Holiday Edition 2013
**CHIHUAHUA EXPRESS DEADLINE
Several racers have already taken advantage of the $250 USD discount on the Chihuahua Express entry fee by paying their fee in December. The deadline is December 31, but if your check for $2500 USD is in the mail by then, it will be warmly received. On January 1, the fee goes up $250. The fee for the Express Tour, a regularity rally, is $1250.
Rooms at the four-star Soberano Hotel remain $165 USD (tax and service included) a night for a single (one king bed) or double (two queen beds). Registration, tech, and all driver’s meeting will all be held at this hotel, located high on a hill in the modern, western suburbs of Chihuahua City. Most racers will spend five nights at the Soberano, checking in Wednesday, April 2, and checking out on Monday, April 7. Registration and tech begin Sept. 2 at 10:00 AM.
**SCHEDULE FOR THE EXPRESS
Again this year, on Thursday morning April 3, the cars in full competition will run an optional “pre-qualification” stage of 12 KM to help determine the starting order on Friday. This stage is run on part of the original Pan Am Highway used in 1950-1954 for that historic race. It is just about the only piece of the original highway left from Chihuahua City to Ciudad Juarez. The ceremonial start of the race will be that evening at a plaza near the hotel. A drivers’ meeting will follow.
On Friday the cars will race northwest over several low mountain ranges to the city of Madera, stop for lunch and service, and then race the same stages back toward Chihuahua City. The first stage in the morning and last stage in the afternoon, a 22 KM run though the first mountain range, is one of the true challenges of the event for cars and drivers.
On Saturday the event heads southwest to the majestic Copper Canyon, a major tourist attraction in this part of Mexico and the world. The cars will end the morning’s run at the actual rim of the canyon, where lunch will be served. The stages back down from the canyon are another test of the cars (brakes) and drivers (patience).
Sunday takes the cars through the desert 145 miles to Ojinaga, across from Presidio, Texas. It’s a short day, but the stages are very fast. Several stages will be run up and over mountain ranges. It is a day that favors big-bore cars.
**TRANSPORT TO CHIHUAHUA CITY
Chihuahua City is only 240 miles south of El Paso, Texas and a mere145 miles from Presidio, Texas. By comparison, it is around 960 miles from Mexico City. The roads in the part of Mexico are excellent, primarily because there’s not a lot of rain. Being sparsely populated, there are also very few villages in the area with the scourge of Mexican rally drivers – speed bumps (topes).
On Tuesday, April 1 a convoy will convene in El Paso and cross the border the next morning April 2 at Santa Teresa, New Mexico, which is next door to El Paso. This route bypasses the city of Juarez completely. From Santa Teresa to Chihuahua City there is only one town of any size along the entire route.
Chihuahua City has a modern international airport and excellent, first-class (luxury) express bus service to Juarez-El Paso.
During the race the cars in competition and the Tour will be assisted by a virtual army of state police, local police, and EMT personnel.
Worried about your safety? Take comfort in the fact that in 26 years of international rallies in Mexico or longer, including the Pan Am, Border Challenge, and Express, there has been not one incident of violence directed at a competitor. Just keep your eyes on the road and not on the impressive landscapes along the race route!
For an entry form or a detailed FAQ about the Express, just hit your reply button. More info is also available at www.chihuahuaexpress.com. The Express is part of the Silver State Challenge Classic. www.sscc.us
**RESULTS OF LA CARRERA 2013
A report on how los norteamericanos (Canadians and Americans) did in the event has been posted on www.panamrace.com. Here is a short version.
Defending LCP Champion Gabriel Perez (MX) successively defended his title by beating his countryman Emiliano Velazquez in another Turismo Mayor car by a comfortable 3:34. American favorite Doug Mockett had tire and mechanical problems on Days 1 and 2, and quickly fell out of contention, ending in 19th overall.
Congratulations to the class winners from North America:
1. Paul Hladky (USA), driving a smart race, was the highest American finisher in fifth overall and first in his class, Turismo Production. Adrian Gerrits was his able co-piloto.
