats.

A clean run a great roar of approval from everyone that rang around the entire circuit Philip now has a permanent entry number 9 displayed on his Levo OT C3WD

Figure 7 Number 9 ready for the Motorkhana in his Levo machine

There were some very good runs at this Motorkhana and pretty much everyone acquitted themselves brilliantly and there some surprises. One was Angela Solomou who actually won the Motorkhana at Barnawatha and had she driven the Corryong Motorkhana may have taken home the trophy but that was not to be another dark horse was the overall victor.

One final bonus for young Phil was a special run around the full size Motorkhana track in Jon Dickson’s Porsche, just before they took off his dad said “Are you all right?” the answer was a banshee yell from Phil “Full Speed!!! “ At the end you couldn’t get the smile of Phil’s face

Figure 8 Jon Dickson and Phil about to go “Full Speed!”

As a finale to the Test track we were invited to drive the full test circuit to get a feel for it in preparation for next year’s ICT when it will be rated for speed; Everybody agreed this was going to be a great feature for next year but that’s not to say we won’t do the Corryong Speed test again as well with possible multiple runs.

We all arrived back at the Manor House worn out but happy and ready for a cooling ale.

Everyone was anxious about the results to be announced at the Victory Dinner.

The traditional first award is always Phoenix Trophy. This recognises the competitor that overcomes adversity; rising from the ashes of disappointment to once again take their place in the competition.

Figure 9 Tony Harris and Official Presenter Trophy Tiina Raiko

This was won by Tony Harris who lost his car, was faced with a medical emergency   and returned for the final day in a borrowed machine. Tony joined us last year for just a single day and was hoping to complete the entire rally this year.  Tony was a very popular choice for the Phoenix Award.

Next came our first Speed Test trophy. The winner one of our most enthusiastic entries and past rally winner was worried that lack of traction was going to rob him of the title; but no, Dominic Votano got the best speed despite the wheel spins.

Figure 10 Dominic Votano and his Speed Test Trophy

Also Dominic and Tanya Arthur won our first Guest Marque Trophy

Next the coveted Motorkhana awards

Last year’s runner’s up were place getters once again Ian Allison taking out third place and when you know that his Fiat is built for speed not skipping around a Motorkhana it is definitely a reflection of Ian’s driving skills and his immaculate handbrake turns .

Second place was awarded to the Judd brothers in their fast and incredibly adaptable 1974 Fiat Arbath both received medals because Robert and David they took a Motorkhana each.

Figure 11 David Judd with his Motorkhana medal

First place was hugely popular Philip’s dad Peter Olsen won the trophy for the best Motorkhana performance in his brilliant little Giulietta generously provided McCarrolls Motors.

Figure 12 Peter Olsen with his Motorkhana Trophy

Next the big awards and third place had Peter Olsen this time with Phil on the podium only their second year competing last year sixth this year up three spots and in the medals a fantastic result.

Second place was the 2010 winner of the ICT Dominic Votano along with his Co-driver Tanya Arthur. Dominic outwardly enthusiastic and fun has proved to also be a very discerning and diligent competitor who is out to win. He adds some great spirit to the event.

Figure 13 Dominic and Tanya

The winner of the 2013 Italian Connection Trophy is probably the most deserving. The only competitor that has competed in the Rally every year since its inception. It is also fitting that his co-driver returned to join him as he was his co-driver on the inaugural rally later to enter his own car.

The winner of the 2013 Italian Connection Trophy is Ian Allison and Co-driver Warren Smith.

Figure 14 2013 Winners Ian Allison and Warren Smith

Celebrations went on into the night and thousands of dollars were raised for our charity the Duchenne Foundation.

Our hearty thanks go out to our sponsors: Albury City, Fiat Chrysler Australia, McCarrolls Motors, Wodonga Car World, Quantum Printing, Hue Graphics, 105.97 The River and The Manor House.

Our grateful thanks to the members of Albury Wodonga & Districts Car Club particularly David West President and Simon Kerr Secretary for their outstanding work and the biggest thanks to our Clerk of course Tom Snooks and Deputy Clerk of Course Steuart Snooks whose meticulous and discerning work resulted in the best ICT to date.

REMINDER: McCarrolls Motors is creating a special ICT calendar featuring Philip Olsen on his ICT Journey they will distribute thousands with all proceeds to the Duchenne Foundation which I am sure you will agree is a wonderful commitment from the McCarroll family for which we thank you.

The 2013 Italian Connection Trophy entries

2014 Italian Connection Trophy

Originally we were going to look at a new location for next year’s rally but I have been asked by a delegation of competitors to return one more time to Albury and the Victorian High Country. So with new challenges and tests available to us and you never know next year we just might get to have a Motorkhana at Falls Creek after two aborted attempts.

I will be sending out a little survey to get all competitors to complete. We do this every year and it really helps us improve the event. I will include a question about the location for you to formally respond to.

2013 saw a slight lift in competitors but not enough to cover our costs we have a minimum entry number of twenty cars next year. We will need to have confirmations of participation by 31 December because Tom and his team begin travelling the course to plan the event.  From past experience a registration of interest doesn’t guarantee participation and indeed we began the 2013 event with 35 ROI. Of course all non-starters have perfectly legitimate reasons for being unable to join the event.

I will be sending a call for entries in October this year which we will need a response to by 31 December. If we have not got a minimum of twenty entries committed by this time we will not be able to proceed with event. This would be tragic in light of what we have done so far and the support the event provides to Duchenne.

So I urge all of this year’s entries and any other past competitors who enjoyed their participation in the event to think about joining us again next year and to talk to your car clubs and your friends about coming to be a part of the 2014 Italian Connection Trophy.

I hope to see you on the starting grid 8.00 am on 16 May 2014.

What some past competitors have said about the ICT:

 ”Awesome roads, amazing scenery and great company! One of the best experiences of my life!”

“Domenico Cece – Driving his Maserati Gransport

“I fell in love with my FIAT Coupe all over again after driving those roads.”

Ian Allison – Driving his 1997 Fiat Coupe Turbo

 Dateline 1 May 2013

Almost there, click on the links below  to check  what we are doing doing each day.




In the next day or so we will be adding all the images of the competitor machines so keep checking back.

Dateline 14 April 2013

Just 8 spots left in the ICT for 2013

I thought you would like to see new ICT entry Roger Greenway’s beautifully restored 308 Dino competing in this year’s ICT. Remember the ICT is always on sealed roads so Roger and those of you that are concerned about gravel rash on your beautiful machines don’t have to worry.







Dateline 8 April 2013

Just 9 spots left in the ICT for 2013

Had a great day yesterday at Auto Italia in Canberra, it looked bigger than ever.

Caught up with a whole bunch of former and current ICT competitors during the day including David Judd who has confirmed his participation in this year’s ICT David is bringing his very nippy 1974 Arbath 124 Coupe. There was a lot of interest in the Rally with quite a number telling me they are going to sign up for this year’s event.

Also just received confirmation from Phil Walters  who is driving a Guest Marque his 1970 Mach 1 Mustang, affectionately called ‘Big Red’. That should put the cat amongst the pigeons…

Tom Snooks our C of C was also out on the weekend doing his final survey of the course and I will be travelling to Albury in the next week to make final arrangements.

So if you are thinking about it NOW is the time to go to the registration page download and complete the registration form and email, fax or post it back to us; and remember this event is all on sealed roads so those of you that are concerned about gravel rash on your machine you don’t have to worry.

Dateline 27 March 2013


We are delighted to report that Chrysler now handling Fiat and Alfa Romeo in Australia has stepped up to support the ICT.

It is providing a car for the official Duchenne Foundation team made up of our only all woman crew Tiina Raiko and Angela Solomou.

This is in addition to the support provided by Alfa Romeo Fiat dealers McCarrolls Motors Artarmon and Wodonga Car World that are also sponsoring us.

Wodonga Car World gave us their service bay so all the ICT cars could be scrutineered. This was carried out by our friends from the Albury Wodonga District Car Club

So once again huge thanks to Wodonga Car World, McCarrolls and Chrysler.

The Supplementary Regulations have been finalised and distributed to all confirmed entries and are up on the website.

Luckily we are closing Corryong Airport to air traffic

Bill Maslin has confirmed he is driving his VW Golf and while he won’t be competing in the Motorkhanas he will be challenging the Corryong Airport speed test. I think he may have installed a secret jet turbo…

Bill’s brave little Golf playing in the snow at last year’s ICT.

Roger Greenway is a new entry and will be driving his immaculate 1974 Dino Ferrari 308 a photo shortly.

We are going to miss rally favourites Wayne Green and Ben Doig this year. On their final leg last year something quite devastating happened to their Alfa Spyder and it was given a quiet but respectful burial.

Wayne and Ben being cool

ICT Technical Back – up team Matt on the left and Vic ( Undies) using gentle persuasion to try and get the Spyder going.

Hopefully the boys will be back with Alfa Spyder Mk II in 2014.

This year we have an all woman team returning after a year’s hiatus. Tiina and Angela actually won the rally in 2011. They drove the official Duchenne Foundation Car and were organising all the fund raising which resulted in tens of thousands of dollars being raised. Welcome Back!

Angela and Tiina will be driving an Arbath or a Mito this year Courtesy of Chrysler Australia

They are a great team and wonderful people besides being very smart and committed competitors so watch out guys. Welcome Back!

To give you an idea of the itinerary and timing following is an abbreviated schedule:

Mayoral Reception Manor House 6.30 pm
Reunion Dinner Manor House 7.30 pm
Breakfast Manor House 7.00 am
Start Display QE II Park 7.45 am
Circuit parade of Albury CBD 8.10 am
Start in Albury 8.15 am
Falls Creek Motorkhana & Refreshments 11.00 am  
Arrival Omeo for lunch 1.00 pm
Arrival Albury 5.20 pm
Dinner Location TBA 7.30 pm
Breakfast Manor House 7.15 am
Start in Albury 8.15 am
Arrival Corryong Airport Motorkhana & Speed tests 12.05 pm
Arrival Corryong  township for lunch 12.40 pm
Arrival Albury 3.45 pm
Dinner Location TBA 7.30 pm
Breakfast Manor House 7.00 am
Start in Albury 8.00 am
Arrival Oxley  and Lunch 12.30 pm
Arrival Barnawartha 3.15 pm
Barnawartha  Test Track Motorkhana 3.15/3.25
Finish celebrations 3.45 pm
Victory Dinner Location TBA 7.30 pm


Get those forms in forms please do it now www.italianconnection.com.au  and then follow the links to the registration page which you can download, complete and email, fax or post to us.

If you have any questions call Robert on 0438 848 048 or email robert@italianconnection.com.au

 Dateline 14 March 2013

Well here are in the second week of March just nine weeks to go until the ICT 2013 is off and motoring. It’s time for anyone still not registered to get it done.

Our new divisions are filling fast our Guest marques are almost full.

We are delighted that McCarrolls Motors in Artarmon New South Wales has for a second year committed to providing young Philip Olsen and his Dad Peter with an Alfa to drive in the ICT.

It is very important to note that this is not about selling more cars (although we hope they do) the McCarroll family is committed to trying to make things better in life.

In fact they will be preparing a special Italian Connection calendar this year featuring Phil in his prep for the ICT and his competition experiences. They will distribute this far and wide and all the proceeds will go to the Duchenne Foundation.

This just expands the great spirit of the ICT and all who drive in her



Phil Olsen collecting his car for the ICT

A very big round of applause for the McCarrolls!

All you drivers with Italian machines don’t forget AUTO ITALIA ON 7 APRIL; certainly one of the best car shows around. Auto Italia is set in the beautiful grounds of Old Parliament House in Canberra.

We will be there.

If you have been reading our newsletters and checking the web site you will have noticed I have been mooting a speed test being added to your challenges.

I am delighted to announce that we have just confirmed that Corryong Airport will be the location both of the Saturday Motorkhana and the speed test. Top Gear style we are using the runway for the speed test.

Those of you that competed in the 2008 ICT will remember our adventure at Tumut airport and race driver Lucio Cesario taking the Mayor of Tumut for a 260 km an hour spin down that runway in his bright yellow Ferrari 430, awesome stuff – the Mayor was never the same again… 

Corryong Runway ready for our speed test



Race Driver Lucio Cesario with his Ferrari 430


It will be interesting to see how veteran ICT competitor Jon Dickson will fare in his 1953 Porsche 550 Spider or new entry Nick Kelly in his beautiful 1976 Ferrari 512 BB.

I also predict we will see some fireworks from the Maseratis.

We have just received the registration from the 2010 winner  Dominic Votano who is returning to show us all how it’s done.

This means all but one of the six ICT winners is coming back to challenge for the first spot again and the possibility of being the first to hold up the ICT winner’s Trophy for a second time.



Some of you may already know that our honourable C of C is an inductee into Targa Tasmania’s Hall of Fame.

I have just been advised that Tom Snooks has also just been inducted into the CAMS Hall of Fame.

Ladies and gentlemen we have motoring royalty as our Clerk of Course.

Our Clerk of Course Tom Snooks

TOM SNOOKS from all of us at the ICT our heartiest CONGRATULATIONS!

