Capri Ghia vs Stevlio Pass

Want to know what the Stelvio Pass is like from a teams perspective? Then check out our guest post from Craig from Team Avalanche! It’s a great little read taken from an article he wrote for his local car club’s newsletter:

Stelvio Pass!Team Avalanche was looking forward to today more than any other. This was the day of the Stelvio pass. What could we expect, could the Capri Ghia make it up and down without any mishaps. This was the challenge facing Steve, Andy and Me (Craig).

First though we had to decide which route to take. Should we head for the Munt La Schera tunnel and then take in the Foscagno pass before descending to Bormio at the start of the ‘big one’ or should we take the shorter route via the little used Umbrailpass. We opted for the former so that we could experience the full length of the pass.

As we reached the bottom of the pass we couldn’t believe how many cars and bikes there were. What’s more there were dozens of guys on pushbikes. Are they mad or what! Spotted someone doing it in a Reliant Regal Supervan 3. “Hate to admit it but I had one of those” exclaimed Steve. He did used to drive it on a motorbike license so we’ll let him off. “Let’s follow Dell Boy then” exclaimed Andy.

So we did we started following the three wheeled pig. It was 20 degrees when we set off and clear blue sky but we were about to find out how things can soon change. The pig seemed to be doing pretty well as we followed along in the Capri Ghia. Hairpin bend after hairpin bend, ‘oh look someone’s come off their bike’. Not surprised as bike after bike comes racing by. I think they have a death wish. ‘There’s another’, I’m sure they all think they’re Barry Sheen.

How many more are we going to see? Us old farts will just take it nice and steady, we’ve got a lot further to go before we reach Krakow. ‘Oh shit’ those were my exact words! I had insisted on driving! ‘The temperature gauge is as high as it can go’. So we had to stop and we weren’t even half way to the top. Bonnet up, fan on full, lets cool this baby down. Took a while but after about 15 minutes we decided to give it another go. The 3 wheeled pig was long gone, how can we get beaten by a plastic car fitted with a lawnmower engine. Anyway off we set, more hairpin bends and then ‘I can’t see anything, where’s the road gone’. It’s thick fog now, where did that come from and it’s also cold, wind those windows up. We found ourselves stopping again and waiting another 15 minutes for the engine to cool down. Had to don our fleeces, it’s certainly a lot colder now. Last push on to the top, could we make it without stopping again.

Yes we can! and we did. It was packed, all different nationalities, cars and bikes from all over Europe. But we couldn’t see a bloody thing as we looked down whence we had come. “Look at that guy there he’s older than us” I said pointing to a guy in shorts and ‘T’ shirt who had just cycled to the top. We looked down at our middle age spread thinking ‘who’s mad us or him’. Met this crazy Austrian guy selling hot dogs. Munch munch, come on there’s nothing to see let’s get back down the other side and get to where we are going. So off we set again and guess what, half a mile down the road and we’d got clear blue sky again. Wow! what a sight, as we stopped got out of the Capri Ghia and looked over the edge to see the road snaking it’s way down to the bottom.

stelvio2Picture time for sure. Click, click, click, ok let’s get off. The car should be ok now, it shouldn’t overheat going downhill. Andy had taken over the driving as we descended. More smashed bikes and a smashed car as well, then “shit the brakes aren’t working” Andy said in a pant wettingly funny, yet brickin’ it tone! “Why didn’t you use the gears to slow us down, you’ve gone and cooked the brakes” I said. We pulled in.

You could warm your hands up on the brakes there was that much heat coming from them. Guess we’ll have to stop again. Another 15 minutes, this is becoming a real challenge. Finally, we reached the bottom, 2748 metres and 60 hair pin bends out of the way. That was great, shall we do it again. Maybe next year. And off we head into the sun and onto our next destination.

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