Friday, May 13, 2011

Pan Am Pre Race Tour


Three competitors who have signed up for the 2011 LCP have responded favorably to my proposal of a Pan AM Pre-Race Tour. We can make it work with only three or four. Having eight-ten would be better, of course.

The components of the tour would be:

(1) four/five days, three/four nights double room at a five star hotel in San Miguel de Allende.
(2) guided tours to the four speed stages on Mil Cumbres, plus the stages at Santa Rosa and Sierra de Lobos in Guanajuato.
(3) guided tour of San Miguel and Guanajuato (the new city on the route)
(4) airport pick up and drop off at the Leon-Guanjuato International Airport (BJX)
(5) training in stage-rally timing, including a mock speed stage with all timing check-points
(6) shopping opportunities for spouses and friends who may not want to tour the speed stages
(7) welcome reception and final dinner
(8) a DVD -- including video of the speed stages

Options: Fly in on Thursday and back home on Monday, or fly in on Friday and back home on Monday.
If you can be in San Miguel only three nights, we can make it work for you.

If we have time, we will also visit Queretaro, which is only 35 miles from San Miguel. Guanajuato, near the Leon airport, is 60 miles away. Morelia is about two hours. SMA is very centrally located.

Right now, the best weekend for the Tour would be September 23-25, since the preceding weekend is Mexican Independence Day. September 9-10-11 is also open.

Which weekend would be best for you? Please give me your first and second choice among these three.

Hasta pronto!


Monday, May 02, 2011

From The Desk Of Gerie Bledsoe

Carrera News

May 1, 2011




Eduardo “Lalo” Leon, the founder and President Emeritus of La Carrera Panamericana, has announced the official route of the event for 2011. These are the cities where the race will start, finish, or spend the night.

Huatulco – Oct. 18-20 registration-inspection; race starts Oct. 21
Oaxaca City – Friday, Oct. 21
Puebla – Saturday, Oct. 22
Querétaro – Sunday, Oct. 23
Morelia – Monday, Oct. 24
Guanajuato – Tuesday, Oct. 25
Aguascalientes – Wednesday, Oct. 26
Zacatecas – Thursday, Oct. 27, finish

For a map go to:

For the first time in a several years the Pan Am returned to the beautiful colonial city of Morelia last year. Thousands turned out in the main square on a sunny afternoon to take photos, collect autographs, and view the 100+ race cars.

Morelia features perhaps the most beautiful cathedral in Mexico in its “double” main square or Zócalo. The church’s interior is as impressive as the magnificent exterior. The interior includes one of the most outstanding organs in the world, and is the main reason that the city hosts an international convention devoted to organ music.

Morelia is the capital of the state of Michoacán, which is a largely
mountainous state that stretches from near the capital of Mexico
west to the Pacific Ocean. Its forests provide much of the lumber
for central Mexico and offer a famous winter home for the Monarch butterfly. It is also home of the President of Mexico Felipe Calderon.

A few miles east of Morelia is the famous mountain road known as “Mil Cumbres,” a thousand peaks. From the top of the mountain to the bottom are 317 turns. La Carrera will race down this road again this year, and may race back up the next morning before heading to San Miguel de Allende and Guanajuato.

Next month we will learn about the race’s first stop in the fantastic historic city of Guanajuato (Frog Mountain).

Over 120 entries have been received by the Carrera Office in Mexico City, and the event now has a waiting list. If a competitor drops out, a name from the waiting list will be given an opportunity to submit an application.

The deadline for paying the discounted entry fee ended April 30.

The fifth annual Chihuahua Express ended on April 10 with Mexican driver Michel Jourdain, Jr., who finished second in the Pan Am, edging out American Doug Mockett and his navigator Angelica Fuentes, for overall honors in the three-day event. Both Jourdain and Mockett were competing in the Turismo Mayor class. Third place in class went to Stewart and Linda Robertson.

Jourdain’s ’54 Studebaker was built and prepared by Mats Hammarlund Racing in San Miguel de Allende.

In the largest class, Pan Am Historic “C” (V8s 1955-1965), the surprise winners were:

Gerie Bledsoe and Fernando Garcia, ’63 Chevy Nova; followed by Jack Rogers and C.J. Strupp, ’65 Mustang 350-GT, and John and Chrislana Gregory, in their “new” ’65 Chevy Nova.

Bledsoe and Garcia also finished tenth overall. Todd Landon and Vance Stewart, fourth in a Mustang, would have finished on top of the podium but ran short of petrol the first day, missing one speed stage.

Other North American competitors doing well were: Jake Shuttlesworth and Tony Bogovich, ’65 Ford Fairlane; Paul Fruchbom and Ray Stephens (Porsche 911), Hayden Groendyke and Charles Samples, ’49 Cadillac, and Robert Curry and Ricky Shaw (Porsche 356). Silver State organizer Steve Waldman and Felipe Arguelles turned in some impressive times in their Evo.

