RALLY MEXICO NEWS
January 12, 2009
Feliz Año Nuevo!
**CHIHUAHUA EXPRESS, MARCH 27-29
The Chihuahua Express packs nearly 325 miles of open road racing into a three-day weekend. In three days you will race almost as far as La Carrera Panamericana, but you will return to the same hotel and same bed each night.
The Xpress is open to just about any properly equipped car – vintage or modern – that is capable of being driven on the street. Daily and overall trophies in several classes will be awarded. Carrera cars will compete in separate classes and overall trophies.
The City of Chihuahua, is only 220 miles south of El Paso and 142 miles west of Presidio, Texas. So you avoid the 1800 miles drive to Tuxtla Gutierrez. As a consequence, the logistics of supporting your racecar are much easier and much less expensive.
The cost of the event is $2000, which covers the driver(s), required co-driver, and the car. Hotel accommodations are extra. Rooms at the luxury Westin Soberano are $165 per night. A Holiday Inn, Holiday Inn Express, Hampton Inn, and City Express are in the same area. The only other required expense is a Mexican rally license, which cost $280 per person last year. (It will also be good for the Carrera in October.)
The Express Convoy will gather in El Paso on Tuesday, March 24 in El Paso, and will cross the border the next day. Advice and information about Mexican customs procedures will be provided. The Convoy should arrive in Chihuahua City in the early afternoon on the 24th. Most competitors check out of their hotel on Monday morning, Mach 30, and head back to the States via El Paso or Presidio.
A registration form is attached to this newsletter. Return it by email or snail mail with your check for $2000, or use Pay Pal (please add Pay Pal’s 3.8% commission).
For more information request the Xpress FAQ and go to: www.chihuahuaexpress.com.
**HOT RODS AT THE EXPRESS – SOMETHING NEW!
“Chacho” Medina and Eduardo “Lalo” Leon—old friends-- are jointly issuing a special invitation to owners of hot rods and street rods in the U.S. and Mexico to participate in the Chihuahua Express Tour this year. For an introductory fee of only $650 these cars will be able to run the same course as the racecars on Saturday and Sunday. The entry fee will also include two nights at the Holiday Inn, plus awards and trophies. Hot rods from the U.S. will be escorted down to Chihuahua from El Paso on Friday, March 27.
The hot rod tour will visit the fantastic Copper Canyon on Saturday and on Sunday will make the remarkable drive to Ojinada (Presidio) through the Canyon of the Moon. The roads are excellent and the weather temperate in March.
**SAFETY AND SECURITY IN MEXICO – LOOK AT THE RECORD
Several new participants in the Chihuahua Express have expressed concern about their safety and security while in Mexico. Given the constant reports of violence in U.S. newspapers, there is little wonder that such concern is being expressed.
Mexican cartels having been fighting for years to control the flow of drugs from South America and Mexico into the U.S. Virtually all the violence in places like Ciudad Juarez, Tijuana, and Nuevo Laredo is the result of this conflict and the efforts of the Mexico government to suppress the cartels.
While there is no guarantee, we can only report that for twenty-one years the Carrera Panamericana, and for five years the Border Challenge and Chihuahua Express, have avoided any such problems. Race activities take place along rural highways that are well patrolled during the event by local, state, and national police—even army units. We travel as a big group, and do not frequent areas and neighborhoods subject to drug-related violence. As individuals, we also exercise caution, look out after each other, and use our “street smarts.”
**LA CARRERA PANAMERICANA, OCTOBER 23-29
Because of the lengthy holiday schedule in Mexico not much news has been released by the Carrera Office, except the dates. The official web site still shows the entrants and route from last year.
At this point, the route is expected to be about the same – from Tuxtla Gutierrez to Nuevo Laredo, but we will not know that for sure until later in the year. The entry fee for 2009 has not been released as well. Thus far, a dozen norteamericanos have sent in their $500 deposit, guaranteeing them one of the 40 slots initially made available to racers north of the border. Most of those who have signed up have participated in the race in prior years. Several of those who crashed out of the event last year have indicated their plans to return, so the field is expected to look very much the same.
Of special note are plans being made in Washington, D.C. to field two cars for disabled veterans of the war in Iraq and Afghanistan. Anybody want to help these guys?
**PREPARING YOUR CAR FOR RACING IN MEXICO
For the new participants here are a couple of recommendations. Find a topographical map of Mexico. See all that brown running through most of the central part of the country? That color does not indicate desert, but high elevation—from near Oaxaca far north to near Saltillo. Most of Mexico is a high plateau dotted by mountain ranges and volcanoes. From the middle of the first day until the middle of the last day, the race cars operate at high altitude – from 5000 to 10,000 feet. Take heed; be prepared.
Internal combustion engines and fuel delivery systems tuned for sea level do not work well at high altitude. The carburetion must be adjusted (leaned out) because the air at high altitude is much thinner and will not carry as many gas molecules into the combustion chambers. Of course, if you lean your engine out too much may consume itself.
Because the air at altitude is thinner, it will not cool the engine as efficiently. Air molecules absorb heat, and with fewer air molecules available, more heat stays in your engine and radiator—which tends to produce vapor lock and cause other problems.
High altitude also plays havoc with the heat and lungs of old dudes who live in Cities under 500 feet in elevation. Beware! Those who live in Aspen or Andermatt have a distinct advantage….. or Mexico City!
Those who sign up for CARRERA DRIVER will be given detailed information about to prepare fully for racing vintage cars at high altitude.
**ROLL CAGES – DO IT RIGHT
There seems to be no clear set of compatible instructions or drawings yet for the optimum roll cage for a vintage Mexican rally car.
