Friday, October 2, 2009

Transchaco Rally 2009

Ok, everybody, I'm back to normal again, the rally fanatic has left the building.

Last weekend was one of the biggest sporting events of Paraguay (not counting soccer games). The Rally Transchaco is one of the most difficult races of the world. Over 1100 km on dirt roads little more than paths cut through the prickly brush that makes up most of the Chaco. Up to 100 cars start annually on the 3 day race and only a third of them make it over the finish line.

My husbands cousin, Thomas, has always had a thing about speed. He used to drive motocross races and plays in the Fernheimer Volleyball crew. Seven years ago, a little while after his dad died, he signed up for the Transchaco Rally for the first time. Up until now, he only once made it to the finish line in third place. This year, the whole racing team was working on a shoestring budget. There was no money to throw around, and the sponsors didn't trust him enough to put their money on him. The team helping him, all brought their own food along for the 3 days they spent in the open brush in tents or in the Tinglado in Mariscal Estigarribia. My husband and another of his cousins spent 2,5 days in Mariscal cooking for the whole team of helpers.

Monday morning, my best friend Linda (Thomas's sister-in-law), and her 3 boys, and our 3 girls and I all headed out at 6 am to see a part of the race 30 km from here. We were there and cheered Thomas on when he zipped past us in seventh place. Later we took all the kids out for lunch at the Chinese restaurant.

On Tuesday, I followed the race closely on the radio and prepared food for the next day.Early on Wednesday, Linda and her kids and Thomas's mom, Erica, all came to our house. We had coffee and cinnamon rolls waiting and we set up the lawn chairs on the driveway. At about 7:45 the first car zipped past our house, Thomas was leading the race! Afterwards they said, that he had made the best time on this part of the race, most likely because he knows this road like the back of his hand. (He lives right next door.) His average speed was 187 km/h on this etapa of the race.
Afterwards we all went to Pozo Colorado. I had called Marvin on the cell phone, to see if we could all go together, but he was still busy, and not going to be home for another hour or two. Pozo is 200 km from our house, what I didn't know, before I left home. I think, I would have stayed home, had I realized that I would be driving over 400 km in one day.

Around noon we got there and waited. Two hours later we were standing at the finish line, when Thomas drove through and won the Rally for the first time in his life. His mom was very moved and it was an emotional moment for many of us. If you look at the above picture closely, you can see Brianna (the little strawberry/blond head to the right hand side of Thomas), someone put her on their shoulders, so she could see him!

This the the proud Mom and son after the race.


  1. Oh WOW, that sounds like a blast. What a fantastic story he'll have to tell for the rest of his life.

  2. You might not believe me but I actually got tears reading that! :) Too cool!
    Have a great weekend!
    Love ya!

  3. Oh how FUN!! That is an experience that will last a lifetime! :)

    Happy VGNO! :)

  4. Stopping in from the VGNO. I love, love, love, your blog design.

  5. Wow--sounds like an incredible adventure. Happy VGNO and have a safe and relaxing weekend. :) Susan

  6. Very cool... my husband LOVES car races. All kinds!

  7. Looks fun!

    Happy VGNO!

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  9. Love that last picture. You can feel the love! Happy VGNO!

  10. That sounds like so much fun! And what a great opportunity for friends and family to get together.

    Hope you are having a happy VGNO!

  11. Fascinating! I can't imagine the tension. ;)

    Over here late for VGNO

  12. That is SO awesome! Congratulations to your whole family! Maybe he got those sponsors' attention!

    Happy VGNO a little late! Stop by my blog to see my latest Layout of the Week and where my blog is being honored as Blog of the Week!

  13. WOW! That was great! I've always wanted to see the Rally, but we live a bit too far away to drive up. I felt like I was there, though, from your play-by-play! I'll bet he has no trouble with sponsors next time...

  14. great post. as a tourist I want to come to the 2010 rally. are there any hotels close that i could spend the night in. how about, buses.
    paul j

  15. Dear paul j! Please leave me a email address to contact you. I'd gladly give you info about our town and how to get here for the Rally.


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