23 October 2011

2011 La Carrera Panamericana: Day 2 - Team TBZ in 3rd Place Again!

Day 2 went well for us and Team TBZ was on the podium again last night for their performance from Oaxaca to Puebla.  Stewie was driving with Geezer navigating and clearly they tore it up!  Congrats to the whole TBZ Team!  Well-deserved!  The Greenwoods started out the day in 24th place or so, a great showing from solid drivers in the Gypsy Wind.

Several cars blew their engines including the navy blue Corvette from Canada (the husband and wife team who totalled it two years ago), and a Chrysler.  We know of two Mustangs that went off the road, one worse than the other but no injuries.  One was Mats Linden, but it didn't look too bad, just some scratches on the passenger side and a broken strut which he repaired at the noon service.  Lots of cars were on the side of the road and lots on trailers.  It has been a tough couple of days.
Check out the skid marks going off the road (click to enlarge).

It is always a spooky sight to come around a corner in a speed stage, see skid marks and the driver and navigator standing on the road, but no race car.  This Mustang was so far down that we couldn't see it.

Mats Linden's Mustang that went off road - just a few scratches and a damaged strut, which he fixed at noon service.

Mats Linden wiping off his bleeding noggin, which he cut fixing the strut.
Todd and I rose early and left Oaxaca Saturday morning to catch the start of the first speed stage.  The mellow montainous area is one of my favorite scenaries of the trip, and it is Todd's favorite speed stage.  El Jefe was looking good with Stewie ready at the wheel in the lineup.  Geezer and I had time to chat while they rolled slowly up to the start line.  It was a beautiful Oaxaca morning, what a gorgeous place!  The Greenwoods were all smiles, as usual, having come in about 21st place overall on Day 1.  Carson Scheller was dropping some water/coolant on the roadway while waiting to take off but we didn't identify it was him until he had already crossed the start line.

The Gypsy Wind, #371, starting line of the first speed stage of the day outside of Oaxaca.

Blowing off some steam....

Ralph with race face in #101 Hot Rod Lincoln.

Two Gillette, Wyoming guys in a sweet 'Vette.

Geezer doing his homework.

My brother's son, Charlie, just got his Eagle Scout so now he represents on the back of El Jefe.

Ben Greenwood in the Gypsy Wind - so serious! 

They call him Senior Salchicha in Mexico.

Felipe and Steve getting ready for speed stage #1.

We decided to sweep the morning course and let Dave and Brian run ahead in the Greenwood's Honda Ridgeline.  About 10 km into the first long speed stage we found Carson and daughter/navigator Lauren on the side of the road.  The car had overheated and quit, and was having power steering issues as well.  They asked for a tow since the other racecar they were traveling with was disabled as well and they had only one trailer.  Because they drive a '54 Ford that's heavier than our Mustangs we first towed them with a strap to get off the dangerous uphill corner where we were sitting.  Then we got the Ford on the trailer by having 3 guys pull upward on the winch cable repeatedly, and I reeled it in with the winch.  Carson and Lauren hopped in back and we really enjoyed getting to know them throughout the day.  We later dropped off their Ford at the noon service since their big rig was there to tow it, but we kept them as passengers. 

Getting the Scheller's Ford on our trailer.

Checking out a pretty dramatic washout on one of the speed stages of the morning.  Wouldn't want to come across this one at night.  By the time you see the cone, I'm thinking it's too late!

Father and daughter taking a much deserved nap.

One of the great conversations of the day was discussing which cut of beef is the best.....Lauren works for the US National Beef Council and is an expert on all things beef.  But after a while of discussing tri-tip and petit filet and fresh butter on toasted sourdough bread on the grill, we had to stop because we were all starving!  The Schellers are a great father/daughter team and we hope they can get the car going again to catch up with the race.

One of the most common sights we see on the Carrera.  Happens to everyone.

Stewie and Geezer at noon service.

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I gave him my gluten-free bagel. 

Blown engine.

Mid-way through the day after service we came upon a little red Fiat disabled in a village.  I had commented the even prior that I thought the car looked like a grasshopper, which was fitting since my Oaxaca nickname is Chapulina (grasshopper) from eating grasshoppers there in 2006. 

The little red grasshoppa on our trailer.

The Mexican owners of the Fiat asked for a tow and while Todd was getting out the battery to hook up the winch, Lauren and I felt the truck move and looked back and the guys had pushed the little bitty car on the trailer by themselves!  We laughed - no winch required for this one!  The owners had to ride in the car on the trailer, which didn't feel like the safest thing to do, but we gave them a walkie talkie to call us.  We had them on back for a couple of hours and dropped them off in Tehuacan where their mechanic was waiting.
As we rolled into Puebla and found the hotel, we bumped into Mockett and Fuentes who were running #2 as of this morning, but were putting in a protest as they had been blocked for 4 kilometers by the the #1 runner in a Studebaker during a speed stage.  Blocking is grounds for disqualification for the entire race; it will be interesting to see what comes of it.

Brian, Dave, Todd and I had a quiet dinner in the Camino Real in Pueblo.  Most of the dinner consisted of waiting to get service; frustrating because we were so hungry and thirsty.  The drivers' meeting was across town at a car museum so we decided not to attend.  To my joy I got a text from Geezer later that evening saying they were on the podium again in 3rd place!  That's two medals in a row, we are so excited! 

The way the race is organized prevents us from seeing many of the competitors, including my dad and Team TBZ.  This is one of the big bummers of the race for me.  The LCP staff choose hotels that are scattered all over these capitol cities and it is often too far, too late at night, to grab a taxi to go visiting.  This is a fairly new change as our team used to all stay in the same hotel and everything was easy.....now we don't even share the same hotel with out own team and often it is very difficult for our clients to get the race car across town to our hotel so we can do maintenance. 

We finished the evening with Todd and Dave doing some regular maintenance on the Gypsy Wind, which is running superbly, and a few drinks in the hotel bar.  We remembered that last year we were lying on the dirty street of Puebla outside of the Holiday Inn until 2am changing the transmission on one of the cars.  This is a good change! We chatted with Steve Strupp and some other folks and had a nice evening.

Pico de Orizaba, a volcana on the outskirts of Puebla. 

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Don't tell anyone that we taught Dave how to text and now he's hooked.  Probably have carpal tunnel by the time he returns to the US.

The very busy street where we get to park and work on the cars.  Not too safe.

Todd hanging with Steve Strupp, swapping tales about the day.

1 comment:

Francisco said...

Great Pics!thank for shering us!