Blog / News


Italian driver Elena Villani, front left, stands next to Steve Oldford with Joe Pennacchio, Dein Spriggs and Dr. Scott Woogan in the back during the European-American Amateur Driving Friendship Challenge.

Pompano Beach, FL…May 15, 2017…What was supposed to be the Italian-American Amateur Friendship Driving Challenge featuring the American drivers Dein Spriggs, Steve Oldford, Joe Pennacchio and Dr. Scott Woogan quickly became a European-American event as the Italian contingent of Elena Villani, Ciro Ciccarelli, Antonio Simioli and Luigi Farina were joined by Frenchman Jean Phillip Bazaire.

The competition began at the famed Hippodromo di Agnano in Napoli, Italy with the Italian amateur drivers dominating the competition by winning three of the first four events and Frenchman Jean Phillip Bazaire annexing the other.

The first two races were won by the only women driver in the field, Elena Villani, who competed at Pompano Park when the same quartet from Italy came to South Florida earlier this year.

The second day of the competition, the American amateurs could only muster a single second place finish by Steve Oldford, who was a photo finish away from winning the event won by Frenchman Bazaire, prompting Oldford to remark, “Yes, I got ‘snapped’ at the wire.”

Dein Spriggs did manage a pair of fourth place finishes and kiddingly remarked, “My old warrior horse, A Crown For Lindy, won the amateur event at Pompano Park on Sunday night for Tommy Eichas. Maybe I should have shipped that horse overseas for this competition. In fact, maybe I should have shipped Tommy (driver Eichas) over here, too.”

After the event, host Pier Luigi deAngelo provided an exquisite reception with American team caption Joe Pennacchio saying, “We couldn’t be more pleased with the grand hospitality received and the camaraderie during our stay in Naples.”

The competition now moves north to the magnificent Tuscany region of Italy where the final phase of the completion will take at tracks in Follonica and Montecatini.

“We always enjoy the grand food, wine and friendships here and maybe–just maybe–we can get a bit of revenge, in a friendly way, of course, in the next legs of the competition,” said Pennacchio.

Those final four races will be on May 19 and 20.


Reported by John Berry for the Florida Amateur Driving Club