See below for the official announcement

Quote: (‘Australian Rally Championship’ website)

“At a lavish gala presentation overnight in Canberra the Australian rallying community welcomed the first ever inductees into the Hall of Fame. In total 13 distinguished individuals were introduced ranging from drivers, to co-drivers, to officials and administrators.

In alphabetical order the Hall of Fame inductees are Neal Bates, Peter (Possum) Bourne, Garry Connelly, Ross Dunkerton, Harry Firth, John Large, Jack Murray, George Shepherd, Tom Snooks, Doug Stewart, Donald K Thomson, Ken Tubman and Bob Watson.”

 “Tom Snooks 

An extraordinary 45 years in event administration has seen Tom Snooks travel the length and breadth of the country, helping the successful running of numerous events as an official, a PR man, an administrator and a Clerk of Course.

The honour roll of events Tom has been actively involved in is too numerous to canvas in one go, but the highlights read as a testament to his determination and drive across an immense variety of roles.

From the 1968 London to Sydney Marathon, through the Ampol Trial, Dulux Rally and South Cross of the ‘70s, as a CAMS administrator in the early ‘80s and Wynns Safari into the mid ‘90s before a change to Clerk of Course for Targa Tasmania through to the early 2000’s.”

Karen Maric a first time ICT entry preparing for her second Motorkhana run in the 2012 ICT in her Chrysler Regal.

“The Best time of my life!”

Karen described a her first time experience as”…The best time of my life!!!!!”

The face of the 2013 ICT young and old join together to challenge for the 2013 Trophy

Jon Dickson and Alex in his 1953 Porsche 550 Spyder

Happy New Year!

Here we are mid January just four months before the start of the sixth ICT.  We are very excited by the response, registrations are coming in thick and fast and we want to finalise entries mid February.

Our C of C Tom Snooks has been out and about in that dreadful heat plotting the courses for the three days and he has come up with some brilliant drives. It must have been a bit weird navigating these areas in 45 degrees that that were covered in snow last time he was in there.

I have included some indicative maps and descriptions that Tom Snooks has provided. The challenges are going to be a bit more intense this year. These are by no means complete there is likely to be a lot of tweaking going on as we approach the start. See at the end of this newsletter.

Three Motorkhanas two in new locations and the third back at Falls Creek in the hope there is no snow at least on that day.

We are staying at the Manor House again which proved to be a great venue and very nice hosts. I will be seeking out new restaurant experiences for our dinners and I promise great food and terrific atmosphere every night.

There will be a welcome cocktail event on Thursday 16 May followed by our traditional re-union dinner and this year it looks like a number of crews that competed in the earlier rallies are returning so I think it will be a great evening.

Young Phil Hojgaard Olsen is coming back for a second go along with his Dad Peter Chairman of our charity the Duchenne Foundation. They came in at a very respectable sixth last year with Philip picking up a special Trophy as the youngest navigator in the history of the ICT – just fourteen years old. Philip has told me they are aiming to come first this year so watch out!

Youngest ever ICT Navigator Phil Hojgaard-Olsen

Phil’s Sister Cecelia shared navigator role with another new rallier Bob Polkinghorne in second place getter co piloting Peter Doig’s Alfa Spyder.

Peter Doig has had a few health challenges over the past year or so but in his inimitable style does not let it get him down always positive and he has told me he is back again this year. Keep up that winner attitude Peter we’re all thinking of you.

2011 winners Angela Solomou and Tiina Raiko also our first all girl team are back to try to regain their trophy but it won’t be that easy because the winner of the first ICT in 2008 Lido Russo is back and has told me he intends to come home with the trophy.

Not sure what Lido is driving this year, he just sold his 1984 Ferrari 308 to a friend of mine who is going to drive it in this year’s ICT

Stop Press: I have just received official entry douments from the 2010 winner Dominic Votano he is driving a guest marque  2010 Holden LBC.

Dark horse and great rally team Ian Allison and his co-driver Lindsey Cox have pledged to make this their first win of the ICT, second place in the Motorkhana last  year (it was all in those handbrake turns) not only are they founding competitors of the ICT but they are generous to a fault providing wonderful support for our charity.

 All this and we haven’t even mentioned last year’s first time ralliers Dana Dupere and Todd Gilmour who won last year much to their amazement. They won’t be letting things get away from them in their roaring Maserati 4200 Spyder.

Car 10 on the way to the winner’s podium


Another ICT original returning this year Team Tazio under the direction of Rally veteran Jon Dickson, there is a chance Team Tazio will field two entries this year stand by for news on that.

Waiting to grab it all is a big red growling Maserati Gransport driven hard by newly dedicated ICT competitor Domenico Cece.

Then there are last year’s winners of the ICT Motorkhanas car fourteen driving a guest marque. Entered by one of our major sponsors, radio station 105.7 The River driven with panache in the Motorkhanas by Kev Poulton and Dave Brunton. We are reliably informed that Dave and Kev are out to make it two in a row.

The guys that we hold up as epitomising the good times of the event Ben Doig and Wayne Green lost their Alfa Spyder GTV on the last leg of the last day and it did appear that its troubles were terminal. So we’re hoping that there has either been a resurrection or the birth a new machine standing by boys…

Bill Maslin a great guy finding time in his busy life in the NSW Premier’s office Bill does great things for a many charities and always makes time to be part of the ICT probably driving a guest marque this year either a VW Golf or he has been threatening for a few years to bring along an Audi TT.

New rallier last year Karen Malec driving her 1979 Chrysler Regal enjoyed herself so much she has been threatening to turn up with a much springier entry this year.

I will start to post images the entry vehicles on the website as they are revealed some competitors are keeping their powder dry when it comes to letting on what they have decided to drive.

If you are considering joining the rally and haven’t done it before rest assured you will be made very welcome by our regulars. Equally if you are a first time rallier the event is designed so you get a chance to learn about rallying in the early stages remember last year’s winners had never entered a rally before.

Many of our entries have taken the opportunity of teaming father and son or daughter as well as coming with partners. One thing we can guarantee is that you will have a fabulous time.

We are approaching the time when we need to begin confirming numbers for the event as we do have a limit to the number of entries we can accept, so don’t delay, go to the website www.italianconnection.com.au and then follow the links to the registration page which you can download, complete and email, fax or post to us.

If you have any questions call Robert on 0438 848 048 or email robert@italianconnection.com.au

Following is some competition data preliminary maps so you can get an idea of where we are going.

The ‘competition’ will comprise finding the way around the course using instructions issued by the organisers, using the vehicle’s tripmeter for measuring distances and answering questions along the
Based on powers of observation by answering questions, these questions get increasingly difficult as the event progresses. The crew with the most points is the winner.



Participants may well wonder what devious question/s the organisers will make up from this sign!!!

One secret to success is not to ‘assume’ the answer is not as straightforward as it may seem!!   Four levels of points will apply this year instead of the three of 2012:

  • 10 points if exactly correct
  • 8 points if not exactly accurate
  • 5 points if not the correct answer but the answer given was from the specified location (not used in 2012)
  • 0 points if no answer; or answer is such that was not at the location

The course will be checked twice by separate ‘checkers’.

It’s not a ‘pub crawl’ but there are some lovely buildings to see around the course




    THE  REGULATIONSAll aspects of the competition will be set down in a set of regulations and these will be available in early March. These regulations will set down how the competition will be carried out and contain necessary definitions of what to look for so that there is no (limited?) misunderstanding between the organisers and participants!!!!!



Albury – Mt Beauty – Falls Creek – Omeo – Mt Hotham – Bright – Albury.

Great run up the Kiewa Valley top Mt Beauty (changed from 2012 course in that we cross the Kiewa River three times); then twisting mountain roads to Falls Creek and to Omeo; also from Mt Hotham to Harrietville; followed by plains run back to Albury via Bright.

There won’t be many questions on this day as it is essential to for participants to keep moving as this day will be over a total of 425 kilometres and event with an 0815 start (vehicles start at one minute intervals) finishing the day may be in darkness for some participants (dark by 5pm if heavy overcast).  


Albury – Hume Weir – Koetong – Cudgewa – Corryong – Tintaldra – Jingellic – Granya – Albury

Day Two runs over 350 kilometres in the true north east of Victoria and is an unique opportunity to explore this part of the country, which one normally doesn’t pass through. We firstly examine the Hume Dam from a variety of directions (see below) …………………

…………….and then travel east through undulating country to the lunchbreak at Corryong and then we follow the Murray River from Tintaldra back to Albury, taking in Walwa,  Jingellic, Thologolong, Granya and Talgarno.

Along the Murray River


Albury – Jindera – Howlong – Rutherglen – Glenrowan – Oxley – Milawa – Beechworth – Barnawartha – Albury.

Sunday sees a 300 kilometre run mainly through the flatlands of the north east wine country with a finish through undulating country around Beechworth; Includes visits to Rutherglen Wine Centre, Baileys of Glenrowan, Sam Miranda of Oxley and Brown Bothers of Milawa.



Start 0815 – Finish 1700, motorkhana at Falls Creek


Start 0830; Finish 1530, followed by motorkhana


Start 0815; Finish 1530, followed by motorkhana



Morning Tea – Falls Creek             1100

Lunch – Omeo                                  1300


Lunch – Corryong                            1200


Morning Tea – Rutherglen             0940

Lunch –Milawa                                 1245


We’re on our way to the sixth ICT 17 – 19 May 2013

Imagine this: It’s 7.30 am on a crisp May morning, you and your co-driver are sitting down to a steaming hot breakfast and the room is full of forty odd other rally crews all speculating on where they will end up today; in the mountains, amongst vineyards in the wine country and what about the Motorkhana, what’s the course going to be like. The air is filled with excitement and anticipation. This is the first day of the sixth Italian Connection Trophy – The South East Australia Touring Road Rally.

This is a weekend full of challenges, the promise of delicious food and fine wines at the end of a day’s competition plus great company and camaraderie of other like-minded competitors.

This is what some of our competitors said about the last ICT.

Domenico and co-driver John braving the cold at Falls Creek

“Awesome roads, amazing scenery and great company! One of the best experiences of my life!

“Domenico Cece – Driving his Maserati Gransport

“I fell in love with my FIAT Coupe all over again after driving those roads.”

Ian Allison – Driving his 1997 Fiat Coupe Turbo

Dana and Todd slip sliding away…

“Todd and I  had a fabulous time, met some great people and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves on fantastic roads through gorgeous countryside, and then we completely surprised ourselves by winning!  It was a wonderful experience especially for our very first Rally. The event was really well run which made it an especially fun weekend.”

Dana Dupere – Driving her Maserati Spyder

Each start and finish will occur in Albury New South Wales providing an easy journey to the start for competitors from Victoria, the ACT and New South Wales.

One of the unique features of our start location is that just moments out of Albury City you find yourself on some of the most awesome roads and stunning countryside in Australia.   

Looping out of Albury you will experience an unforgettable and glorious three days, driving exciting and challenging roads; Alpine passes, picturesque valleys, lush farmland and historic towns – but only on sealed roads. And in between the road stages, challenges of a different kind – Motorkhanas to really test those driving skills and for the first time an optional speed test on a test circuit. 

Each day the you will take off from central Albury driving through breathtaking scenery into the Victorian High Country, Wine Regions the Victorian Alps, the Great Dividing Range taking in locations like Falls Creek, Rutherglen, King Valley, Mount Beauty, Beechworth, Mount Buffalo, Omeo and many others.

On Thursday 16 May there will be an Official welcome cocktail party and later that evening we will hold the traditional ICT re-union Dinner, all competitors invited.

Then on Friday we begin with all cars assembling at QEII Square where an official will signal the start of the ICT start procession which is an honour circuit of Albury; then the flag drops for some serious competition.

We are absolutely delighted that the Albury Wodonga & Districts Car Club is once again supporting the event and indeed playing a very important role in the marshalling of the Motorkhanas.

We are proud to announce our sponsors from the fifth ICT have all confirmed they will support the rally again in 2013 and we sincerely thank them for that support.

Register now for the 2013 ICT just download the registration form, complete it and email to robert@italianconnection.com.au or fax it to Robert at (02) 9960 1744


See you at the start!



Are you or your Club looking for a long weekend Touring Assembly event with motorkhanas and a speed event or two? If so, consider The 2013 ICT it is the sixth Italian Connection Trophy.

In 2012 we anchored the event in Albury and each day travelled on a new adventure into the Victorian High Country and Wine Districts. The experience was both special and unique the drives were amazing and the competition intense every 2012 competitor has confirmed their participation some bringing new entries along with them.

This event keeps evolving and getting better and this year we have expanded our formal entry categories:

In 2013 we are dividing the competition into three divisions.

Italian Marques Open Division – twenty places available

Italian Marques Dealer Challenge – Ten places available

Guest Marques (non-Italian entries) Division – Fifteen places available

This means there will be additional divisional trophies struck both for the Rally and the Motorkhana but there will always be an overall winner for the Motorkhanas and the Grand Trophy Winner of the whole event.

We will base ourselves in Albury again next year. Right next door a great new test track in Wodonga will be complete in time for next year’s ICT so we will not only move our last Motorkhana to this track but this is where we will be adding the new speed test to the program.

