The 2009 adventure of the #21 Studebaker of Leo Noetzel and David Henry Foulkes.
It is all over now.
Bua, bua, bua, sniff, sniff, it was all hugs and kisses, Nuevo Laredo again, the emotions, mariachis are playing good bye songs, Eduardo Leon was very happy (pockets full of money), Matts and Eva were completely crazy, Stig after three tequilas was saying in a perfect sweedish accent throw me one more, it was the end of the XXII panamericana, it all started nine days earlier in Huatulco, Oaxaca, a paradise, with all the temptations, all that was missing was an Eva for this Adam, another time will be.
Day 0, the race had not even started and there had already been three hard crashes, doctors were too busy with some poor girls they had found “drowning” at the beach, during the classification, the Lucky tako oldsmobile got unlucky and rolled over, that night, the fraternity gave Leo Noetzel (pilot from car 21, the blue sanborns Studebaker), a trophy for his first 20 years racing the panamericana, the children`s orchestra from Huatulco was playing music for us.
Friday morning, the heat was coming up, crew members started dehidrating, some even fainted, others threw up, the least got dizzy, temperature out at the shadow was 32 degrees Celsius, we were driving like mad to get out of that inferno, we got to Oaxaca where Murray`s children were greeting us (fourteen years thirteen children, that is a great record), they were all asking him for money (and he did not want to give them).
Saturday early morning, we ran away from Murray´s children heading towards Tehuacan, the party great as usual, Stuart and Linda were dancing on top of the trailer with the edacarnes, at the rithm of mambos, then headed towards the great Tenochtitlan, the weather had changed, we now had fog and rain, cars were spinning with so much water on the road, no terrible accidents fortunately, and we arrived there, police were ready to escort us through the city, but they did not know the way to Santa Fé, after four hours going up and down the city, police escort hired a taxi to lead us to the meta, a place full of elegant restaurants where the valet parking were eager to “park” our cars, that night, Andrew had too much to drink and started looking for a fight, he chose bad and asked Leo to fight him, Leo just blew him out in a snap, poor Andrew all full of blood, fortunately doctors were there and helped him right away.
Sunday morning, due to rain, Mexico City´s track was cancelled, so we went straight to Cuautitlan, where breakfast was served, we had delicious pancita, menudo and tacos de nana buche y cachete, with our stomach full, we left towards Queretaro, a sunny day, but not to hot, Damiron in “el buick” felt as a child with a new toy, he passed the police car at a speed of no less than 160 miles per hour, later we knew breakfast had not made his stomach very well and he was in a great hurry to get to the “servicio”, phew, he made it right on time, a great day, now the track at Querétaro, Stig, Lars and Pimentel were heading the race, Doug had had problems with a cliff and Gabriel Perez had had bad luck with a hill (neither case were navigators mistakes (they are both members of our union and we have to take care of them), it was the nervousness of the drivers who wanted to get there on first place.
That night the violins made dinner delightful (and as I had already had lunch at the hotel, I was able to really enjoy the evening (food was scarce, drinks finished before the pilots arrived, so there was no more than music).
We left towards San Luis Potosi, we had very very beautiful views on the way, he were above the clouds in some hills, and made the special stages in dry roads (last year we had rain in them and were very sliperry, not this time), the service at Jalpan, no children there to greet us, what a relief (this is the second year we go there, maybe there will be babies next year), then San Luis, police closed the main road so we could come into town very fast, that noght enchiladas potosinas, mmm delicious, very small, very tasty, not hot, mmmm I eat a dozen, Emilio Azcarraga won third place in his class but declined the trophy in favor of his friend Jassan and navigator Mmmmmartina Franzzz, mmmm, nice gesture (declined the trophy but kept the timing).
Going out of San Luis was a real mess, slow cars were blocking the exit, transit section was 17 minutes and we left 8 minutes late, we were going on the wrong side of the street to try and make it on time to the z control, we arrived a big black pick up was now blocking our way, the control saw us desperate and moved towards us (thanks a lot), we made it one minute and a half late, but not our fault, I wrote it on the back of the time card, I wont accept any penalty for this, (believe it or not, they agreed with me and scolded the pick up fellows (even though it was from televisa), well done) now passing through Guadalajara escorted by police officers, and heading towards Tequila.
Great place, nice old town, it did smell to tequila, we visited the museum at Casa Cuervo, we went through the distillery and had the best lunch in the whole race, there was enough for everybody and even more, Jesus must have been there for when we arrived I saw only eight pieces of bread and one bottle of tequila, but we were all able to eat and drink, sodas, wine, and of course all the tequila you wanted (and for free), thank you casa cuervo.
Eight o´clock at night, problems started, it was raining, our car has no wipers, we had had to much tequila, and needed gas, Carlos Castillo (studebaker 51 from Aguascalientes) offered to guide us to Guadalajara we had to get some gas and our friend Adolfo from Chiapas asked us for a lift (his car had broken down and got there with a service crew who had already left, we were his last chance to go back to Guadalajara) got our gas and left, two miles away Leo asked me and Adolfo?, we had left him at the gas station, and had to go back to fetch him, there he was leaning against a gas pump, he never got notice we had left without him, jajaja, then back to Guadalajara, how did we get there?? Who knows but we managed to make it to the hotel, let us ask that next time we go there, either they hire someone to drive our cars back and us take a bus or stay in tequila, drinking, until is time to start the new day.
Next morning, glorieta de la Minerva, traffic was a jam, one of the bussiest hours in Guadalajara and there we were getting Reddy to start, to the right and into central lanes, out 460 meters ahead, everybody is going straight Leo says, lets us follow them, I replied the road book says out, no, everybody is going straight, you are wrong he says and as he was driving, guess what we did, of course we went straight ahead, all of a sudden, they started making a u turn in the middle of the freeway, just imagine, as sheep, we did what the rest were doing, but then, I took control again and told Leo do not follow them, they are lost (so we were) let´s go out here and a green Lincoln decided to follow us, some minutes later, we were on the road, late but on the correct road, we managed our control on time phew¡ and headed towards Zacatecas, at the service, we received bad news, Castillo´s gear box broke down, what a terrible notice (it gave us the chance to make it to first in our class, oh what bad luck¡) they gave us croissants and pan de muertos (they were vey good) and some hot punch, great idea, for the wind was a bit cold, Andrew was still sore and sad, I do not know how he managed but was able to put a rattle snake on Leo´s seat, it took us more than 40 minutes to take it out of the car, just in time to go down the stages to Zacatecas, beware of gravel¡ we did well, there was a 4 left, one of televisas porsches did not make it and crashed, some others fairly made it, now la bufa and arriving at this beautiful town, later the callejoneada and dinner at the old plaza de toros there are so many “gorrones”, I forgot and did not have dinner earlier, prize giving, who won first in turismo production? Do you know?, who might have been? We will have to check, for I do not remember.
Last day, la bufa again and then 230 kilometers straight to Concepcion del Oro it is almost over, just make it do not risk the car, there is nothing we can win, just go ahead, a boring day but a happy ending.
That night as usual, the fraternidad gave trophies to the best looking cars, unfortunately budget cutting due to the worlds financial crisis (our counselors had adviced us to invest all of the fraternity money in Stanford financial), so we only were able to produce five trophies and, funny no one from the fraternidad got a trophy.
After ten day of caressing our loved ones, we had to go back to reality, so we all went back home to our families, hope to see you next year.