Thursday, December 06, 2007

Driving in my hero's tracks

Well almost... Just this evening as I was looking thru some amazing photos and video of Lucky racing thru the Mexican countryside just north of Oaxaca I remembered a little known fact that it was November 1954 that Carroll Shelby entered the Carrera Pan Americana Mexico and at the 175 kilometer marker north of Oaxaca, Shelby crashed into a large rock that flipped his Austin Healey four times. As would be Shelby's luck Indians found him and offered him strong drinks to ease the pain of his broken bones and his shattered elbow.

Now that I think about it some of the locals offered us some of the same drink while we spent the night in Zacatecas celebrating the Day of The dead. As is custom the local villagers take the La Carrera teams on what is traditionally called "The Donkey Walk". Before taking a historical walk about the beautiful village each guest is given a small cup with a ribbon to hang it around your neck. As the teams are guided to along they stop at each historical site where the cups are filled with tequila while the host talks about each historical building. As the photos of Bret Haller from The Unlimited Class Blog shows it was a festive time that included music and dancing in the streets for one and all.

In Shelby's case the drinking was done after the crash but in our case the drinking was done the night before the next morning's very dangerous run over La Buffa.

Speaking of history... Although Shelby was still undergoing operations to recover from his racing accident in March of 1955 he continued to race a 3 liter Monza Ferrari with Phil Hill at Sebring with his arm in a specially made fiberglass cast and his hand taped to the steering wheel.

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