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Wandering Star Rally
Paris, Texas
1992 Page 1

Through some trick of fate, James Cook talked me into towing the VW race car behind my 4X4. No problem, though I had to tow it solo since Angie couldn't make the trip.

Drove Wednesday evening down to Ft. Davis to meet James where we transferred the race car and trailer over to my truck. It was there that we found out the trailer was seriously tongue heavy, what with a spare engine, spare transmission, lots of tires and gas, and the car itself all on the trailer. It was too late to do anything about it so I took off heading west. The whole combination of truck and trailer reminded me of the depression era in that the truck and trailer made this "V" shape, the truck headlights were pointing toward the sky. Got to Odessa about 10 PM. Susan and John were over in Carlsbad for Thanksgiving but I had a key and let myself into their house. Spent the night, then got an early start for Paris, TX Thursday morning.

Stopped over in Abilene at Angie's parents house. They hadn't been expecting me but were glad to see me nevertheless. Made a couple of phone calls. Visited a spell. And continued east. James had forgotten to do a couple of things to the car before the race so I agreed to stop by his moms house near Ft. Worth where he was visiting so he could finish up the car. This means I had to drive right through the heart of Ft. Worth but that didn't turn out to be near as bad as I thought. Traffic was light, it being Thanksgiving and all.

Pulled into James' moms house around 3 PM. Finished up the mods to the car and pulled back out on the highway around 7 PM.

Only to find out that the Dallas football game had just ended.

My route took me right through the heart of Dallas, too. Luckily, Dallas drivers are a pretty accommodating lot. Besides, who's going to argue with a semi-long haired bubba in a 4X4 pulling a race car on a big honker trailer, eh?

Pulled into Paris, TX about 10 PM. Checked into my room with plenty of time for a beer and some TV.

There were two races scheduled in Paris. The first was a little coefficient 2 race from 5 to 11 PM on Friday, and the second was the big divisional invitational coefficient 3 race from 1 to 11 PM on Saturday. James's 24 year old daughter, Renee, wanted to try her hand at co-driving again so I decided to let her at it while I ran the pit crew. It was a welcome change.

James, Renee, James' wife and Renee's boyfriend, Louis, all arrived just in time for the registration and tech inspection. Got all the paperwork done with no hitch. We had time for a little lunch before the race started so Renee decided to eat Mexican food. Now, Renee has co-driven a couple of times before. Both times she has managed to get sick, once so bad that she puked and turned her borrowed race suit (MINE!) into various interesting colors. As I watched her chow down on Spanish fare, I tried not to figure out what colors the food would look like, partially digested and covered on the same race suit I was planning on using the next day.

Dinner finished, Renee took her Dramamine, donned the race gear, and we all convoyed out to the race.

5 PM. Drivers meeting finished and cars in a line ready to race. "And they're off." Radios crackling, cold creeping in, the sound of abused engines drifting in from the trees.

And the dust. Lots of dust. No wind + lots of horsepower + dusty roads = dust. James remarked over the radio that it was like driving through fog. It was that thick.

After stage 1, James calls on the radio. He asked me to send Renee's boyfriend, Louis, back to the motel room for his Nomex flight suit (he's in the Air Force). It turns out that Renee is getting sick. Ouch. Poor Renee. She wants to co-drive so bad. If she could only get over the car sickness block that's keeping her from becoming effective.

There was a scheduled service period after stage 2, so once Louis got back, that gave me about 10 minutes to teach him everything I know about co-driving. Yea, right. I touched on the important stuff. Just enough to get him though it with James's help.

End of stage 2 and the RX-7 comes sliding in. While I'm fueling and James' wife is cleaning glass, Renee teaches Louis a little more about co-driving.

End of the service period and off goes the race car with a confident James in the drivers seat and a probably thoroughly confused Louis in the co-drivers seat. Fortunately, the car was in its usual fine shape and needed no real attention in the short time we had for the service.

So now our pit crew consisted of James wife, Renee, and myself. The cold had settled in nicely and the services' were about an hour apart so we passed the time between services setting in my truck, making conversation and listening to the race on the radios.

James and Louis were doing fine. The car was impeccable. The services were routine. I think James had decided to use the remainder of this coefficient 2 race to practice his driving skills and save the car for the big race on Saturday. That and give Renee and Louis a chance to experience the thrills of hot rodding down dirt roads in the dark. Louis loved it. I remember him saying something about "I had no idea James would go that fast!" If he only knew just how fast James does go when assisted by an experienced co-driver.

11:30 PM came and Friday's race is over. We all headed home to the motels, baths, and beds. Turns out Renee finally got physically sick and ended up sleeping in the bathroom. Bad luck for her. Good news for my race suit since it came away in good shape.

And I'm out of time. I guess you'll have to wait for the next letter to find out how the big race went.

By the way, Jason Priestly wasn't there. He's a national driver and this race was only a divisional race. Sorry.

Next stop: Paris, Page2

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Rally Photo
Working on the VW




Working on VW




Pro Rally Display
Racing at Paris, Texas




Rally photo
I think this is also in Paris, Texas




Rally Photo
Work, work, work




Rally photo
And work some more




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