Carreras News

December 2014

FIA Triumph TR3 – La Carrera Panamerican Champions Historic A, Roger Furrer (Swiss) and Andrew Selbie (Canada)

All photo from


**RECAP:  PAN AM 2014










It’s time to sign up for the Chihuahua Express, April 23-26.  Hit reply to ask for an entry form and FAQ.


The Express is open to any car, vintage or modern, with the required safety equipment.  Turbo, super-charged and four-wheel drive vehicles are welcome.  Pan Am cars run in their Pan Am class, but compete for overall standing with modern cars.  Save $250 by registering before the end of the year.


It is three days of racing….almost 1000 miles, including about 300 miles of speed stages, and each night the racers return to the same luxury hotel.  Driver’s meetings are at 6:30 and last about 30 minutes.


Don’t have a race car ready to race?  Try the ” Express Tour,” a time-to-distance rally along the same scenic route run by the race cars, but at legal speeds.  No experience is needed, and it is an excellent introduction to all Mexican rallies, timing and scoring, including the Pan Am. 


Chihuahua City, the headquarters of the race, is an easy 145 miles from Presidio, Texas and 240 from El Paso.  This is the 10th anniversary of the Express, which began as the Border Challenge.  The organizer is Chacho Medina, who is an architect by profession, a university lecturer, and Formula One commentator on Mexican TV.


**RECAP:  PAN AM 2014


In his post-race interview with the New York Times the overall winner of LCP 2014, Erik Comas (FR), admitted that he did not understand how long and difficult this epic Pan Am would be.  Comas, a former Formula One driver and vintage rally driver, won the Pan Am on the last day when the leading Studebaker went off the road, into a ditch (see photos).  Reportedly, Comas had been gaining on the lead car in the morning speed stages and the constant pressure probably was ultimately too much for the leader Emilio Velasquez.

 Above: the winners and 2014 LCP champions, Eric Comas and Isabelle Sadeleer (FR).  The winning Studebaker was fabricated and serviced by Mats Hammarlund Racing in San Miguel de Allende, this shop’s third or fourth overall Pan Am victory.

Above:  The lead car driven by Emilio Velasquez goes off the road  on Day 7 on a special stage called

Espinazo Del Diablo, part of the old highway from the coast near Mazatlan to Durango.


Comas said that most of his rally events in Europe are much shorter and usually one day long, not seven long hard days.  For example, on Day 2 of LCP 2014, the last two transit stages of 207 miles (339 KM) took the cars in heavy rain and diminishing daylight into the ancient city of Tlaxcala and then into the center of Mexico City.  And on Day 7, the day began with a transit of almost 185 miles (300 KM) and a total distance for the day of 420 miles (690 KM).  The race cars must average more than 73 MPH (120 KM) in these long transits.   Some of the drivers were behind the steering wheel for up to 13 hours on some days.


Attrition was extremely high.  Of the 75 cars that started the race, only 45 crossed the finish line in Durango.  Of these five were Exhibition cars, including two modern BMWs.  


On Day 2, the leg from Oaxaca to Mexico City, thirty cars were marked as “DNF” (Did Not Finish) at the end of the day.  Most got lost along the way, while some had mechanical problems.  On Day 5, 25 cars were listed as DNF.  In one class, Turismo Production, only three out of the seven cars that started the race actually crossed the finish line seven days later.   Those North Americans fighting serious engine problems in the last days of the event were North Americans included:  Paul Hladky, John Rogers, Vance Stewart, Pedro Vidal, John “Chip” Fudge, Walt Sikes, Art Morgan, and Jake Shuttlesworth.  Only Sikes and co-driver Paul Frame were able to repair the engine in their 911 and finish.


Fortunately, especially given the rainy weather, there were no serious crashes or injuries reported.  One driver, paraphrasing the title of a recent movie about life along the Mexican border, opined:  this is “No Race for Old Men!”




Those standing on the podium included:

     Doug Mockett and Angelica Fuentes (MX), 2d in Turismo Mayor and 2d overall. 

