These are some pictures from "my first Stella" ... the Stella Alpina weekend of 12th to 14th July 2002.
The images are presented in (roughly) chronological order. If your web browser makes use of the alt tag, you will see a short description, e.g. if you point-and-hold the mouse cursor on the image. You can also watch the images as a slideshow.
Images whose filename starts with "jk..." are courtesy of Jürgen Krämer.
In case you do not know about this event: "Stella Alpina" is an alpine flower similar to the Edelweiss and it is also the name of a giant, mostly non-organised motorcycle meeting, the 'Stella Alpina Motociclistica Internazionale'. Since 1967, this meeting takes place in Bardonecchia, usually on every (?) second weekend in July. If you are interested in the history, do a Google search for Mario Artusio - he is the man that created this event and who still organises it.
In spite of the "rallye" connotation, this is not a competitive event. If there is an "aim", then it is to ride the gravel/dust road up the the plateau of the Colle Sommeiller (3009 m), which is one of the highest legally reachable points in the Alps. If you ride up there on Sunday morning, you can buy "trophys" such as souvenir stickers, T-Shirts etc.
The "usual" campground is close to Rifugio Scarfiotti (2156 m), which is located 18 km from the village of Bardoneccia (two third of this road is dust and light gravel). The ride from the campground up to the Colle Sommeiller is another 12 km on a barely maintained gravel road, whose surface offers everything between fine dust (or mud, depending on the weather ;-) up to crude gravel.
The biggest "flow" of motorcycles is usually on saturday evening and everything from light motocross machines up to fat Harleys etc. has been seen there. A problem not related to the road but to the huge number of motorcycles on this particular weekend is that from Saturday afternoon on, there is a constant stream of motorcycles heading uphill ... thus, especially when you head down to Bardoneccia you want to be extra careful. Some of these folks seem to think they are alone on a racetrack, not expecting oncoming traffic :-(
Apart from this, the region has many more highlights that invite to legal gravel touring. Many of these paths are indeed public roads, maintained with considerable effort, so you really want to ride in a way that remains "compatible" with the surroundings and the people up there.
As usual (and also pointed out elsewhere), all images are copyrighted by their author.