are two Instamatic shots from a famous—or notorious—Sunday slalom at Tecate,
Mexico. Los Angeleno Homer James stands by his black MGB with which he beat me
every time, as I remember. He had some original ideas for MGB preparation, and
they involved BIG tires rather than lower chassis. He had a Studebaker limited
slip he machined to fit the MG carrier.
Sandy was a frequent participant
in these days. She is in the driver seat here, queued up for Tech.
was in three events at this landing strip south of the border town: two "Tecate
Event" autocrosses, and a South-of-the-Border club drag race. At one of the
slaloms we had been operating for an hour or so when an airplane buzzed the course,
making it clear the pilot wanted to land. We quick-hurried to move aside enough
pylons to clear an avenue, and he touched down. It turned out it was a special-delivery
air mail plane. He handed out a parcel to someone who was there to meet him, and
took off. In no more than 15 minutes we were back up and running.
not certain if it was the same event, but one time we had to wait while some
local vaqueros rounded up their remuda, which had strolled onto
When he showed up to
run his Spitfire in one of these events, Don Devendorf was just
about to begin an impressive road-racing career, including Datsun-Nissan
factory racer. On the occasion I remember, he and Mickey Pleasant
(SD Region SCCA bugeye Sprite racer) had a rivalry that came near
yielding a Top Time Of Day.
Event" signified parallel or mirror courses with contestants starting
and running at the same time, and alternating courses between runs. The concept
was popular, and was called by its original name until SCCA co-opted it for its
Pro Solo series. One of my best-ever performances was at Tecate. I went off on
the left course against Bill Swan on the right. In drag-race parlance, and on
actual time, he beat me by a couple of tenths of a second, but the left course
was longer or slower, or both, and mine was the second-best time on that side
that day. The only one faster was James Gauthier in his 289 Cobra.
heard "Tecate" is a phoneticism derived from principal consonants
in the town's actual Nahuátl name, unpronounceable and unspellable by more
modern locals. "Tecate" is the Hispanic pronunciation of "T K T."
(Can you say, "Apocryphal"?)
Mexican-organized drag race was a wonderful experience, and I'd retell it
here and now, but I still have hope of finding the writeup that appeared as a
letter to the editor in Hot Rod Magazine some
time between November, 1966 and June, 1967.