Tuesday, March 29th, 2011
One of the world’s smallest cars has been signed on to compete in a low-key motorsport event that combines good fun with a good cause.

John Carigliano is a regular on the Italian Connection Trophy (Melbourne to Sydney, May 20-22) and will be joined this year by his daughter, Marie. The pair will share driving duties in a classic 1969 Fiat 500 Bambino, which Marie bought specifically with this particular event in mind.

“It’s always been a dream to do the rally with my dad, so I’m really excited. I think he was a bit shocked when I jumped the gun and bought the car, but it’s amazing to have it,” Marie says.

Just a handful of entries are still available for the touring rally, which links Australia's most famous ‘Little Italy’ districts, Lygon Street in Carlton (Melbourne) and Norton Street in Leichhardt (Sydney).

Organisers limit the number of entries so the focus remains firmly on friendship and fundraising for research into Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, an extreme degenerative disease that attacks young boys.

Marie thinks the biggest challenge over the 1200km route could be staying sane, because she and her dad will be sharing the driving – and they usually argue regularly.

Her dad is comforted by the fact a team of mechanics will be traveling with the competitors but he jokingly admits he is concerned about whether the 42-year-old car is capable of completing the journey to Sydney.

“It is starting to show a bit of wear but I have to admit it is still younger than me!”

John and Marie are committed to raising as much money as they can for the Duchenne Foundation, and are chasing friends and family for donations. They also hope that other competitors will rise to the challenge and gather in some donations before the event even gets underway.

This is the fourth year the event has been 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 along 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. Funds for the Foundation will be raised through other activities over the weekend.

To grab one of the few entries still remaining, check the website: www.italianconnection.com.au

PHOTO CREDIT: LISA MCMAHON - Hi res pics available on request

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For more media information, please contact Liz Swanton: 0417 232 643 or [email protected]

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Liz Swanton

P: 0417 232 643
W: www.italianconnection.com.au


car rally, auto rally, car race, italian connection, motorsport



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