Friday, October 23, 2009

Not A Time To Be Stupid

The famous painting depicting the crash near Tehuantepec that took LCP spectators and team mates lives.

Today's race will prove to be a very important one with respect to danger as history proves this stage one to be very unforgiving and one that must be given a lot of respect.

On Thursday, 19 November 1953 morning, the IV Carrera Panamericana started and Bonetto was the winner of the 530 kms first stage Tuxtla GutiƩrrez to Oaxaca, with a 2 minute 40 second lead from Taruffi and Fangio. In the early hours of the race Angelo Stagnoli and his co-driver Giuseppe Scotuzzi lost their lives in a huge accident which happened in the long straight near the small town of Tehuantepec, (Where todays service stop was.) when their car went off the road due to a tire failure and they overturned and exploded. Shortly later, in another accident near the Tehuantepec River bridge, six spectators were killed when the Ford 6 of Mickey Thompson and Rodger Flores went off the road.

According to Johnny Tipler's "La Carrera Panamericana, The Worlds Greatest Road Race", "Another hammer blow to the race's long term future was what happened on the bridge over the Tehuantepec river, where a sudden curve followed an hour-long passage of full throttle straights. Christie's Ford botched a turn and plunged over the bank, landing on the muddy shore. Spectators and officials rushed to see how they could help as moments later Mickey Thompson, in another Ford, approached the spot. In a terrible moment of coincidence a little girl ran across the road. Thompson swerved, braked and deliberately aimed at the bank to avoid her and his car rolled and landed in the midst of the gathering around Christie below, killing a soldier, a policeman, a town official and three local residents." For obvious reasons a friend who worked for Ford Motor Company whisked him away from the scene.

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