Volcano Racing: El Salvador Part 2 of 3

Uploaded by drive on 28.02.2012

ALEX ROY: I never should have made that joke about volcanoes
surrounding San Salvador, because literally the tacos I
had on the first night came back with true reven-gah.
Montezuma's revenge.
Putting a friend in the lake.
Duking it out.
Cat's tongue.
Turtle head.
Strangling Mugabe.
These are not--
these are not jokes to me.
MALE SPEAKER (OFFSCREEN): Strangling Mugabe?
ALEX ROY: Let's start over.

Trying not-- trying not to laugh.
It's really horrible.
I can't--
I'm trying not to shit my pants.
Where am I going with this?
JULIO: After Mr. Roy had some major issues with the culinary
arts in the country, we're meeting today at a local track
and seeing some interesting machinery.
And perhaps he'll get a chance to drive one.
But we don't know, because he's still feeling a bit sick.
So hopefully, we'll have some speed, and he'll have some
clean pants by the end of the day.

ALEX ROY: Julio's surprises continued when he delivered
Pepto Bismol to the Sheraton El Presidente, and then
unfortunately told me we would have to drive back through the
mountains, something I was not in condition to do.
But he swore there was a good reason.
Julio's personal Renault Clio RS, unfortunately, was not the
car we'd be taking into the mountains to our surprise
It was instead, the world's worst rental car, the Nissan
Sentra that I'd been driving since yesterday.
I asked him if it was absolutely necessary to take
this particular mountain road to get to where we were going.
He said no, he just wanted me to see it, and if I was a man,
I would just take it because it was worth the trip.

The air conditioning worked, which is all I cared about as
I suffered in this car.
And Julio took us through that mountain course as if it was a
WRC prep stage.
ALEX ROY (OFFSCREEN): This car sucks.
So much.


ALEX ROY: This is all that remains of the placid hamlet,
Lomito de la Montana, where the El Salvadorean army sent
the most prestigious unit to defeat the youngling
Quetzalcoatl who had escaped from the
Volcano El San Salvador.
What year was it?

A terrible battle, which left behind only this remnant of
that unit--
I lost control of the story.
I've been to Lime Rock.
I've been to Road Atlanta, Road America, Laguna Seca, a
lot of tracks.
And most of them, at a distance,
don't look very inviting.
But here, partially in the shadow of this lush green
mountain, partially surrounded by volcanic ash, hidden among
the foliage, was a race track control tower.
Central America's greatest racetrack.
It's amazing.
Actually, it looks nicer than some American
tracks I've been to.
JULIO: Really?
ALEX ROY: Yeah, dude.
JULIO: We could do something even wilder, which is go
straight into the race track.
ALEX ROY: With a Sentra?
JULIO: Yeah.
Would you like doing that?
ALEX ROY: Yeah, I think we should.
JULIO: OK, We'll just check, greet a few people here, and
we'll just go on.
ALEX ROY: Arrive at any track in America--
even if it's Monticello and you've paid $100
grand to be a member--
someone's going to stop you.
You're going to sign a waiver and an indemnity form,
probably show a driver's license, and then
pull into the pit.
And then maybe, after you've waited, you might pull onto
the track--
in the car you arrived in.
El Salvador, you just drive onto the track.
JULIO: Go, go, go, go, go.
ALEX ROY: I just pull out?
JULIO: Yeah.
Just pull out and go to the right.
ALEX ROY: Paperwork?
Forget it.
Who knows?
JULIO: He wants you to pull over.
JULIO: Not allowed to [INAUDIBLE].
Not this time.
All right, so--
JULIO: So we'll stay, we'll stay--
ALEX ROY: Take pit lane?
JULIO: Yeah.
So he said yes.
We'll go out and we stay off the racing line at all times.
ALEX ROY: Nissan Sentra rental?
Straight onto the track.
Everybody ready?
JULIO: There's only one car on track.
The guy said we're good to go, so remember to
stay off the line.
We'll keep looking--
ALEX ROY: I'd be lucky to be on the line even if I wanted
to be on the line.
JULIO: We'll be lucky just to stay on the
track with this car.

ALEX ROY: Yeah, what does the track look like?

What's coming up next?
JULIO: Yeah, you want to go right, and then also left, so
stay in the middle.
ALEX ROY: It's all right.
I got it.

JULIO: 90 degree, up here.
ALEX ROY: That's actually a really cool track.

What's coming up next?
JULIO: Yeah.
A hard-- a hard right.
A hairpin right here.
ALEX ROY: Really?
JULIO: Yeah.
ALEX ROY: This is a great track.
JULIO: It's wonderful, you know?
ALEX ROY: Awesome.
This track should be in [INAUDIBLE].
This track is fantastic.

JULIO: This is a very tricky curve.
JULIO: That was close.
ALEX ROY: That was OK.

JULIO: That's right.
ALEX ROY: Autodromo.
El Jabali.
JULIO: Yeah.
We're here at the Autodromo El Jabali.
ALEX ROY: We're here at the Autodromo El Jabali, and here
we have truly Central America's greatest racing.
And dare I say--
it's hot.
Damn hot.
Were you born on the sun?
It's hot.
El Autodromo El Jabali is where I will put on my
ceremonial Moroccan caftan.
Because if there's one thing that we can learn from
Morocco, it's that built-in air-conditioning really helps
in the sun.

I'm already 10 degrees cooler and more comfortable.
And I dare I say, here at the Autodromo El Jabali, we have
Central America's finest racing and--
ALEX ROY: The most dedicated--
ALEX ROY: The most dedicated--
--Acura racers I've ever seen.

