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Motor racing started on public roads before moving to specialised racing tracks and none of those early road circuits conjures up the magic better than Italy’s ultimate test.

The photograph was taken in 1970 and I had no trouble tracking down its location in Campofelice. The coastal town is an easy drive east of Palermo, on the north coast of Sicily.

© GP Library Limited | Alamy

Campofelice di Roccella has a long beach, an important church, a 14th-century castle, and nearby there are the Greek ruins of Himera, but it’s what’s happening in the street on that Sunday in May that has clearly entranced a large contingent of the local population. Under the building balconies, which I found so easy to identify, the citizens of Campofelice are lining the pavements, leaning out into the street, waving ecstatically, clearly cheering loudly for a local Palermo schoolteacher.

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