Things not to say before a race - I will win or die trying

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José Estrada was one of Mexico's top drivers. Nicknamed 'Ché' he had started racing in the 1930s. Married with two children he was taking part in the second running of the Carrera Panamericana at the age of 51. 

José Estrada before the start.José Estrada before the start.


At the start he uttered the highly un-recommended phrase of "I will win or die trying". I scarcely need to remind readers of what usually happens next. And thus, on the first stage, Fate who had nothing else on at the time, decided that rather than hanging around he would step in and grant at least one part of his wish. Unfortunately it was not the part he was really serious about.


On the fast downhill section near Portillo de Cimarrón a mere 20Ks from the finish, his Packard's brakes failed on a corner called La Pera (The Pear) which happened to be situated conveniently at the top of a 630 foot (190 m) deep ravine. The car rolled down the gully catching fire on the way. Ché and his co-driver Miguel González were both fatally injured and died shortly after arriving at the Hospital General de Oaxaca.

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