Monday, June 15, 2009

From The Desk Of Gerie Bledsoe CARRERA NEWS -- JUNE EDITION

JUNE 2009



The Monterey Historics is the biggest and best vintage race car event in the world. It comprises two magnificent weeks of racing, tire kicking, auctions, concourses d’ elegance, and paddock drooling. This year the featured marque is Porsche.

The culmination of the Historics comes during the weekend of August 14-16. Thus the third annual “La Carrera Fiesta at the Historics” will convened on Saturday, August 15 at 2:00—6:00 PM in the beautiful courtyard of Tarpy’s Roadhouse. Prior to August 1 tickets will be $40.00. At the door, they will be $50.00. The tickets cover the cost of set up, food and drink, souvenir, plus a $5 contribution to our Mexican girlfriend, Lupita Hernandez (see story below). Because space is limited, only fifty tickets will be printed.

There will be space to display ten Carrera cars in front of Tarpy’s during the Fiesta. Five of these slots are reserved for Carrera Porsches. The spaces will be assigned on a first-come basis. At least one ’53 Original Pan Am Porsche is expected to be there.

For those that do not know the history, the Porsche company actually made its racing debut in Americas during the ’52 Carrera. However, after winning its class in Le Mans and the Mille that year, it returned in force to the Pan Am in ’53 to sweep its new class, Sports Menor. Thereafter the race’s name has adorned the rear lid of many of their cars, a tradition that continues today, even with the new “Panamera” model.

On Saturday morning, all Carrera cars are also invited to join Porsches for a tour of sites on the Monterey peninsula, traveling on some entertaining back roads. And after the Fiesta, on Saturday night, ten Carrera cars will be invited to join a big Porsche display under the lights in downtown Monterey. Bill Hemmer and Adriana Robles are our local hosts for the fiesta.

Please contact the North American Coordinator if you want to purchase a fiesta ticket, reserve a spot for your Carrera car, or need more information about these events.


Is the Pike’s Peak International Hill Climb July 14-19 on your bucket list? Do not wait. Join us this year. The deadline is July 1. The entry fee is only $800, if paid to the Rocky Mountain Vintage Racing Club (RMVR). That’s about half of the regular entry fee. Just about any Carrera car or vintage racecar with a full roll cage is eligible. Vintage entries are filling up and may be gone soon. Most of the 12.5 mile course, including the top section, has been paved.

Doug Mockett and Angelic Fuentes will be back to defend their championship on July 19. Kevin Jones plans to return, too. We will practice on the mountain three mornings, before the main event on Sunday, July 19.

To register, contact Tony Martins of RMVR The entry form is available at Send it and a check for $800 to:

t/o Tony Martins

6387 South Hill Street
Littleton, CO

Rooms are available at the Silver Saddle Motel in Manitou Springs for $79 a night. RMVR is also planning a vintage car show in Manitou Springs on July 18.


Want to participate in this year’s Carrera Panamerica or Pike’s Peak but do not have a car?

No problem, just contact Todd Landon at or call him at 952-250-7948. Todd, a food scientist for Land O’Lakes in Minnesota, has twelve years’ experience racing and building Mustangs and Falcons for the Pan Am, Chihuahua Express, and Pike’s Peak. It’s his hobby and passion.

As a former competitor, Todd understands that a successful Carrera car must be dependable, safe, and quick. His cars have finished consistently in the top ten, including a first in class and a sixth place overall finish last year. That particular Mustang is currently for sale in Britain for only $95,000. Todd can provide a tested, turn-key car at a much more reasonable price, however. Don’t really want to compete in Mexico, but just drive fast? Todd has a Mustang for lease that can run in the Exhibition class, as well.

Todd has two or three cars for purchase or lease for the race this year. He also provides full mechanical support during the race. His services are highly recommended.

If you are looking for a Turismo Mayor Studebaker, try Mats Hammarlund at His shop also supports them.


