Tuesday, August 24, 2010

The 5th Annual Chihuahua Express!

The 5th Annual Chihuahua Express!
Race the Wind -- Part of the Silver State International Challenge

What? Unlimited open-road racing on paved highways across northern Mexico.
When? April 8-9-10, 2011. Three days of racing with no limit on your speed.

Where? City and State of Chihuahua, Mexico

Why? Where else in the world can you race at top speed for three days on public highway and have lunch at one of the greatest tourist attractions in the world?

Location? Chihuahua City is only 145 miles west of Presidio, Texas.

Race Headquarters: Soberano Hotel, Chihuahua City.

Cost: $2000 entry free until November 1. Then it goes to $2200. Hotel accommodations are additional. Rooms at the luxury Soberano Hotel are $165 per night, tax included. Less expensive hotels are nearby. The TSD “regularity” rally, bracket, and Express Tour classes are $1200, plus hotels. Training in stage rally timing is provided.

Organizer: Chacho Medina (Mexico). chachomedina@sporcar.com

North American Coordinator: Gerie Bledsoe (USA). gbledso@aol.com 650-525-9190

Senior Advisor: Steve Waldman (USA), Silver State Classic. www.sscc.us

Sponsors: Telmex, Corona, PFP (Mexican Highway Patrol), State of Chihuahua, Red Bull, SportCar.com, BMW, Quaker State, and FedEx.

Eligible Cars: for unlimited competition, any car from any era, is eligible, if equipped with an acceptable six-point roll cage and safety equipment, such as five/six point seat belts and HANS devices. Cars without roll cages may participate in the TSD rally, “bracket” competition, and the Tour. Detailed information about roll cages and other safety requirements is available.

Classes: the eight classes of modern cars eligible for unlimited competition are: normally aspirated engines (1) up to 1.6 liters, (2) above 1.6 to 2.4 liters, (3) above 2.4 to 6.2 liters, (4) above 6.2 liters, (5) Specials, and (6) Unlimited. There will be two turbo classes: (7) stock turbo-charged cars up to 2.4 liter, (8) stock turbo-charged over 2.4 liter. In addition, there can be up to nine Pan Am classes, plus Mexican rally classes. The regularity rally and Tour cars are not classified by engine size. Brake pads, shocks, springs, and certain other parts may be upgraded on “stock” cars.

After technical inspection, any car may be assigned to a different class based on its modifications -- to promote fair competition. Carrera Panamericana cars are automatically eligible and will be assigned to their appropriate class, such as Turismo Mayor/Production or Historic A+/A/B/C. Three similar cars are needed to constitute a class. If there are not enough cars to constitute a class, the remaining cars will be assigned to the next fastest class.

Cars without roll cages may participate in the TSD rally, “bracket” competition (min. and max. speed in the speed stages) or the Tour. Tour cars drive the same route as the competition cars, obeying the speed limit, with no passing allowed.

Car Crews: A navigator is required in all cars, in all classes, and there can be no more than two people in any car during competition. Drivers should have sufficient training or racing/rally experience before attempting unlimited competition.

Prizes: Daily awards by class for driver and co-driver and overall trophies at the final awards ceremony. There are no cash prizes.

Event Schedule: The cars will be inspected on April 6-7 at the Soberano Hotel. On Friday, April 8 the competitors will race northwest to Ciudad Madera, and then race back to Chihuahua. On Saturday, April 9 they will run southwest into the famous Copper Canyon area and return. On Sunday, April 10, they will head east to Ojinaga (Presidio, Texas), and return. Each night there will be a driver’s meeting and awards ceremony.

Format: In a stage rally like the Express, the competitors follow detailed directions in a route book. At appointed times, they will line up eight or more times a day to drive speed stages. The cars are started in one-minute intervals over highways in the hills and mountains closed to traffic by the Mexican Highway Patrol. The fastest cars go first, but passing is allowed. The length of the closed road or speed stage will normally be five to fifteen miles. Electronic timing is used. Road surfaces in northern Mexico are generally excellent. Some cars will reach speeds approaching 200 MPH.

