Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Try Threading A Truck And 24 Foot Trailer Thru A Needle

That's exactly what my son Will had to do at Zacatecas during the 2007 La Carrera Panamericana and since he was our only service crew member he had to do it entirely by himself. Not only is my son an amazing young man but I just cant imagine who else could have performed up to the level and expectations that he did. It's important to know while the race cars get a police escort thru mind numbing traffic jambs, the service teams are pretty much left on their own to figure out how to reach designated service stops on their own.

Team California's Best truck and trailer parked behind Enrique's service rig.

Service crews are given a route book similar to the ones given to the race cars which some times show alternate routes however teams need to do their homework the night before since many times the route needed will be closed for the race leaving crews stuck behind in traffic until long after the race is over. Some mornings Will had to leave as early as 5am in the morning to reach a service stop even though we didn't have to start racing until 8am. Good team work helped figure out team strategies and service stops. Do we check the brakes in the morning and get a good nights sleep tonight or so we service the car tonight so the service crew can let early? These are just some of the things that need to be considered. I'm very proud to say everything worked out perfectly for us. The only thing I would change in retrospect and when we do it again is that WE WILL NOT ATTEND EVENING AWARDS/DINNER CEREMONIES. Instead we will spend that time relaxing and site seeing.

Hell, it was bad enough driving in Zacatecas in my GT350R and that even taking into consideration I could run traffic lights, and pass police and go anywhere I wanted. The night Will had to drive in Zacatecas and find a safe place for the trailer and then get to the hotel was the hardest on him for the entire trip. Doing the smart thing, he parked and then found the hotel and me. Then we simply paid a taxi to lead us the best way back to the Hotel Emporio.

Our very good friend Enrique who many times teamed up with Will. Left to right, Jo Rimerez, Enrique, Gary Faules.

This video of Zacatecas shows exactly what I'm talking about and keep in mind this video was shot during day light and Will had to maneuver it after dark something I wouldn't wish on my worst enemy. (Fast forward thru the interviews) Zacatecas is one of the most beautiful cities along the LCP route but it was absolutely the roughest and unfortunately Enriques couldn't make it this day which is one more very important lesson in realizing that your service crew had better be able to deal with adversity. This is no place to anyone who can't roll with the punches and make shit happen. (Pardon the language but if you can't handle that then you are sure as hell aren't ready for LCP.)

Check out some of these streets in Zacatecas and remember this guy is doing it on a motorcycle! Then try an imagine it with a 24 foot trailer.


carson said...

AHHH... service crews certainly the unsung heros of the Carrera
I must say I enjoyed the awards banquets which were usally held in a beautiful historic building and was a time to socialize with other racers and most importantly get the update + changes to the next days route..
luv da blog

Gary Faules said...

If they shortend the awards banquets by about 5 hours they would be ok. Instead they should eat while handing out the awards AFTER they give updates. That way tams could get more rest and see a few sites.