Julio this track would be awesome no
matter where it was.
I can't believe it's in El Salvador.
How did this track get built?
JULIO: A bunch of enthusiasts decided they wanted a proper
racing facility.
They decided to invest their own money to build it, and it
was inaugurated, it was opened in '79.
ALEX ROY: All right So that was the year before the civil
war broke out.
JULIO: Yeah, that's correct.
In fact, there was already some--
some war happening in '79.
ALEX ROY: What happened between 1980 and 1992
when the war ended?
At the track?
JULIO: The track kept active, actually.
In fact, in '79, one of the main events was around the
World Endurance Championship.
And the title was claimed here by the Werrington brothers.
ALEX ROY: Really?
JULIO: Yeah.
ALEX ROY: During the civil war?
JULIO: Before it.
And during the civil war, the racing went on.
ALEX ROY: Really?
JULIO: And they--
it's still claimed to be the golden age of
racing in El Salvador.
ALEX ROY: I mean, you're talking--
let's be clear--
about a country that at one point was engaged in tacit
hostilities with neighboring country.
Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua--
I mean, these people haven't always been friends.
And it hasn't been that long ago that you couldn't cross
the border without guns being drawn.
Today, this track, the Autodromo El Jabali, is host
to a number of regional events.
These guys are really serious about racing.
This is El Salvador.
If you have enough money even to afford an extra car, and
you intend to race it, cosmetics are clearly not part
of the equation.
Cosmetics don't matter.
There aren't that many guys who can actually
afford to race here.
So if they're going to show up and race, they're here to
race, and nothing else matters.

We're in the middle of El Salvador.

We're in the middle of El Salvador.

El Salvador.
These guys don't have Northeast SCCA,
you know, club budgets.
This guy's Central America.
They're working with what they have.
I've seen exposed belts.
I've seen the cars going on the track practically on fire.
This is real racing.
I love these guys.
Real racing.
All right. we're here with Enrique Zelaya, according to
Julio, the man, the Chuck Norris of local racing.
Great to meet you.
-How you doing?
ALEX ROY: Tell us about your car.
-Well, I have a GTI Golf '84 [INAUDIBLE]
with a block, a 1.8, and I put 83.5 pistons to make it a
2000, the car.
And with [INAUDIBLE]
headers, and--
we have to, we have to be in the category rules.
ALEX ROY: It sounds like a great car.
Um, how would you feel about me taking your car out just on
the track, just do a lap, make sure it's dialed in?
Check it out?
You don't have the socks to--
ALEX ROY: I'm not wearing socks, no.
ALEX ROY: Rodrigo Redondo from Guatemala.
Highly respected drivers come all the way to
race here this weekend.
Tell us a little about your car.
RODRIGO REDONDO: Well, I'm driving a GTI MK4, 1.8
It's very modified.
Last race, we win the race, so we came here to
try to win the champion.
ALEX ROY: I see.
How would you feel about me just taking your car out,
little spin on the track, dial it in for you?
I don't think so.
RODRIGO REDONDO: That's that's, that's
not going to be possible.
ALEX ROY: So we're here with one of the true superstars of
the race this weekend, Sergio Fonseca from Buenos Aires, the
GT Class B champion, the Chuck Norris of Alfa racing.
Sergio, great to meet you.
Great to meet you.
Tell me a little bit about your car.
SERGIO FONSECA: Well, it's a Alfa 105.
That's the technical name of the car.
It's 2.0 liters, 4 cylinder.
It's about 130 horsepower.
And I just got it.
I bought it here a couple of weeks ago.
ALEX ROY: Really?
SERGIO FONSECA: At that point I start racing in El Salvador.
ALEX ROY: Have you ever driven this car before?
SERGIO FONSECA: I did some tests last week.
But I-- up to now, I haven't driven it in [INAUDIBLE].
ALEX ROY: So I have to ask, because I'm asking everyone,
and of course they've all had the same answer, I'm wondering
if maybe I might get an opportunity to test drive your
car, make sure it's dialed in?
You can not do it.
ALEX ROY: Jeremy Clarkson once said that you weren't a car
lover until you'd owned an Alfa Romeo.

That's probably true.
But let me add to that.
You aren't a car guy until you've convinced a car lover
to lend you his Alfa Romeo on a track in El Salvador, and
take it out.
Without him in the car.
And you aren't a car guy who's really cool enough to drive
someone else's Alfa Romeo on a track in El Salvador unless
you also have a friend named Julio, like I did.
And there's only one thing Julio could have done to make
him any cooler or tougher.
That would have been if had karate drop-kicked the owner
of the Alfa to get me in that car.
But luckily he didn't have to.

JULIO: Alex, Alex.
I talked to Sergio.
JULIO: He owes me a favor.
JULIO: He's gonna let you drive the car.
ALEX ROY: Really?
JULIO: Yeah.
ALEX ROY: Jeremy Clarkson was right.
I'm going to have to buy an Alfa.
I never got that car above 3,000 RPM.
Allegedly it could rev to 9,000.
Who cares?
It was awesome.
It, according to the owner, was slow, easy to drive, and
completely impossible to hurt yourself in.
It's also one of the most fun cars I've ever driven.
I'm going to have to own an Alfa.
Clarkson, yes.
Oh, and I'm never lending out that [BLEEP]
to anybody.
I was exhausted, sunburned, ready to go back to New York.
But Julio had one more thing waiting for us.
Just past the pharmacy where I got my Pepto Bismol refilled--
a car meet in a parking lot by a shopping center, unlike any
car meet I've been to in the US.