After each speed stage, the competitors will drive a short “transit section” to the next speed stage. The cars must check in at the next speed stage within 59 seconds of their assigned time. If they are early or more than 59 seconds late, they accrue a minor time penalty. Penalties are rare in the Express because of the short transit stages.

The cars with the lowest total elapsed time (E.T.) for the speed stages, plus any time penalties, will be declared the winner by class and overall each day and for the entire event.

The event includes nearly 325 miles of speed stages in a total of about 1,000 miles.

Rules: This event will use the same basic rules as the Carrera Panamericana, which are posted on the official web site www.chihuahuaexpress.com.

Rationale: The Express was designed to be: a weekend event; close to the USA; feasible without a support crew; run on good open roads in sparsely populated areas; scenic; relatively inexpensive, and based in same hotel each night. The weather should be sunny and pleasant, and rain is usually not a factor. The roads are excellent in this part of Mexico.

Support: Tow trucks may travel to Chihuahua City or be left across the border in Texas or New Mexico. The “Express Convoy” will leave El Paso on April 6 for the short trip to Chihuahua City. Mechanical support may be arranged locally.

Tourist Permits: Mexican tourist permit for vehicles cost $35 at the border. Permits may be purchased at some Mexican consulates and via the Internet at http://www.banjercito.com.mx/. Cars and tow vehicles must have a permit to travel more than 30 KM into the interior of Mexico. Competitors also need a tourist visa (FM-T), which can be obtained at the border or a consulate.

Police Services: Officers of the Mexican Highway Patrol accompany the event and work with 300 local police on clearing the roads and providing security. Rescue and medical crews, along with the timing and scoring staff, travel with the race.

Auspices: The Federation of Mexican Auto Sports (FMAD), an affiliate of FIA, sanctions this event. All individuals riding in a car, in all classes, must hold a FMAD rally license for calendar 2011 to participate ($260+ USD). The license provides personal medical, death, and dismemberment insurance. Increased coverage is available. The event Organizer provides general liability, racing insurance coverage. The FMAD license is also be valid for the Carrera Panamericana in October.

Auto Insurance: All cars and trucks operated on public roads in Mexico, including the racecars for this event, should be covered by auto liability insurance issued in Mexico. U.S. auto insurance policies do not cover you south of the border. You may purchase Mexican insurance by the day or week at http://www.bajabound.com/?r=panamrace . This insurance covers a racecar only when it is not in competition.

Payments: May be made by personal/business check, PayPal, credit card, money order, or wire transfer. Please contact Gerie Bledsoe gbledso@aol.com or Chacho Medina chachomedina@sportcar.com for details. Call Gerie at 650-525-9190 for more information or an entry form. Payments made by PayPal must include a 3.0% handling charge. Personal or business checks, payable to “Chacho Medina,” should be sent to:

Chihuahua Express

c/o Gerie Bledsoe
1288 E. Hillsdale Blvd. #A-204
Foster City, CA 94019
Phone 650-525-9190

Include $165 for each night of accommodations at the Soberano Hotel. The rooms fill up quickly. Most competitors will stay five nights (April 6-10), checking out on April 11. Other hotels in the area are the Holiday Inn Express, Hampton Inn, and City Express. A schedule for refunds, full and partial, will be provided.

Warning: Auto racing in any form is dangerous and may lead to property damage, and serious injury or death. Competitors assume all risk to their safety and property, and hold the Organizers and their agents harmless.

The Chihuahua Express is a great way to test your car for Carrera Panamericana and learn how to drive and navigate in a Mexican stage rally. Set your own speed.

For information on the Silver State Classic Challenge Events:
Steve Waldman (702) 631-6166
www.silverstateclassic.com or www.sscc.us

For Chihuahua Express Rules and Information:

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