The next ICT is being held from Friday 17 – 19 May 2013 and will feature three Motorkhanas and for the first time a speed trial section as well three days of competitive touring competition.

We are delighted to confirm that Tom Snooks will return as Clerk of Course.

The package includes four night’s accommodation, plus breakfast as well as dinners in a variety of restaurants around the district.

We cordially invite any club members that are interested to complete the enclosed Registration of Interest and return to us ASAP as we expect that positions will be filled quickly this year.

We are very pleased to be supporting The Duchenne Foundation again in 2013.

Check the website www.italianconnection.com.au or email robert@italianconnection.com.au

Exciting developments for the 2013 Italian Connection Trophy

Following a wonderfully successful and very enjoyable fifth ICT we are already in the planning stages for the 2013 Rally.

Memories of the 2012 ICT and our first Motorkhana on Ice

Some of the 2012 ICT crews enjoying a beer at the end of a great three days

2013 ICT

While we built a great new template for the ICT this year we are always trying to improve the event to keep interest, competition and the fun factor strong.

In 2013 we are dividing the competition into three divisions.

  • Italian Marques Open Division –  twenty places available
  • Italian Marques Dealer Challenge – Ten places available
  • Guest Marques (non-Italian entries) Division  – Fifteen places available

This means there will be additional divisional trophies struck both for the Rally and the Motorkhana but there will always be an overall winner for the Motorkhana and the Grand Trophy of the whole event.

Also we have been advised that a great new test track in Wodonga will be completed in time for next year’s ICT so we will not only move our last Motorkhana to this track but we will be adding a speed test to the program.

We see all this as upping the competition and is bound to add some spice to the competition particularly between the Italian and the non Italian Marques.

To receive a 2013 Registration of Interest form please email robert@italianconnection.com.au . Once we have received your completed form we will ensure you receive regular updates on the progress of the event. Please send to your friends and fellow club members that might want to join us next year.

Official entry forms will be sent to those that have registered interest later this year. Keep checking the website for new information www.italianconnection.com.au

Proudly supporting the Duchenne Foundation www.blueball.org.au Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy the deadliest disease you’ve never heard of



Well the 2012 ICT is done and dusted and we have had a unanimous vote that everyone had a great time.

The event changed significantly by not travelling between Sydney and Melbourne but anchoring the ICT in Albury halfway (almost) between the two cities so travels to the start or to get home was much easier for everyone.

The great thing about Albury is that just a short drive out of town and you are in magnificent country and Tom Snooks our Clerk of Course made sure we experienced some of the best there was on offer.

We are gathering photographs and will be posting them shortly.

It was not just a great driving experience the 2012 ICT will be remembered for some outstanding highlights and some drama.

First our generous sponsor Wodonga Car World opened their service bays so AWDCC Scrutineers could check all ICT vehicles ensuring their safety for the three day event.

Then the Mayor of Albury had put on a welcome reception for us. We all felt a bit like celebrities, legends in our own lunchtime…

This was also the occasion when for the first time everyone got to sample Domenico Cece’s world famous Limoncello. Suddenly the reception got a little more animated. Our main concern was that would everyone would remember what was said at the briefing that followed?

Domenico, who was driving a Maserati Gransport in the rally, brought enough inventory of Limoncello to supply us all an after dinner shot of this amazing stuff. We are all converts. Thank you Domenico for your commitment to our education of important Italian traditions.

Then onto our traditional re-union dinner where everyone caught up with each other or was introduced as a newbie and gathered into our ICT community.

Friday – The Start

There had been a lot of rain but lo and behold at 7.30 on Friday morning it was dry. We had a great collection of escort cars arrive including the Mayor’s partner Nick’s Classic MG, and David West, president of the AWDCC, brought his beautiful vintage 1928 Lancia Lambda.

We all felt like stars with Prime television and The River 105.7 outside broadcast, the latter being our media partners, and a healthy collection of media photographers.

The River Crew at work at the start

As we formed up for the start the temperature started to plummet.

We had scheduled a stop and a Motorkhana at Falls Creek. We knew there may be some snow so we kept monitoring the situation. After receiving the reports of clear roads we decided to go ahead.

The timing was impeccable as all the competitors were on their final approach to the village when the heavens opened and dropped a huge dump of the white on them.

Not to put too fine point on it but the Motorkhana became the Motorkhana on Ice not quite a Disney spectacular but very exciting. After four brave souls had a go we thought it best to abandon it. The rest of the rally that day became a great drive because our planned route became impassable.

A very white Falls Creek

Where’s the ice button?


Where are my skis?

Hats off to the Motorkhana Stewards from the Albury Wodonga & Districts Car Club; the boys had spent the morning setting the Falls Creek Motorkhana course up and then spent the next two hours doing a lot of foot stamping to ward off the cold while they waited for us to arrive, hardy lot the AWDCC.



None but the brave or crazy


Ben Doig loving it!

Everyone arrived home at the Manor House safely where we all gathered for a much needed ale or two before going off to dinner at the SS & A Club, another sponsor of the rally. The food was very good and the club even provided a band to entertain us for the evening. A lot of discussion about the extraordinary scenery we drove through during the day and viewing of photos of the Falls Creek adventure and predictably some queries around some of the day’s questions. Tom handled them with aplomb. It was a relatively early night as we had a busy day ahead of us on Saturday.

Saturday took us to the wine country where I was reliably informed that Rutherglen not only has some fine wines but some extraordinary hot pies that were sampled. I am searching for the name of the place as I didn’t write it down – one of our stalwart competitors will oblige I hope. On to Myrtleford, a traditional stop for the ICT, to coincide with their La Fiera annual Italian Festival; the weather was a bit patchy but festival goers still came out in their thousands.

For those that didn’t know; the ICT was responsible for the creation of La Fiera. On our first visit in 2008 the whole town and town council embraced the event with hundreds joining us for dinner that year. The mayor turned up there was a choir and all this happening without our knowledge. Needless to say we were all delighted.

Noel Stone, a prominent Myrtleford resident, who has since become a good friend and an ardent supporter of the ICT, decided it was a perfect opportunity to encourage visitors to the town at a time when there was little tourism activity, so Noel created La Fiera.

La Fiera is now so popular the ICT is just one of the highlights; a fantastic initiative by Noel to promote his town.

I arrive first as I have to ensure things are in place. I always take a little time to check out the Fiesta and engage in my own little tradition; to find the roast chestnut stall with their massive chestnut toasting pan. I got my bag of hot roasted chestnuts and continued my tour.

Then to the Savoy Club where we all had lunch just prior to taking over their Car Park for our second Motorkhana. A few hundred enthusiasts lined the barriers to check out the cars and chat to the crews.

Todd Gilmour attacking the Myrtleford Motorkhana Course with gusto


The stand out was car 14 the entry that was put in by our media partners The River 105.7. To be honest we thought the guys from the River were there mostly to support the charity and enjoy the drive when Kev from The Breakfast Crew showed us in no uncertain terms that was definitely on a competitive mission as well, with Kev doing the course in 37.8 sec, more than 2 seconds better than his nearest rival.

That night we joined hundreds of other people at Kinross Woolshed, a far cry from the quiet function room provided to us the night before. This was a place where residents and visitors to the area came to party. We thought it a great place to hold a raffle for our Charity so Peter Olsen’s family (Peter’s the chairman of the Duchenne Foundation) moved into the throng and did some serious selling, raising more much need funds for the Charity. Everyone was terrific and willing to part with a few dollars.

We arranged a bus for those that wanted to imbibe a little and after our now mandatory glass or two of Domenico’s Limoncello those that hadn’t booked the bus were understandably cautious on their drive back to our hotel.

Sunday, the weather was perfect, a crisp and crystal clear morning saw competitors lining up at the start ready for the final day with a route that stretched from the Hume Weir through Old Tallangatta, Mitta Mitta, Dederang and Yackandanda to finally arrive back into Albury at 3.00 pm.

However, there had been some very noisy activity at the finish location for a number of hours prior to the Rally arriving in time for its final Motorkhana. The Albury Wodonga & District Car Club who were hosting and marshalling all our Motorkhanas used the course for a special AWDCC Motorkhana of their own from 12.00 noon until 3.00pm; so there was a continuous stream of spectators checking out the considerable driving skill of the competitors. In the adjoining Hovell Tree Park cars were lining for their Show and Shine.

The official Duchenne Foundation stand


A crowd of onlookers were waiting patiently for the first rally cars to arrive and in they came the first a Sunday-only competitor, local resident Tony Russell driving in his guest marque, a brand spanking new black Ford. Tony had a great time and has booked in for the whole rally next year.

Then in they came one by one until all but one had finished, we knew something was up because Undies (Vic) and Matt in the Technical Back-up car also was absent then Domenico walked over and advised me that Wayne and Ben in the Alfa Spyder and veteran of the last four rallies had lost their engine in a massive cloud of smoke. It was unfixable so they had to leave it on the side of the road and the back-up team brought them in. Wayne was pretty philosophical about it and promised to find a new engine or new car for 2013.



It’s not looking good guys.

At about 3.15 pm the AWDCC’s cars moved out of the Motorkhana area and joined all the cars in the Show and Shine areas making way for the ICT cars to form up for their final Motorkhana. Pretty much everyone was to compete in this event except of course for Wayne and Ben and also Bill Maslin in the VW Golf. The only reason Bill didn’t compete was the car was his Grandmother’s and she was also his co-driver! I don’t know this for sure but I have a suspicion that some rules were laid out for Bill that included a “don’t bend my car” rule so Bill thought he had better not risk it.

So all the course marshals are in place, Steve is on the Microphone calling the shots and describing the action. The course is laid out in the Aquatic Centre Car Park it’s a long course with plenty of challenges.

The champion Motorkhana driver for the Car Club did the course in a bit over 37 seconds. He does this sort of competition all the time so we weren’t expecting that fast a time but our drivers certainly pushed the envelope. It was a great atmosphere.

After the crew briefing all drivers walked the course but not before young Phil Olsen in his Ferrari red rocket wheelchair drove the course to a huge cheer as he entered the finished garage.


Domenico fastest at Albury






Karen took 20 seconds off her 1st run!

Dave Brunton trying for three wheels



“Gotta miss that marker!” Matt in his BMW 325i


Even “Undies” had a go 43 sec!

The great variety of cars in the rally meant there was going to be some very different times set.

Clean first runs with the best times achieved were Matt Di Petta in his BMW 325i, Domenico Cece in his Maserati Gransport, Ian Allison driving his 1997 Fiat Turbo and The River’s entry this time driven by Dave Brunton so the second run was crucial. Domenico was fastest on the first run.

Surprise packet Peter Hojgaard Olsen in his Alfa 159

The second run and Domenico smoked it in Gransport with Todd in the Maserati Spider just 0.47 seconds behind.

We all returned to our hotel to have a beer or two and catch up with each other before heading off to our traditional Victory Dinner this held at the wonderful old reception and function venue Adamshurst built in 1891 as a private residence for George Adams.

We arrived to a roaring fire in the traditional fireplace and after some celebratory glasses of fine champagne we got down to an excellent dinner.

A few speeches to thank our wonderful band of supporters and sponsors and then to the much awaited results announcements.

We began with the Phoenix Award this is to recognise resilience in adversity the ability to come back grit your teeth and soldier on. This was well deserved by its winner Karen Marec and Ken Churcher. They drove a 1979 Chrysler Regal, our first American entry. They lost the brakes of the car on Saturday and it was a significant challenge to find someone in the region that was able to not only work on the car but also provide the correct parts. They arrived in Myrtleford in time to watch the Motorkhana. Karen vowed she would compete in the Albury Motorkhana.

Remember the best time was 40.47 seconds. Karen’s first go at the Albury track had her finish in over 73 seconds to the huge cheers of the crowd Karen smiled but wasn’t finished yet her second run was an incredible 20 whole seconds faster arriving into the garage to even bigger cheers.

A very well deserved award and Karen has already committed herself to the 2013 and is currently looking for a car.

Then a special Award; After coming to the starts and finishes of the rally every year, Peter Hojgaard Olsen, Chairman of the Duchenne Foundation, and his son Philip who suffers from DMD entered the event after McCarroll’s Motors generously lent them a black and beautiful Alfa Romeo 159.

From left Robert Gunn, Philip and Peter Doig




Phil working on his Day Book

    Young Phil is just 14 years old and is having trouble getting around so normally special arrangements need to be made for him but not this time! This time he was ensconced in the passenger seat with his maps and instructions and he directed his Dad with skill and confidence. Never done a rally before and they came sixth a brilliant result for a newbie and with a 14 year old navigator. We struck a special Trophy for the Italian Connection’s Youngest Navigator.

Then on to the Motorkhanas. Falls Creek had to be abandoned but not before some brave souls had a go at our first Motorkhana on Ice including Matt Di Petta in his BMW 325i, Julian Besetri with his nippy Arbath sliding a perfect figure eight, Wayne and Ben in the Alfa Spider were not to be outdone with snow deluging the entire course and Peter Hojgaard Olsen throwing his Alfa 159 around in showers of snow and ice. So results didn’t count, but in the words of Ben Doig, we will always remember the 2012 ICT because of the snow at Falls Creek.

