The Ferrari Owners’ Club
of Great Britain

Red Everywhere – The 2015 Piazza Italia Horsham

10-04-2015

 

Report & images by John Wellard

 

Piazza Italia started off on the evening prior to Good Friday as has become the norm with an excellent black tie dinner at South Lodge for 112 members complete with a Ferrari F12 in the dining room just to remind us we were Ferrari. During the dinner and the following morning we raised £1,280 for Chestnut Tree House, the local charity for life limited children by selling their natty rubber wristbands.

With the weather forecast for Good Friday looking, to say the least, grim with heavy rain forecast all day it was with some relief that the day dawned damp but not actually raining and it continued to improve all day turning out dry and mild.

After a hearty breakfast most owners staying in the hotel chatted and downed the free coffee on tap waiting for the call to go to their Ferrari ready to move off for the short drive into Horsham under police escort. The first group to go were ten superb ‘Classic’ Ferraris departing the hotel at 9:40 and arriving in Horsham ten minutes later ready for their ‘Ferrari Catwalk’ where they were released into The Carfax, the main cobbled town centre, for a two minute chat about their cars over the towns PA system. A crowd of several thousand gathered in the damp to listen, clap and cheer the various cars as they drove through. The Classics then all departed to park up for the day in the area just off the main shopping area.

The remaining Ferraris were all then due to depart in two large convoys ten minutes apart at 12:20 and 12:30, unfortunately the three police outriders arrived slightly late and they decided to group all the Ferraris together in a huge 90 Ferrari convoy into Horsham. Now that looked pretty spectacular and I am sure by far the largest convoy of Ferrari ever seen on UK roads but it did lead to a few cars going astray and being rescued and brought back to the Carfax by the police.

On arrival into Horsham and despite the dull weather the crowds were simply huge. Difficult even after eight previous Piazza Italia not to let out a gasp when we realised just how many people were lining the route in the town centre. An estimate was 25,000 people making this by far the largest event in the south of England over Easter.

Soon we were all parked up and the spectators wandered around the Ferraris chatting and showing huge interest.

At the same time in the Carfax there was the regular but very popular Italian Market, a fantastic young lady singing opera (that really was amazing to be standing by a Ferrari listening to opera in a town centre) plus lots of displays. The town was buzzing, even more so when at about 2:00pm the tiny fish & chip restaurant in a narrow alley caught fire with eight Ferraris parked nearby. The emergency process quickly swung into action and all of the Ferraris bar two were removed although they were actually in no danger. Four fire engines arrived and quickly brought the fire under control.

The only downside of this was that the Classic Ferraris parked in The Forum were unable to join in the main 100 Ferrari convoy out as the fire engines were blocking the access to the Carfax from The Forum.

All too soon and without any command or sound at 3:15 the crowds moved to their viewing spaces on the pavements and the drivers returned to their cars and after a 5-4-3-2-1 countdown from the crowd the Ferrari flag and the Italian flag fell and the mass of Ferraris led off in a very spectacular exit.

Despite the weather it was a huge success and a great day and from almost fifty emails back from members taking part, very much enjoyed by everybody. Well worth all the work putting it all together.

Now for the tenth and possibly final Piazza Italia …

 

For more pictures of this great event, this time by Shirley Chiltern-Hunt, please go to our Flickr page: