Transit to the first service stop was a short distance today, so Andrew, Bill and I decided to ride in the leading taxi, hired by Angelica to take us to race start across town, and watch the cars leave the arch for Zacatecas.
These cabs rides are typically uneventful. But not this morning. As we winded our way through morning traffic with a train of race cars following, our cabbie stepped on the gas at an “orange” light and waved for the race cars to follow him through a newly established red light, when a VW bug made a left turn in front of the cab ripping the fender partially off.
Our cabbie continued forward and pulled over to pop his fender back on and we continued on until it loosened again, making a scraping clatter, and he and Bill got out to wrangle it off of the car and store it in the trunk! We made it to the race start without any further incidents.
The excitement of the last day of La Carrera hit me in the face the second I opened the door to the death cab. Cars were cued up in their starting order, motors running, handshakes, hugs and best wishes flying around….enough to give you chicken skin.
There were a few accidents the night before and we were all happy to see those pilots at the start this morning, with their 24 Hours of LeMons style fixes…. Lots of duct tape and hammered fenders.
Once the cars went through the arch, we headed for the first service stop. There was a nice bit of time to get set up, plan a convoy for crossing the border tomorrow with others towing to US, and say good bye to our Carrera friends.
When El Platillo Volador came in for service, the list included changing jets and spark plugs, and advancing the timing. After lunch, Conrad and Nelson headed out to run La Bufa, a dangerous run on an incredible rocky ridge located in the center of Zacatecas. The history of wars, mining, and characters like Pancho Villa is steeped in this city of stone buildings and cobbled roads.
El Platillo Volador made it through the arch in Zacatecas! Officials taped the bonnet for inspection and we all breathed a huge sigh of relief having completed La Carrera. The fiesta began immediately with cervezas, tequila, mezcal, and champagne. The winners took off to the inspection site and we all prepared for the “Callejoneada”, a roaming party, complete with brass band, drums, happy drunks and a donkey carrying bottles of mezcal with little ceramic drinking cups you hang from your neck. This roving crowd ends up at La Quinta Real, a beautiful stone bullring turned hotel, for the final awards ceremony.
El Platillo Volador won first place in its category for the day and stole first place overall from Martin Lauber, whose Taxi suffered a seized alternator and broken fan belt. Martin was on fire this entire race and clearly had it.
Tomorrow is a big tow day back to US.
Here is a beautiful photo Nelson took at the border.