The 2012 Pan Am Road Race

The Pan American Road Race was initiated  in 1950 by the Mexican government to promote  a new system of highways that had been built across the country to improve commerce and tourism. After accomplishing their goals over a five year period, the government decided to drop the Pan Am Road Race.  Some years later,  the road race was revived by interested private parties in 1988 and is now in its 22nd consecutive year of open road racing from southern to northern mexico.  Almost anyone can take part in this event in one of three separate categories. The first, is the tourist level which requires only a 1965 or older vintage car with the necessary safety features. The second way  to participate  is at the competitive level which requires a better vehicle and greater driving skill. While the 3rd and highest level of participation is classified as full competition. Needless to say,  competing at this level requires a thoroughly prepared vintage hot rod which can cost a small fortune.

This year the Pan AM started on October 19th in Veracruz and continues in stages over a 7 day period, eventually finishing in Zacatecas.  The length of each day’s speed stage  can vary from 3 to 16 miles through what are mostly winding mountain roads. The  cars are started in 30 second intervals with the  fastest cars scheduled to run first.  At the end of the week the cars with the lowest elapsed time are declared winners overall and by class.

Racing on winding mountain roads  can be hazardous and this year has been no exception.  There was a fatality on the very first day of this event when a driver lost control of his Studebaker and rolled the vehicle at high speeds.  Also, a few days later while racing in the Queretaro area an unusual accident occurred when 5 cars ran into each other around a dangerous curve in the road sending all of them to the bottom of a cliff. Fortunately, the injuries where no more serious than a few broken bones but all  the cars had to withdraw from the race  due to major damages.

Club Hipico, Equestrian Center

Grand opening of Show Jumping

September 20th to the 23rd was the inauguration of Club Hipico and Grand Prix Equestrian Show Jumping in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. It is located in the exclusive gated community of  Otomi Lake and Villas close to the historic center of this world heritage site. The club features a restaurant, galleries, 3 paddocks and 3 separate courses for various levels of competition. In the future they will be hosting both national and international equestrian events.Equestrian show jumping

The outcome of  a Grand Prix show jumping contest  is based on numerical scores determined only by whether a horse attempts an obstacle, clears it, and finishes the course in an allotted time. Obstacles include verticals. spreads, double and triple combinations of each, along with many turns and changes of direction. The object is to jump cleanly over all obstacles on a set course in the time allowed. Faults are assessed IMG_1349for exceeding the time allowed, knockdowns and refusals to jump the obstacles. In higher levels of competition, such as Grand Prix events, the courses present more technical and complex challenges for the horse and rider. Not only does the height and width of obstacles increase but the turns become tighter and distances between obstacles shorter making the course more  difficult to complete without faults.