If you are planning to buy or build a car for vintage racing in Mexico, you should get your roll-cage plans checked. If you are building a car and have not installed the cage, please send in a drawing of the cage and its specifications--outside diameter of the tubing, type of tubing, and tubing wall thickness. If your roll cage has been installed, send a full set of photos, or drawing, and specs.
Even though your car may be accepted on the basis of the information you supply, the tech inspector in Mexico—who represents the Mexican racing federation--will make the final decision.
**CARRERA CARS RETURN TO PIKE’S PEAK
Carrera cars will again be featured at the Pike’s Peak International Hill Climb, July 19, 2009. These cars will race up this majestic mountain with entries from the Rocky Mountain Vintage Racing Club one more time. This is the second time in 10 years that vintage cars have been allowed to run the granddaddy of American motoring events. They were quite popular last year.
Last year two Carrera cars, a ’64 “Olds” crewed by Doug Mockett and Angelica Fuentes, and a Subaru piloted by Kevin Jones came home with trophies. Mockett and Fuentes won the Historic Division, beating out some local boys from RMVR.
The race is 12.4 miles up the mountain--from 9100’ to 14,300’ in elevation. There are over 150 turns in the 12.4 miles. Eight or nine miles are paved; the rest is exciting gravel. The competitors practice on the mountain three mornings before the main event. The views are breathtaking.
The entry fee is $750. Do not register on the PPIHC web site or send your entry directly to that organization. Register only at RMVR.com or you will be charged a higher fee.
All cars must be manufactured prior to 1972 and have run either the Pike’s Peak before, or the Carrera or Chihuahua Express.
In addition to the hill climb, RMVR is planning a big vintage car show in Manitou Springs on Saturday July 18 before the race on Sunday. So get that Carrera car out of the garage and up to Manitou Springs (outside of Colorado Springs) next July.
**CARRERA CARS INVITED TO ROAD AMERICA
All Carrera-eligible cars are invited to enter the SVAR vintage race at Road America, Elkhart Lake (WI), May 15-17, 2009. The Carrera cars will have their own dedicated run group. The weekend will include three practice sessions, a qualifying race on Saturday, and a feature race on Sunday. The entry fee is $475. The cars are also eligible to participate in the longer enduro race. Entrants must hold a current racing license from a recognized racing association.
Check the web site at SVRA.com or call Cal Jensen, SVRA Competition Director at 561-379-7751. Transport of cars from the Left Coast will be arranged.
Several Carrera racers have made contributions to the made contributions to the race’s archives. Thanks in particular to Dave Gussack, Matt Hamilton, and a professional photographer, Alex Sudea. Contact Alex in Britain at firstname.lastname@example.org for info about his photos.
PLEASE SEND YOUR PHOTOS AND STORIES FOR THE ARCHIVES.
How’s your Dutch? State of the Art, the company that supplied the trendy jackets for LCP last year has produced two short films on 2008. Find the link on the official web site: www.lacarerapanamericana.com.mx.
Blogs. Gary Faules continues to entertain and edify with his great blog on the Pan Am. Check him out at http://lacarrera2007.blogspot.com/. Gary also has a video on the 2007 event due out anytime know.
Michael Emery, creator of the Luche Libre Team (1965 Datsun Fairlady), and a professional photographer continues to great photos and stories at: http://www.luchalibreracing.com/content/?s=1&l=5.
Kristin Stewart offers her well prepared blog, which contains many photos of the Carrera and the Chihuahua Express, at http://funksterwtf.blogspot.com/.
Marcia Blas presents a warm, unique perspective at http://RoadRallyRhythms.com . Marcia and her husband Franc are preparing a car for a future Carrera. Marcia crewed for Tom Overbaugh last year and has also participated in the Chihuahua Express.
Here’s one of my favorite photos by Marcia. Love those Mexican girls!
Photographs. Danny Bailey has a DVD of exceptional photographs from last year’s LCP for sale for $50. Contact him at email@example.com.
Also Check out Enrique Cedillo’s photos at: http://picasaweb.google.com/ecedillo/Panamericana2008.
If you want to watch the three-car collection corner outside of Aguascalientes, click here : http://www.sporcar.com/sporcartv/sporcarplayer07.asp?formato=4&seccion=MEX&video=PANA-SLP-AGS.FLV. This film and others can be found on myTube.com.
Of particular note is a recently discovered video and photos of the infamous wreck of #395 on La Bufa in 2005, perhaps the best known and most analyzed crash in Carrera history—because of the number of cameras present. This film clearly shows that the driver was able to rotate the car ninety degrees back toward the highway after going off – which suggests that nothing in the steering linkage had failed – before the car’s tires dug into the dirt, ripping off the front right wheel sssembly, and causing 8.5 flips and rolls. VOLCADURA EN LA CARRERA PANAMERICANA 2005 ZACATECAS for the scary video.
Clement Marin has provided another photo of this crash that actually shows the front wheel of #395 being ripped off the car, as it slides sideways down the shoulder. Clemet has also published a book of his photographs. Click on http://img126.imagevenue.com/img.php?image=85715_IMG_2405_122_1123lo.jpg
Contact Clement at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Like all forms of motor sports, the Pan Am is dangerous. It can also lead to a lifetime of addiction to road racing in Mexico.
If you change email addresses, please let CARRERA NEWS know.
North American Coordinator
La Carrera Panamericana
The Chihuahua Express
677 Highland Ave.
Half Moon Bay, CA 94019
650-726-9890 (home office)