Open Road Race
Go Here for Photos
The John Foster West Texas Open Road Race was held on October 19, 2003 in the Midland - Rankin, Texas area. The course went from Sprayberry to Rankin, Texas where the racers lined up and made the trip from Rankin to Midland. Total distance was 97.55 miles divided into two legs.
For those that are not familiar with this type of race, the entries are divided into categories based on speed. For an example the 95 MPH class must average as close to 95 MPH as possible over the entire 97.55 miles, but entries in this class cannot exceed 124 MPH. They also must maintain a minimum of 70 MPH. Radar stations set-up on the course checked the speed of the vehicles as they passed. If the vehicle exceeds there top limit they are immediately disqualified. Drivers do not know where the radar check will be at. The un-limited class is required to maintain a minimum speed of 135 MPH over the entire course.
The race was proceeded by several days of events in both Midland and Rankin. This included a car show and a parade of cars through downtown Midland.
I became involved through the Tumbleweed Miata Club. More than 200 people were required to officiate at the race. The largest number of race officials manned gates or entry points onto the roads that would become the race course. The race course consisted of county and state highways. The main portion was State Hwy 349. In West Texas, the area is flat with few curves of any significance.
The race was to start at 8 A.M. Gate guards were in place by 6:30 A.M. But as always Mother Nature intervened with fog, postponing the start until 10 A.M. Between the two legs there was about an hour and a half break. The roads remain closed during this period. It was thought that the unlimited class vehicle would make the return trip from Rankin to Midland in less than 13 minutes.
It was very exciting to be a part of this and watch vehicles go by the gate that I was manning at well over 120 MPH. Of course if the event gets held in 2004, I will participate, but maybe as a co-pilot.
Go here for a look at the official site - it includes photos and the results of the race.
Go here to see photos of the event that I took.