Day 7 arrived with 476 ready to roll with four brakes (I majorly repaired), a missing bumper and scars down the left side. We just needed to get through the day especially La Bufa and we are home free. There are no guarantees in this race as far as being able to finish. There are so many things that can go wrong and they do. Road conditions, mechanical failure, fatigue and just plain ol’ Murph shows up at times-if it can go wrong it will go wrong at the most in opportune time. However, with the resilience of our race crew that sees no task as impossible and their “we can get it done and get you back on the road” is unmatched. In addition, our determination to do all we can to finish in one piece is always at the back of our mind as we go through each Speed Stage and is not relaxed until we see the finish line.
So we start off the morning in 32nd place as we had dropped from the top 10 because of our little mishap on Day 6. No big deal, we just had a personal goal to do our best and finish each day. We click off our first two Speed Stages and we stop in a the little town of La Congoja where we turn around & wait to race back down. We have about an hour to hang out before we head back the way we came. 476 has an ignition kill switch that serves as our key to give power to our car. In the process of that hour our key came up missing, did someone take it, did we drop it somewhere – don’t know. PANIC sets in, because we don’t discover it is missing until everyone is starting their engines and lining up to start the Speed Stage. We have no way to start 476-racers are passing by as we are stranded and Control is flagging them off down the hill in front of us. We have a few cars to go before it is our time to be in the box. When Felipe Arguelles (Co-Pilot in 137) unbuckles jumps out to help and with a modification of a rock and screwdriver (it’s hard to explain) he gets us started. We start to roll to Control and 476 dies we are done can’t get it going. When another Co-Pilot Tino Schmidt gives us his spare key as they drove past. We’ve never had 7 finishes and it seemed like we were not going to make it. Wow, we dodged another game ending situation.
So we made it to Service and our crew checked us out (I got a spare key and clipped it to my credentials) and gave us the thumbs up with La Bufa being the final stage to finishing. So we raced up La Bufa (it is right on the edge of Zacatecas) turned around & waited to race back down. It is a fun Speed Stage as you can get up to some really high speeds and it has some challenging corners as well, besides you know it is the last and final stage to finish.
Thanks Chip for the great celebration dinner…
We finished-7 days, 7 starts, 7 finish lines, 7 medals….Enjoy!
Day 6 continuing scars...
The Finish Line is in sight...
- We could not have finished without this man…Guillermo Berriochoa
A celebration dinner hosted by Chip Fudge
A casualty of the Panamericana...is that car handicapped now ;)
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