Tuesday, August 26, 2008

CARRERA NEWS -- END OF THE SUMMER EDITION by Gerie Bledsoe


CARRERA NEWS

August 2008

***CARRERA CORRAL -- MONTEREY HISTORICS
***CONCURSO DE MOTOR SPORTS -- SAN MIGUEL
***HERSCHEL MCGRIFF TO BE HONORED
***PIKES PEAK -- NEXT JULY
***REMEMBERING THE 1999 PAN AM
***LUPITA HERNANDEZ FUND MOVED
***CHIHUAHUA EXPRESS – MARCH 27-29, 2009
***CARRERA NIGHT IN SAN FRANCISCO, SEPT. 13
***JOIN NEW NETWORK FOR VINTAGE RACING
***LEGAL WARNING AND RED MIST DANGER
***CONTACT INFORMATION

***CARRERA CORRAL -- MONTEREY HISTORICS

Around 65 Carreraistas, friends, and family members showed up at the second annual Pan Am Fiesta and Corral at Tarpy’s Roadhouse in Monterey on August 16 during the Monterey Historics. The site and the weather were perfect.

In addition to the usual roundup of suspect Californians, there were visitors from several other states and countries, including Arturo and Gabriel Perez from Mexico. Gabriel Perez and Angelica Fuentes won the Carrera in 2006. Before that, his father, Arturo, had been his navigator in every Pan Am since 1988.

Richard Clark and Andy Prill from Monaco and England were there to display a Porsche 356 driven by Manfredo Lippmann in the original Pan Am in 1953. The car, which they were running at Laguna Seca, was in beautiful condition! This was the one of the cars that started the whole “Carrera” marketing ploy for the Porsche company. Apparently, Mr.Lippmann attended the races but was unable to join the group at Tarpy’s.

Several individuals who raced the modern Pan Am back in the initial 1988-1993 period were able to attend and swap stories about those wild and wooly early years.

And a good time was had by all! For more details and photos go to Gary Faules’ blog at: http://lacarrera2007.blogspot.com/

***CONCURSO DE MOTOR SPORTS --SAN MIGUEL

Plans are coming together for the first annual Concurso de Motor Sports in San Miguel de Allende. The Concurso will start with a Carrera de Poker (Poker Rally) on Oct. 17, and conclude with a display of Carrera cars in the main square on Oct. 19.

The purpose of the Concurso is to raise money for organizations that help children and families in need. This year the two participating organizations are CASA – an organization that provides a variety of services to children and families, from education to medical care. The other organization is Casita Linda, which builds houses for disadvantaged Mexican families. Like Habitat for Humanity, the family must participate in the building of the house. Go to www.casitalinda.org for more information.

Both CASA and Casita Linda are registered as 501 (c) (3) nonprofit organizations with the IRS, so contributions are tax deductible in the USA (and in Mexico).

***HERSCHEL MCGRIFF TO BE HONORED IN SAN MIGUEL

Herschel McGriff, who won the first Carrera in 1950 as a very young man, will be the guest of honor at the Panamericano Gala Banquet in San Miguel on October 19. McGriff, who went on to have a successful racing career in NASCAR and other events, continues to run his business in Arizona.

Tickets to the gala in San Miguel will be $150 per person. Most of the cost may be treated as a tax-deductible contribution to CASA and Casita Linda, but always check with your CPA first.

***PIKES PEAK -- NEXT JULY

All Carrera cars and other qualified vintage racecars are being invited back to the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb next year. Just about any pre-72 vintage car with a full roll cage is eligible. The date will be July 19, 2009. Forty slots will be open in the vintage category. In addition to the Hill Climb, the Rocky Mountain Vintage Racing Club and La Carrera USA will also sponsor a vintage car show and other activities in Manitou Springs, a famous resort town on the slopes of Pikes Peak. Even if you decide not to challenge The Mountain, you can display your car and have a good time.

***REMEMBERING THE 1999 PAN AM

This will be my tenth annual trip to Mexico for La Carrera. It’s been a blast! Here’s a look back on the event in 1999, my first year.

In 1999, eighty-five cars started the Pan Am in Tuxtla Gutierrez. When the dust settled in Nuevo Laredo a week later, Pierre de Thoisy* (FR) was the winner by 12 minutes over Jorge Silva (MX). Michael Stoschek (GER) finished first in Historic B and third overall in his Porsche 911. Few believed that the Porsche had only 2000 cc, but there was no formal challenge.

Dennis Varni* (US) finished first in Turismo Production and ninth overall in his Lincoln. And Bruce Parmalee finished first in Historic C in a white ’65 Corvette roadster. Texan Rusty Ward,* everyone’s favorite former exotic dancer, was up in 11th.

