Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Carreras News
May 2013
Plans are being made to create a run group of Pan Am cars at Road America, Elkhart Lake this summer.  We need 10 or 12 cars to make it happen.  As many of you know, Road America is one of the most beautiful, fastest road courses in the world, and the setting is spectacular.
If you would like to participate, please let me know immediately.   
Any car eligible to run in the Pan Am will be eligible to participate.  Cars are subject to a safety inspection, and the driver’s should have held competition license or comparable experience.  A navigator is not required.  More details, including the likely date, will be announced soon.  Because I will be on TDY in Chicago much of this summer, I will be working hard to see this project through.
Road America hosts many outstanding events during the summer, including NASCAR Nationwide, American Lemans, SCCA National Championships, and “The Hawk,” Brian Redman’s reunion of vintage racers, one of the biggest such meets in North America.  The Hawk weekend is July 18-21.   There is also a VSCDA vintage event on September 6-8 and a 24 Hours of Lemons in November.  For more info go to http://www.roadamerica.com/calendar.asp
The annual Carreras Fiesta, in conjunction with the Historic races at Laguna Seca in Monterey, California will be held on Saturday night, August 17, in nearby Carmel beginning at 5:00 PM.  Final plans and ticket prices will be announced soon. Please add it to your calendar now.
The final route for the Pan Am has not been announced, but at present the tentative route is:
--Veracruz, Oaxaca, Mexico City (!), Queretaro, Morelia, Guanajuato, Aguascalientes, and
It is possible that speed stages will be run the first day in the hills east of Veracruz, like we did in 2006, because mid-day service is being planned in the city of Orizaba, which is also in the hill county. 
San Miguel de Allende was considered as one of the overnight stops, but, sadly, the city could not come up with the necessary support package.   San Miguel still might be schedule as a mid-day service stop on the way from Morelia to Guanajuato.  According to the Mexican tourist bureau, San Miguel is now the number one tourist destination in Mexico apart from the beach towns, like Cancun and Puerto Vallarta. 
As of this past weekend, 71 entries were posted on the official web site:
Turismo Production (9)
Turismo Mayor (6)
Sports Minor (5)
Sports Mayor (1)
Historic A (5)
Historic A+ (9)
Historic B (8)
Historic C (23)
Original Pam Am (3)
Exhibition (2)
Some of the familiar North American driver’s names include: Robertson, Bailey, Daniels, Gussack, Hladky, Stewart, Brinkerhoff, Curry, Palthrow, Furrer, Vidal, Bazan, Stevenson, Sonner, Hampson, Lauber, Harvey, Sikes, Stephens, Gregory, Kelly, Fudge, Rogers, Ko, Shanahan, and Bledsoe.  It is significant to note that there is not one rookie in the bunch, that is, someone who has not raced in Mexico (Pan Am or Express) before.  We do have a contingent of four “rookie” couples from Australia in the event this year, however, driving Mustangs prepared by Todd Landon.
Rumor has it that Señor Ricardo Triviño, who has been racing in the WRC, is returning to the Pan Am to reprise his controversial win over Doug Mockett in 2011. 
Since the entry fee now is $1000 USD more than it was in March, there’s not much incentive to sign up soon.   Entries must be submitted to the organizers via the official web site.  If you need assistance with that process please let me know.  Europeans should contact a representative on that continent.
The official rules for the event have not been posted, and if the past is prologue, they will not be posted until late in the summer, maybe in September.
I have been assured by the organizers that the safety rules and specs for the cars will be virtually the same as last year, with the exception of:
1.  Manual gear boxes will be allowed in OPA cars that were not available from the factory with manual transmissions, e.g., ’54 Lincolns, Chryslers, and Oldsmobiles, so the rule will be the same as that for Historic C cars – three or four speed boxes from the era.
2.  Some ‘30s roadster replicas will be allowed to run in Turismo Mayor but are limited to 305 c.i. engines.
3.  All cars must have a “X” brace over the ceiling and at least two bars, plus reinforcements or gussets, across the front doors.  Also, coupes should have a windshield brace (Toyota bar) supporting the front, top of the cage. 
4.  A full set of photos of the car, including good pics of the cage, should be sent to the organizers.  This is especially true for cars that were not inspected and approved last year.
5. Cars must have both an external switch for the electrical system and a “pull” for the fire system, marked with appropriate decals  The inspectors also want to see the pull or switch for the fire system in reach of the driver and a small fire extinguisher in reach of the navigator.
If you have registered for the Pan Am, a room reservation was made for you for the nights of October 24 through October 31.   If you and your crew plan to arrive in Veracruz early, you need to make additional reservations via Monica Grossmann monica.grossmann@yahoo.com.mx.
Extra rooms for the eight nights of the race are $1280 USD.  Extra rooms in Veracruz or elsewhere along the route are $160 USD per night.
