Sunday, July 04, 2010

From The Desk Of Gerie Bledsoe

Carrera News

July 4, 2010 Firecracker Edition

Doug Mockett and Angelica Fuentes regained the title of fastest vintage car on Pike’s Peak, after losing the title last year to a local, Keith Davidson. Mockett and Fuentes’ time of 13:05:7 up the 12.4 mile course is the fastest ever posted by a Vintage Car. Their time was an amazing 1:11 faster than last year. Davidson followed in his Falcon in a highly respectable 13:21.4.

This year the Vintage Class was divided into two groups: modified and unmodified. Mockett’s “Oldsmobile” was assigned to the former and Davidson’s car to the latter group, so each can claim victory. Apparently, the Rocky Mountain Vintage Racing Club concluded that some of our Pan Am cars are a little too modern underneath those aged exteriors.

Mockett was followed in the modified group by Charles Breed in his Chevy Lister (14:47.9) and Guenter Sunday and Barbara Moreno Ramirez (17:01.7). Apparently, Sundag’s new Carrera Studebaker was having problems adjusting to the high altitude.

In the unmodified group, Thierry de Latre du Bosqueau (Belgium), who finished fifth in the Chihuahua Express and first in Historic C, was second behind Davidson in 13:41.7, an excellent showing for his first time. Thierry was driving a Mustang prepared by Todd Landon, and will be strong competitor in Historic C this year. Doug Allen, a Pan Am vet, finished in another Landon Mustang in a time of 15:14.0. Richard Bailey, Apple Farmer Racing, followed closely in 15:15.8. Tom Kreeger, another Pan Am survivor, finished at 15:48 in his Original Pan Am ’54 Lincoln Capri.

Mats Hammarlund Racing announced that it has signed two famous drivers for his fast Studebakers in the Carrera this year, Michel Jourdain (Mexico) and Harri Rovanperä (Finland).

Jourdain will drive the car used by Stig Blomqvist to win the overall championship last year. Jourdain is probably the most famous Mexican driver at this time, having a long and successful career in the Indy Racing League and CHAMP cars, plus NASCAR. Most recently he moved to rally cars, posting a win in Group N, WRC.

Last year Jourdain drove in several legs of the Pan Am in Exhibition. His times were impressive. He clearly has the talent, experience, and equipment to win this event the first time out. He also intends to use the Studebaker in a Mexican national rally this summer.

Harri Rovanerä was a WRC driver for four teams from 1993 through 2006. He posted 111starts, 77 stage wins, 15 podiums, and one overall win--in Sweden--in 2001. Rovanerä is considered a gravel expert. He will drive the Hammarlund Studebaker owned by Lars Stugemo (Sweden), a regular contender in recent years.

Jourdain and Rovanerä will lead an impressive field of 120 competitors in the 2010 Pan Am. According to Hammarlund, at least fifteen drivers have a chance to win this event. Check out his web site for more information:

At press time the Organizing Committee is still listing Pan Am Champ (2008) Bill Beilharz as returning this year. But rumors continue to circulate that his entry is dependent on acquiring a new sponsor. It would be great to see Bill back, since he did not have a chance to defend his title last year.

Do your travel plans include Mexico City next month? If so, drop by the kick-off press conference and reception for the Pan Am on July 27 at the Hotel Camino Real Polanco /Moon Bar/ China Grill. The address is Mariano Escobedo No. 700 starting at 7:30 pm. Use your Garmin to find it.

Plans are being made for another Carrera Fiesta at the Monterey Historics Reunion on August 14 at the Baja Cantina and Grill, 7166 Carmel Valley, Rd., Carmel, CA. Unlike previous years, this fiesta will be at night, after the racing at Laguna Seca is over. Bill Hemmer and Carson Scheller are working with the proprietor – a great racing aficionado – on the event. Tickets, which include a meal for only $25, will go on sale soon. At the door they will be $30. We may also have a watering hole at the racetrack during the day, as well.

Please let me know now if you think you might attend. August will be her before we know it. We need to guarantee forty spots for dinner.

The Chihuahua Express is scheduled for April 8-9-10, 2011. This event is open to all Pan Am cars, other vintage racecars, and modern cars with full roll cages. It is 1000 miles of racing, including nearly as many speed stage miles as the Pan Am, all for $1800 (early registration last year). Registrations are being accepted now.

Planned as a weekend event, Chihuahua is only 145 miles from the U.S. The roads, weather, and landscape are excellent, and importantly, you can sleep in the same hotel bed each night. Check it out at

If you want an entry form or want to be on the Express mailing list, please let me know.

