Since 1977

Since 1977, I have written more than 300 000 kilometers of words, that is to say put end to end, one way trip from Earth to the Moon. Or a second to light for this trip. A second light words in 30 years, some 3 billion signs.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012




En 1951, la carrera tuvo lugar en noviembre. Entre los vehículos que representaron a Italia estaba  un Alfa Romeo 6C 2500 SS del piloto privada Carlo Panini (italiano residente en México fundador de las aerolíneas mejicanas) que perdió la vida durante la segunda etapa de la carrera entre Oxaca y Puebla al salirse  de la carretera en un accidente cuando conducía en lugar de su hija Teresa –de 17 años- que era la que estaba
inscrita como piloto. Él tenía solo 48 años.
Según Wikipedia: "Carlos Panini, de origen italiano, fué uno de los pioneros de la aviación mexicana. En 1927 ya había establecido la primera aerolínea mejicana, la cual vendió en 1951, con la intención de jubilarse. Se le da crédito de haber sido el primero en circunnavegar el planeta en un avión ligero."

Carlos Panini was a wealthy Mexican businessman of Italian origin, from Mosio di Acquanegra sul Chiese in the province of Mantova in Lombardia region. He is credited with being the first pilot to fly a light plane around the world. In 1927 he had established Mexico's first scheduled airline, which he had sold shortly prior to the race as he was planning to retire.
He was a motorsport enthusiast and participated in numerous competitions.
Panini died when his car crashed during the 1951 Carrera Panamerica on the second stage from Oaxaca to Puebla. Although the registered driver for the race was Carlos' daughter Teresa (Teresita), he was at the wheel of car, despite the fact that he did not have a valid license and was in ill health. The accident happened when 15 year old Bobby Unser was trying to overtake Panini who was travelling at a lower speed and blocked the American for a long stretch. After several attempts, Unser made his move but Panini tried too late to block him, resulting in the two cars bumping one another. Unser nearly went off a sheer cliff but was skilled enough to control his Jaguar, while Panini's Alfa Romeo went straight into a wall, killing the driver instantly. Unser did not stop for fear of being disqualified from the race as the rules explicitly forbade it. Later, Ricardo Ramirez of Mexico City abandoned the race to rush the Paninis to a hospital in Puebla. Teresa Panini survived the accident with minor injuries.
Press reaction to his death was strong in condemning the race as his was a part of a series of prominent deaths that year. At the time of his death newspapers gave his age as 54, but one states his age as 48.

The  year 1951, the race was run from south to north, starting in Tuxtla Gutierez,  Chiapas and finishing in Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua because of the lack of accommodation available for race officials, drivers, crews and press in El Ocotal and the jungle. This northerly direction also allowed the U.S. drivers to finish at their border. For the first time, a European manufacturer entered a 'factory' team, Ferrari entering several cars including a 212 EXPORT , LWB Vignale, and although these did not technically satisfy the requirements of the touring car category, the Italians were permitted to compete anyway.
The race would prove to exact a heavy toll upon drivers. At the start of the race, José Estrada, a prosperous Mexico City car dealer and a veteran racer, announced: "I will win, or die trying." On the first stage, his 1951 Packard skidded off the road and tumbled 630 feet (190 m) down into a ravine.

Both Estrada and co-driver Miguel González died in Oaxaca hospital later that afternoon. The next day claimed Carlos Pannini, Italian in origin, and a pioneer of Mexican aviation - in 1927 he had established Mexico's first scheduled airline, which he sold in 1951 with plans for his retirement. He is credited with being the first pilot to fly a light plane around the world. The fatal accident occurred on the second day, during the second stage from Oaxaca to Puebla. Although the registered driver for the race was Carlos' daughter Teresa, he was at the wheel of car, despite not having a valid license and being in poor health. The accident happened while a young Bobby Unser was trying to overtake Panini, as Unser related in his book "Winners Are Driven: A Champion's Guide to Success in Business & Life":

On the second day, we were in seventeenth and coming up to pass the car of millionaire Carlos Panini and his daughter, Terresita. She was the registered driver. However, Carlos was behind the wheel instead and was in ill-health. He shouldn't have been driving. He didn't even have a driver's license. The rules were that the slower car was to allow the faster car to pass if the faster car honked its horn. We were in the mountains, and I came up to Carlos and honked, but he wouldn't let me pass. This went on through about ten turns, with Carlos blocking me each time. We were probably doing about 90 miles per hour at this point. The next time I tried to pass him, he bumped my right-front fender, which almost pushed me off a sheer cliff to the left that was some 500 to 800 feet down. My left front tire went over the edge, but fortunately I regained control of the car. Carlos over-corrected his car to the right, and went straight into a solid rock wall. The car exploded on impact like an egg hitting a sidewalk. I didn't know it at the time, but Carlos was killed instantly.
One of the rules of the race was if you stopped to help anyone, you were automatically disqualified... Seeing the explosive impact, I wanted to stop to help, but daddy told me to keep going. He knew the rules and told me that people were there to help. That was hard for me - I slowed down to about 15 or 20 miles per hour. He insisted that I keep going, and grimly, I did.

Unser managed to control his Jaguar, while Panini's 1949 Alfa Romeo 6C 2500 SS collided with the cliff face. Ricardo Ramírez of Mexico City abandoned the race to rush the Paninis to a hospital in Puebla, but he was announced dead on arrival. Teresa Panini survived the accident with minor injuries. The deaths of two well-known Mexican sportsmen in the first two days of the race brought some reactions of horror and indignation. A government official publicly branded the race "an imitation of North American customs not suited to Mexican characteristics." The press went off on a crusade; Mexico City's  El Universal declared that permitting such dangerous shenanigans was a "crime.”
Although the first two places were predictably won by the works Ferraris (driven by Piero Taruffi and Alberto Ascari respectively), third and fourth places were won by ordinary American cars. Bill Stirling, a salesman from El Paso, Texas, won third place in a   Chrysler Saratogaand well-known race car driver Troy Ruttmanwon fourth in a flat-head Mercury which he reportedly had bought for $1,000 in a used car lot inEl Monte, California. In spite of this he was able to defeat several of the factory Lancias and Ferraris.

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