In the years we've been going to Mexico to compete in the La
Carrera Classic Road Race it has always been an adventure, and 1994
was no exception. So sit back, relax, and let me tell you about the
escapades of Magic Arrow Racing Team as they head off for high
speed fun south of the border !
La Carrera 1994, or "The Year of Dubious Body & Paint"
Despite our best efforts at attracting complete strangers to
travel with us and defray the expense of keeping Godzilla the tow
vehicle full of petrol, we were largely unsuccessful this year, and
so traveled with what Brendan called a "skeleton race crew", namely
myself, Paul, Brendan, and with Chris & Carla flying down mid-trip.
Suffice to say that with fewer people going and more to do
(two cars racing, + tow vehicle and trailer prep) the week prior
was insomnia-inducing. So step back with me to the week before we
are to leave ......
Saturday, 3/19/94: With plans to photograph our cars that
night in front of our favorite microbrew venue (which also happens
to be where we hold weekly "La Carrera Planning Sessions"), I set
out fast & furious to have Redcar red again *that day*. Embracing
the theory that two shades of red are better than red and grey, I
headed off for the local Ace Hardware to determine which shade of
spray can red looks most like Chrysler Mexico Red. (Another benefit
of the spray can approach as someone pointed out, is that if I bang
my car while racing I wouldn't have destroyed a brand-new paint
job. cheery.) After "sampling" each of the two reds available, I
settled on "Tractor Red" which according to the label, is also the
national safety code color.
Back home again Paul had by now shown up to borrow tools to
install locking hood pins on the Shelby. Little did I realize the
significance of me not assisting him in this effort, as I was
frantically sanding & taping he was struggling with getting
everything lined up right. (Remember this part :-)
By mid afternoon Paul's hood pins were in, and I had spotted
in the first bodywork area on the Sprite, and much to my amazement
"tractor red" is about as close of a match as I could have ever
hoped for. The prospect of Redcar being all red again and Brendan
showing up to assist rejuvenated my enthusiasm and we finished up
just in time to get cleaned up for dinner. Redcar was red !
Paul had again demonstrated the demon salesmanship prowess he
is known for by requesting that the loading zone directly in front
of the microbrewery be reserved that evening for "taking promo
photos of racing cars". So it was no surprise when my lady & I
showed up (with red paint still tacky!), the loading zone was
cordoned off with bar stools ! In the last light of the last
Saturday before we were to leave, Brendan (who is also the magic
Arrow Racing team photographer :-), burned up some shots of our
cars in front of the Tied House microbrewery.
Dinner and birthday party afterwards went well, with my
girlfriend amused by the peculiarities indigenous to travelling in
a Bugeye. Except the part where Redcar refused to crank over.
Stopping off for a bit of petrol on the way home from the party, I
turned the key and the starter just groaned. Without batting an
eye, she sweetly asked me if the car usually did that. Attempting
to appear confident that Redcar would in fact get us home and not
leave us stranded in the middle of the night while dressed for a
party, I assured her that no, the car didn't usually do that.
Inside I was laughing hysterically and wondering how one day I am
going to ask this wonderful woman to marry me.
I quickly realized that dress shoes on oil-soaked cured
concrete do not allow for optimum Bugeye pushing traction as I
attempted several times to push-start Redcar. Then my savior
appeared in a battered Post-office Jeep, and agreed to help push.
He must not have been wearing dress shoes as his push got us going,
we waved goodbye and fearful of running off the battery, plotted
the quickest route home. We made it.
Sunday, 3/20/94: With factory workshop manual in one hand and
a homebrew in the other, I set about troubleshooting the charging
system. All components were new, so I figured it would be easy to
spot the problem. It took a little longer that anticipated, but I
finally determined that the voltage regulator cutout was set too
low, and would provide < 12v when the headlights were on. A bit of
adjustment with the DVM, and all was well. Whew.
Monday, 3/21/94: Work, pack, make lists, check lists. Find
spare tire for the trailer at the Pick-your-part and the cashier
mischarges me and it ends up costing only 8 bucks. Repack the
trailer's wheel bearings, make up safety chain. Brendan comes over
and ironically we re-wire the trailer using only flashlights as a
lightsource. And everything works the first time. Go to bed late,
stare at the ceiling for a long time & wonder if I've remembered
Tuesday, 3/22/94: Work 1/2 day, run around to pick up all the
last minute things. Start loading up, Brendan comes over to help me
get car onto trailer & finish loading. Chris comes over to drop off
bike (did I mention we were taking our mountain bikes to Mexico ?)
Brendan leaves to pack. Girlfriend comes over to help me finish
packing, continues to remind me that everything will come together
and the trip will be great. Go to bed late, do the same stare at
the ceiling thing for awhile.
Wednesday, 3/23/94: The day of Departure
*** To Be Continued ***