So Myrtleford Motorkhana next and then to Albury. It was always about the accumulated times from the Myrtleford and the Albury runs. That meant that the winners of the Motorkhana trophy were The River crew who had a total time of 77.26 seconds –congratulations Kev and Dave.

To the absolute shock and amazement of Ian Allison he came second, shaking his head as came up to collect his medal mumbling “…I never get anywhere in Motorkhanas…” . Well Ian there is a lot to be said about efficient clean runs. Well done Ian.

Finally we are getting to the big ones and the places are very close in fact there is a tie for second place Charles Di Petta in the BMW and Peter Doig in the Alfa Spider. The place was decided by a tie breaker event that our C of C devised earlier and second place was won by Peter Doig and his crew, which numbered two so Charles and Matt Di Petta a very worthy third place. On Friday, seventeen year old Cecelia Hojgaard Olsen, on Saturday and Sunday local Wodonga resident Bob Polkinghorne this was the first ever rally for Cecelia and Bob so they were seriously chuffed as we hung their medals around their necks.




Team Doig, with Peter, Cecelia and Bob – 2nd Place

Peter Doig stepped into compete after the very late withdrawal of our all girl team because of a serious health scare for one of them. I am pleased to report she is now on the road to recovery.

Now the big announcement the winner of the 2012 Italian Connection Rally…drum roll

The winners are new competitors Todd Gilmour and Dana Dupre in their 2005 Maserati Spyder Congratulations guys.









The winners Todd Gilmour & Dana Dupere

The evening finished on a high with a lively auction for some fantastic items donated by Ferrari and Pirelli, we will let everyone know what we raised for our charity when we get the final tally from the Foundation.

So we had one more thing to do – have our final shots of Cece’s Limoncello rounding off a perfect Victory Dinner.

The new location with its instant access to some fantastic roads and scenery has been a big hit, our new C of C Tom and deputy Clerk of Course Steuart Snooks designed some amazing routes. We got a great big tick because we were based in one hotel making the three days much more enjoyable with no packing and unpacking needed every night.

All in all a very successful ICT

Next year more exciting changes and challenges but one thing won’t change our commitment to give everyone an amazing three days and our commitment to supporting our charity the Duchenne Foundation.

We will be back in Albury next year the 2013 ICT begins on Friday 17 May.


ICT Crews enjoying a beer at the finish

CAR 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 TOT DAY 3 PLC    DAY 3 DAYS                   1-3 PLC            1-3
10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 8 10 10 148 2 384 1
2 10 10 8 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 8 10 10 146 5 376 2#
5 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 150 1 376 3
3 10 10 10 10 10 8 10 10 10 10 10 10 8 10 10 146 5 374 4
1 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 8 10 10 148 2 370 5
7 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 8 10 8 10 10 8 10 10 144 9 368 6#
4 10 10 8 10 10 10 10 8 10 10 10 10 10 10 8 144 9 368 7
9 10 10 10 10 10 10 8 8 10 10 10 10 8 10 8 142 11 360 8
8 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 8 10 10 10 10 8 10 10 146 5 344 9
14 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 8 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 148 2 314 10
12 10 10 10 10 10 8 10 8 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 146 5 232 11
13 8 10 0 10 10 8 10 8 10 8 10 10 10 10 8 130 12
# higher place on tiebreaker determined by Special Tests (Garaging & Reversing)
Special test results are used where ties are achieved        
NO Garage Reverse Total Placing Myrtleford Albury  Total Placing
1 30 48 78 4 43.78    
2 36 37 73 3 43.35 61.85 105.2 8
3 52 31 83 5 37.4 43.22 80.62 3
4 200 100 300 11    
5 55 100 155 9 37.06 42.38 79.44 2
7 19 100 119 8 38.9 42.44 81.34 5
8 13 35 48 1 42.96 40.47 83.43 6
9 23 27 50 2 38.72 42.44 81.16 4
10 17 100 117 6 49.53 40.94 90.47 7
12 200 100 300 12 56.85    
13 100 48.19    
14 17 100 117 7 35.6 41.66 77.26 1
#Distances in centimetres; penalty 100 cm for hitting; 200 cm for missing test      
**Time in mins and decimal minS     Car 2 Albury incl penalty for wd


Check out our TV commercial




ICT 2012  also known as the Italian Connection opens entries for ALL Marques including Australian, American, Japanese or Korean  cars for the first time in it’s five year history we have decided we want all you lovers of the road and your machines should get the chance to enjoy a wonderful event.

A classy German joins the fray a 1978 Mercedes 450 SLC

We are delighted to welcome yet another newcomer to the ICT Clinton Van de Stadt. Clinton’s company  Quantum Printing based in Albury has sponsored the printing of all those classy looking brochures and posters you see around the place for the ICT for which we are most grateful. Clinton’s bringing a beautiful 1978 Mercedes 450 SLC. The only danger with this car is that it is so comfortable you might nod off on the way around the course so the navigator has an extra task – to ensure Clinton doesn’t get too relaxed.

Here comes another Maserati

Dana Dupre and Todd Gilmour are joining the ICT and bringing along a 2005 Maserati 4200 Spyder, very cool indeed.

The Di Pettas are back to defend their Motorkhana title!

We are delighted to welcome back last year’s winner of the Motorkhana Matthew and Charles Di Petta. Matt ripped up the Motorkhana last year in his Dad’s 1970 Alfa Romeo GTV 1750, an extraordinary driver. There is a rumour he is looking to get seriously into drifting. This year Matt is driving his own baby, his bright red 1989 BMW 325i so Charles can breath a sigh of relief and his Alfa can continue to recover from its slight bruising.

Welcome to another new addition to the ICT Helen & Julian Besestri are driving their Abarth – very nippy around the Motorkhana circuits I predict.

Helen & Julian Besestri’s Abarth

Welcome to new ICT competitor Dana Dupere driving his beloved 2005 Maserati 4200 Spyder. Looks like there are going to be some Maseratis going head to head this year. Photo soon.


If you have been keeping up with the ICT news you will know that young Phil Olsen along with his Dad Peter, the Chairman of the Duchenne Foundation (our charity)  are going to join the rally for the first time   this year. Phil, who is a Duchenne MD sufferer has become a favourite amongst us attending the starts and finishes and helping promote the event at Auto Italia. While Phil is very excited about being in the event he was a bit underwhelmed by the fact his Dad was driving a VW Golf (we allow European marques). Just yesterday I received a call from an excited Peter Olsen telling that McCarroll’s Alfa have decided to give Team Olsen an Alfa to drive in the ICT.  Phil’s birthday is tomorrow (he’s fourteen) and his Dad telling Phil he’s in an Alfa is the best birthday present he could get.

So a huge thank you to Stefano Tommasini the General Manager at McCarroll’s Alfa Romeo for his generosity and support

Phil also loves Ferraris!

So watch out all you ICT competitors  don’t let the wheelchair fool you Team Olsen will be smokin’ from the getgo!


Dedicated ICT Competitors Wayne Green and Ben Doig have confirmed they are competing again this year. There is no doubt they have the Italian Connection Trophy firmly in their sights- You better watch out Tiina and Ange they mean business although with a hat like that can we take them seriously!

Rob’s Blog #9

I am delighted to report that last year’s champions our only all woman team have confirmed they will be defending their title.

Tiina and Ange have thrown  down the gauntlet to any women or men who want to try and wrest the title off them.

Beginning to get calls generated from the Radio and TV campaign.

Ian Allison founding competitor of the ICT has signed on again driving his 1997 Fiat Turbo

Rob’s Blog #8

 Timing and Itinerary


 The Italian Connection Trophy, a touring road event for motoring enthusiasts, is an organised driving tour of some of the most beautiful country in North East Victoria, mainly over splendid touring roads.

The competition will be based on competitors collecting information as they travel around the course and their answers being ‘scored’, thus providing the ‘winner’ of the Trophy.

 It takes in the Australian Alps (Friday), the Wine Country (Saturday) and passes through mainly farming country and numerous small villages (Sunday), as well as providing the opportunity to explore historic towns in the region on all days.

 The Australian Alps are the highest mountain ranges of mainland Australia. They are located in south-eastern Australia and straddle south-eastern New South Wales and eastern Victoria. The Alps contain the Australian mainland’s only peaks exceeding 2,000 metres (6,500 feet) and the only place on the mainland in which deep snow occurs regularly (snow also falls on Tasmania‘s high country). This is the main area for Friday’s driving.

With over 600 wineries, Victoria has more wine producers than any other Australian wine-producing state.

  •  Alpine Valleys, Milawa & Beechworth are known mostly for their table wineproduction in an area that is in a subalpine climate and is distinctively cooler than other North East Victorian wine regions. Closer to Mount Buffalothan Rutherglen, the vineyards receive more rainfall and cooler temperatures.
  • Rutherglen is known for their full-bodied red wines as well as their sweet fortified wines. The continental climate of the area is marked by very warm summers and moderate evenings. Rainfall is very low and spring frostpose a viticultural hazard.

Saturday sees the tour pass through this area.

Sunday’s tour is over the Hume Weir via the Bethanga Bridge to Bethanga, and then it follows the Murray River to Granya and Tallangatta East, before passing through country which provides for fishing, bushwalking, canoeing, horse riding, or just plain leisurely driving with the most scenic mountain area in Victoria in the background. The return to Albury is via country around the historic town of Yackandandah.


 Albury – Mount Beauty – Falls Creek – Omeo – Mount Hotham – Bright – Albury

The Italian Connection Trophy commences with a run on the Friday over the Victorian Alps – a 415 kilometre drive into the Kiewa Valley to Mount Beauty, then a twisting up-mountain run to Falls Creek and further on to Omeo. This is followed by a steady climb over undulating country to Mt Hotham, and then the twisting drop to Bright.

Dinner Plain
Falls Creek
Mount Beauty
Mount Hotham





The tour travels around the western side of the Hume Weir with the Alps looming larger and larger as we travel towards Mount Beauty.

 The scenic drive out of Mt Beauty (at 350m) and we climb to Falls Creek (at 1600m)  On the way we may see some snow have  blanketed the higher reaches of the mountains. The official snow season starts in mid-June, just two weeks after the tour.

A motorkhana and morning tea break will be held at Falls Creek, then we off again twisting and turning road through the Alpine National Park to the Omeo Highway

After lunch the course will pick up the Great Alpine Road (‘B500’). The road is Australia’s highest year-round accessible sealed road and winds past lofty mountains, valleys, forests, rivers, vineyards and farms.

The latter is a spectacular piece of road – sharp bends through forests of mountain ash and stringy bark that give way to stunning views of the valley below. The road practically sits atop the ridge of mountains for about 30 kilometres, giving spectacular views on both sides of the road.

Continuing along the Great Alpine Road from picturesque bottom-of-the-mountain Harrietville the route follows the Ovens River to equally picturesque Bright.

From Bright, the tour makes its way through the valley and back roads to Yackandandah.

Being a long drive we won’t stop at this historic town, leaving that until Sunday when we have more time, and we follow the main road to the finish in Albury.


 Saturday’s 265 kilometre drive is initially through the relative flat vineyard country to Chiltern, then Rutherglen and Milawa; followed by uphill and down dale running through country surrounding Myrtleford and Beechworth on the way back to Albury.


Today we pass through three main shires – Indigo (Chiltern, Rutherglen, Beechworth and Yackandandah), Wangaratta (Eldorado, Oxley, Milawa) and Alpine (Myrtleford).

The Shire of Indigo is named after the Indigo Valley and Indigo Creek which runs through the shire into the Murray River. Thousands of hopeful miners, dreaming of ‘making it rich’ were attracted to the region following the discovery of gold at Beechworth in 1852.

Today the area is renowned as a premier tourist destination with its diversity of historic and natural attractions, fine restaurants and a flourishing wine industry. We will pass through Barnawartha and our first stop will be historic Chiltern; then onto Rutherglen. The wonderful wines of Rutherglen, the oldest wine region in Victoria, are justifiably world famous.  

 We will then pass quickly through Eldorado, where gold was found in the area during the 1850s and area named after the legend of El Doradoand onto Milawa, the hub of the Milawa Gourmet Region which offers a wide range of produce, including wines.

Myrtleford is the largest town in the Alpine Shire and is an important town in the Ovens/Buffalo River Valley, and here we will take a break for a motorkhana, followed by lunch, at the Savoy Club.

Then into the hills to Stanley, now famous for its orchards of apples, chestnuts and berries before moving onto Beechworth, a beautifully preserved old gold town, where we will take a 30 minute break for a look around.

From Beechworth we head for home.  


Albury – Hume Weir – Bethanga – Granya – Mitta Mitta – Erskville – Kiewa – Dederang – Yackandandah – Albury

 Sunday’s 320 kilometre journey primarily takes in undulating country to the east and southeast, over near perfect touring roads, through Bethanga, Granya, Mitta Mitta, Kiewa and Dederang; then the return to Albury takes in the historic town of Yackandandah.



Mitta Mitta

Today’s run will be, in the main, to the east and southeast.