As usual, timing and scoring was not an issue and the race organization was excellent. About the only complaint was about the technical inspection by the Mexican racing federation and some “surprise” requirements. There were only a few racing “incidents” but no serious injuries during the event. Felicidades, Chacho!

There is still time to sign up for this unique event! Steve and Gail Waldman, Pan Am and Chihuahua regulars, are inviting all their Mexican racing buddies to join them in Las Vegas and Ely on May 12-15. Pan Am cars may participate in one of several classes, based on desired average speed and safety equipment. For more info go to:

For the fourth year, Pan Am cars are invited to participate in the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb, June 26, with the Rocky Mountain Vintage Racing (RMVR) entries. Thus far the following Pan Am competitors have signed up: Doug Mockett, John Rogers, Todd Landon, Ralf Christensson, and John Groendyke. Another two or three are expected to join. Navigators in this event are options. After all, there are 157 corners in the 12.4 miles to the top. Who can keep them straight? (Maybe Angie?) Mockett and local Keith Davidson are expected to continue their friendly rivalry as vintage king of the mountain, even if Mockett’s modern engine produces a few more pounds-feet of torque than Keith’s power plant.

Keith Davidson, who is also the Chairman of the RMVR Trans-Am Invitational, has invited all Pan Am cars to participate in this event on June 11-12, 2011, as a way to prepare for PPIHC. The Trans-Am event is schedule for the Pueblo Motorsports Park in Pueblo, CO, about 50 miles south of Colorado Springs. It’s a 2.2 miles track with 11 turns. Elevation is “only” 4900 feet.

Pan Am cars will run in the most appropriate class for each of them, and if there is no appropriate class, they will run in Exhibition.

The Kellogg Auto Archives in Los Angeles is planning a multi-DVD release on the original La Carrera Panamericana, 1950-1954. Stephen Mitchell is the director of the project. Most of the material for his project is coming from the seventeen hours of restorable film provided by the family of Ray Crawford, who raced the original event each year, finally winning his class (Big American Sedans) in 1954. Interviews with surviving racers are being included.

A short snippet of Crawford’s unique (16 mm color) film was shown at the Pan Am driver’s meeting in Tuxtla Gutierrez last year. The film is now being developed into a documentary by, and may soon be available for purchase. Several teaser’s for the project have been released to various web sites. Here are two: and

The project needs additional film, especially from the races in 1950and 1952. Please let me know if you have film you would like to contribute to this project.

Please send copies of your 2011 Carrera videos and photos to me on a DVD so they can been preserved in the Carrera archives. Please mail them to my address below in the Contact information. Thanks!

All competitors must show proof of Mexican auto insurance on their service vehicles for the Carrera. In fact, it is a good idea to carry third-person liability insurance on the race car -- for when it is not racing.

Go to and shop for an insurance company and an appropriate level of coverage for your service vehicle and race car. Bajabound is one of the few brokers that will issue policies on older (pre-1981) cars. You can pay by credit card and receive your policy via email. They are also helpful on the telephone, especially because they understand racing in Mexico—from the Baja 500 to the Chihuahua Express.

Please note that the liability insurance is only valid on a rally car when it is not involved in the rally. While racing, the car is covered by a policy issued to the Organizing Committee.

All competitors should understand their rights and responsibilities while engaged in stage rally in Mexico.

Towing or driving a race car to Mexico? Join the Coyote Convoy. The convoy of twenty or more trucks, trailers, and race cars will leave Laredo, Texas on October 14, 2011 for the trip across the border and down to the start of the race. The convoy will stop for two nights in San Miguel de Allende, before heading on to the start of the race. It will arrive in Huatulco on October 17. Registration and inspection starts on October 18.

Participants in the convoy will be encouraged to use a Mexican Custom Agent (broker) to bring their vehicles, equipment, and spares across the border. Details will follow.

The official rules or “Reglamento” for the Pan Am are still being revised for 2011. Some changes are expected. These changes should be announced soon.

Please note that a HANS devices or other approved (FIA or SFI) head and neck protection system will be required again in all classes this year. Racing suits should be no older than five years, too, and that’s a new one.

FIA approved or SCCA homologated racing seats may also be required. There has been extensive speculation about restrictions to slow the cars down a tad, like: spec carburetors, spec differential gear ratios, and a limit on RPM, but nothing has been announced yet.

Owners of cars being built now for the Pan Am should have the design for their roll cages reviewed before the cage is installed. All roll cages and safety equipment are subject to inspection and final approval at the start of the event. Warning: just because a cage has been approved by SCA or NASA, if may not be accepted by the inspectors in Mexico, who are far more oriented toward rally cars, rather than track cars.

’53 Studebaker Commander. $120,000. Finished to your specifications: color and FIA seats and racing harness fitment. This car won the La Carrera Panamericana championship in 2008 and qualified first in 2010. Finish will be as good/better than 2010.

