Another year has come to a close, and once again, we've discovered the perfect way to welcome the new one. It has become a late January tradition for us to gather with all our friends at the Motor Bike Expo, the Custom Motorcycle exposition held in Verona. It's been two years since we took advantage of this significant gathering to organize our Swank Rally in its Winter edition. Despite the crisp winter breeze, all the Swankers showed up with their vintage (or non-vintage) bikes, warmed solely by the roaring engines.

Unfortunately, a technical issue in the expo area prevented us from utilizing the dirt track set-up for our self-chrono challenge. Nevertheless, we could still venture into the dirt trails around Verona's backcountry. The highlight of the route was the so-called "little Stelvio," named after the well-known Alpine pass cherished by motorcycle riders for its hairpin bends. Zigzagging up the hills, everyone enjoyed such a nice route, but the most exciting part was yet to come.

After all, it wouldn't be Swank without stopwatches in the mix. Upon reaching Costa Arénte, we had the opportunity to ride through the vineyards in a regularity test. The challenge was simple: complete the lap as close to 3 minutes as possible without putting a foot down. When we had the briefing, we didn't consider that not all the riders were fluent in Italian. For instance, the Dakar champion Joan Pedrero seemed to misunderstand the task (we suppose). As the stopwatch started, he sped away like a devil on the dirt. His good friend Alex Salvini, a former enduro world champion, observed this and decided to catch up with him, ensuring he understood that it was a regularity test, not a speed trial.

From an outside perspective, it might seem like they were racing, but we're confident it was just a misunderstanding. We suppose they kept on not understanding each other because they went on riding like this a few more times.

Between one lap and another, Cantina Arente hosted all of us for a lunch break where we could taste some local products and an amazing risotto all’Amarone. With our bellies full and our tanks half empty, we wrapped up the day and headed back to Verona. All things considered, it's always worth getting together a bunch of good friends for a ride—no matter the season or the place.

ph. @filippopandin