**Chi-X Expects 60+ Entrants – Largest Field Ever!
More than sixty entrants are expected at the 12th Annual Chihuahua Xpress, April 26-30. This will break the record of fifty-eight set in 2013. The average is 44 entrants each of the past eleven years. Thus far, about half the entries this year are international, most from the U.S. The numbers have received a bump from ten Tour entries sponsored by VitelMobile, a cell phone company from Miami, Florida that does business in Latin America.
Here’s the Chi-X schedule:
April 26 – registration and tech, Hotel Sheraton Soberano, Chihuahua City
April 27 – pre-qualifying stage (optional); registration and tech continue
Training for navigators and track warm up, VitelMobile event
Blessing of the helmets by Tarahumara Indian priestess
April 28 – race/rally northwest to Madera and return to hotel for driver’s awards meeting
April 29 – race/rally southwest for lunch at Copper Canyon and return to hotel for meeting
April 30 – race/rally east to Ojinaga/Presidio, TX and return to hotel for final awards ceremony
Each day the competitors race away from Chihuahua, have lunch and service, and race back on the same roads, returning to the same hotel. The driver’s meetings and awards ceremony each night is usually short and early. Every effort is being made to add a fourth day to the event next year.
**Chi-X Competition 2017 – Top Notch
Competition for the Chi-X Championship should be awesome this year, even better than usual. Here are the top competitors:
Doug Mockett (USA) – ’54 “Oldsmobile” – Doug has several championship trophies in the Chi-X and the Pan-Am. Last year, he was forced out of the Chi-X on day #2 when a mechanical failure that caused the car to strike a concrete lane divider. When he’s not racing in Mexico, Doug travels the world racing his two vintage Formula 1 cars. He is also involved deeply in sponsoring young drivers and their teams in Indy Car and other venues.
Eduardo Henkel (MX) – driving his BMW 2 M will surely be in contention for the Chi-X championship, which he has already won. For a couple of years the event was really a race for the top spot between Eduardo and Doug Mockett.
Gabriel Perez (MX) – is another multiple Chi-X and Pan-Am champion. You know he will be in contention in his Porsche GT3 Cup car.
Ralf Christensson (Sweden) – is this year’s dark horse. Ralf will be driving the ’67 Ford Mustang in which he shattered the vintage record last year on Pike Peak. The car will be running in the Unlimited Class, because of big block engine and other modifications.
Other exotica that should be mentioned includes:
Richard Tomlin (USA) – Exocet (pictured above), powered by a Chevy LS V8 engine, is also running in Unlimited. If he keeps it out of the mud puddles, look out! Never has there been a car in the Chi-X with such a favorable HP to weight ratio.
George Schroeder (USA) – Ford GT LeMans, yes a Ford GT, powered by another Chevy LS V8 engine. Awesome car!
In the competitive Historic “C” Class (V8s, 1955-1972), Jack Rodgers (USA) in his Mustang is the man to beat. Jack just won the “Thunder From Down Under” competition at 240 MPH on the salt in Australia in a ’68 Camaro. His co-piloto on Mexico is the lovely C.J. Stupp. Like all of us, Jack has had engine problems on race occasion, but last year he coasted to victory in his class in the Chi-X. This year, he better look out for Kaming Ko (China), a great name in motorcycle racing and Michael Bonderenko, a rookie in Mexico.
**A Look at the Chi-X Grid
There will be excellent competition in the Historic A/A+ group (vintage under 2000 cc). Historic C (V8 small blocks 1955-1972), and Historic B (1955-1972 six cylinders). More entries are needed in Original Historic (stock sedans, 1940-1954), Sports Historic (1940-1954, 2000 cc), Turismo Production and Turismo Mayor (1940-1954, highly modified), as well as the modern classes.
One index to the future of the Chi-X is the number of new competitors who sign up. Here’s a partial list from the USA and Canada who organizer Chacho Medina will welcome in April:
Tom Minnich, Alfa Romeo GTV
Mike Thurow, BMW 2002
Michael Bondarenko, Ford Falcon
Rommey Bahhur, Alfa Romeo
Marcus Neff, Subaru WRX STI
Doug Asay, Mercury Monterey
Matt Morehart, BMW 2002
Returning competitors include old friends and racing buddies:
Ralph Carungi, Bill Richert, Chip Fudge, Karlo Flores, Carlos Salgado, Frank McKinnion, Jim Putnam, Vance Stewart II, Vance Steward III, Kristen Stewart, Kaming Ko (China), Stafford Galen, Rick Row, Roger Furrer (Swiss), Scott Butler, Angie Mohle, Walt Sikes, Paul Frame (new), Dennis Varni, Larry Eugene, Bassam Haddad, Marisa Marroquín, and George Schroeder.
Other names will be added to these lists. Registration is open until the race begins.
That’s one of the best things about this event: we actually have time at night to socialize, have dinner and drinks with friends, we normally see only once or twice a year.
At this time the Sheraton Soberano Hotel is out of double-bedded rooms, but several nice hotels are located in the neighborhood if racers don’t like to “spoon” in the same big bed.
Participants in the Rally Tour and stage/velocity rally will have a change to buy a video of their participation in the event for only $100 if ordered by the end of March. Details to follow.
**Pan-Am Route Announced
The route for 2017 has been posted on the official web site. With one significant change, it is the same as last year:
Oct. 10-11 -- Registration and tech – Queretaro (125 miles north of Mexico City)
Oct. 12 – prequalification
Oct. 13 – race starts in state of Queretaro, stops for night in Puebla (90 miles south of Mexico City)
Oct. 14 – race goes south into Oaxaca state, turns around, and heads to north to Mexico City
Oct. 15 – Morelia
Octo. 16 –Guanajuato
Oct. 17 – San Luis Potosi (the new city, replacing Toluca. It’s been a few years.)
Oct. 18 – Zacatecas (everybody’s favorite)
Oct. 19 – Durango (185 miles north of Zacatecas)
Unofficial Advisory (based on last year’s Pan-Am ):
Santa Rosa Beach, Florida