Numerous Carrera competitors, friends, and support crews plan to arrive in Huatulco (wha-tool-koh) a few days early in October to relax and check out the beautiful beaches of this tropical paradise. Rates should be reasonable that time of the year. Try to pick a hotel around Santa Cruz, if you want to be close to the action.

The Carrera Office in Mexico City is offering special all-inclusive rates at the “regular” and “premium” hotels. Contact Monica Grossmann directly, if you are interested, at (They also have added a premium hotel in Guadalajara.)

Spouses, friends, and family might want to come down the weekend before the race, October 16-19 for a little R & R, and then head back to the States when the competition begins. The days leading up to the race are a period of intense preparation, so if your girlfriend demands constant attention, it may not be the best place for her. Sadly, there is no Nordstrom’s or Tiffany’s within five hundred miles for diversion. However, the “alfresco” hot tubs may offer some distraction.


Want a little adventure? Join the Coyote Convoy for the trip down to Huatulco. Drive down in your own car – racecar, m/c, or street machine. It’s easy! There is no fee for joining the parade.

The convoy will gather in Laredo, Texas on Friday, October 16, and across the border on Saturday, October 17. It will spend two nights in San Miguel de Allende (selected by Condé Nast magazine as one of the top ten tourist destinations last year), before leaving on Monday, October 19 for the city of Oaxaca. After a night in Oaxaca, it will continue on to Huatulco, arriving on Tuesday, October 20. Short walking tours of San Miguel and the city of Oaxaca will be provided.

Don’t want to drive your Lambo down to Mexico? Fly into Laredo and hop a ride in a service vehicle down to San Miguel. In SMA Rosa Maria Mondragón Fiesco will pack you in her Ford Expedition for the trip on down to Oaxaca and Hautulco with the convoy, and if you want, you can follow the race back to Laredo with her. Rosa Maria is the former P.R. director for the race and two-time co-piloto in the actual event. She is also a licensed rally driver, so she knows how to get you close to the action. Sadly, she can only fit six people in her vehicle--with a modest amount of luggage. Sign up early!

If you want the whole Tour package: fly into Laredo, Texas on Friday, October 16 and schedule your return from there on Friday, October 30. If you go with the tour, the charge will be based on the actual number of days you travel with Rosa. It will be two exciting weeks. You must, of course, bring your passport, but that is the only document you will need, other than a Mexican tourist visa. We also do not expect swine flu to be a problem in October, either.


As some of you know from first-hand experience, supporting a girl friend can be an expensive proposition (no pun intended). Many of the Carrera drivers and co-drivers have been supporting our favorite Mexican hottie for several years now.

She is a sweetie and gives us much pleasure. Of course, we are talking about Guadalupe “Lupita” Hernandez Ramirez, who lives down in Chiapas.

Lupita lost both of her legs at the hip when a Carrera car hit an oil spill, spun off the road, and pinned her up against an ambulance outside of Tuxtla Gutierrez in 2003. None of us expected her to survive as she was being airlifted to a local hospital. But survive she did and now, thanks to her family and the “Friends of Lupita,” she is doing well. The “Friends” supplied her with a cute little house, computer, furniture, training, and support -- all in coordination with the International and Mexican Red Cross.

Famous pilotos like Jerry Churchill, Doug Mockett, Bill Shanahan, Ralph Carungi, Matt Hamilton, and James Gublemann--to name a few-- have been solid supporters of Lupita. None of us wanted to see her begging on the streets, and we have succeeded. However, since Churchill’s passing and the retirement of groups like the Tropical Gangsters, the ranks of “Friends” has been thinned. Doug Mockett administers her trust account.

We need some new recruits to help out. Any level of donation will be appreciated. Carrera patches and other items are also available a All proceeds go to Lupita. Our goal is to raise enough to create a trust fund that will send her at least $300 dollars or so every month.

Send your donations to:

Friends of Guadalupe Hernandez Ramirez
c/o Ms. Fanny Davila
South Bay Bank
2200 Sepulveda Blvd.
Torrance, CA 90501
Acct. #: 009400710


One of the reasons that La Carrera Panamericana is such a cultural adventure is the process for developing the rules – both official and unofficial versions. Typically, the rules for the year’s event are not promulgated until most of the cars have been constructed -- on the basis of last year’s rules!

