23 October 2011

2011 La Carrera Panamericana: Day 3 Success and Another Podium for TBZ

Creepy beyond words.  Even the locals stopped in their tracks.  And the baby was fake.
Carina, Rudi and little Sami arrive for our annual visit!

Day 3 was long and grueling but great.  Both El Jefe and the Gypsy Wind had great morning and afternoon speed stages and survived when others went off the road.  The laps at the Autodromo de Queretaro was cancelled - we don't know why.  El Jefe came in 3rd place in class again!  The Greenwoods are suppsedly 37th overall.  Results can be seen at http://lacarrerapanamericana.com.mx/resultados.

Today was a very long day of transits for both the race cars and the service vehicles, about 350 miles in all.  My morning started out with a giant smile as there were two Dr. Simi's dancing around at the starting arch!  I love Dr. Simi and two of them at once is over the top!  There were quite a few stragglers at the arch long past the time they should have left, including Johnny Tipler in a Porsche 914, who to my delight, I saw the first time on this trip.  Johnny is a fantastic character and I hope he does well!  He mentioned some confusion with the morning's direction and I replied, "Always an adventure" and wished him luck.  One of Mats' Falcons was struggling as his team worked on it when we left.

Two Dr. Simis - twice the FUN!

Johnny Tipler in his Porsche 314.

Go Johnny!
A Mats Falcon that missed the start.

We saw Gerie and Fernando pass us just before noon service - we were happy to see them on the road again, though they seemed to be behind.  Later at the zocolo Fernando told me that they ran the morning speed stages but missed the afternoon.

During one of the morning mountain stages outside of Pachuca, we learned from Mockett that the Otten Mustang went off and was on its side.  No injuries reported for the husband and wife team who seem to be having trouble on this trip with the car.  We talked to Jochen Mass at a Pemex who said the morning was good but slippery, but not as bad as last year as the long speed stage was eliminated.

Todd gets the scoop from Mockett - the first car in after the morning speed stage.

Jochen Mass's Fastback.

The Greenwoods arrive.

Undercover rock stars - don't ask; I won't tell you who they really are.  It's hard to figure out when their hair is so short.

Chip Fudge.

Smashed up cars.

We got to the hotel in Queretaro in time to get good parking spots and grab a taxi to the centro, where the finishing arch is.  Just as I stepped out of the taxi, El Jefe arrived.  It was great to hang out with my dad, Stewie, Rene, Tonio and Bimbo and sign autographs on our postcards.  Todd went to check on the Gypsy Wind and congratulate the Greenwoods on another successful finish.

Ralph is famous.

Anders, Geezer and Julio.
Jake and Todd.

Always on the prowl.

Rene highlights his hair now.

Family picture.



Carina shows Sami how the big boys do it.

We heard of some other crashes that were not so good though we didn't hear of any injuries.  The Otten husband and wife team went off in one of the afternoon stages and the roof of the passenger side was completely crushed.  From looking at the carnage of the car, it appears that Ute Otten is very lucky to have not been injured.  The car is severly damaged and the FIA rollcage clearly failed, running itself through the roof and the floor of the car without providing any protection to her.  Very scary.

Albert Otten stands outside his munched Mustang.

The base of the FIA rollcage as it punched through the floor.
In the upper left corner you can see where the rollcage punched through the hood. Not much protection for your noggin.

Albert inspects the damaged roof from the inside.
Ralf Christensen also went off, dampening his chances for a podium, but they were not hurt either.  Mexico's Fastest Taxi also went off in the last speed stage and I talked to one of their crew members, Christine, who was waiting for them to be towed off the hill.  I told her not to wait, as the LCP was not likely sending any tow trucks and sunset was coming soon and she needed to engage someone locally to get them off the hill.  Truth be told, though the LCP will tell you that a tow truck is coming, but in the end you are on your own.

We had a great time in the zocolo.  I got to meet Rene Ortega in person the first time, of RANACHILANGA PHOTOGRAPHY fame.  Check him out on facebook or http://www.ranachilanga.tk/.  He follows the race each year and takes killer photos.  Also bumped into Jorge Arellano Vital, another Queretaro friend who writes a super blog called Wheeled and Rolling and takes some fabulous photos.

Later in the evening my local friends Rudi and Carina arrived with their 14 month old handsome son, Sami.  Rudi is an old coworker turned dear friend and we meet each year in Queretaro when the Carrera rolls through.  It is the highlight of my trip every year.  Sami is extra cute and we all had dinner together at the Crown Plaza - Todd and I, Rudi, Carina, Sami and Brian and Dave.  Sami had a toy car made of balloons and though he is very young, you could see in his blood that he knew he was among La Carrera race car drivers tonight!



Gary Faules said...

Great reporting. By the way, how can Taz Harvey possibly be 5th overall on day 5 with his prior results? That said, NO MUSTANG with original floor pans should be allowd to race in ANY race.

Rene Ortega RANACHILANGA said...

A pleasure to meet you guys, I have some photos for you I will publish soon!

Anonymous said...

How did you know Matt Holmbeck?

LCP said...

@Anonymous- we were childhood neighbors. If you post your email in another comment I won't publish it but we could chat offline about Matt if you like.