Wednesday, November 28, 2012

inspiration - old photo

I've been redoing the floors in our house and I found this photo had slipped behind my desk.

I didn't think much of it until I looked a little closer.

There's Parnelli Jones' Big Oly Bronco after what looks like a pretty nasty roll over.  The back of the photo says 1972.  It looks like Ensenada so I'm thinking it's the Baja 500.

1 comment:

  1. There is quite a story about this race, and the year was 1973; June was the month, and the event was the Baja 500.

    Parnell Jones and co-driver/mechanic Bill Stroppe rolled three times in the lengthy event. Their third and final rollover occurred with less than 60 miles to go at which time they lost all their lights. Stroppe fashioned one light in the darkness, fumbling frantically but getting the job done...

    After starting from the # 307 spot, Jones and Stroppe had a "love/hate relationship". The odds of them taking the Overall Win would be next to impossible with 300+ other entries in front of them, so Jones charged from the beginning before getting to the latter portion of the event where darkness, fog and the stillness would leave silt bed dust just hanging...

    Only 220 miles in to the event, they had rolled for the first time in their 3 years together. Concerned it would happen again, leaving them stranded in the middle of the desert, they pulled in to their pit in Camalu and I was standing there in awe! They had passed probably close to 100 cars already and were way ahead of schedule.

    Stroppe unbuckled his safety harness and threatened to jump out. I was only 12 years old but I was standing right there. The "Big Oly" Bronco's motor was still very loud, so it was hard to actually hear every word, so that kind man that he was, he told me a week later at his office:

    "I told him I was getting out. 'You think you are gonna win this race before it is half way over, and you will end up in a ditch. So I am getting out! Let's see how you do out there by yourself!" Stroppe went on saying: "I know! How about YOU see if any of these guys (men working in the Pit) want to go with you, but I am staying here and will get a ride back to Ensenada!"

    As it were, he stayed, Jones kept charging through the field and they not only finished; they won the overall title with just one headlamp!

    This type of yeoman effort will never be repeated because the starting formats changed a few year later when the National Off-Road Racing Association left when the Arab Oil Embargo hit in October of that year. SCORE International (Mickey Thompson) would be asked to continue the legacy of racing in Baja and has since done so to date. The fastest four-wheel vehicles now start at the front so leadfoots, unlike Parnelli Jones will never be faced with having to pass so many other competitors.

    For more photos of the carnage to the "Big Oly" Bronco, "Trackside Photos" snapped several black and whites of the vehicle that looks more like a crushed beer can with four wheels than a highly modified race machine that was revolutionary way before its time.

    Here is the link to Trackside Photos; and go to the "People" menu, click on Parnelli Jones and enjoy images of what I would describe "one very long day in the Office"!