Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Alfred Hitchcock has nothing on us...


Racing in Mexico is nothing short of an adventure, one that any race driver get's excited just thinking about let alone actually doing it. It seems there are far more obstacles there than almost anywhere else in the world. They have obstacles coming from the road, the side of the road, the middle of the road, hell even under the road, off-road and yes even from the air.

Remember back when I mentioned something about buzzards going thru windshields? Well, I wasn't kidding. It has happened on more than one occasion during the La Carrera Panamericana and keep in mind, you would have to be going like hell to connect with one of these big boys. If you have never had the privilege of seeing how big a vulture up close trust me, they are huge. In fact if Alfred Hitchcock were alive today he would be jealous as the thought of a Mexican vulture crashing thru a windshield of a high performance race car would send chills up even the bravest of the brave.

Back in 1952 The Carrera Panamericana soon lived up to its burgeoning reputation as a car-breaker, something the teams’ preparatory outings had also indicated. Nobody was more keenly aware of this than Kling and Klenk, who felt the full force of the rally’s destructive potential during the opening stage. Kling, thundering towards a long right-hand bend at 200 kilometres per hour, spotted the vultures lurking by the side of the road too late. One of them promptly took off, smacking into the windscreen of the 300 SL on its ascent. Co-driver Hans Klenk sustained an impact to the face and was briefly knocked unconscious. However, he reacted like a true professional: this was no time for peaceful convalescence – there was a race to be won. Klenk’s first words on coming to confirmed as much: ”Let’s get going, Karl!” And Karl Kling duly put his foot back down. Some 70 kilometres down the road, Klenk then used the opportunity presented by a tyre change to wash down his face, willing helpers picked the fragments of glass and bird from the car, and without further ado the pair were back on the road and heading for the stage finish in Oaxaca.

After completing the stage, Hans Klenk was given a quick once-over, passed fit and sent on his way with an encouraging ”vaya con Dios” [God be with you]. Clearly some form of protection was required in the event of a similar impact, and to this end, Kling and Klenk bolted eight vertical steel bars over the new windscreen. They also discussed the species and size of the dead bird, agreeing that it was a bird with a 115-centimetre wingspan and weighing as much as five fattened geese. If anything, the incident seemed to spur on Kling and Klenk, and with passing years it turned the victory and the Carrera Panamericana itself into the stuff of legend.

A driver can't help being concerned with the knowledge there are vultures already waiting along the path of this race!!!

6 comments:

George Sullivan said...

Gary
The story about the Vulture caught my funny bone. Outside of Puebla we pulled the hood off the Volvo to check things out before the next speed stage I went to hand in our time card I came back and Tom was swearing like an old sailor. He had pulled the car ahead so another team cold get by and ran over the hood. It was funnier than hell to see it. He turned the hood over and ran it over again and jumped on it and somewhat flattened it again it still looked like hell. Then he came up with the idea we hit a Buzzard I couldn't believe how many people believed us. We did finally tell the truth we still laugh about it and the story gets better each time. I did see the other car's site and I hope to post next week more and in answer to your question Yes I am a hunter and fisherman.
Cheers
George

Gary Faules said...

LMAO! Now that's FUNNY! That I would have loved to see. Not that I enjoy seeing anyone's car suffer but some times things are just too funny not to laugh at. I have been known to tell a few tall tales myself. But then again I am a fisherman so it's expected.

I knew I had made a new friend. Now when we get to Mexico we will have more than just racing to talk about.

Gary Faules said...

George,

It just now dawned on me... "Dover Brothers"... Did I miss something or are you and Tom brothers?

George Sullivan said...

Tom and I needed a team name and we decided on me aka Ben Dover and Tom aka Flip Dover. We have had a lot of fun with the names people laugh when they hear them. I may have to pass on this year my wife for some reason thinks I should take her to Hawaii ths fall. My son is on a submarine out of Pearl Harbor and it would be nice to see him. After all the lonely times she spent while we were building the car I guess it's the least I can do for her. We will see what happens we do plan on going back.

Gary Faules said...

LOL, What a great story regarding the Dover Brothers.

Yes, you better take care of that lady and what a pleasure it would be to see your son come into Pearl Harbor on a sub. How exciting and you both must be very proud. Racing is a great activity however it's nothing without close friends and family to share it with.

If you decide to make it, our whole team will be looking forward with great anticipation to meeting you and all the others. If not, there's always next year.

Biby Cletus said...

well its an excellent post you have here on Dover , i really enjoyed reading it, will be back soon and i especially liked the photo you'd posted.Do keep up the good work
regards Biby - Blog