The car has been re-bodied and completely rebuilt since the 2010 event. It is now even faster and safer. The price includes a spares package and delivery/service is available. A build sheet is available. Completely Carrera-legal in all respects and guaranteed to pass all tech inspections. Needs nothing but you to win again. A rental arrangement for 2011 is a possibility. Contact Bill Beilharz, or 602-320-5173 (Phoenix).

‘65 Mustang GT350R. “The Gypsy Wind.” Ready for the world famous Pikes Peak International Hill Climb June 26, 2011. It knows its way to the top. 400+ HP. Prepped for hill climb altitude and suspension. Rally computer and intercom system. Coaching and in-car video available to pre-run the hill in its entirety. Full support offered by experienced car builder and vet of the Hill Climb. Contact Todd Landon at Deadline is June 1.

’72 2002 BMW. SOLD Finished 25th overall in 2009 LCP, third in class. Balanced and blue printed engine. 10.5-1 pistons, dual Mikuni carbs. Full Roll Cage, Fire suppression system, Terra-Trip, Intercom, Fuel Cell. Custom Coil over Suspension, Wilwood Brake Master Cylinder and disc brakes front and rear, Limited slip rear end. Ready to race.

Email for more information and specs. Rick Row

’68 Porsche 911. Guards Red 2.0L. Full Cage, Fire System, Kirkey Seats, 5 Point Belts, 27 gal Fuel Cell, MSD, Fender Mounted Extra Oil Cooler, Smart Racing and Elephant Suspension. Fully sorted – Porsche Racing Ready. Built 2 cars at once, the sister car to this one in 2003 finished 9th overall. Call 512-346-1880 or email
Over $55,000 invested– asking $26,500.

’65 Falcon. Built and prepared by MHRacing in San Miguel de Allende. Exactly the same as the two cars that came in first and second in Historic C in the Panamericana 2011. 302 Ford Motorsport engine with Dart heads, Air gap intake, 600 Holley and Canton Oil pan. Brand new Top Loader transmission. Ford 9 inch full floater rear end. Wilwood brakes all around. Tig welded roll cage, Fuel Safe fuel cell and Cobra carbon fiber seats. Apart from the body, there is not one single old part in this car, everything is brand new! Very fast, reliable and easy to drive. Email

‘66 Sunbeam Tiger. Ford 302 .060 over. High flow head . Roller rockers. Heavy-duty valve springs. Racing pistons, 10.5 to 1 compression. Racing cam. Heavy-duty oil pump . Edelbrock F4B manifold . Single wire chrome alternator. MSD distributor, coil, and ignition. High flow water pump. Fluidyne aluminum radiator. Aluminum oil cooler. Braded stainless steel fuel and oil lines with Aeroquip fittings. Holley 650 cfm Double pumper with regulator. Headers from Sunbeam Specialties. Remote oil filter. Heavy duty racing clutch lightened flywheel. Engine was totally rebuilt and computer balanced with the flywheel and harmonic balancer, approximately 8 hours on the engine. Ford top loader transmission, Rebuilt by "Toploader Heaven". Custom made heavy-duty drive shaft . Welded rear end. Custom made Mark Williams one-piece solid rear axles. Dual Holley Blue fuel pumps with relays. ATL 15 gal. fuel cell. Dual inline filter screens, Summit racing canister type fuel filter. Stainless steel fuel flex lines with Aeroquip fitting. $33,000 or b/o. Contact: Ed (415) 341-4965;

Photos and additional information are available at Click on Classifieds. The advertisers assume all responsibility for their ads.

The views expressed in CARRERA NEWS are those of the author and may not (probably don’t) represent the views of the Organizing Committee. The author is a competitor and any advice he offers may constitute a blatant conflict of interest.

All forms of motor sports are inherently dangerous, and La Carrera Panamericana is no exception. It is a long, hard endurance race at high speeds along mountain roads. Mechanical failures are common, accidents not uncommon, and serious injury and even death are quite possible.

Cars should be carefully prepared, with an emphasis on safety (brakes, roll cage, etc.), and driven prudently. Drivers and navigators should remember that the most important goal of this event is to finish.

Gerie Bledsoe, Coordinator
La Carrera Panamericana and Chihuahua Express
USPO address: 220 N. Zapata Hwy Ste 11
Laredo, TX 78043
1-650-525-9190 (Home office)
1-650-867-9488 (mobile, only in US)
Number in Mexico +52-415-185-8470
Mailing Address in Mexico (FedEx, UPS only):
La Quinta Prolong. 5-A
Centro-Ojo de Agua
San Miguel de Allende
37700 GTO
Phone: 415-185-8470
Skype: gerie.bledsoe
Carrera car number: Chevy II, Nova, #395, Historic C (1999-2011)
Carrera Office, Mexico City 1-310-6959
© Gerie Bledsoe 2011