Stella Alpina Rally

One of the few rallies I did in the eighties. This was part of a grand tour on a Honda CX500 with Jacqui Gilbert. We visited the hotel at Brand where I used to stay on Elephant Rallies, and then travelled to Liechtenstein and through Switzerland to the Albergo Miranda, where I lodged when I worked in Italy.

We took in the Stella Alpina at Bardonecchia on the return journey and met a number of LPMCC members including Carl and Howard Wykes.

The track up to the Colle Sommeiller (3009 mtrs) is very rough, narrow and steep. Even in summer there is ice and snow. The hair-raising part was turning round to come back down.

From Bardonecchia we took the Frejus tunnel into France and then loitered home.

Phil Jones went to the Stella in 1980 and got his money's worth out of the local roads.

Start of quotation I went on my BMW R80 but got there mid Sunday as a wrong turn out of Aosta sent me through the Mont Blanc tunnel by mistake, but the run back round the block on the map of France was further than it looked and so I ended up crossing the Col du Pit Bernard just after midnight. I met Rod Taylor from Rugby on the Sunday night who knew Mario and I was able to get a badge.

I got there in time for the 2002 to get my sandwich & badge then to go on up towards the top until the snow got too bad for road tyres on my R100rs. End of quotation

- Phil Jones


Hans Veenendaal sent seven badges, some photos and the following account.

Start of quotation I've been seven times to the Stella, so far as I can remember (and counting the badges).

Mostly it was hot and dry, but once on a Sunday afternoon, when everybody was already back from the rally, it start raining so hard that in one hour there was more then a foot of water on the campsite. I was so lucky that a was standing on higher ground, but a lot of people had to sleep in hotels or were invited into the homes of villagers .

Next day it was 36 degrees again so everything was drying quickly, but there was a great loss of sleeping* bags.

From the seven times I did this rally I have been to the top of the Colle Sommeiller twice. Most of the times we stop somewhere in the snow, sometimes more than eight foot high.

The pictures I sent will prove that Nigel Woodthorpe was climbing the mountain with his new (?) Triumph. I think it must be 1990 or 1992. End of quotation

- Hans Veenendaal

* Hans corrected my typing. The English people take their own tea with them, because they don't like the tea that is for sale on the continent. "Typical English" says Hans. Most of the tea was lost when the water entered the tents.


As reported in the Solent Club History by Graham Cooper.


Start of quotation 1981 Bill Smith: 0n my Guzzi Spada with my friend Michael Kemp on his BMW R45, using the Hovercraft, Ramsgate-Calais route, crossing in 30 minutes. Then 130 miles before camping for the night.

Setting of early morning Friday, avoiding motorways and cruising at a steady 70mph. The little BMW held its own with the Spada apart from over the Alps.

We where not impressed with the campsite. The run up the mountain was very wet and muddy, riding through the 10ft deep walls of snow with an unplanned detour into a ditch on the way up the rutted track.

After a few miles steady climbing, all in 1st gear and loaded with rally gear, the Spada's oil light came on so we wisely decided to head back.

This time it was the BMW's turn to lie down and take a rest, but with no damage we both made it back down to Bardonecchia for the long run home - this time at around the 90mph mark.

Returned again in 1982, 83 and 87, collecting a badge on all three occasions. End of quotation

- Bill Smith