Wednesday, November 05, 2008

La Carrera Panamericana... Translated, It Means Friends For Life

Let's be honest... in the time it takes you to prepare a car and your team to get ready to compete in La Carrera Panamericana which is typically months or sometimes even years, you have pretty much read or know something about everyone of the other competitors that will be entered in your class having seen their names and photos on the entry list. And if you are really honest with yourself, you can probably recall the hate deep within that you harbored for that team and car even having not met them in your entire life. The desire to to beat them grows every day and in fact you even begin to feel as if you know what they sound like, the way they think, you begin to have an idea of how they drive and their momma probably wears G.I. boots. You notice things about their car you don't like and the bottom line is all you want to do is kick their butt during the race. Now is that any way to judge someone? Didn't your mother tell you it's impolite to judge a book by it's cover?

Funny isn't it... You arrive in Mexico with this killer demon mindset but by the time it's time to pack your bags to return home a week later you find yourself with a lump in your throat because you don't want it to end and especially because you don't want to say good-bye to some of the warmest, kindest people whom you have ever had the pleasure of meeting. Now friends for life it's hard to remember that only a few days ago you were wishing their battery was dead at the starting line and now you can't wait to hear from them again.

One of the best days of my life was when Will, my son and I, had the pleasure of meeting Anna Sorensson. Anna was co-piloto for the #389 Monte Carlo Falcon of Ralf Christensson both of whom are from Sweden and both who have competed several times in La Carerra Panamericana. The first time we really got to know Anna was when Anna and Swedish lance photographer Rebecca Olausson hitched a ride with us from San Miguel de Allende all the way to Oaxaca. It was the beginning of a friendship that will indeed last a lifetime.

As is the case with most La Carerra Panamericana friendships staying in touch is a must. We write each other about what we have been doing, what sort of racing we have been involved with, and we ask if they are running next years race and so on. I had been keeping up with some of Anna's racing when she competed in the most recent Monte Carlos Historique and today she sent me a photo of a beautiful Jaguar OTS 120 which she raced recently but I also got some wonderful news from Anna as well that I wanted to share with everyone since many of you know Anna too. Anna just got married to Hans Sylvan! I couldn't be happier for her.

Will and Anna 2007

Jon, Anna, Gary

Like traditions within La Carrera Panamericana the Swedes also have a very traditional way of toasting that actually dates back to the Vikings. When the
Vikings used to drink together it was important for them to look the person they toasted with in the eye. This was done to install respect and ensure he wasn't going to attack or draw his weapon while you were drinking. It was also custom to repeat this procedure as soon as you had finished drinking for the same reason. This custom has followed the Swedes for centuries and even though it is highly unlikely that Anna brought weapons to her wedding, traditions are meant to be respected.

So let's all pretend Anna and her new love are with us us as we join in holding our glass up high to this amazing and beautiful woman, look both Anna and Hans in the eye and say... Skal! Not to Anna Sorensson but to Anna Sylvan.


LosVikingos_Ralf said...

A great friend and co-pilot.

Gary Faules said...

Ralph, Yes she is. The two of you were the perfect team and everyone admired the two of you and your teamwork besides the fact that you were both Swedish and running a purpose built race car with a rich racing history designed to race in a famous Swedish race. Very cool.

Anna made me laugh when she wrote, "two co-pilots in the same car does not work so we do not compete as a couple." Isn't that way it always is? LOL.