Saturday, October 23, 2010

LCP... Means Never Be Surprized

Photo courtesy of Michael Emery

If there is one thing I have learned from many years of endurance racing it's that nothing should be surprizing. Uutil a car crosses the finish line anything can happen and does. That said, here are a few reports from various friends. The firt one if a translation from my good friend Jorge.

Oaxaca, October 22.- Mexican Jorge Pedrero surprised everyone while winning the first day of la Carrera Panamericana between Tuxtla Gutiérrez and Oaxaca with a total distance of 553.860 kilometers.

When everyone was expecting abslute dominance of the Turismo Mayor cars. Pedrero won in his Turismo de Producción Studebaker, with co-driver Marco Hernández, to take the lead in the XXIII edition for the classica cars race.

Jorge Pedrero did a total time of 57:14.2 minutes. The Finnish driver Harri Rovanpera, ex WRC driver with his Turismo Mayor Studebaker, with co-driver Jouni Narhi, did 57:41.5 minutes to arrive in second position. Third place was for Michel Jourdain and co-driver Miguel Diez with 58:04.8 minutes. 129.980 timed kilometers were for speed stages. Carlos Anaya, in his Sport Mayor LT Special did 58:42.2 minutes, to be placed in fourt position.

One big Mexican hope, brothers Alejandro y Mauricio Pimentel, had a dificult race start with their Dodge, as in stages 4 and 9 loose control of the cas and did not finish th day. The car will be ready for a start up tomorrow.

For Jo Ramírez and Alberto Cruz, their Volvo was very competitive and didnt had any problems. And is giving them a great oportunity to fight the Historic A category.

The first day of the Carrera started at 7:00 in Tuxtla Gutierrez. Where Lalo León before giving the go for the cars, spread the ashes of his great friend and partner Loyal Truesdale, co-founder of the Panamericana and deceased at the start of October.

The first emotional moment for the race hapened last night, while the first night meeting was taking place to anounce day 1 start up. In front of hundreds of racers, press and organizers, Leon Camargo asked for a big ovationfor Loyal Truesdale and also for Nanan Solana, the beloved Mexican car racing legend deceased in Chihuahua in March.

Some go phisically, but others come, thats the case for Harri Rovanpera and Jochen Mass, german former formula one driver. Whom were warmly welcomed on their debut.

Hi Gary,

Jeremy finally got cell service so I have a little more info for you.

It was in fact Bill Bielhartz and Jorge Ceballos who lost first gear and are currently working on fixing the transmission.

Jeremy Bua and Mike Mefford (#353) had overheating / vapor lock problems coupled with a broken starter. They almost finished, but the car died just short of Oaxaca and they were towed in. They're towing it to Puebla tomorrow to make the repairs, so they'll miss tomorrow's leg, but hope to be back in business for the next one.

Regarding the 404 Lincoln, I know there's a lot of information floating around but thought I'd pass on what Jeremy and the teams he's been around are saying. Good news is the one consistent thing I've heard is the driver and navigator will both be fine! He's hearing that they went off one of the more dangerous cliffs with no bushes or trees to cushion their fall. The roof was caved in and roll cage pushed down so badly that the rescue workers had to cut off the roof and top of the roll cage to get them out. I've seen infofloating around that Brad (driver) broke his leg, but several people saw him up walking around so they think that's incorrect. They're saying the navigator Derek was bleeding pretty badly and taken taken to the hospital, but was treated and released, and should be fine. Safety equipment these days is amazing!

Thanks again for doing the blog, it's so great to be able to keep up with what's going on from so far away!

Gerie Bledsoe wrote, The first day of La Carrera was, as usual, a day of carnage. Many cars broke down, and several went off the road and into a ravine or rocks. One car from Los Angeles, a beautiful '54 Lincoln, crashed and rolled, but the driver escaped with only a broken leg. The co-driver was OK. We had a pretty good day, so should move up in the standings. On to Puebla tomorrow.
In addition to Brad Kaplan's Lincoln that, crashed and rolled badly, (BTW, the photos of the car after the wreck make it look worse than it was) Jake Shuttlesworth also went off. The damage was moderate, but the car is on the trailer. Jake's had a string of bad luck almost as long as mine. Doug Mockett's differential broke on the way to the starting arch. Ouch, so he was out for the day and out of the running for the championship. Bill Beilharz, another contender, broke his transmission, and may also be out of competition for the title. At least one Mustang from Mexico went off and suffered moderate to serious damage. Many, as it lots of cars, were observed on the side of the road with mechanical problems. A couple are on trailers here in the parking lot of the Fiesta Inn. No telling how many more are being straighten in other hotel lots and local shops tonight.

Vance Stewart and Tom Overbaugh made it unscathed. We had a beer in Oaxaca when we all arrived.

Since no results of the day were distributed at the driver's meeting, we do not know who is leading the race or the various classes.

The Durango Deuce II is doing well with the new (or refreshed engine). It's running cool and strong, with more power than the tires can handle. We took about 250 pounds of weight off the car, too.

We started in 83d place today because we did not run the qualifying laps yesterday. Our car and crew were simply not ready. So, today we had to pass several slower cars in the speed stages . I am pretty sure that we will move up in the standings, given our performance and the number of cars that had problems. But the main goal is just to finish the race--for two years in a row.

My new navigator, Mike, is trying hard to learn rallying. I sure he will do better tomorrow.

The weather has been great....sunny and not too warm, even along the coast. And the Mexican people are as friendly and helpful as ever!

Tomorrow we take the great roads through the mountains to Tehucan, where several thousand people will greet us in the main square. And then it's on to Puebla for the night.

As I drive along these roads for the 12th time, I fondly remember friends who have shared this passion. Some have turned to other diversions, and some simply aren't able to make it, for whatever reason.

More later. Time to rest.

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