     Taz Harvey and Rudy Vajdak, 1st in Historic B and 6th overall

     Renée Brinkerhoff and Roberto Mendoza (MX) finished 2d in Sports Menor and 16th overall

     Paul Fruchbom and Ray Stephens, 2d in Historic B and 8th overall

    Christian Reichardt and Dan Roche (Canada), 1st in Original Pan Am and 33th overall

   Gerie Bledsoe and “El Fer” Garcia (MX), 3d in Turismo Mayor and 40th overall


Other North American results:


   *Michael and Kristi Shoemaker, 4th in Historic A Plus and 37st overall

    Walt Sikes and Paul Frame, 7th in Historic B and 22d overall

     John and Ben Greenwood, 6th in Historic C and 23d overall

   *Jean-Marc Taboulet and Francoise Lecaille (France and Florida), 11th in Historic C and 31st overall


     *Denotes rookies. Exhibition cars are not counted in the final, overall standings.




The dates of the event next year and the entry fee will not be announced until February.  The dates will probably fall within the last two weeks of October, which is the traditional period for the race.

 (Above)  The first Camaro entered in the Pan Am, driven by a European crew, finished second in Historic C running a 302 c.i. (5 liter) engine.  It was also fabricated and serviced by Mats Hammarlund Racing. 


A Porsche 356, running in Sports Menor (under 2000 cc), finished fifth overall.


The top North American finishers in Historic C (V8s) were John and Ben Greenwood in 6th.  This class had been dominated by Americans until recently.  Nine of the twelve cars in this class that finished were Mustangs/Falcons.


The only FIA legal car in the event, a beautiful Triumph driven by Roger Furrrer (Swiss), finished first in class and 27th overall (photo below).  Only two cars finished in Historic A.

 Three of the four cars from the Czech Republic finished.  The highest finisher, a ’72 Subaru (below), won 1st in Historic A Plus and 12th overall.  Reportedly, the creation of this expedition was inspired by an article in a Czech auto magazine on the Pan Am written by another Czech, Rudy Vajak, Taz Harvey’s co-piloto.

 Car #283, a Volvo P122 driven by Michael and Christi Shoemaker (USA), became the first known victim of a large piece of a building facade falling on the rear of their car in Guanajuato.  Both crew members took the incident in stride. 

 The ’53 Studebaker known as the Silver Fox, created by Frank Oliveto in Richmond . California, won most beautiful car in Turismo Mayor.

Large crowds greeted the Pan Am in every city along the route. 



 Only one Original Pan Am (OPA) car was entered in the event this year, the beautiful ’54 Lincoln of Christian Reichardt and Dan Roche (photo below).  A few years ago, there were seven entries in this class.  Where did all the flowers go?

The rules for this class are somewhat vague, but it a class for cars were eligible to run in the Original Pan Am back in 1950-1954, thus the car must have been made between 1940 and 1954.  Although the car must run an engine from the period, it may also use a more modern transmission (manual or automatic), disc brakes, 12 volt electrical system, modern ignition, aluminum radiator, and other improvements to make them dependable and safe.     Externally, the cars should look as they did during the original event.


If you are looking for a class to enter, this is it.  Lots of fun, without spending mega bucks.



54 Lincoln Capri.  Ready to race in the Chihuahua Express IN Turismo Mayor. A famous competitor in La Carrera, Chihuahua Express and Pikes Peak. 360 Ford Racing engine with 650 cfm. Holley, remote oil cooler, aluminum radiator, H.D. T-5 5 speed close ratio trans., Ford 9" rear axle, 4:10 Detroit locker diff.
coil-overs,  torque arm 3 link with panhard bar rear suspension, coil over front suspension,
NASCAR power steering, 6 piston Wilwood front calipers, 4 piston Wilwood rears,
Tilton pedal box assy with adj. brake bias. 28 gallon fuel cell, FIA approved Racetech seats
Monit Rally computer, Peltor intercom, Fast A/F meter, 2 on board fire systems.
fiberglass bumpers and inner fenders, Lexan windows, skid plate, rear difuser
extensive spares package, including molds, jigs and spare rolling body with frame
contact Bill Richert $60,0000. Cannot be duplicated for twice that amount.  Located in Phoenix. Tel. 602-548-9368

Advertise your car here (Pan Am or not) for $40 donation to “Los Amigos de Lupita Hernandez.”


CARRERAS NEWS is a publication of La Carrera USA.  It does not represent the views of the organizers of any event.

All forms of motor racing, including stage rallies in Mexico, are dangerous and addictive.



Gerie Bledsoe, North American Coordinator

Evanston, Illinois

Santa Rosa Beach, Fl

San Miguel de Allende, GTO, Mexico


Chihuahua Express


La Carrera Panamericana

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