THE STORY OF BOB KART’S RACE
It all began in Viù, during a rainy afternoon at the end of July 1959.
Five young people, both of Viù and tourists, bored by the country usual routine, decided to create a competition like the American soap box races. Their names: Dario Cantino, Luciana Virando, Paolo Durando, Giulio Balocco and Lello Gandini. Probably Lello has already had the idea to transform the forms of the soap box into more catchy others, the same forms that everyone know as the countach, diablo, stratos.. So the story started…
The first edition was a playful edition and it was entitled to Newton: in fact vehicles ran thanks to the force of gravity. The first vehicles were born in very improvised ways: for example putting togheter woody looms and wheels or wheels taking by wheels of some prams (provided by some mothers) . The first man who used wheels of Vespa was Paolo Durando. Some more advanced vehicles had the structure made of corrugated and coloured cardboard.
The first Newton Grand Prix was held on the 15th of August 1959, with the departure of the race at “Pieu” and the arrival in “Pavaglione”. The crews were mainly single and they were about six or seven. During the first timed race, the winner crew received an handmade woody cup as prize. The result of this brilliant idea was amazing and the following year the race was repeated with a greater number of crews and with a stretched route (the start was from the “Scoiattolo” restaurant).
Thanks to the growth of the event wich was envied by all others Valley during the 1960s, every summer in Viù there was the so-called “Bob Kart Race”. This constance is awarded by the fun and by the public from Turin and other province to see the spectacular event.
During the 1970s first modifications appeared: kart with the flounce were made by still, brakes and roll bar of old Fiat 500’s (also because of first accidents), with a greater number of youths who every year created new bob kart in order to win the race.
The single crews were little by little replaced by the funny and spectacular “bob for two” (the pilot and the weight lifter). The weight lifter, both to balance and stabilized the bob kart during the race, was also introduced to impress the necessary push to face the very flat part of the route.
At the beginnig of the 1970s the first relay races appeared: noisy and funny cars with the kart’s colours assigned. These started about 30 seconds before the crew, acting as fore runner.
At the end of the 1970s this competition was held only in Viù and in a little village in Umbria.
In 1980 new dispositions for the construction of the vehicles were given. Wheels of the “Mini” were introduced, size of the weels were given (minimum the Ape’s wheels and maximus the 500’s) and sponsor were introduced on the bob and on the relay.
In 1982 the best relay was also rewarded: the funnier, the noisier and the faster. During the glorious 1980s, the crew’s number reached the maximum, an absolute success for a local event, so was decided to organize, during the summer, other two races in order to satisfy the competitors: one in Alpe Bianca (Viù) and one in Pian Benot (Usseglio).
The first part of 1990s was characterized by intense competitions and continuous records of the route, meanwhile in the following years there was a decline of the event, probably due to the generation at changing and to kart’s deterioration, after twenty years of activity without any inspection. This path of a terrible oblivion was probably a consequence of the monotony of the manifestation…new nourishment was necessary!
So, after years of success and imitations, the mythical “Bob Kart Race” ended.
But something changed in the summer 2004. Some young people, against all the bureaucracy of the modern era, decided to bring back to the top the competition probably for a bet, or probably for pride. In 2005, thanks to the Italian’s Kart Federation, the race based on the force of gravity restarted. As in the past, the first year was a local race, and then, in 2007, the competition joined the Italian Kart’s Championship with great proud.
The races, engaging the population, started to animate the Village, so the passion increased and also the course and the planning developped in quality. Thanks to this quality, runners started to arrived from other Italian Regions and European countries. In some years the race increased his fame between enthusiastes of the discipline and the European Federation, after an accurate analysis and the athlete’s positive opinions, decided to appoint in this race that in the past was only a young man’s game.
During the years there were many voluntary improvement and in 2016 a Federation’s commission came to Viù in order to study the course, the working group, the services and structures of the village.
The judgement was extremely positive: an unthinkable success until few years ago.
In July 2017 Viù will be the headquarter of the Speed-Down European Championship. A great contest repaying a long tradition more and more projected..