A look at the Hume Weir and then across the large waterway to Bellbridge and up the hills to Bethanga; From here we head towards the Murray River and follow it along a twisting road for some 20 kilometres before heading south through Granya to the location of Old Tallangatta, which was abandoned as the waters banked up as Hume Weir filled.

From here until Yackandandah the picturesque countryside is dotted with small hamlets and he first ones we come across are Eskville and Mitta Mitta, the gateway to the large Dartmouth Dam.

Then onto Tangambalanga/Kiewa, situated in the rolling hills of a valley, the towns exist around the dairy and cheese factory of the Murray-Goulburn dairy cooperative, which processes milk for the fresh milk market, as well as butter and cheese.

From Kiewa we swing south, running (again) beside the Kiewa River, which we cross twice on the way to Dederang, a popular trout fishing region.

Then onto a break at historic Yackandandah, a former gold mining town which is now predominantly a dairy farming and forestry region, one where visitors can enjoy the peace and tranquillity of the district’s forest and mountains.  The town is affectionately known as ‘Yack’. We will have a good look around, before once more heading to the finish in Albury and the final motorkhana test.

Then a lot of discussion amongst the officials to ascertain who is the Champion of the 2012 Italian Connection Trophy.


Rob’s Blog#7


25 – 27 May 2012

 Fantastic to see Ferrari back on the winner’s podium at the Malaysian Grand Prix

“Alonso won a really great race holding off the challenge of a relentless Sergio Perez.

Ferrari called it the perfect strategy in the rain-affected race, and Alonso didn’t put a wheel wrong as he held off Perez by just 2.2 seconds. Perez could and probably should have won his first grand prix but ran wide when pressuring Alonso with six laps remaining and couldn’t close the gap in the remaining laps”

Alonso was outstanding keeping Perez at bay all the way to the chequered flag.

Fernando Alonso celebrates his first victory of the season

on the podium at the Malaysian Grand Prix

Sebastian Vettel believes Narain Karthikeyan was responsible for the collision that brought an end to his chances of scoring points at the Malaysian Grand Prix and has called him a “cucumber”.

The Italian celebration continues at the ICT as the start date approaches.

SO, we have talked about the fabulous country, the beautiful and historic sites, the sponsorship support, restaurants we are eating at. We have also shared with many of you a video that describes the charity we support The Duchenne Foundation.

NOW it’s time to talk about the driving; after all this is an event for motoring enthusiasts; a rally that tests your driving and navigation skills, as well as your observation powers in seeking answers to questions posed in the road book along the way – with a trophy for the best at the end.

Whilst there is so much to stop and see, the prime objective is to drive the wonderful touring roads. There won’t be much time to spare to stop and explore all that may be of interest as there is a schedule to be met, but the tour will provide you with some wonderful opportunities to observe places and locations that at another time you can return and be able to spend hours, maybe days, enjoying in a more leisurely visit.

I have just seen the first Road Book and you’re going to be busy, but it will be fun. I have also had a chance to check out the various Motorkhana configurations that are currently being considered by Tom and his team and I can guarantee that no Motorkhana is going to be the same; what course you might drive in Falls Creek will not have any resemblance to the course in Myrtleford or Albury.

I have just received a photograph of Domenico Cece’s newly acquired Maserati Gransport, what do you think?

I will be updating the competitor pics as of next week if you haven’t sent me a photo of your machine yet then please send it; everybody in the ICT would like to know who and what they are up against.

Regional radio and television campaigns are underway and our first media release was sent out a few days ago with a call for drivers. So if you want to join the fun call, email or simply download the entry forms on the website www.italianconnection.com.au complete them and get them in ASAP. Remember if three days is too difficult for whatever reason you can still come and be part of the rally for one or two days, you just need to call Robert on 0438 848 048 or send him an email robert@italianconnection.com.au for the special entry form.

Rob’s Blog #6

Hi there,

Here we are again. I would like to welcome our new graphic designers Albury based Hue Graphics, Nicole and Sam are looking after us.

I mentioned recently Domenico Cece is a new entry with his beautiful Maserati Sports but Domenico has also thrown his company, Cello Liqueurs’ support behind the ICT with some sponsorship.

Domenico’s Mum Franca Cece created one of the best Limoncello you will ever taste and two years ago Dom and wife Teresa took it to market. Now his Mum’s Limoncello is famous and can be found all over Australia. Dom is bringing us his unique and very Italian liqueur so at the end of our dinner each night we can enjoy a little shot of Italy to finish our evening. Check out his website http://celloliqueur.com.

Dom and his Mum Franca

The rally routes are just about finalised for each day (see the map below). You can see we are going to cover a lot of ground with a whole bunch of new challenges.

Conceptual map of NE Vic for brochure

You might have seen in my last blog that young Phil Olsen injured himself, I said he had a broken ankle – a bit more serious than that he broke his hip! He is on the mend and doing fine. He is home and he is very excited about joining the Rally. Good on you Phil!

Rob’s Blog # 5

We are just twelve weeks away from the fifth Italian Connection  Rally start and I am delighted to report that activities and developments have been brilliant.

 First I should tell you about some of the support that has been added to an already great group of sponsors.

Border Media that include leading regional broadcaster The River radio and Southern Cross TEN television in their stable have been confirmed as our broadcast partners. Not only will they be promoting the event in a strong on air campaign on radio and television but are looking to have one of their on-air team enter the rally. They will be selling space on their car to local businesses with all proceeds to the Duchenne Foundation.

They will be reporting their progress throughout the three days on how they and the rest of the rally are doing.

In addition The River is looking at holding a sausage sizzle breakfast for the public at the Friday morning start of the ICT. A gold coin will get them breakfast and all proceeds once again to the Foundation.

So you can expect a big crowd to see you off on the first day. As in previous years the rally group will be escorted through town by a horde of classic cars and bikes led by the highway patrol with its blues and twos going.

Welcome to new entry Dominic Cece whose bringing his shiny new red Maserati and founding competitor Ian Alison returns once again in his 1997 Fiat Turbo Coupe

In another exciting development the Classic Italian Motorcycle Association of Australia as well as the MGOCV – Moto Guzzi Owners Club of Victoria have contacted us to see if there is any way they can be involved in the event. There is a whole bunch of ways and we are in discussion. I will keep you all posted on progress.

We welcome our new print partner Quantum Print Albury Wodonga’s premier printer who will produce all the ICT printing needs this year. Our creative sponsor will create stunning designs for Quantum to produce.

Still on the promotional front look out for a story about the ICT in the next edition of ‘Italianicious’ magazine

I am also very pleased to report that for the fifth year in a row Pirelli will be supporting the ICT with some of their excellent merchandise for us to auction off for the Duchenne Foundation.

A big thank you to the Savoy Club in Myrtleford who are letting us use their car park again for one of our Motorkhanas and especially Noel Stone director of La Fiera who makes everything ticks over like clockwork; also thank you to Falls Creek for agreeing to allow us to hold a Motorkhana in their village too.

A bit of news about someone who has become a bit of a mascot of the ICT family, the son of the Duchenne Foundation Chairman Peter Olsen, young Philip Olsen has broken his ankle. It is a bit more serious when you suffer from DMD but Phil’s doing fine, he is at Bear Cottage recovering and we are hoping he will be ready to join us with his Dad in Albury.

Young Phil Olsen with Team Tazio captain John Dickson

Last year’s crews will remember him zipping around The Italian Forum Piazza in Sydney in his new “Ferrari red” motorised transport.

Hang in there Phil and best wishes from all of us for a speedy recovery.

Tom our C of C leaves for a two day test drive of the routes in a couple of weeks.

Don’t forget Auto Italia this year being held in Canberra on Sunday 15 April.

Last but not least we need your entry forms and registrations. We have a lot to do to arrange for you all to have a fantastic time over the three days and we need to ensure we look after you properly so we need confirmation that you are coming.

If you have haven’t already got them; Entry forms, Registration forms and Supp Regs are all downloadable from this website . One or two day participants need to email me at robert@italianconnection.com.au to obtain the correct single day form.

If you have any questions send an email or call Robert on 0438 848 048

“If you love your wheels, you won’t want to miss being a part of one of the best touring road events on the calendar, the fifth Italian Connection Rally” 


Rob’s Blog #4
As we begin February we are just a bit over 15 weeks away from the ICT start and things are going well.
Do you like our new 2012 badge; another creation by one of our founding sponsors, The Sponge.
I have just returned from hooking up with our C of C Tom Snooks and Assistant C of C Steuart Snooks in Albury where the support for the rally is growing very nicely indeed, more about that later.
I have made a few more discoveries about Tom that I thought you might like to know about. For example that he was C of C for Targa Tasmania for ten years.
He was one of a small dedicated team that built the Targa into what it is today. He has been inducted into the Targa Hall of Fame. Tom also ran the Adelaide Classic for five years. He is hugely respected in rally and motoring circles but being so modest I had to drag some of this information out of him however other people volunteered information as well so now a clearer picture of our C of C is evident.
The reason I am telling you all this apart from the fact we are proud to have him on board, is because it augers well for the challenges that you will encounter between the 25th and 27th May.
I can tell you that the three loops planned for the rally have pretty much been decided. Tom and Steuart did a “first” recce drive over the couple of days we were in Albury and Tom confirmed the roads are fantastic. We will be releasing some general maps shortly along with the Supp Regs however Tom is keeping his cards close to his chest so these maps won’t help you in the competition.
This year to assist you to prepare for the challenges ahead a summary of the “test’s papers” will be sent to you one week prior to the start. We have some terrific tie breakers for our clean sheeters that will be challenging but fun.
This year for the first time for those that cannot manage the full three day rally we are offering the opportunity to be a one or two day competitor just email robert@italianconnection.com.au for more information.
Our Supporters
Albury Council have confirmed their support and we have identified the start position each day will be on the main street of Albury (Dean Street). They have also been most helpful in introducing me to local businesses and the media. I can tell you that one of the major clubs in Albury is sponsoring the rally. In fact I think I can safely say that if this support is all signed off it will be the most such support we have ever had, more about our supporters in coming weeks.
As mentioned in the January newsletter each day will include a Motorkhana. The first on Friday being at Falls Creek, Saturday at Myrtleford with the final Motorkhana on the last day (Sunday 27 May) held in Albury adjacent to the Aquatic Centre. On that day a Show and Shine and community BBQ will be held in Hovell Tree Park allowing the public to witness some fun and exciting motoring activities.
On arrival in the Park after check-in all ICT teams will be directed to a special display area reserved for our vehicles the public will be invited to come and meet crews and check out the cars.
Albury City Council is providing their wood fired pizza oven that is permanently in the Park a chef will be present to cook Pizzas for event visitors.
I am also very pleased to report that following a presentation to the Albury Wodonga and Districts Car Club they have agreed to provide full support for the event. They will host the special Show and Shine that is being held in a Hovel Tree Park adjacent to the Sunday Motorkhana course in downtown Albury and they will also be providing Marshalls for all the Motorkhanas.

One of the shots from our course recce



The Manor House our home for four days in May

Rob’s Blog #3
For the past four years we have run the Italian Connection Trophy (ICT) between Sydney and Melbourne last year reversing the course coming from Melbourne to Sydney.
We have a very faithful contingent of regular competitors all of whom want to enjoy new experiences and challenges with this great event so the organisers of the ICT have created a completely new look for the Rally in its fifth year.
This year we are not starting in Sydney and we are not starting in Melbourne. Instead we are moving the start line so both New South Wales’ and Victorian drivers can join the event without having to drive a thousand kilometres to get to the start line or travel the same distance to get home after the Rally.
This year for the very first time we are going to anchor the ICT about halfway – in Albury!
The challenges will be fun, the drives will be spectacular and we are adding a third Motorkhana to the schedule, the last one being in Albury on the final day.
I am delighted to report that Albury Council is supporting the ICT. There will be a Mayoral reception held on Thursday 24 May then our traditional Reunion Dinner immediately following (the dinner as always is completely optional)

The road to the High Country

For competitors there are a lot of pluses, the distance to the start being a major one. Suddenly the ICT is just a few hours drive rather than almost a day away. Now a great number of car clubs whose members in the past have found the start (or finish) just too far away from places like Canberra or Goulburn can join us.
Over the three days we will loop out into the goldfields, wine country and the Victorian Alps each night returning to our Albury home base.
Special categories have been opened up for drivers that would like to join us for just a day. Special day Rallier awards will be created for presentation at the Victory Dinner. Day Rallier entry forms can be downloaded from the Registration page.
Also for those that don’t know and in the spirit of the Mille Miglia entries can be any European Marque not just Italian.
Accommodation will be at a fixed location so you won’t need to pack every day, however our dinners will be at a different location each night. That way we can enjoy very different atmospheres and cuisines of some of the great restaurants in the Albury Wodonga area.

Kinross Woolshed where we are having one dinner

Adamhurst restaurant, another dinner location

Welcome to our new C of C, Tom Snooks and his team. Tom is well known and highly respected in rally circles with many successful events under his belt.
Tom who is based in Melbourne has great local knowledge of the Victorian High Country and the extraordinary landscape that surrounds the Victorian Alps and the wine country.
Don’t forget besides having a great time our cause is to raise money for our charity The Duchenne Foundation. The ICT has sponsored a special Duchenne team with our first all women crew Tiina and Angela for the past two years and last year they won!

