Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Rally Mexico Update from Gerie Bledso

April 16, 2008




**CARRERA FIESTA – Los Angeles -- May 10th RSVP NOW!








The second annual Chihuahua Express came of age last weekend. 51 cars participated, with 41 running in the top-speed stage rally competition. 10 cars participated either in a T/S/D rally or the touring class. 31 of the competition cars were from the U.S. By all reports, it was an outstanding event.

When the dust settled, the overall winners were Kevin Jones and Mark Williams* from the U.S. in a Subaru WRX. The results were not in doubt from the first day. They finished 11:06 ahead of the second place car of John and David Magnuson* (U.S) in their well-prepared Mazda RX7. Third went to Bruce Redding and Steve Shaeffer (U.S.) in a Subaru. They were 12:49 back.

The top Pan Am car, a ’54 Studebaker, driven by Franciso Marquez and Aracelli Ramirez finished in fourth, 20:34 behind the winners. Lars Stugemo, driving a Mats Hammarlund Studebaker, had been leading the Pan Am cars until he crashed the last day.

The other top ten finishers included:
5. Ralph Carungi and Bill Richert (’53 Lincoln, Turismo Mayor)
6. Gerie Bledsoe and Vance Stewart III (’93 Camaro Z28, 4.5+ liter)*
7. Jorge Silva and Horacio Chousal (54 Studebaker, Turismo Mayor)
8. Fran McKinnon and John Putnam (’08 Mustang GT, 4.5+ liter)
9. Steve Waldman and Juan Jose Alessio (Mitsu Evo 9)*
10. David Cooper and Larry Hitchcock (’51 Chrysler, Original Pan Am)*

*Indicates they also won their class.

Tom Silver and David Fuss (U.S.) won the hotly contested Historic C class and 12th overall when Richard Tyzack (U.K), who had led for two days, developed water pump problems on the last day and apparently was penalized for missing a control station. Doug Allen and Chip Fudge also finished on the podium in Historic C. John Voss (U.S.) and Michel Sharp (U.S.) were on the podium in the under 2.4 liter class. Rookies Mike McBride and Joel Eisenberg did well, too.

Other casualties among front runners included: Jerry Churchill (engine), Doug Mockett (crash damage), Bill Beilharz (engine), and Mauricio Guerro. Joe Harding and Chris Salyer lost their cars to fire after crashing. There were no injuries, except a broken ankle (Harding). 18 cars were DNF.

The spirit award goes to John Schantz and Gabrielle Youngstrom (U.S.). They lost the transmission in their ’54 Olds on the first day, but they found and installed a used one the second day in the parking lot, and re-joined the race the third day to finish 33d overall. Gabrielle also got the best dressed and best ‘too award.

Next year special attention will be devoted to modifying the classification system so it keeps up with the wide variety of cars entering the event.

Congratulations to the organizer, Chacho Medina, and his group of 75 officials for an excellent race!


As of this date, 47 “norteamericanos” have registered for La Carrera 2008. Another fifteen have indicated their intent to participate this year. Several are seasoned Pan Am veterans. Of those who have registered, nearly half are rookies.

The entry fee went to $6000 on April 1. The next four applicants will fill our quota of 50 slots for this year. The big question is: will the quota be enforced?

If you have not registered your interest in running the Pan Am this year with the Coordinator, then you should plan on participating in the event in 2009.


A LCP Fiesta will be held on Saturday, May 10th, 5-8 PM, in South Pasadena, Los Angeles, California at the private hot rod collection of Ron Lee. His collection includes one of two ’55 Kurtis GT coupes, and a ’32 Indy car, plus many beautiful hot rod creations.

RSVP is important. Ron must know who is coming by this weekend. A contribution of $25 for food and drink will be appreciated. Please make your reservation now at

Bring photos and DVDs to share.


The premium hotels are full, so forget about the Quinta Real in Zacatecas--the famous bullring hotel--if you do not have your name on the list already.

If you need a room in Tuxtla Gutierrez before October 23 or a room for your support crew, you should let Monica Grossmann de Leon know at

To make a reservation, you must pay for the rooms up front, and there is no refund or transfer of rooms later, says Ms. Grossmann.

The names of the actual hotels will be announced a week before the race.


A complete set of rules for the event this year has not been posted on the official web site. Also, the classification of the cars -- in the new chart form -- seems to be only available in Spanish.

The roll cages rules posted on the web site and dated 2008 are the same as last year’s. They remain somewhat unclear, especially when linked to the diagram that is also posted on the web site.


Oct. 17 – convoy assembles in Laredo, Texas, 9:00 PM meeting
Oct. 18 - convoy crosses border, 6:00 AM arrive in San Miguel de Allende, 4:00 PM
Oct. 19 – Carrera Classic Car Show, San Miguel
Oct. 20 – depart for Tuxtla Gutierrez, 7 AM, drive around Mexico City night in Minatitlan
Oct. 21 – arrive in Tuxtla Gutierrez, 10:00 AM

You need not be a registered competitor to join the convoy and participate in the car show in San Miguel. All cars are subject to approval.

If you want to follow the race and drive the same roads in a tour—not officially connected to the event, please contact the North American Coodinator. You must have a car—your own or a rental—to participate.


All competitors and friends are invited to the Concurso de Motor Sports in San Miguel de Allende. The Concurso will include several venues for hot rods, classic cars, racecars, and vintage motorcycles. Some of the venues will be judged. All proceeds go to benefit children and families in the San Miguel area.

San Miguel de Allende is rated by Condé Nast magazine as one of the top three places in the Americans to visit, and one of the top ten in the world. There is no other place in Mexico where you can see a 16th century colonial town virtually unspoiled by modern times. You will also find boutique hotels, art galleries, and a wide variety of restaurants, where you can eat the food and drink the water without concern.

SMA is 590 miles—by freeway—from Laredo, Texas, and is served by the airport at Leon-Guanjauato (BJX). Several airlines fly from Dallas, Houston, and LA into BJX. Some flights go into nearby Querétaro. SMA is only 3 hours north of Mexico City by car.

Information about the Concurso will be available at Hotel discounts and packages will be offered.


The Pan Am is a long hard race. The cars and support vehicles are on the road from 6or 7 in the morning until 5 or 6 most evenings. The evenings are devoted to servicing the racecar and waiting for the driver’s meetings to begin. Unless your spouse or special friend understands and truly appreciates the nature of this event, their attendance the whole week is not recommended.

However, if they want to sample the event, they might find the preparation of the cars and some of the ceremonies in Tuxtla Gutierrez (Oct. 21-24) interesting, along with the qualifying run and the formal start on Friday. They can fly back to the U.S. on Oct. 24.

Another option for them is joining the race for two or three days by flying into Leon-Guanajuato (BJX) and meeting the event in Querétaro (Oct. 27), San Luis de Potosí (Oct. 28) or Aguascalientes (Oct. 29). They can stay with the race until it leaves Zacatecas (October 30). Rental cars are available at the airport, or a car and driver can be arranged. There are flights into and out of all of these cities, but Leon (BJX) is the best for direct flights to the U.S.

Saludos amigos,Gerie Bledsoe
North American Coordinator

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