We found out at the driver’s meeting last night that we would be starting out in 6th place as there was no qualifying. They put people in the order of “how fast they thought we would go”. I got a chuckle out of being placed in front of people like Sam Burg and Tom Silver who are seasoned racing veterans. Last year Tom was 3rd over all until his mustang suffered from a mechanical. I was always a few seconds off of Sam and finally got him by a few seconds on the last day of La C.
We made our way out of town after starting from Pancho Villa’s memorial. It took a while to gain the confidence in both the car and the route book. It was one of the reasons I had really wanted a qualifying day so that we could judge how the route book related to our car and driving ability. Once we arrived at our starting point, I began some last minute checks. Thankfully I checked the tire pressure again before starting off. We had 30 in the front and 33 in the rear from the spirited drive to the first stage. I dropped it to 24/26 and everything was swell.
Shortly into the stage we passed the Subaru of Michael McBride which had suffered a mechanical and has since dropped from the race. Everything I have heard of Michael suggests that he was the favorite to win his class (-2400 T). Michael and Ed were a pleasure to meet and it’s a shame they’ve had to go home early.
I was a bit concerned with the hudson directly behind us as we had more then 10kms of straights in the first stage. They made what felt like quick work of the one minute gap but couldn’t keep up in the twisty sections. Thank god for that! The first stage was 40kms and it was about 20kms in that I began to see them in the distance. I’m not sure how to describe how menacing the “Quaker Oats” Hudson appears when it is bearing down on the tiny little lotus. Thankfully we didn’t see them catch us for the rest of the day.
The routes today continued to be a combination of both wonderful and terrifying. There is nothing like flying through the mountains on open roads knowing there is nothing coming the other direction but every now ans then you get a glimpse of that sheer drop off the side of a cliff and it brings you back to reality. We have some footage from our Chase Cam and we will hopefully find a way to put it online. The internet hasn’t been fast enough to upload much.
The sad news of the day to report is that Chris Salyer’s studebaker went off road and appears to be heavily damaged. I haven’t had a chance to talk to Chris yet but he and co-driver Wiley are doing well. Tom Silver rolled his mustang in the last stage of the morning. The mustand has also sustained major damage. It has to be one of the prettiest mustangs I have seen. I am not much of a ‘stang girl but this was one I wouldn’t mind having in the garage. Both Tom and Chris are great guys, not to mention drivers and it sucks to see them out on the first day.
We finished 7th overall and 2nd in class. First place went to Doug Mockett (Super 88), 2nd to Jerry Churchill (Dodge Viper), 3rd to Sam Burg (LT special), 4th to Fco. Marquez (Hudson), 5th to Antonio Del Conde (Race Golf), 6th to Steve Waldman (Evo 9) and then finally little old us. We were very close to the Golf all day, ahead in most sections, behind in a couple by seconds and then the last stage of the day we lost the majority of the time to the Golf. I didn’t check the tires at lunch and about 20kms into the last speed section, the rear felt so greasy that anything more than a 2 grade turn was pushing the tires beyond their limits. We were able to pull off a pass but it was not an easy one. After finishing the stage, I checked the tires to find them at 30/33. No wonder. The road was newly paved, the sun had been beating down all day and our tires had become severely overinflated. Note to self: check tire pressure more often!
I definitely feel that my down shifting has gotten out of practice. I have only raced once in the past 5 months and missed a few scheduled track days due to illness. I was feeling it this morning! Tomorrow should be a better day.
P.S. I apologize in advance for how disjointed my entry is. I’m pretty exhausted. We did 468kms total with 196kms of racing. It was a very long day. I’m sure that the next one will probably be worse.