There are so many stories about La Carrera Panamericana and they are all good ones that deserve to be told. Most of them are not ordinary stories that would bore you to death but instead these are the ones that if you were being told would have you asking even more questions. "Bartender... Another round. Now tell us more. What did you do after the road washed out?" I only wish I would have been there every day to have heard them. As more of these stores come to the surface over the next few weeks as teams return home and find time to finally reach their computers I will post them as they tell them to me.
One such story is from our good friend Francisco Ortiz of car #299 and was co-piloted by Marco Martinez. Francisco and I have stayed in touch since we met at last years race and he has kept me filled in on the progress of his car and plans as he prepared for this years race. A little less than a week before the race we lost contact with each other while I was in San Miguel de Allende and I assumed he was already on his way to Tuxtla Gutierrez. What I didn't know was how all his whole year of getting ready had changed to a last minute hustle. If only I had a nickle for every story like this one that I have heard.
Photos Courtesy Of Coop
My new engine broke down the Saturday 18 of October when I was testing on the carretera Monterrey Saltillo (rod bearing) and I had to put my older and smaller engine in the Datsun 2 days before take the way to Tuxtla.
Then on Sunday I felt a valve problem!
On Monday we start on the way to Tuxtla with the valve problem. The car runs well but not all the horses are working.
On Wednesday we pass the tech inspection very easy and so in the afternoon I take off the cylinder head and find the gasket was the problem so I change the gasket and it was fixed.
On Thursday the engine was overheating but I found the problem was just the radiator cap.
Friday on the way to Oaxaca, runs very well but when I arrive at the controls on my time the controls are no more so I only take one special stage but we arrive to the arch every day.
The Historic A plus class was very fast this year and the Alfa and the black Volvo top speed was around 220kph, really fast cars.
The Mustang #454 hit my car in the back in a very dangerous special stage on the Sierra Gorda. It was a little hit but in a fast and dangerous turn.
Please tell this history to the Norteamericanos:
In the last control Z of all the race, I was stopped waiting to pass the z on time and we were in the autopista to Nuevo Laredo and exactly on the other side of the road at the side of the control was a truck and do you know what it said on the truck and the trailer???? Yes... "Churchill Detroit". But when I told Marco take a picture of the truck we didn't have time!
Francisco, thank you very much and we are all so very proud of you. This is a perfect example of how even though so many of us have a whole year to get ready we still seem to have so many last minute issues to deal with. The good news is you overcame them all and were able to finish the entire race and you are a great example of La Carrera Panamericana spirit. Your race with #288 Datsun piloted by Joe Brubaker and co-piloted by Michael Emery had to be one of my favorite races. A race within a race. I sure would like to know if any other teams saw the Churchill truck. I guess the spirit of Churchill wanted to see all the cars come across the finish line just one more time.