Monday, October 26, 2015

The 28th modern Pan-Am ended last Thursday in Durango, and it already time to start thinking about next year, as well as the Chihuahua Xpress, April 21-24, 2016.
Emilio Velazquez, from Oaxaca, is the newest Pan-Am Champ.  He was a DNF last year, but this year he improved his time coming down Mil Cumbres by 30 seconds, for instance, to put time on his closet challenger, Hilaire Damiron (FR).  Even so, his margin of victory after 7 days was only 27 seconds.  According to some reports, Damiron was just trying too hard to win and was losing time sliding around in the corners.
Doug Mockett and Anglica Fuentes (MX), the top U.S. challenger finished 6th.  Doug reportedly had brake problems near the end of the event and failed to move up the finishing order.  Unfortunately, our other U.S. contender, Paul Hladky, was unable to participate this year.
Congratulations to Taz Harvey and Rudy Vadjak for their 1st in Historic B and 9th overall.  Taz said he had problems with his Datsun Z-car along the way, but managed to dominate the 911s in his class again.
Conrad Stevenson and rookie co-piloto David Lee, from norther California, also took 1st in Historic A Plus and 13th overall.  Conrad's reg Alfa got my vote for the sexiest car in the event.  Sophia woud look good in that car.  Historic A Plus (four cylinders, 1966-1972) has become the most popular classes in the Pan-Am with 15 entries.
Rookies Iain Dobson (U.S., English) and Jeff Trasher in their beautiful Ford Escort RS finished 2d in Historic A Plus, while Martin Lauber was close behind in 3d.  Apparently, Martin decided to take his bride, Kelly, on a little off-road excursion at one point.  Many others followed suit.  Martin also organized a group of four Historic A Plus cars, including Mike and Peggy Thurlow (23d overall), Tom Minnich and Cristin Combs (29th overall), and Mark Colbert and Deborah DeSantis (47th overall).  And no group had more fun!
Karlo Flores (Canada) and Juan Salgado Flores (Mex.), both Pan-Am rookies, won 1st in Sports Menor (modified sports cars with less than 2000 c.c. engines).  Rene Brinkerhoff and Robert Mendoza, who are gaining rock star status in the event finished 2d.  Rene had a little off road excursion during the qualifying run that caused serious problems for two or three days, but her great crew kept her car running to the end.
Rookie Matt Hummel and vet Chris Cochrane finished 3d in Turismo Production and 36th overall.  They were driving Frank Oliveto's laest creation, a 1940 Cadillac LeSalle.  According to Frank, the only problems they experienced was a broken shock and a bout of "touristica."  This unique car, powered by a Chevy 302 engine, is being offered for sale.
A special mention must be extended to rookies Rob Miller and Will Horne in their Shelby Mustang for their finish.  You may recall that their car was build by students at a local technical college in NE Texas and one of the students, Mr. Horne, won the drawing among the students to ride along as the navigator.  Felicidades! to a great team and story!
One of Todd Landon's Mustangs, driven by a crew from New Zealand won the hotly contested Historic C class and finished 14th overall.  Historic C missed some of its hot shoe regulars like Chip Fudge and Jack Rogers, among others.
Sam Burg, from southern California, was the co-piloto in the LT Special that finished  2d in Sports Major and 43d overall.
Other U.S.-Canadian results:
Michael and Kristi Shoemaker (Neb.), 50th overall, crash
Jake Shuttlesworth (TX) and C.J. Strupp (IN), 52d overall, engine problems
Steve Walters and Janet McFarland (VA), 56th overall, engine problems
Miles Jones and Robert Gehlan (Norcal), 59th overall, power-steering curse
Gerie Bledsoe (FLA)and Fer Garcia (Mex.), 60th overall, broken hydraulic lifter
Christian Reichardt (Socal) and Dan Roche (Canada), 63d overall, engine problems
Steve and Janet deserved special recognition for driving their Mercedes Fintail from Alexandria, VA to the start of the race and planning to drive it back.  Reportedly the car was towed to Laredo, where it will be shipped back home.  Steve and Janet are the last of the hearty souls from the U.S. who would drive their race car all the way to Mexico, race it, and then drive it back.   We wish them the best.
Jake Shuttlesworth and other trucks helped carry a ton of wool scraps from Austin to Mexico for a group of Indian women who recycle it to make rugs and other items.  Gracias a todos!

Get your car ready for the Chihuahua Express, April 21-24.  Registration opens in November.

---any car with the proper roll cage and safety equipment may run
---three days of open road racing
---1,000 total miles, about 300 at unlimited speed
---return to the same luxury hotel each night
---only 145 miles from Texas
---race to the rim of the famous Copper Canyon

Just want to cruise?  Sign up for the Xpress Tour.  Same route as race cars, but at legal speeds in a time-to-distance rally.  Even rent a regular car in Chihuahua.  All you need is a helmet.