I finally got to participate in Fiat on the Dragon yesterday after having been prevented from doing so for the first 2 or 3 events. We left the Tally Ho Inn in Townsend, TN at 8:30 am and had a fantastic drive through the Smoky Mountains on our way to Harper Fiat in Knoxville, which had coffee and doughnuts for us . You can imagine the looks on people faces when more than 45 Fiats and some weird car with an upside down triangle on the front roar past them!
Here is an aerial pic of us taken by a drone at Harper.
We then left on the way towards a road known as the Devil's Triangle passing through Oak Ridge on the way.
It was awesome looking in your mirror and seeing nothing but modified Abarths an 500s!
After some more great driving on some back roads, a slight "detour" while the whole group was being stalked by a man who was wearing blue and driving an old Ford, we stopped at an old general store to prepare for what lied ahead.
The Devil's Triangle is a very suiting name for this ruthless, dangerous road. Fast curves, elevation change, and challenging hairpins accompanied by shear drop offs without any sort of safety net. It was an incredible drive, and the Alfa performed beautifully. Despite the disadvantage in size, weight, age, and some economical tires, I had no problem keeping up with modified Abarths (this time at least), and the sound of the Busso V6 accompanied by the raspy growl of the Abarth twin cam I4 was enough to bring a tear to any gearhead's eye.
Once we had conquered the Triangle we continued to the quaint historic town of Rugby, TN for a late lunch. We stayed for awhile while we all got know each other and admired each other's cars. The best part of being into Italian car is the spectacular group of people you get meet and become friends with.
After a group photo, we split into two groups, those who wanted to do the Devil's Triangle again and those who didn't. Geuss which group I was in?
This is where it got interesting. It was immediately apparent that those modified Abarths I had kept up with last time had been holding back. It was about to get serious. I had visions of Senna in his Toleman at Monaco. The Alfa had no chance in the slower corners. About 2/3rds of the way later my tires were on my fire, and my brakes were in even worse shape. I now thought of Jim Clark and how he could drive around any problem that arose. When I got out at the bottom, smoke was pouring out of the front wheels, and I could smell the rubber from my tires burning. I had survived the Devil's Triangle, but only just.