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not so lucky at the
1968 Cowes-Torquay

TORNADO - The White one!

The 1968 World Championship year

In 1968 Balestrieri became the first European to clinch the world title, partnered by his co-driver and mechanic Don Pruett.

Driving his 28-foot (was it 27-foot? Was it one of each?) Magnum Donzi "TORNADO" powered by by Twin 450 h.p. Mercruiser engines, Balestrieri opened the season by winning the Sam Griffith Memorial Race in Florida. After placing second in the subsequent race, the Wills International in England, the Roman was victorious at the Naples Trophy and The Viareggio-Bastia-Viareggio in Italy. Next, Balestrieri took his Tornado to victory at the French Douphin d'Or and at the Swedish GP.

Balestrieri's luck changed late in the season when his Magnum '28 sank at the Cowes-Torquay event in England (see photo) and, in the following race at the Miami-Nassau, his new '31 Bertram "Yellow Tornado" suffered a flash-fuel explosion in the engine compartment nearly killing Don Pruett. Don recovered from his second degree burns and, two weeks later drove the "Yellow Tornado" to victory in the Miami-Key West race.


         
The 3 photos above are courtesy of the Pruett family. The inscription on the bottom of the left photo reads: A Don con affetto e stima. Vincenzo (To Don with affection and esteem. Vincenzo). The center photo bears the following inscription: Al mio amico e compagno di vittoria Don con tutto il mio affetto. Vincenzo (To my friend and victory companion Don with all my affection. Vincenzo)
Balestrieri


with Don Pruett


beginning of a friendship
     



     
     
     

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