Vic and Matt will be providing mechanical back up again and promise they won’t leave you stranded

You probably won’t have time for this…

This year Tiina and Ange are coming to defend their title and I am delighted to report that the Chairman of the Duchenne Foundation Peter Hojgaard Olsen along with his son Phil is also going to join the fun.

Luke and George from The Sponge our website sponsors will be updating the site over the coming weeks.
Registration forms can be downloaded from the Registration page or email your request to robert@italianconnection.com.au and we will forward the documents. The 2012 Supp Regs will be up on the site shortly.
Rob’s Blog #2
Very pleased to report that we have received a number of Registrations of Interest from new crews as well as our regulars.
The next ICT will indeed be fresh and different as I mooted in my last blog and we are in the throes of buttoning down some significant adjustments to the rally.
Importantly next year we will be going back to basics in terms of finding your way around the course. No outside help in the form of Laptops, IPhones, Google or Sat Nav devices. There will be spot checks but entrants will be expected to honour the rules. So you will need to brush up on your map reading capabilities.
The other big change is that we will be anchoring the rally in a central location between Sydney and Melbourne then each day we will taking a new course and new challenges. The anchor point will be announced shortly but the daily routes will remain confidential until crews receive their instructions. Rest assured they will be special.
Because of this new plan we will be welcoming more single day competitors from surrounding regions.
There is also the opportunity to add a third Motorkhana to this program.
So if you have forwarded a Registration of Interest in the coming week you also receive the official registration and entry forms which need to completed and returned to me ASAP.
Rob’s first Blog for 2012
I have just emerged from producing the Norton Street Italian Festa, after a few days to recover my next project is the 2012 Italian Connection Trophy which next year will be a week later because of major events that will clash with us in the Victorian Alps. So the fifth ICT is scheduled for Friday 25 May – Sunday 27 May 2012
This Melbourne Sydney event is a favourite amongst competing teams and we want to keep it fresh so this year there will be some changes that will add whole new level of enjoyment to the event.
We will be looking at new locations on route more of the fabulous scenery and roads plus more challenges.
We will be starting from Melbourne again next year we will announce the actual start location later.
I have had a lot of people emailing and calling me about competing in the event so now is the time for anybody who wants to join the rally to let us know quickly.
Our charity, The Duchenne Foundation did well last year but we need to do better we can help achieve that with more entries.
If you want a Registration of Interest form simply email Robert Gunn on robert@italianconnection.com.au or call(02) 9960 1733
Once we have received your ROI you will then receive a formal entry form you will need to complete and return along with your deposit no later than 31 January 2012.
See you at the start line on Friday 25 May 2012
Rob’s Blog.
ICT wrap-up
We keep saying it after each ICT but I don’t think I will get any disagreement when I say that the 2011 ICT was the best in the event’s short history.
The start in Melbourne for the first time was, in everyone’s opinion, very successful. Breakfast at Brunetti’s was stylish, delicious and very Italian. Big thanks to owner Fabio who dropped everything to assemble large cardboard boxes to block Brunetti’s customer parking spaces to enable ICT competitors to move into their starting positions.
Other people to thank at the start include Senior Constable Fletcher Pearson who came down facilitate a smooth start for the ICT and members of the Victorian Fiat Club who came down to see us off.
First stop Myrtleford, an ICT favourite. Dinner at the two-hat restaurant Range that evening, just us plus the Mayor of Alpine Shire, Nino Mautone, his lovely wife and our local ICT coordinator and friend, Noel Stone. Fine wine, great food and energetic conversation, all in front of a real roaring fire.
We had raffles and challenges, one of which had me quite alarmed as the event organiser. I had visions of me being thrown in the slammer when Ben Doig announced that the girls (Angela Solomou and Tiina Raiko) would drive toplessfrom Myrtleford to Gundagai if we jointly raised enough money for the charity by the end of the dinner.
I relaxed again when it was explained to me that ‘topless’ was driving their Spider with the roof down. Phew! We tipped in about $900 for this little adventure, knowing how icy it was going to be. Unfortunately it turned out like a balmy spring day, so a lot of big grins from the girls and the Foundation was $900 richer.
However, it was a truly crisp mountain morning as we all emerged for breakfast at the Savoy Club before assembling for the first motorkhana.
Some of our newer competitors were understandably cautious on their first run but became a lot more confident on their subsequent runs. Some immediate standouts were young Matthew Di Petta who threw his father Charles’ 1970 Alfa Romeo GTV around like a toy and came up with some outstanding times. Robert Panetta’s amazing control had his Alfa Romeo Junior Z scorching around the track as if it were glued to it. Ian Allison’s handbrake turns were spectacular and everyone had fun and acquitted themselves brilliantly.
As soon as we had finished our third run everyone prepared for the departure. Mayor Nino (we can say that because he is a real ICT friend) donned his official hat and a large Italian flag and stood waiting for car number one – the rented mustard-coloured Alfa Spider driven by Angela Solomou and Tiina Raiko (with the top down).
The ICT-inspired La Fiera festival produced by our friend Noel Stone was just beginning to kick off as we left Myrtleford to drive on what would be some great roads through spectacular countryside.
Onward to our next stopover, Gundagai. First in, even before our rally steward Peter Whitten arrived, was Dominic Votano in his Alfa Romeo 159 followed by the rest of the field.
But then an emergency call came in from Matt, one of our technical back-up team. The little 1969 Fiat Bambino that Marie and John Carigliano were driving had lost its clutch just outside Batlow and was unable to continue in the rally.
Very disappointing for them, especially young Marie in her first rally. But while clearly disappointed, they were philosophical and, in typical ICT spirit, hitched a lift with friends David Rooney and Olivia Cama so they could finish the rally.
Then David and Robyn Judd’s 1963 Maserati limped in reporting they had cracked the bottom flange off the cast iron exhaust manifold but David was hopeful he would be able to jury-rig it to get him home.
The Gundagai Council car park had been set up by the council for our Gundagai motorkhana later in the afternoon. Once again, the standouts were Robert and Matthew but some very good rounds from Jon Dickson and Dominic Votano meant the field was closing up.

Robert Panetta and the Alfa Z

Matthew Di Petta smoking through the motorkhana course

On to dinner at the Services Club. Our local friend, coordinator and – until recently ‘councillor’ – Bill Maslin had once again done a wonderful job organising everything, including arranging for Sydney show business celebrity Maria Venuti to fly in especially to entertain us. It was a great evening with over a hundred Gundagai townsfolk joining us. ICT veteran Peter Doig didn’t need to do his compere job for this dinner because Bill was on the job.
This was his swansong to Gundagai as he has just accepted a ministerial appointment with National MP, Katrina Hodgkinson, the Minister for Primary Industries and Small Business.
A very noisy and fun-filled evening came to an end and we made our way back to the Tuckerbox Motel – highly recommended if anybody is going to Gundagai.
I noticed when we arrived that all the cars lined up outside their units but outside John and Marie Carigliano’s unit was a solitary chair with the Bambino’s spare wheel sitting on it.
Next morning we were off and away to the finish and what a finish it was.
We had decided to finish the rally on the Italian Forum Piazza. At 12.30pm the Italian Made Social Motoring Club welcome group arrived with 15 of their classic machines. The restaurants were buzzing with people, most of whom had come to see the finish celebrations.
At about 3.00pm wonderful young Italian duo Dolce began to entertain the crowds and their timing was perfect because the first rally finishers began arriving to the strains of ‘Volare’.
Dominic and Kim told us that they were hijacked by a giant emu that simply stood in the middle of the road and wouldn’t budge. When he was quite ready he deigned to let them pass.
Not so lucky were Warren Smith and David Filipetto who had an argument with a large ‘roo. Unfortunately the animal is in ‘roo heaven and Warren’s beautiful 1997 Fiat Coupe 20V Turbo has some big dents across its bonnet.
Only excellent driving and luck avoided the risk of it crashing through the windscreen and causing something much more serious. We were all sad for the ‘roo but very glad for the Fiat crew.
The Italian Forum Piazza was full to bursting with some fantastic machines. The ICT 2011 gallery will be up soon so you can see for yourself.
Next the Victory Dinner at the wonderful La Giara, right there in the Italian Forum. This family restaurant run by the lovely Gina and her daughter-in-law Josephine did us proud. Under the giant plasma screen showing hundreds of images from our 1300km adventure we dived into a fabulous Italian feast but the time was rapidly approaching when trophies would be awarded.
First up it was the Best Rally Spirit. As I said before I awarded this trophy, it is becoming redundant. Because everyone is so enthusiastic and supportive, it is almost impossible to pick one individual crew.
However someone who stepped way above and beyond this year was Peter Doig a great competitor, a terrific part of the ICT, a dedicated and continuous supporter of the Duchenne Foundation. Peter this year, at his own cost, sourced some brilliant driving jackets to raffle off – all fully monogrammed, either by Lancia or Alfa Romeo, plus some exclusive Pirelli podium caps.

Peter Hojgaard Olsen Chairman of the Duchenne Foundation and Peter Doig receiving his “Spirit” Award

A thoroughly well deserved award and one we were proud to present.
Next was the Phoenix Award. This was devised to recognise a crew that had encountered severe adversity but had picked themselves up, dusted themselves off and got on with it – rising from the ashes…
The selected winning crew were John and Marie Carigliano. They haven’t actually ‘risen from the ashes’ because the Bambino was unrecoverable for the event. However, we are certain that it will be up and purring for the 2012 ICT. A very popular choice with loud cheers erupting.

A very happy Marie Carigliano receiving the Phoenix Award

Another highly popular choice was the winner of the 2012 ICT motorkhanas. It was Matthew Di Petta. What a performance. Extraordinary driving skills. Matthew has no fear (except maybe from his Dad if he accidentally broke the Alfa…)
A huge ‘well done’ from everyone!

Matthew Di Petta and his dad Charles

Now we are approaching the big one, the winner of the Italian Connection Trophy for 2011.
Clerk of Course Jeff Whitten was called to the microphone. Jeff confirmed that the competition this year was very close. In fact, we had to institute a tie-breaker question for the finalists but it was enough to find our winner.
Third in the rally were two great guys who decided to balance their golf and partying to focus on actually competing: Ben Doig and Wayne Green in their 1998 Alfa Spider.
Second were last year’s winners: Dominic and Kim Votano. Dominic and Kim are great competitors and are a terrific addition to the ICT.
Drum roll please…
The winners of this year’s Italian Connection Trophy was the all-girl team of Angela Solomou and Tiina Raiko. The room exploded with applause but louder still were the squeals of delight from Ang and Tiina.
They are the official entries for the Duchenne Foundation. In their first rally last year they came second and in this, their second, they beat everyone. Also they almost didn’t have a car – there was a hiccup with their planned car so they simply decided to ‘rent one’. With everything against them they not only competed but won the rally!
Fantastic effort, ladies!

Two very happy Winners Angela and Tiina

I have already been advised we will be getting another all-girl team next year, so look out ladies, because you have really started something.
All competitors have vowed to return next year and we have already received new confirmed entries.
There will be some fresh exciting challenges in 2012, so stand by…
The 2011 ICT Rally Poem
The ICT rally of 2011, started in Melbourne with all engines revving
Breakfast in Brunettis, pastries galore, armed with stickers we ran out the door
We drove out of the city and no one got lost, the weather was brilliant, not a touch of frost
Most important of all we drive for the boys, Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy a worthy cause.
Robert and Debra were the first to go, a short but very pleasant hello
A much better outcome than the ’63 Maserati, the manifold cracked and kicked them out of the party
Andrew and Michelle were the new kids on the block, they won the raffled jacket, poor Charles, ’twas a shock
Did Adam and Robert think the whole thing loony when introduced to the rally via Maria Venuti?
He drove like an accountant in the Gundy khana but David’s handbag holding skills showed him quite the charmer
Warren and David ended up in the poo, when fanging along and then hitting a roo
The young De Petta was a motorkhana star, just as well he was trashing his father’s car
Ian and Lindsay got the crossing number right, but are still fingers crossed they’ll be right on the night
Jon Dickson’s hair was almost in curls when Maria did pull his head from her girls
Alex’s ride on our laps was pure hell, but who ever said sex doesn’t sell
Dominic amazed us with his driving skills, the 159 still providing motorkhana thrills
Dan and Don were sweet neighbours at 12 in the morning, supplying rolls of 2 ply when nature was calling
For Rob Panetta one time didn’t suffice, driving the mountain course at least twice
And poor old George who suffered beside him, wanting to drive but having to chide him
John and Marie thought that size didn’t matter but the poor old Bambina came apart with a clatter
When the taxi arrives, Ben goes and he knocks, but what should appear but Pete Doig in his jocks
A more generous man than Pete you won’t find, we’re so very lucky he keeps the boys in mind
Wayne Green over chai latte does like a good chat, not that there’s anything wrong with that…,
Benny the talker helped us immensely, the luckiest girl in the world puts up with plenty
Undies and Matt were our mechanical hub, though mostly they just wanted to go to the pub
Betty and Jeff provided beautiful drives, all the competitors had the time of their lives
Peter and Ray, the boys from Whang, made sure every leg went off with a bang
Robert and Jason our coordinators extraordinaire, managing all aspects with the greatest of care
We’re incredibly appreciative of everyone’s support, it is so very important we don’t leave these boys short
Keep up the good work, keep the cheques flowing and we wish you all the best, wherever you’re going.
Tiina and Angela


ICT Arrival celebrations get seriously underway in the Italian Forum in Leichhardt

Special Addendum
Peter Doig founding competitor of the ICT and staunch supporter of our charity the Duchenne Foundation has amassed a great collection of special items he is going to raffle off during the rally.
First Peter has been able to acquire two exclusive Pirelli Podium caps – these cannot be purchased generally they are only awarded to winners so they are very special. Plus two jackets very stylish and warm and can be worn 4 ways one is Lancia branded and the other Alfa Romeo. You will see Team Tazio wearing the only other such branded jackets during the rally. The Pirelli caps and Jackets will be raffled off at Myrtleford and Gundagai.