If you want the optional luxury hotel package, you also need to notify Monica.  Those rooms are $160 extra per night or $320 a night.  They sell out fast, too.
According to LCP rules, once you pay for the rooms, there is no refund for any reason and the rooms cannot be given or transferred to another person.  In other words, they revert to the organizers.
Entry fees may be partially refunded or credit may be given for the coming year, according to terms set forth in the rules.
The Coyote Convoy, now in its 12th year, will roll from Laredo, Texas to San Miguel de Allende on Saturday, October 18.  It will spend two nights in San Miguel and then arrive in Veracruz on Monday.  Since cars will not be allowed into the Convention Center in Vera Cruz before Tuesday, there’s not much need to get there earlier.  Here’s the preliminary schedule:
Convoy meeting, Friday, October 17, 7:00 PM (hotel will be confirmed later)
 ---cross border, Saturday, October 18, 7:00 AM
---arrive in San Miguel de Allende, October 18, 5:00 PM (hotel confirmed later)
---Saturday, tour of San Miguel, cocktail party that evening
---Sunday, Pan Am car show in main square 10:00 AM-3:00 PM
---Monday convoy leaves for Veracruz 8:00 AM, arrives 5:00 PM
Although the Rally de Volcanes scheduled for June 1 has been canceled, there are many other opportunities to rally in Mexico.  The Rally Patrio in Morelia on September 27, for example, is an excellent opportunity tune and test for the Pan Am.  Registration is Friday and the race – two times up and down Mil Cumbres – is on Saturday.  Cost?  Only $165 and the cost of a FMAD rally B license, if you do not have one yet.
There are also stage rallies in the Valle de Bravo and Queretaro this summer, as well as the Acapulco rally after the Pan Am.
I will be leading a group down from San Miguel to Morelia and back for the Patrio Rally.  It’s only two hours south of here, freeways most of the way.  Ship your car to San Miguel, rally it on Mil Cumbres, and leave it here for the Pan Am.  Mats Hammarlund’s shop will take care of it for you.
Ford Falcon -- $29,000
Mats Hammarlund Racing has three Ford Falcons—comparable to his Mustangs—for rent at $29,000 each for the Express.  The rental fee includes full service.  Contact him at mats@mhracing.com.mx.  Cars from the Hammarlund garage have won three Pan Ams and are now on the tracks in Mexican NASCAR.
Hammarlund Racing is becoming one of the premier shops in Mexico, as its record shows.  Their service for Falcons and Mustangs, as well as Turismo Mayor Studebakers, is carefully prepared and executed.  The cars are disassembled to check each night before something breaks.  Awesome!

There seems to be a glut on the market of Pan Am cars for sale.  Why?  Some seller’s apparently want top dollar for their cars and refuse to lower the price enough.   Apparently, they don’t need the money.  On the other hand, many competitors like to build their own cars or have them constructed by a trusted shop.  I encourage people to buy existing cars, because these purpose-built cars should return to Mexico and in many cases, they are bargains, compared to the cost of building a new car.
If you have a Pan Am car for sale, please send me the details, price, and a digital photo, and I will include it in a special CARRERA NEWS next month.   A $25 contribution to the Lupita Hernandez Fund will be appreciated.  Payments may the made through PayPal.  I do not expect any commission for helping sell a car, but again, a modest contribution to Lupita would be nice.
Right now I know of the following Pan Am cars for sale:
’54 Studebaker, Carrera Champion
’54 Studebaker
’50 Ford
’54 Buick
’54 Lincoln
’64 Corvette
‘65 Mustang
544 Volvo Special, Turismo Mayor
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Looking for a “funded” co-driver, truck driver, mechanic, and “mamacita” (party girl) for the Pan Am?  Let me know what you need.
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You all know by now that road-racing in Mexico can be deadly, dangerous, and addictive.  Furthermore, I should point out that CARRERAS NEWS is a spasmodic, idiosyncratic  publication that does not represent the official views of the organizers of the Pan Am, Chihuahua Express, or any other event.
Gerie Bledsoe, North American Coordinator
La Carrera Panamericana and Chihuahua Express
USPO address:  220 N. Zapata Hwy Ste 11
      PMB 68B
      Laredo, TX 78043
1-650-525-9190 (Home office, San Miguel de Allende, Mexico)
1-650-867-9488 (mobile, only in US)
Number in Mexico +52-415-185-8470
Email:  gbledso@aol.com
Carrera car:  Chevy II, Nova, #395, Historic C (1999-2012)
Competitor, LCP 1999-2013 and Chihuahua Express, 2004-2013
Carrera HQ, Mexico City 1-310-860-6959 (dial as a U.S. number)
Email general info and registration:  gaby@lacarrerapanamericana.com.mx
          hotels:  monica.grossmann@yahoo.com.mx
©Gerie Bledsoe 2013
San Miguel de Allende