Incredibly, Paul Hladky and Adrian Gerrits, in the yellow Studebaker that went off the cliff and had a Porsche land on its roof, started the race on this day after an all nighter!
Today's route headed to Morelia, and included five speed sections taking the racers to everyone's favorite road headed into Morelia, Mil Cumbres (which means one thousand summits) and has been described as a road that you ski/drive down. Racers driving the smaller cars seem to love it the most.
Five cars crashed this day. One of them, a Chevy Nova driven by John and Chrislana Gregory, which happened before our eyes and camera, and video camera and Gopro video camera.
Early on, Milena and I decided to stake out a photo spot on Mil Cumbres to catch the cars coming downhill and catching air off of one of the thousand summits, so we set out with an assortment of camera equipment and our hiking shoes and drove up Mil Cumbres from Morelia. After much stopping and hiking up steep hillsides, we settled on a perfect turn that seemed to capture the essence of Mil Cumbres, a couple of tight turns with a dip in between. We only needed to avoid stepping into ENORMOUS cow patties, complete with thriving ecosystems, and do some pretty serious landscaping of flora on the side of the road that obstructed much of our shots. Once we cleared our safe zone where we would stand, shoot and get devoured by mosquitos and blood sucking gnats, we set up our sacrificial Gopro camera on a very dangerous wall that had a 20-100' drop beyond it, aimed at the turns.
First place Studebaker driven by Gabriel Perez and Ignacio Rodriguez.
Second place Studebaker driven by Emilio Velazquez and Elizabeth Tejada.
Taz Harvey and Rudy Vajdak in seventh place overall, driving Datsun 510.
The first cars wailed past us. The sound was thrilling because we were so close to them. One of the five cars to crash this day, a Chevy Nova driven by John and Chrislana Gregory came along a bit wide and lost it near our Gopro, screeched across the road and crashed into the mountain and blocked the road!
The 15 seconds after the car stopped were the most tense seconds as we watched the driver and navigator try to unsuccessfully start (...No va) and then get out of the car, knowing that the next race car would be careening around the corner at them shortly...we had potential for an epic shoot!
Fortunately, the next car coming around the corner, was Gael Rodriguez, the route master of La Carrrera Panamericana. He was decisive and swift in telling the racers what to do and where to do it in order to alert the oncoming racers of the trouble.
Yes, five cars, again... No injuries. Aside from the Chevy No Va, the race claimed a Karman Ghia, a Porsche 454 which rolled several times on Mil Cumbres, Dennis Varni's Nash, and lastly, Gerie Bledsoe's Chevy Nova.
Gerie lost his brakes in a #3 right turn, running off on the shoulder and into a stone wall, ripping off the front suspension, steering and causing mucho undercarriage damage. His crew chief, Al said, "Gerie's car turned into a 4wheel drive, one went that way, one went the other way..."
Welcome arches in Morelia!
Paul Hladky and Adrian Gerrits received massive applause and recognition at the evening drivers meeting at the governor's palace for completing the race is their crumpled Studebaker, being referred to as having the spirit of La Carrera Panamericana.
Paul Frame enjoying his cervezas!
Award podium for Historic A plus
Below are the links to official standings for:
Tomorrow takes the cars back up Mil Cumbres for 4 speed stages to Dolores Hidalgo for 3 more speed stages into Guanajuato.