Doug Mockett* (USVI), long before he got smart enough to team up with Angelica Fuentes, finished 22d. Steve Waldman* (US) was 24th. Jorge Pedrero (MX) finished in 25th -- with Angelica. Other Americans included: Tom and Sandy McKenna 26th, and Brian DeVries* 34th overall and 2d in Original Pan Pam his beautiful, authentic ’53 Ferrari GTO 250. John Daniels* finished 25th, Michael Sharp* 42d, Al Hagen and Todd Landon were 46th, Chris Salyer 48th, and Mats Hammarlund 53d. Rookies Chuck O’Connor and Gerie Bledsoe*, in a ’61 Mercedes 220 SEb rust bucket with only four of six cylinders working, were lucky to finish in 65th place.

Twelve cars from the US in 1999 were listed as DNF, including Bill Shanahan*, Jerry Churchill, and Helge Nyland*. Don Blackburn and Sue Zesiger got a spirit award for finishing 67th after rolling their Mercedes coupe badly the first day. (Rich Morrrison now is a Carrera and Chihuahua regular in the car, which he had completely rebuilt.) Light rain and excessive speed caused twelve cars to crash that first racing day back in ‘99.

About a dozen Americans on the grid in ’99 will be returning in 2008. Their names are marked with an asterisk above. They now form the core of the “U.S. Pan Am Fraternity.” Jerry Churchill will be present, too, as a big part of the “Spirit of the Carrera.”

Sadly, there were three fatalities in ’99: two Mexican racers—one a young woman-- went off on Mil Cumbres, and a spectator stepped off a curb in Tuxtla and was instantly killed by a service truck.

Let’s do better in 2008!

***LUPITA HERNANDEZ FUND MOVED

The fund used to support the Mexican nurse, Lupita Hernandez, severely injured by a Carrera car in 2003 has been moved to Torrence, California, because of Jerry Churchill’s passing. The trustees of the account are now: Doug Mockett, Oscar Carillo, and Gerie Bledsoe.

Contributions are needed to increase the fund to a point where the interest and principle will be enough to support Lupita during her lifetime. At this point the fund can only afford fifty dollars weekly for a few years. Lupita’s father, who provides daily assistance to his daughter, who lost both legs at the hip, only earns $75 a week as a night watchman.

Recent contributors include: J. McKain, J. Harding, D. Gussack, and B. Redding, plus two others who asked to remain anonymous.

The new address for Lupita’s Fund is:
Ms. Fanny Davila
South Bay Bank
2200 Sepulveda Blvd.
Torrence, CA 90501
Acct. #: 009400710
Wire routing #: 122237308

***CHIHUAHUA EXPRESS – MARCH 27-29, 2009

Can’t make the Carrera this year? Sign up for the Chihuahua Express. It is a 1000 mile stage rally (325 miles of speed stages) through the glorious countryside of northern Mexico, in the state of Chihuahua. The City of Chihuahua is only 145 miles from Texas.

The early entry fee (if paid by November 31) is $1800; hotels are extra. Email gbledso@aol.com for an entry packet and click on www.chihuahuaexpress.com for more information.

***CARRERA NIGHT IN SAN FRANCISCO, SEPT. 13

Plans are being made for a Carrera gathering at private auto club in downtown San Franciso the evening of September 13. The night will feature some discussion of how to prepare your car for the Carrera. Details will follow.

***NEW NETWORK FOR VINTAGE RACING

Stephen Page, a veteran of the 2005 La Carrera, has created the world’s largest online social network for people who love vintage cars, especially racing them – www.myvrl.com.

You may use this group to post photos and videos, and to communicate with fellow members more effectively. You may also share your experiences about car marques and resources for travel, apparel, parts, and services.

The site offers a new way to communicate with fellow La Carrera Panamericana participants--past, present, and future.

There is no cost to use the site. Click on this link to join the La Carrera Panamericana Group on MyVRL: http://www.myvrl.com/group/lacarrerapanamericanagroup


LEGAL WARNING

Auto racing is inherently dangerous and La Carrera Panamerican is no exception. Both car and driver(s) should be carefully prepared for a long, hard endurance race. Fortunately, the flow of gasoline and electrical impulses to the engine can be limited by simple devices, but the flow of testosterone and adrenaline to the driver cannot be limited with a gadget.

Drivers should be pre-programmed to survive a week-long race, covering nearly 2000 miles. The keys to this race are: solid mechanical preparation of the car and a smooth, consistent driver who preserves the equipment. Luck also helps a lot.

The biggest variable in the race may well be the reliability of the car, but driver and navigator must understand and appreciate the fact that this race cannot be won the first day. However, it can be lost on the very first speed stage, with disastrous consequences. Even experienced drivers can lapse into the infamous “red mist” zone and lose control of their rational faculties…and the car.

***CONTACT INFORMATION
Gerie Bledsoe
North American Coordinator
La Carrera Panamericana
677 Highland Ave.
Half Moon Bay, CA 94019
650-726-9890 (home office)
650-726-9599 (fax)
650-867-9488 (mobile)
gbledso@aol.com
www.panamrace.com
www.lacarrerapanamericana.com.mx

COPYRIGHT 2008 GERIE BLEDSOE

1 comment:

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