Pirelli Podium caps

Lancia/Alfa Romeo Jackets

13 May 2011
Just days away so this will be my last blog before the start.
A few important things to tell you all…
First David Judd has finally revealed the car he is bringing 1963 Maserati 3500 GTI Coupe and a beautiful machine it is.
I am also delighted to report that Robert Panetta the 2009 winner of the ICT is a late entry after he missed the event last year. Robert is driving his famous 1970 Alfa Romeo Junior Z.
There are some very speedy machines this year so I predict the Motorkhanas are going to be very hard fought – stand by for some sparks.
As you will have heard we are starting from Carlton Victoria this year right outside of Brunetti’s on the corner of Lygon and Faraday Street.
The City of Melbourne has reserved parking for the rally and some spectators so if you want to come down there will be parking available.
Of course Brunetti’s has the best Italian breakfasts in Melbourne not to mention their coffee I am sure they will find a table for you if you want to join us.
The rally is now finishing at the Italian Forum Norton Street and all the cars will be displayed on the Piazza along with some other great looking Italian classics and possibly some newer exotics.
You are all very welcome to come down a check out the cars and chat with the crews if you can get to the start or finish or any of the stopovers .



 “Todd and I had a fabulous time, met some great people and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves on fantastic roads through gorgeous countryside, and then we completely surprised ourselves by winning! It was a wonderful experience especially for our very first Rally. The event was really well run which made it an especially fun weekend.”

Dana Dupere – Driving her Maserati Spyder

In 2013 each start and finish will occur in Albury New South Wales providing an easy journey to the start for competitors from Victoria, the ACT and New South Wales.




START: Friday 20 May 2011 10.00 am Faraday Street Carlton.
1ST Stop-over: 2.30 pm Myrtleford
7.00 pm Rally dinner at (2 hat) RANGE restaurant
Saturday 21 May
8.30 am Motorkhana (Savoy Club
10.30 am ICT Re-Start
Saturday 21 May 3.00 pm Gundagai
5.00 pm Motorkhana (under Lights)
7.00 pm Rally Dinner – Services Club
Sunday 22 May 8.00 am Rally re-start
FINISH 2.30 pm Leichhardt Arrival – Italian Forum Piazza
37 Norton Street
7.00pm Victory Dinner
What about next year’s ICT? Well some exciting plans ahead but not ready to put it into writing just yet. In the meantime if would like to join the excitement this year come along to any of the above locations and have yourself a great time.




Rob’s Blog
30 April 2011
New entries … and some news of the regulars
Welcome to Andrew Flynn (United Convenience Buyers), who will be driving his amazing 1957 Porsche Speedster. Adam D’Amoto (Casa Italia) is driving his 2002 Alfa Romeo 147. There is almost half a century between the ages of these two entries!
We had a stand at Auto Italia last week and we received a lot of interest, many ‘threatening’ to join the Rally in 2012 and a few ready to join us this year if we can fit them in.
There was a great shot of Peter Parussolo and Ol’ 55 – his 1955 Fiat 1100 – in the Melbourne Times last week, all ready for its 1300km adventure.
Number 16 – Charles Di Petta – is keeping details of his challenge machine under wraps and still not telling us what he is driving. Stand by for more.
The start
I am flying to Melbourne in coming days to finalise all the details for the Rally start and will let you know more at the end of next week.
Change of arrival destination
We have had a change in location to the Rally finish. Originally Leichhardt Council was closing Norton Street for us but for a number of reasons that cannot be done. We will now arrive into the Italian Forum Piazza, where we started the rally from last year.
It’s fitting for a number of reasons. Aside from the obvious aesthetic appeal, we can safely relax and enjoy our welcome Peroni beers on arrival. We also have somewhere safe to park off the street (The Piazza) and as the Victory dinner is at La Giara, right there at the Forum, it ticks all the boxes.
Official merchandise
All crews will be provided an official rally cap and each car will receive a branded rally document bag.
For competitors wanting an official rally shirt or watch, we will be taking orders this coming week. I will be emailing images of both items and will need an order by return email, if you want them in time for the event. Shirts are $52 and watches are $60.
Riding in company
Following their attendance with me at Auto Italia I have invited Peter Hojgaard Olsen, the chairman of our charity, the Duchenne Foundation, to gather his family up and bring them along for the ride.
It is easier and safer for them to travel in a specially designed vehicle so a Toyota Tarago will ride in company with the touring assembly if Peter accepts our invitation.
New MC for our celebratory dinners
Apart from a few short words of housekeeping from yours truly, the MC for all our dinners and special functions has been handed over to founding competitor and staunch supporter of the Duchenne Foundation, Peter Doig. We thought it more appropriate to have someone to MC who can talk the torque…
Special announcement re the Duchenne Foundation
United Convenience Buyers, the company which is sponsoring Andrew Flynn this year, has adopted the Duchenne Foundation as its charity for 2011. The Foundation will be in the spotlight at the convenience store buying group’s annual conference (October) and UCB hopes to raise much needed funds for the Foundation from the 400-plus delegates who will be attending the event.
It’s a fantastic development. We are delighted that once again the ICT community has assisted in connecting the Foundation with some new and important support. Huge thanks to Liz Swanton, our media manager, for introducing us to Andrew and UCB.
Departure and welcome groups
For those people who are wishing to attend the departure in Melbourne or arrival in Sydney, there is some restriction to the number of additional vehicles we can accommodate at both locations. The best way to manage this is for anyone intending to join us to email me (robert@italianconnection.com.au) or call ([02] 9960 1733) to make arrangements.
Late entries
We have had a number of late enquiries about joining the rally. As the regulars know, we like to keep the event small, so everyone can share the camaraderie. We only have a few more spots available, so if you are thinking about it we need all your documentation and rego fees by May 10.
THE ICT 2011
Can you picture yourself indulging in a three-day long weekend away driving 1200 kilometres over some of the best roads in Victoria and New South Wales in your classic Italian or other exotic car?
Do you enjoy the challenge of some simple navigation, the promise of great food and fine wines at the end of the days’ competition in the company of other like-minded competitors, not to mention the opportunity to raise some much-needed funds for an extremely worthwhile charity? And all this for free?
Yes, it’s true – it could be you if you decide to enter in the fourth annual Italian Connection Trophy in May 2011. To encourage you to enter this little-known but extremely popular event, your entry will give you a chance of winning our free rally entry and accommodation package for two people valued at over $2,300.00. And as the event is restricted to just 30 crews, you stand a 1 in 30 chance of winning this fabulous prize. What could be better than that?
So why are we making this terrific offer? There are two reasons. Firstly, we want to introduce you to one of the really great classic car rallies, one that connects Melbourne’s Italian precinct, Carlton, with the Sydney equivalent, Leichardt via a three-day touring rally for Italian (and other) cars- in other words, we’ll be making the Italian Connection. This year, 2011 will be the fourth time the Italian Connection Trophy has been held and to celebrate we’ll have a brand new route from Melbourne to Sydney.
Secondly, we’ll be raising money for a little-known but extremely worthwhile charity, the Duchenne Foundation, which has been established to help find a cure for a terminal disease which affects young males and whose life expectancy is usually less than 20 years. And the best way of doing this, we believe, is to have some classic Italian fun along the way.
But was does the event offer? We all love driving our classic Italian cars on the highways and byways of Australia’s east coast, where we can stretch their legs and drive them the way that those Italian craftsmen intended. So we’ve designed an event that’s kind on your car (the entire route is on sealed roads) but challenging for both driver and navigator.
There’ll be simple navigation to test the navigator, fabulous roads up hill and down dale that will put a grin on the driver’s face, generous time schedules, and professional organization to make sure you have the best possible time.
Don’t own an Italian car? No matter, because we know that our love of classic cars is not just restricted to Italian marques, but encompasses a whole range of brands and models. But if you drive Italian, so much the better.
There’s so much more that we want to tell you about The Italian Connection, so why not click on the Registration form, and send it off today. Entries are limited to just 30 crews (one of whom will receive our free entry and accommodation package), mark May 20, 21 & 22, 2011 in your diary and start preparing for this great event. It’s one you won’t want to miss.
5 April 2011
Here we are at the beginning of April and already it looks like we will have a full complement of competitors.
Grateful thanks to Charles Di Petta who took a whole bunch of promotional material with him to the Macedon Rally. Grateful thanks to Andrew of the Macedon Rally who allowed Charles to promote the ICT. Charles says he received a lot of interest in the rally, which is heartening.
By the way, if you would like some ICT brochures just email me with details of a postal address and tell me how many you need (keep the number economical – we don’t have huge numbers of them!).
We are also promoting the event on Facebook – so far, over 95,000 hits.
Welcome to Adam D’Amato, a new entrant who has branded his Alfa 147 hatchback with his company logo, Casa Italia. I think he is bringing samples to the finish – great coffee!
Also welcome to Robert Judd who missed out last year because his car wasn’t ready. This year, his 1967 Fiat 850 Spider is ready to go.
There are still a few in the wings frantically working on their machines, so I will let you know as they confirm.
A big ‘thankyou’ to Peroni, which Is providing some cases of their excellent brew for the victory dinner, and stand by for other major sponsor announcements in the next week or two.
You will remember I told you about Maria Venuti joining us at the Gundagai event. I have just received the poster from Bill Maslin, our Gundagai entrant, who prepared it and has been putting it up around town – here it is.
The decals have just arrived ­– they look terrific. And just two weeks until Auto Italia – we will have a stand there, promoting the event and our charity, and also inviting drivers to join us at the finish.
Rob’s Blog
18 March
Sorry there’s been a bit of a gap in my blogs I have had my head down on the event detail I thought it a bit more important than me blathering on in my blog.
Anyway things are popping along nicely I am visiting Gundagai next week to button down some details and then onto Myrtleford.
Great story in the Leader about John and daughter Marie Carigliano , John is leaving the Porsche in garage this year and driving a 1969 Fiat 500 Bambino with Marie not quite the same grunt…
But this is great and happens a lot, husbands and wives, boyfriend and girlfriend, fathers and sons, brothers, now father and daughter all teaming up for a memorable three days of enjoying each other’s company and that of the rest of the rally community but also engaging in some exciting competition.
This is the spirit of the ICT and one of the reasons why it’s such a great event.
As I said in a recent Tweet, you can watch the Australian Grand Prix but you drive in the Italian Connection Trophy.
Peter Hojgaard – Olsen Chairman of the Duchenne Foundation and I attended the Fiat meeting last week. A great bunch of guys and they have adopted the Duchenne Foundation since Fiat drivers Ian Allison and Warren Smith supported the charity in the 2010 ICT.
They handed Peter a cheque for $1,000 – Brilliant!
Thanks Fiat Club fantastic work.
I am just finalising locations for the Reunion Dinner and the Victory Dinner I will update this blog when I have finally confirmed the locations.
Just a note to those competitors that are bringing friends and/or family to the Victory dinner there may be some number restrictions depending on the restaurant we select. So if you are bringing people please send me an email advising me of any extras and I will add that to my count it would be good if that was sooner rather than later.
From here on I won’t just make it a weekly Blog I will add to it as things happen so keep checking the site for updates.
March 1
Hi again everyone,
We are just under three months out from the start of the rally and things are starting to get nicely bedded down.
Norton Street closes for the ICT
Last Tuesday, Sydney’s Leichhardt Council officially approved the closure of Norton Street for the finish of the Rally and they will sponsor the logistical support. So, thank you, councillors! Your support and enthusiasm is much appreciated by us all.
This also means we have nice area of our own to collect in. I have invited clubs and drivers to come and join us for bit of an unofficial Show and Shine as part of the afternoon. I am expecting a pretty solid turn-up from the clubs, so feel free to invite friends to come along and join in the fun, welcoming you to Sydney.
I will ensure there are adequate refreshments for everyone.
Reunion dinner
As competitors from previous ICTs will remember, for the past two years we have had a reunion dinner on the night before the Rally start. Founding competitor, winner of the 2008 rally and thoroughly nice guy, Lido Russo, has previously given over most of his stunning Walsh Bay restaurant, Ventuno, for an ICT pizza-and-beer gathering.
Everyone had a great time, but this dinner is never just about the food. It is a chance for every one of the ‘old hands’ to re-connect, as well as meeting the new entrants and making them feel at home and part of our ICT family.
This year we are starting from Melbourne so I will be arranging something similar there. This dinner is very reasonable, entirely optional and not included in your rally fees. So, stand by for more info on this in coming weeks.

