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]