Wednesday, February 9th, 2011
What do a Fiat, a bunch of Alfa Romeos and a TVR Chimaera have in common? The owners are united in their commitment to a very good cause.

The Italian Connection Trophy is a social touring rally that supports the Duchenne Foundation, raising money for research into Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, an extreme degenerative disease that attacks young boys.

The event runs from Friday, May 20 to Sunday, May 22, linking Australia's most famous ‘Little Italy’ districts, Lygon Street in Carlton (Melbourne) and Norton Street in Leichhardt (Sydney).

The first two years (2008, 2009), the event was won by Alfa Romeos. Last year it was won by a Sydney-based husband and wife driving a tiny Renault Clio. Dominic and Kim Votano are returning to defend their title – but this time in their 1999 TVR Chimaera.

“We entered last year’s event because our daughter had recently transferred to Melbourne and it was a good chance to visit her, and do a very pleasant drive for a good cause,” says Dominic, who has competed in a variety of events with Kim including more ‘serious’ rallies such as Targa Tasmania.

“We were going to drive the TVR last year, then our daughter asked if we could bring down her Renault, so at the last moment we changed our entry.

“We’re really looking forward to this year’s event because it gives us a chance to drive some great roads and have fun with some good company – we might even ask our daughter to swap cars to give us a competitive advantage! And there’s the bonus of knowing it is for such a great cause. We’ll be involved in the fundraising efforts along the way.”

This is the fourth year the event has been run, with competitors coming from as far afield as Queensland for the annual Sydney/Melbourne run. This year’s goal is raising at least $50,000 to fund research into muscle deterioration. That will contribute to the development of new drugs to prolong the mobility of boys with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy and, hopefully, help find a cure.

The Trophy is open to any type of European car, of any age. Entrants are assured of having fun, especially during the overnight stops in Myrtleford in northern Victoria and Gundagai in southern NSW. Both towns are providing plenty of good Italian food and wine to welcome competitors at the end of each day and Myrtleford has a special Italian Festa to celebrate the event.

The rally only uses sealed roads, but it’s not just a straight run down the Hume Highway. The event’s Clerk of Course is well known in Australian rallying circles and he has chosen some of the best driving roads in both states. The resulting route is both fun to drive, and spectacular.

Entry fee for the Italian Connection Trophy is $2300, which covers breakfast, dinner and accommodation for both the driver and co-driver. Money will also be raised through other activities over the weekend.

Numbers are limited but there are a few entries still available. Check the website:

PIC CAPTION: Dominic and Kim Votano want another Italian Connection Trophy for the cabinet. Credit: Warren Kirby/Newsdesk

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Liz Swanton

P: 0297711277
M: 0417232643


Fiat, Alfa Romeos, TVR Chimaera, Italian Connection Trophy, social touring, Duchenne Foundation, Muscular Dystrophy



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