17 December 2008

2008 PanAm: Racing is Serious But There's Always Time for Buffoonery

In the wise words of the La Carrera's North American Coordinator, Gerie Bledsoe,

"La Carrera Panamericana is a long, hard endurance race. Like other forms of motor sports, it is extremely dangerous."

Yep, it's scary, difficult, risky and sometimes fatal. But with high stress comes the need to relieve all of that excess energy and many PanAm teams find humor is the answer.

Geezer's got a big head of hair so we got him a bald clown wig. The funny part is that he had been stung on the nose by a bee a few days prior so his nose was already big and red like a clown.

We got the deluxe suite at the beautiful Holiday Inn in Puebla and I got a free pair of slippers - sweet!

The original Stewart conehead mask from the mid-1970s:

I told him his pants were sagging so he yanked them up....

Uriel in training to be a TBZ crew member in a few years.

Simon, doing his normal thing. Thanks for the kiss, love. Richard is looking extra sexy in the background.

Not really sure what to say here, it's just Rene doing some kind of dance at 6am in a 5 star hotel in the heart of Mexico City.

So I saw these ladies on the street in Queretaro in these great orange work coats and I wanted one. "Todos por Queretaro."

So Rene asked these ladies if he could buy the shirt off their back and they laughed and we got a photo instead.

A few years back one of the big race sponsors was the Phizer version of Viagra. My brother got this shirt that basically says, "My woman is in a good mood" and this is the only time of the year he is allowed to wear it.

Rene kept telling me how big Bimbo's suitcase was.....and how he called it La Maleta Abuelita (little grandma's giant suitcase) and when I saw it, damn, he was right, it was GIGANTE!

Richard and Simon - red and pink socks every night. I know Simon told me the story more than once, something about being in an elite English rowing club....and you wear pink socks to prove it.

Normally Richard is found smoking, drinking, driving very fast, or swearing a bloody long string of profanities so I was quick with the camera to catch this shot of him drinking the equivalent of Pedialite - the electrolyte stuff you feed your kids when they are really sick and dehydrated. I've never seen him do anything healthy before!

What does Boing! mean in Spanish?

Everyone smokes in Mexico.
Okay, no, the cigarette my brother and I were smoking was a fake one but we wanted to be one of the cool kids.

There's a lot of love during this race; it's a beautiful thing.

Simon dancing around with a string of toilet paper on his shoe.

So my brother noticed that the tablecloth matched Rupert's shirt........

And sure enough, it was a brilliant match!

Yah, baby, yah!

But the team decided Richard's white shirt could use a little life instead.

1970s Elvis or Neil Young 'burns.....either one works for me. Sweet chops!

I love Dr Simi, I really do.

I really love him.

This pic is a true WTF.....this driver with a broken leg evidently had the clutch pedal modified in his Jag so he could race!

Rasta Rene.

Todd bequethed his autographed Jesse "The Body" Ventura doll to Geezer. Geezer voted for Jessie when he ran for mayor in Minnesota.


Riding on the winch.

Todd cracks Rene's back. Holy smokes was it loud!

This scene first happened in Zacatecas in 2006 and this year when I heard Jorge yelling at my from the balcony I was horrified because I knew it was about to happen again.

Rasta K with Dan.

16 December 2008

2008 PanAm: Survival

Another year of racing La Carrera Panamericana brought another rash of carnage - it always does. Thankfully there were no serious injuries to my knowledge, though it is not my intent to minimize injuries like Linda Robertson's compressed neck vertabrae. In my opinion, after watching the video of their crash and seeing the cars afterwards, they are all lucky to be alive, let alone to have walked away from the wreckage.

There were so many beautiful cars at the start in Oaxaca. I usually spot a few cars that I absolutely do not want to be raced because I know they will be beat up and often times totalled along the way. I want to keep them pretty instead!

Here are some "after" pictures. The Mustangs seemed to take an intense beating this year - not too many survived. All 4 of our cars survived unscathed this year.

Mustang Carnage:

More crashes, aches and pains:

An offroad excursion on Day 1.

What was once a beautiful Sunbeam Tiger.

The Dover Brothers unfortunately were rear-ended on the way to the race start and their Volvo was damaged while on the trailer.

The Dover Brothers' Volvo AKA The Lawn Mower.

Bill Beilhartz did a little offroading in his Studebaker.....and still won the entire race!

Lucky to be alive.

This guy had many areas of damage including remnants of black paint from El Jefe when he tried to run us off La Bufa. Seems he comes prepared each year with a case of orange duct tape.

The Corvette in Oaxaca before the race - I did not want to let them race this beautiful car! And thankfully they kept it pretty. Whew.

In addition there were blown engines (Gerie Bledsoe's Nova, the blue Comet) and a few fires, like the beautiful red "Austin Powers" Jaguar.