• Oct 12, 2006
The race is over, the trophies awarded, and the competitors trailered back to the junkyard. Another 24 Hours of LeMons is in the books. Spell-check thought we got it wrong, too. It's LEMONS, not LeMans. The 24 Hours of LeMons. Surely you've heard of it? We had only heard rumors of the event until we saw this blog from one of the participating teams, The Fritos Banditos. And it is a hilarious read so we highly recommend checking it out for yourselves. But what exactly is the 24 Hours of LeMons? Does it involve actual lemons? Well, it does as a matter of fact. But they are just one silly part of this totally wacky race event held at Altamont Raceway near lovely Tracy, California. From the race website we learned much about this grueling but fun enduro.

While LeMans budgets can easily be in the tens of millions, this endurance race is for cars "purchased, fixed up, and track-prepped for a total of 500 bucks or less." Before the race, there is tech inspection and a series of less technical, but equally important challenges to prove your vehicle's roadworthiness. You'll have to survive the Old-Lady Mannequin Slalom, the Baby-Carriage Braking Test (no babies were harmed in the deployment of the buggies into the path of the moving vehicles), the Brick On the Gas Pedal Challenge, and similarly outrageous qualifiers. At the midway point of the race, the car voted People's Choice is summoned into the pits and awarded a cash prize. At the same time, the car voted People's Curse (for being driven by the biggest jerks) gets crushed, and this year's winner of that dubious honor happened to be a dilapidated Oldsmobile Aurora fielded by a Car and Driver team. After completing 24 hours, survivors have a huge party with "trophies, plaques, and four-figure purses paid with canvas bags full of nickels."

For those interested in participating, the LeMons website offers tons of helpful hints and a description of what this kind of racing is all about: "Yeah, it's, like, real racing, but it's not like you'll be going, like, particularly fast. You'll be lucky to break 65 mph as rule. The goal in endurance events is survival, not speed. It's kinda like a loud, hot, noisy version of driving to work. For a really, really long time. Without actually getting anywhere. Oh, and it's a lot harder to drink coffee through the helmet. And, um, you know, it's kinda dangerous." We are already investigating rides for next year.

Thanks to verdegrrl for the recap!

[Source: 24 Hours of LeMons]


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 10 Comments
      • 8 Years Ago
      I drove a Buick Wagon with 4 other drivers. It was a blast. And NO ONE held back. No one gave up their line. Awesome wheel to wheel racing. The Buick actually cost $250 at auction. The roll cage, tires, racing seat and other safety gear don't count toward the $500 and the car HAD to have things current SFI seat-belts, fire extinguisher and other safety equipment. And we needed it all. There was a little contact with other cars as you might imagine. At one point the Buick had a small oil fire caused by a valve cover leak. It happened during the last few laps on the first day of the race. We fixed the leak and were back on the track the next morning. This was the first LeMons event. Next year should be even better.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Great recap April. Sounds like a great event, wish I had been there.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Hey Frag,

      200,000 miles, a tired gearbox and clutch, a couple of flat cam lobes that made it idle like a shivering dog, and registration renewal pending (that baby wasn't going to pass smog) all pushed the price of the Alfa down. Oh yeah, and it had been crashed at least once, with a different fender. The owner specifically offered it up for the event.
      • 8 Years Ago
      THAT looks like a ton of fun.

      --chuck

      • 8 Years Ago
      I only see 2 fans, maybe the posters had the wrong day or time. Maybe it's just fun for the drivers.
      • 8 Years Ago
      MAN! I seriously wanted a Milano when they were new... I cheesed for that car...
      • 8 Years Ago
      Okay, seriously. I think I just found my calling in life. I love cars and racing and can't wait to find an old junker to haul down there for next year. Maybe I could get an old pinto and call it the "blazer"...
      • 8 Years Ago
      This race was a total blast. I did not drive, but my brother and I pit crewed for the Team Boxwrench Saab. Defiantly one of the fastest cars out there our failure happened late on Saturday. After being tee boned hard (no i have no idea why the car was sideways) we discovered the rear beam axle had been bent. At this point there was nothing to do but keep racing. In the mean time my brother and I jump in the car and head to Sacramento to get a replacement rear end from the shop. 3.5 hour round trip and it's exactly midnight when we get back. Drop off the axle and head to the hotel. When we get back to the track other team mates already have it installed. Then only a few hours into the race on Sunday we take a hard hit in the front and the steering rack gets bent. the car will no longer start under it's own power so we sit and watch. With 5 min left we push start the saab onto the track and watch as someone not under yellow slows the track to a crawl and the saab stalls, but is none the less on the track for the end of the race.

      My brother and I along with my dad are looking at cars for the 07 race. How dose a 1990 RX7 sound?
      • 8 Years Ago
      Fragmaster: I had to GIVE away my last two alfas. a Milano and a GTV6. Both were running and driving with various bits to complete before smogging and registration. At least this way I know who has them and I can schedule visitation... :)
      • 8 Years Ago
      Ray,

      There was so much action going in the pits that the smaller grandstands by the pit area were the favourite place to watch. People could jump down from the stands when a car pitted, and see the attempts to fix the carnage. The only real problem is that is was downwind from the track, so you got fumes, rubber dust, and lots of dirt flying your way.