Everyone should remember the axiom -- “no rule is final; any may be changed” before or during the event, depending on whose ox is being gored, and the amount of black lash from the Mexican racing community and assorted VIPs. Sponsors of the event seem to have an inordinate amount of influence.

Officially, the Pan Am is sanctioned by the Federation Mexican Auto Sports (FMAD), the FIA’s affiliate in Mexico, but the event is not sanctioned by the FIA. Thus it has it own set of very unique, “organic” rules. FMAD inspectors do check the safety features of the cars.

This year, for example, a rule was added within the last month or two that forbids the use of Boss 302 four-bolt main blocks in a Mustang or Falcon in Historic C. This rule was changed because of lobbying by a couple of influential veterans, who apparently drive Fords with regular 289/302 blocks.

Also, the rules now say that no “straight cut gear transmissions” may be used in Historic. Aimed at Jerico and sequential transmissions, if strictly enforced, this rule could also outlaw a vintage Muncie M-22. The Historic C rules are also inconsistent about carburetion limits.

There is nothing in the rules that says that alloy heads are not allowed in Historic C, but you may be forced to run in Exhibition if the inspector’s magnet doesn’t stick to ‘um. On the other hand, sometimes they forget to check. Tubular control arms seem to get only a wink and nod these days, too.

Also, the rules are usually not strictly enforced on new cars until they start bumping veterans off the podium. The cars of new hot shoes will be subject to peer review, for sure. Cars have been bumped into Exhibition during the middle of the event because of complaints from other competitors.

In Historic B the rules were changed this year to allow 2.4 liter engines in a Porsche 911. Please, like they needed more displacement to maintain their domination of this class?!

The big development this year will be the use (or so we are told in a press release) of electronic timing. Will this eliminate the obvious anomalies in the nightly results? Not completely, but it is certainly a step in the right direction.

Again, the Pan Am should be seen as much as a cultural adventure as a vintage race. It is unique in the world, and part of the charm is that it is not a rigid SCCA or FIA event. Loosey-goosey? Yes. But fun, hell yes!


ISO Co-Piloto -- David Cooper. Dave drives a ’51 Chrysler Saratoga NASCAR replica. Email This car won Original Pan AM a couple of years ago, and David is a serious competitor, with top flight equipment.

Several other guys, like Lucha Libre Racing’s Michael Emery, in a Datsun 1600 “Fair Lady,” are looking for co-drivers, as well. Phone 415-728-6960 or email It’s always a fun ride with Michael, who has been to Mexico many times.

HANS/Leatt Braces. Wine Country Motor Sports is offering a premium on HANS devices. Wine Country Motor Sports is located in Sonoma, CA at Infineon Raceway and Juniper, Florida, near the Moroso Motorsports Park. Call (800) 708-7223 to order or go to

Antonio Maceda down in Mexico is offering Leatt Braces for $499, which are approved for the Pan Am. You can contact him at This price is good until August 31st.

Ron Davis out in Colorado has three ’55 Chryslers for sale – red, white, and blue. You can have the whole lot for $45,000. The hemi engines alone are worth that much. Email him at

Ford Falcon available. $32,000. Crate 302. Well tested car. Won class in Chihuahua Express in 2007. Ready for Carrera 2009. From the estate of Tom Silver. Contact David Fuss at

Need service in Mexico (on your car)? Try Enrique Cortes.

Enrique lived in the US for several years, speaks English, and aims to please. He will work on a retainer basis or by the hour – 24/7 along the entire route. Welding and fabrication seems to be his forte, but his jolly band of elves also wrench. Check him out at


Like all forms of motor sports, the Pan Am is extremely dangerous. Obviously, it is less dangerous at moderate speeds. It can also lead to a lifetime of addiction to road racing in Mexico. CARRERA NEWS is not an official publication of the event. All opinions herein are those of the author, who is also a competitor in car #395.


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)

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