We often read the phrase, "Sights and Sounds of La Carrera Panamericana." I know I am not alone when I say the first sound I think of with regard to La Carerra Panamericana has to be the incredible sound made by none other than the #115 piloted by Othon Garcia Silva and co-piloted by Roberto Aguilar Cardenas in the Turismo Mayor Class. To say the sound from Othon's Buick is good is like saying Italian singer Andrea Bocelli is just an alright singer. When that car winds up it's a symphony of sounds fitting that of an F1 formula car being pushed to it's maximum limits. Here is a good example of what I'm talking about...
Othon's Buick in 2007 La Carrera Panamericana
Having raced with Othan and his co-piloto I am to call him my friend who also has whatever it is that captures a racers being and keeps bringing him back each year for more of what La Carrera Panamericana has to offer. That said, Othan has a story about his #115 Buick that he has offered to share with us that I really is the quintessential being of La Carrera Panamericana spirit.
#115 2008 La Carrera Panamericana Courtesy of Go Fast
My Big Bad Buick is known for having “bad luck”. If somebody will get a defective new part, that will be the Buick. No matter how much time and money you invest in the car, there is always some detail that at least makes you loose a stage.
So last year my copilot and I decided to take advantage of being in Oaxaca. Oaxaca has a deep tradition of Chamanes (“wizards”) and witches… Therefore and pretty much just for having fun, my copilot searched among the locals for a witch in order “to clean” the car of its bad luck. Finally he met someone that told him that he knew a very good witch, gave us a phone and that was that. We called, asked if she could put some “good vibrations” into our car, she said yes, told us she was going to charge us 450 pesos ($40) and we made and appointment for the next morning.
To note, that year we drove the car from Mexico City to Oaxaca to test it and we found it in great condition except for a small detail: if you blew the horn, the car’s stopwatch will freeze and you needed to reset it in order to make it work again.
The next day we took the car to the witch trying not to laugh of what we thought was going to be a very funny ceremony. To our surprise, the first thing that she told us when we arrived (and without being even close to the car yet) was: “Boys: I will help you with the luck of your car, but I cannot do anything about that clock. That you’ll have to fix for yourselves”. (!!!!!) As of that moment we looked at each other and didn’t feel like laughing no more….
She then started walking around the car while saying a lot of things that we couldn’t understand, throwing different kinds of bright color liquids and stopping from time to time to tell us things like:
-There is something big in the shape of a rectangle below the hood. What is it?
-That most be the radiator – I told her
-Can I see it?
-Yes. –So I opened the hood.
She took a look and told me in a very casual way: -It is going to break.
Then she stopped in front of the right front wheel and told us to be careful because she was “sensing” something wrong with it “like a big hit”.
Up to that moment we were somewhat amused and still impressed by the stopwatch detail (only we knew about it!) but then she arrived to the copilot’s door, opened it, looked inside, looked at us and told us (again very casual):
-I have found why you are having problems: there is a deceased guy inside your car.
-Yes, I can see him. He is an old guy. Don’t worry, he looks ok. I think I can “talk him out of the car”. Can I get inside?
-Well, yes, please, do whatever you need to do.
So she got inside the car and she spent like 15 minutes in what we can call an open negotiation with this… ghost? She was saying out loud things like "Well yes, I understand. But they seem like a couple of good boys and they have taken good care of the car. So you should go and rest now. Leave them alone. Go rest now", etc, etc.
After a while she came out of the car and told us that the “spirit” was the original owner of the car! That he really liked it, still was very much attached to the Buick and he didn’t like the idea of risking it on races. But nonetheless that he had agreed to let us race.
Finally she told us not to worry and that she would take good care of us but there was something she couldn’t do anything about and we needed to be extra careful: that she could see that we were going to hit an animal during the race but couldn’t say what kind of animal…
The next day we left Oaxaca towards Tehuacan. In the 3rd speed stage, in a blind right 2 turn a big iguana was in the middle of the road… we hit it straight. Then in Morelia, after the race, going to the hotel, a woman didn’t see me, cut my way and in order not to crash against her I turned hard and hit the sidewalk with my front right tire. I broke the tire, the wheel and bended the A arm… Two day later, in the 2nd speed stage from Aguascalientes to Zacatecas the radiator fan got loose and broke the radiator…
So now we talk to this guy that lives inside the car (we call him Don Difus as deceased in Spanish is “Difunto”), we keep ask him for his authorization to race and tell him to hold on before a speed stage. Just in case….
P.S. I am also selling my car in case you know someone. 55K USD. Ghost included.
If you would like additional information about the #115 Buick drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.