Some notes on the Express!
Next year if we get at least three cars to join the event we'll have a class of our own.
NSF will be there and that leaves two other teams...
A note from the north American director.
Chihuahua Express Results
The final day in the 8th running of the Chihuahua Express turned out to be the most exciting. American Doug Mockett and his Mexican navigator Angelica Fuentes came from behind in their Pan Am Oldsmobile to defeat the reigning Express champions, Eduardo Henkel and Sergio Puente, in their BMW M3 V8 by only 17 seconds.
During the final day Mockett gained over a minute and a half on Henkel, erasing Henkel’s significant lead. Mockett had won the first day by a few seconds but Henkel won big on Day #2. Reportedly, Henkel was the most surprised person at the big Fashion Mall in Chihuahua City when the results were announced.
Felicidades, Doug and Angelica!
American drivers followed in third and fourth places overall: Paul Hladky and Adrian Gerrit in their new, beautiful blue Turismo Production Studebaker finished 8:49 behind the leader, while Gerie Bledsoe in a 2007 Subaru WRX was 21:24 back. Canadians John and Chrislana Gregory earned 6th overall in their ’65 Chevy II Nova and first in Historic C --29:39 off the winning time.
Other top-ten North American finishers included Frank McKinnon (8th) and Tom King (9th).
First-in-Class trophies went to: Bledsoe - under 2.5 liter turbo 4 x 4, and Gregory – Pan Am Historic C. Jake Shuttleworth snagged third in Historic C Pan Am, while McKinnon and King were second in their classes.
Attrition and off-road excursions took out some of the faster North American entries:
Taz Harvey – Datsun 510, clutch, Day #1
Stewart Robertson – TM Pan Am Studebaker, off, Day #2 (minor damage)
Ralph Carungi – TM Pan Am Lincoln, off, Day #3 (minor damage)
Jack Rogers – Mustang, engine, Day 3
Steve Waldman, Mitshubishi Evo, engine, Day 3
Hans Lindbolm -- Mustang, engine, Day 3
Keith Callinan – Mustang, engine, Day 3
Kaming Ko – Dodge, off, Day 0 (broken steering-wheel hub, significant suspension damage)
Paul Fruchbolm -- Porsche 911, engine, Day #2
John Magnuson - Mazda RX-8, engine, Day #1
Ironically, all three Mustangs in the race expired on Day #3: Australians Keith and his wife Mary Anne were running strongly in fourth overall at the beginning of Day #3, but lost the gear on their distributor shaft in the morning. Not too far away, the Hans Lindbolm Mustang blew a head gasket. And finally, Jack Rogers and CJ Strump lost their engine in the afternoon.
Taz Harvey, Ralph Carungi, and Stewart Robertson resumed the race after repairs and posted some excellent times. Carungi and Robertson reportedly hit the same slick spot on the way up to Divisidero and ended up parked backwards in a pine forest. A Mexican Porsche also crashed on Day #1 and did not return to the race. No injuries were reported.
Missing from the final finishing order unfortunately is car #66, Rick Row and his son James. They had run an excellent race all three days in their BMW Spec E-30, but when returning from the Day #3, they evidently got lost on the way to the finish line at the Fashion Mall. Instead, they ended the day back at the hotel. Because the timing crew did not receive their time card or timing “chip,” they were not listed in the final day’s result or the overall results. On Day #1 they were 9th overall and on Day #2, 11th overall. They also had a good shot at winning their class on Day #3. With the approval of the Director of Timing, I have asked for their times to be included in the final results.
Special recognition is also deserved by Roger Furrer from Scotland who finished 12 in his beautiful powder-blue Triumph TR4. And American rookies, Keith Newman and John Schnell did well on their first outing in Mexico, finishing 14th.
There were 32 competition cars registered to start the event, but several cars did now not show up for the star, including Carlos Anaya and Gabriel Perez, the winner of last year’s Panamericana. Anaya lacked a sponsor and Perez had an emergency in the family. Only 25 cars started Day #2, and by Day #3, there were only 23. And, as noted, four cars did not finish Day #3 because of mechanicals. Only 18 cars are listed in the overall results.
There were also more than a dozen cars signed up for the Express Tour, a time-to- distance “regularity” rally, including two cars from the U.S.
Overall, I think is safe to say that it was the best Chihuahua Express thus far. The qualifying stage on the old Pan Am highway just north of town was a success, as was the elimination of the transit from the hotel down to the middle of town on Friday morning. Instead of finding our way downtown on Day #1, we simply headed north, out of town toward Madera. The ceremonial start this year was conducted in a park on Thursday afternoon, and as a added bonus, our helmets were blessed by a group of Tarahumara Indians. For the first time, we also had service in the main square of Creel, a city recently named a “Magic Village” in Mexico. And the weather was excellent.
We simply need to recruit more cars for the event.
Please feel free to suggest corrections or additions. A final version will be included in the next Carreras News.
It was great seeing all of you! Thanks for your support.
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