2. Renée Brinkerhoff (USA), driving probably the neatest looking car in the entire race finished first in Sports Menor in her Porsche 356. Americans swept all three top places in this class.
3. Conrad Stevenson and Nelson Chan (USA) emerged as the winners of Historic A Plus. But Martin Lauber (USA) has request a review of the results in this class.
4. Carson Scheller and daughter Lauren (USA) repeated once again as champs of the Original Pan Am class, finishing 25th overall. It was Carson´s 4th win, with three second place finishes, and never a DNF in seven tries.
Taz Harvey, driving his new Datsun Z car, finished 8th overall but a disappointing 2d in Historic B, losing to a Porsche 911 from Mexico.
Rene Rodriquez (MX) and the Vance Stewart boys (USA), from TBZ Racing, won third place again in Turismo Mayor in their Ford, “El Jefe,” also significantly improving their overall standing from last year, too.
Christian Reichardt (USA) had to leave the race early, but his partner Dan Roche (Canada), and A. J. Schwitenberg finished in second in Original Pan Am and 54th overall in their Lincoln.
Neville Sonner and Dawson Tanner (USA) took second in Sports Menor in their Porsche 356, followed by Rob Curry and Rickey Shaw in third, also in a 356.
Ray Stevenson and Paul Fruchbom (USA), team driving, put their Porsche 911 in 20th place overall and 7th in class, a very creditable outcome for rookies. Walt Sikes and Gordon Walton (USA), in their beautiful 911, followed in 30th spot overall, up from 52d last year.
Other class winners included Mexican Xavier Lamadrid in Historic C (a.k.a., the “Mustang race”) and finished 7th overall. Jack Rogers and C.J. Strupp (USA), who suffered nagging mechanical problems, were the highest American finishers in this class.
The LT Special, a Chevy Chevelle chassis with a Mexican fiberglass sports-car body, was finally hauled out of storage to win Sports Mayor again in the hands of piloto Adrian Stephens (GB) and co-piloto Sam Burg (USA).
Of the 84 cars that actually started the race on Day 1, only 62 were running on the last day, including 21 from the U.S. and Canada out of 28 entries. There were several off-road “excursions,” but no serious injuries were reported.
With the exception of the misadventures some tardy racers and support crews had in entering Mexico City, most North American competitors seemed highly pleased with the event this year. The Organizers got high marks for making improvements in the drivers’ meetings and delivering the timing results.
**PAN AM CARS AT ROAD AMERICA, 2014
Pan Am cars have been invited to two events at Road America, the famous track in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin, about three hours north of Chicago. The first event is “The Hawk with Brian Redman,” July 18-20. Since this is the 50th anniversary of the Mustang, it will be the featured car, so while all Carrera cars are invited, Carrera Mustangs have a special invitation. This may be the greatest assembly of racing Mustangs in America. Usually, nearly 500 cars participate in The Hawk. Because Road America is over four miles long, so there is room there for a big herd of ‘Stangs.
The second event is the “VSCDA Elkhart Lake Vintage Festival” at Road America September12-14. VSCDA is a vintage race organization in the Mid-West.
**PIKES PEAK INTERNATIONAL HILLCLIMB
Registration for this famous event is open on line until January 31. www.PPIHC.com Because the road up the mountain is all paved now, the event is over-subscribed, which means some people who will sign up will receive “regret” notices in February. Although past vintage champion Doug Mockett does not plan to return to the event this year, we expect several Pan Am cars to be there, including Mustangs from Todd Landon’s shop. Todd’s Mustangs are rentable for The Hawk, Pikes Peak, and even Bonneville in August. Other rental cars at available from two shops in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico – Mats Hammarlund Racing and Euro-Latino Racing. Our Pan Am cars are very popular in this event.
Happy Holidays to all!
North American Coordinator
La Carrera Panamericana and Chihuahua Express
220 N Zapata Hwy Ste 11 Pmb68B
Laredo, TX 78043