On our last night in Oaxaca we had to kill some time before our bus left just before midnight. (Another night bus trip, nooo… But fortunately our last!) Our host René had told us that in the late afternoon the Panamericana rally would arrive in the city; the first stop of the 7-day race that goes all across Mexico. (You might think it should really be called the Panmexicana but the original race was conceived to celebrate the newly completed Mexican section of the Pan-American Highway. So there you go.) We had no idea what the Panamericana even was but René seemed pretty excited about it so we decided to amble on down to the Zócalo – the main square – to watch the finish line.
Attendance was definitely not overwhelming but people did seem interested enough to stop for a bit and see what all the hubbub was about. They were rewarded soon with a steady stream of over 60 cars that rolled through at various speeds.
The original race started in the 50s but was canceled after only 5 years for being ‘too dangerous’. Then it was resurrected in the 1980s as a classic road rally, much like the Mille Miglia that runs through Panzano every year. This means of course that there are some really great cars to be seen:
We thought these two Finnish gentlemen were simply sponsored by the Leningrad Cowboys but then we found out that they actually WERE Leningrad Cowboys!
See? How cool is that?!
And then, because Conor is cool like that and can charm the pants of anyone, we suddenly had 5 German drivers sitting at our table, buying us beers and telling us all about the first leg of their race. Kids stopped by to have their t-shirts signed by them! And we got to sit there and pretend like we were all old friends! Ah, what fun…
The race is still going on – they arrived in Querétaro tonight – but of course we wish the German teams all the best!!! And thanks for all the beer Walther.