The first of the classic road races was the Targa Florio which began in 1906 and continued off-and-on until 1976. The first course was three laps on a 92-mile course in the Madonie Mountains. As the years progressed, the course was changed due to floods, earthquakes, and some of the roads' poor maintenance. Just prior to the First World War, the course traversed the perimeter of the island. Regardless of the course, the challenges were ever present. Handling and reliability often won out over the higher horsepower entrants as the treacherous mountain courses were better suited to the nimble cars that could negotiate the narrow passageways and sharp, unforgiving turns.

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