25 October 2011

2011 La Carrera Panamericana: Day 4 - A Rough Day

I'm way behind; the hotel we stayed at last night was such a historic palace in the centro of Morelia that it did not have internet.  My dad says Morelia is the most beautiful town square in all of Mexico and though he's seen more of Mexico than me, I have driven about 25,000 miles through capitol cities and villages and I agree!

There was a very bad crash today where a Mustang built by Mats Hammerland and driven by two Swedes was on the wrong side of a country road and drove head on into a local's car containing 3 people.  We don't know the whole story and have very few facts, but we did come upon the scene maybe an hour later and saw the carnage and I do not believe the reports that all 5 people involved are okay.  The front end of both cars, on the passenger side, was pushed to the windshield.  What a mess.  The car was newly built and painted to look just like the Gypsy Wind so we hoped no one thought it was our car with the Greenwoods in it.  This accident did not happen in a speed stage which points to it being 100% unnecessary. I am sorry for the locals who were involved and injured, it is a shame.

This is not our Mustang.  It was a Mats Hammalund built Mustang owned and driven by two Swedes.
Unfortunately this racer involved a civilian car with 3 people in it.

Today started out a little nerve-wracking. We caught up to the lineup for the first speed stage and we got a text message from John Greenwood saying the speed stage was cancelled and "something bad happened."

Very shortly after that we got a text from Rene saying, "Call me." Rene was driving the service truck that day and his message really concerned me but we did not have good enough cell service to call them back.

I started to walk up the long line of service trucks and locals, trying not to worry, but thinking a lot about Geezer and Stewie in the car and hoping that they were okay, as well as everyone else. The more I thought in those first few seconds, the more I worried so I started to run up to the start line, asking a few trucks along the way if they knew anything.

To my relief, I spotted El Jefe on the side of the road ahead. Whew! I ran up to them and learned they had broken the throttle cable on the engine compartment side. Geezer handed me the set screw and I ran back to the truck to get an allen wrench from Todd. Todd grabbed it and ran ahead to help Geezer fix El Jefe. I learned some new Spanish...."cinchos plasticos" which means zip ties. I ran to the service truck in front of El Jefe and borrowed two of them and Todd was able to fix the throttle cable.

Todd has a faux-hawk and he's a damned good mechanic/car-builder.

It takes a village sometimes.

Stewie and Geezer got going in a hurry and hoped they wouldn't be too late for the next stage. I walked with Geezer for a while to turn in his timecard and we ended up walking at least a quarter mile uphill. He was quiet and Stewie told me that he was a little bit upset about the car breaking but there was nothing they could do about it now and we were all happy it was something simple. Since the actual start line for the cancelled speed stage was so far up, I hopped on the front of the car to get a ride. Geezer turned in his timecard very close to the scene of the terrible Mustang crash. No one was talking about what happened - the carnage of the two vehicles said it all.

Fashion first - Kristin and John.

Our suite in the historic Morelia hotel, overlooking the zocolo - amazing!

I love the Greenwood bros - shhhh, don't tell anyone.

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