The New ICT Badge
Media attention begins
The media is already publishing stories thanks to our intrepid PR manager, Liz Swanton, with the latest in last week’s Parramatta Sun about Ben Doig and Wayne Green – good story, lads.
I was also recently contacted by the Italian media who want to run stories on the ICT. So they understand the Italian connection! So too does David Hasselhoff (aka The Hoff) who is following the ICT on Twitter.
Victory dinner
I have been asked by a number of you whether you can bring friends and family to the victory dinner, and the answer is – yes, of course. You will need to pay separately for them and I will advise the location of the dinner and the cost for your guests in coming weeks.
Club visits
Last week we visited the Classic Rally Club and told a great bunch of members about the rally, although they didn’t take much telling because the last two winners of the rally – Dominic Votano and Robert Panetta – are both members. There could be a strong move to try and achieve a hat trick. I could mention quite a few drivers who are planning to rain on their parade, however…
On March 8, the Chairman of the Duchenne Foundation – Peter Hojgaard-Olsen – and me will be visiting the NSW Fiat Club and we thank them for inviting us. In fact, a big ‘thankyou’ to all the clubs that have allowed us to take up some of their precious meeting time to tell their members about the rally and the charity we support.
We would certainly be pleased visit any other clubs that would like to hear about the ICT. Just send me an email (details below). As mentioned in previous newsletters, if you are not NSW-based, we have some great competitors who will be happy to come and tell you about the ICT.

Tiina and Angela – Team Duchenne – 3rd place in 2010

There will be more news soon – so drive and enjoy, but stay safe.
Robert Gunn – Event Producer – tel: (02) 9960 1733; fax: (02) 9960 1744.
Email: robert@italianconnection.com.au
Rob’s Blog
17 February 2011
Halfway through February, and how time is flying.
I have just been chatting with Fabio at Brunetti’s restaurant in Melbourne, where we would like to gather for the rally start. I have had confirmation that they will welcome us. Fabio is a real enthusiast. I am trying to talk him into joining us in his classic Alfa Romeo at least for the first leg. That’s also where we will have our rally breakfast, European style of course, because they have some very serious pastries and equally good coffee.
I am delighted to advise that the Vespa Riders Club has called and will be bringing at least 25 scooters to the start to escort us out of town. They’ll be joined by several other clubs who’ll provide us with an escort, so it should be a spectacular start on a crisp May morning.
Welcome back to David Judd returning from a great effort last year. David’s 1973 Fiat 124 Abarth is third from the left on this page, and welcome to another brand new entry – David Rooney. I’m sure you’ll all be looking forward to meeting him.
We had a great visit with the Lancia Club and next week (February 22) we’ll be visiting the Classic Rally Club to tell them all about the rally.
It’s very important for everyone to know that our stalwart Technical Back-up team Vic (Undies) and Matt will be following the field again this year with a truck full of spares to fix any problems you might have. Regulars will remember how they nurtured Old ‘55 (1955 Fiat 1100) in 2009, getting him home safe and sound.
So don’t worry if you think you might need technical back-up. Vic and Matt will be just moments away.
We will soon be heading out to travel the route and plan your adventure for this year. Trust me! There will be more challenges and more amazing roads.
Registrations are coming in thick and fast, but some of you who are coming haven’t sent in your completed form. Remember you’re not official until we have the completed entry form. It is very much a case of first in, first served, so don’t miss out.
There are just 10 days to go before bookings close so make sure you are signed on. And keep an eye on your local paper – some of our members have already been interviewed about their involvement in the event.
If you’ve signed on, but you haven’t yet returned your media form to Liz, please do. She’s chatting to newspapers around the country to raise the profile of both the rally and the charity we are all working so hard for.
Rob’s Blog
7 February 2011

It’s February 7 and the countdown continues to May 20 – Day One of this year’s event.
Our media manager has been a very busy bee, touching base with media contacts around the country, so stand by for features on our competitors in local papers across Queensland, NSW and Victoria in the coming weeks.
Meanwhile, not to be outdone, I’ve been busy finalising arrangements to have video coverage of the entire rally which will feature on the website and maybe one of the free-to-air channels. Stand by for more information!
Welcome back to Jon Dickson and Team Tazio. Jon has been involved in all the rallies. Another regular back this year is John Carigliano – fantastic news – while Dominic Votano has just confirmed he will be back to defend his title. You have been warned the battle is on!
In other news, Bill Maslin from Gundagai has changed his car from a tame VW to an Audi TT. No excuses for the motorkhana now, Bill. Just keep practising that hand brake turn…
Also from Gundagai comes the news the local police will join the fun. They’ve asked to compete in the Gundagai motorkhana which will be held under lights. No news yet on what they’re going to drive but we’re delighted they want to be involved.
I will be visiting a few clubs in the coming weeks: this week it’s the Lancia Club; on Tuesday, February 22, the Classic Rally Club and on Tuesday, March 8, the Fiat Club – all in NSW. If you want to chat about the rally, come along. I look forward to seeing you there. Stand by for further dates.
I’m not the only one keeping past and potential competitors informed. Peter Doig is doing the same with the Victorian Alfa Club while David Judd and Peter Parussolo are talking to the Victorian Fiat Club.
Those who entered last year will remember that beautifully restored 1939 Alfa Ala Spessa that was on display in Myrtleford for our arrival. Beautiful car. The exciting news is there is every chance it will join us for the leg from Melbourne to Myrtleford.
And before I go…have you registered yet? You know we only have limited places, and they are filling fast, so make sure you are signed on.
Rob’s Blog
31 January 2011
Well here we are again. Scary to be at the end of the first month of a new year already! Hope 2011 is looking good for you so far.
It’s looking good for us. A big ‘thank you’ to founding ICT competitor and all-round nice guy Charles Di Petta who is flying the ICT flag and will become the ICT ambassador at the Macedon Rally. He will be proudly promoting the 2011 ICT on his 1970 Alfa Romeo 1750 GTV.
Another thank you to Peter Doig. As he promised, he’s created a wonderful letter to gather sponsors for ICT entrants in an effort to increase our contribution to the Duchenne Foundation. Send me an email and I will send you the template (robert@italianconnectionrally.com.au).
If you’re in Canberra, or have friends there, make sure you come along to our display at Auto Italia Canberra, on Sunday, April 17. It’s all happening on the lawns in front of Old Parliament House from 10.00am to 2.30pm.
Fiat will be the featured marque for Auto Italia Canberra this year with the Fiat 1500, Fiat 1800 and Fiat 2300 being the featured models to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the launch of those models.
Talking about all things Fiat, I have been advised by ICT entrants and Fiat Club members Ian Allison and Warren Smith that the Fiat Clubs have been active helping the Duchenne Foundation and have raised hundreds of dollars from a number of chapters. Well done for a great cause, guys!
And if we had a prize for the most dedicated entrant, it would have to go to Daniel Nicholson. He and father Don will be travelling all the way from Queensland to compete in this year’s event. That’s amazing.
This is their first year but Daniel’s best friend Ben Doig has been hounding him for the last few years, saying he has to sign on, and he is. They will freight the car to the start in Melbourne and then drive all the way back after finishing in Sydney. Should be a very pleasant adventure – and thanks for signing up. We’re all looking forward to meeting you.
Don’t forget, if you want to come from interstate and don’t want to put too many extra kilometres on the odometer, we can help arrange transport for your car.
If you haven’t signed up as yet for this year’s event, remember there’s not much time left. In order to make sure all our bookings are locked in, we have to have all entries confirmed by 28 February, so if you haven’t registered yet, you had better get cracking.
Take care…
18 January 2011
Hi all,
This whole blog thing is good! To keep finding things to talk about means I have to keep making things happen so I have something to talk about!
I heard from an old favourite of the Italian Connection Rally last week. He emailed to say that after a year’s hiatus he’s coming back – and bringing one of the superstars of the Rally with him. No, it’s not a Lambo or a Ferrari; it’s Peter Parussolo’s brilliant 1955 Fiat 1100.
After the 2009 rally the little car just made it home before collapsing. With a lot of loving care Peter has brought Ol’ ’55 back to life and he and his crew are once again going to join us. Check the 2009 photo gallery on this site to get a glimpse. I can guarantee there has never been a motorkhana entrant who did the course with six suitcases strapped to the roof!
Welcome back Peter and Ol’ ’55.
Also welcome back to our important NSW regional print media partner The Daily Advertiser who have confirmed their second year of support for the Rally.
Another fantastic supporter and founding competitor of the ICT – Peter Doig – is also back again. His commitment and assistance in raising money for our charity, the Duchenne Foundation, has been outstanding. Peter has some great ideas on how we can double our fundraising this year so I have patched in a bit of Peter’s last email for you to check out his thoughts. Thanks Peter. You always step up.
Peter’s idea: “… I’m going to write to as many people as I can (and I know shed loads of people) asking them to be a Supporting Sponsor for $100. They’ll get an official Duchenne Foundation receipt and on my car I’ll have panels on each of the rear doors saying Supporting Sponsors. Then I’ll list all the people and their companies on those panels.
So if my co-driver and I can get 30 Supporting Sponsors, it’s an extra $3000 in the tin for Duchenne pretty easily. If we get 25 cars each averaging 20 Supporting Sponsors then it’s an extra $50,000 without too much effort. I reckon as a group of entrants we should aim to generate that figure apart from whatever the Foundation does …”
Sounds like he’s challenging the rest of us, doesn’t it??!!
Meantime, I am hoping to attend a few car club meetings over the coming weeks to tell people about the ICT and the wonderful charity we are supporting. As dates get confirmed I will list them on my blog.
Question: How many of you would be interested in joining the inaugural European Italian Connection Trophy in 2013, starting in London and travelling through France over the Swiss/Italian Alps before calling into Tuscany, Milan and finishing in Rome?We expect a lot of Brits in this event but Australian ICT competitors will have reserved places and special prices and we will find you cars to drive.
It will be a six day event plus a pre-rally day in London. We are looking at a spring event April/May. Just send me an email to log your name and I will get you more details as they come to hand: Robert@italianconnectionrally.com.au
In the meantime, we are standing by for your 2011 ICT registrations. As you know, we like to restrict the numbers to keep the event friendly and personal, so there are only limited places available. Go to the 2011 Registration Downloads after clicking on 2010 rally.
10 January 2011
Happy new year!
I hope you all had a safe but amazing Christmas break.
Laini and I did a bit of a road trip to Albury that took us partially on the ICT route. We over-nighted in Gundagai (our second ICT stop-over this year) and we found new terrific motel accommodation for the rally which I have subsequently booked for us.
We drove in and around Gundagai, Tumut and Adelong – fantastic vistas around every bend.
I didn’t get to catch up with our favourite Gundagai entrant, Councillor Bill Maslin, but I did receive an exciting text message from him telling me they have arranged for a very special Sydney socialite – the lovely Maria Venuti – to join us when we arrive. I don’t think she will be entering the motorkhana but she is a fun lady and will certainly add to our already great rally spirit.
Many of you have already registered – and it’s great to have you back – and we’re also getting some enquiries from potential new competitors, some of whom are interested in trying our new single-leg ‘rally taste-test’.
But we are just six weeks away from registration closure (February 28) and we have room for a few more entries – so if you haven’t signed up already, please make it the first new year’s resolution you attend to or you might miss out! We do have a ceiling on the number of entrants, to maintain that special camaraderie we all enjoy. So register now – and why not get a friend involved as well?
We are also trying to organise a car for the Duchenne Foundation chairman, Peter Hojgaard Olsen, and his son so they can be part of the fun. He is currently driving a Range Rover – not the perfect rally car!
Tiina and Angela will be back, of course, with threats of increased competiveness to better their last year’s second position to be the all-girl winning team.
Stand by for more news as the action accelerates and get those registrations in!
Rob’s Blog #1
Hello everyone
Can’t believe how quickly this year has gone and Christmas is upon us!
So too is the next rally! It all kicks off in Melbourne this time around, on Friday May 20. If next year whizzes past like this year has, it will be on us before we know it!
There’s lots happening. I’m talking to some exciting new potential sponsors, our event organisers, Jeff and Peter, are looking at some new roads, and the first new entrant to sign up is coming all the way from Queensland. You’ll find more out about him in a few weeks’ time.
But the big news for next year is the all-new ‘taste test’ concept we’ve introduced, especially for people who are not sure if they are ready for a three-day event, or don’t have time.
If that’s you, then why not sign up for one-day run, either from Melbourne to Myrtleford, or from Gundagai to Sydney and have some fun while you raise some money for the wonderful charity we support, the Duchenne Foundation.
Remember, you don’t need to have an Italian car to enter this event, despite the name! It’s all about travelling on great roads and having a good time, while driving from Little Italy (Carlton) in Melbourne to Little Italy (Leichhardt) in Sydney!
If you’ve done the event before, we certainly hope you will be coming along again.
For more information email Robert Gunn at Robert@italianconnectionrally.com.au