As announced last month, no new entries are being accepted for this year’s edition of La Carrera Panamericana. This is the first time since near the inception of the event in 1988 that enrollment has been closed at 120 entries.

The great bulk of the entries are from Europe and Mexico, not the U.S., as has been the case for the past decade. Normally U.S. entries comprise about half of all entries, but this year we have fallen to 30%. Why?

First, there is the economy. Most of the U.S. entries over the past decade have tended to come from the ranks of small businessmen and professionals. Who’s got the extra $50-80K to drop into a single purpose “vintage” racecar these days, plus the $20K or more to compete?

Second, there is the troublesome situation along the border caused by the blood feud among the Mexican drug cartels. Why do American papers print only the bad news from Mexico? Apparently, Mexican news--good or bad--does not make it into European tabloids. Third, young Americans are not really into racing old Detroit-Dearborn iron. Many, especially here on the Left Coast, are happily dropping Accura engines into Civics and wasting good rubber by drifting. The main competition tends to be Evo vs. Mitshu at the local tracks, not Ford vs. Chevy.

This year entries from Mexico were inflated early on when, reportedly, a corporation bought up a bunch of entries. In fact, the Organizers were worried about being able to accommodate some of the members of the La Fraternidad, the backbone of Carreraistas in Mexico.

Much of this is good news, of course, since the event has a renewed level of interest (and income) that should keep it viable for years to come. On the other hand, when some of the regular customers from the U.S. and Mexico are locked out, it’s not so good.

The Friends of Guadalupe Hernandez Ramirez, “Lupita,” are pleased to announce that the winner of the auction for 2009 Carrera Racing Jacket, Hat, and Official Ball point pen is Thierry de Latre du Bosqueau of Belgium. Thierry is making a very generous contribution to the fund to support Lupita Hernandez, the Mexican nurse who lost both her legs at the hip in a Pan Am accident in 2003. Remember to congratulate and thank him down in Tuxtla Gutierrez in October.

Contributions should be sent to:
Friends of Guadalupe Hernandez Ramirez
c/o Ms. Fanny Davila
South Bay Bank
2200 Sepulveda Blvd.
Torrance, CA 90501 USA

CHAMPIONSHIP ENGINES FOR SALE. Four legal steel block/alloy head, wet sump, Chevy Carrera/Chihuahua/Pikes Peak engines. Three of the four were winners of one event or the other. One is brand new, fresh, dyno time only. 360ci, 540hp.$ 30,000. One has less than 1000 miles, 360ci, 525hp, won Carrera 2002. $ 25,000. One 2000 miles, 360ci, 513hp, won Chihuahua 2008 $ 25,000; one 2000 miles, 360ci, 513hp, won Pikes Peak 2008, $ 25,000. All four -- just $ 90,000. Contact Doug, or 310.533.6312 (CA).

ACE DRIVING GEAR. Tired off driving suits that make you look like the Pillsbury Dough Boy? Tired of suits that don’t show off your girlish figure, bodacious tatas, and great legs? There is a solution--have a suit tailered for your supple body at a very reasonable price in the USA. Imagine that, something stitched in the USA!

Ace Driving Gear has designed a suit with the rally driver and navigator in mind, too. It offers nine pockes and even pen-pencil holders in the sleeve for navigators. Most importantly, the suits are Nomex and SFI 3.2A/1 rated. (I’ve got to have one!)

For a photo an more information go to

BTW, the founder/owner of the company is a high performance driving instructor for NASA, too.

THE PAN AM TOUR. If you or friends want to see the race up close and personal, ride along with Rosa María Mondragón.

Because of the nature of the event—racing on public highways all day for hundreds of miles—the event is a challenge for spectators and photographers. The best option is to rent a car and experienced guide-driver, or take the Pan Am Tour with Ms. Mondragón. Rosa Maria, the former PR director for the race, takes 4-6 spectators with her for an exclusive insider’s view of the event. Hang on! She is also an experienced rally car driver and Pan Am navigator. She will get you close to the action and important people.

Please note that La Carrera Panamericana is a long, difficult endurance rally. Like all motorsports events, it is dangerous and can result in serious injury and even death. Prepare your car well and drive it carefully.

Gerie Bledsoe
North American Coordinator
La Carrera Panamericana and Chihuahua Express
1288 E. Hillsdale Blvd. #A-204
Foster City, CA 94404
650-525-9190 (home office) NEW
650-867-9488 (mobile) SAME SAME

No comments: