We held the fifth annual Halloween Hooptiefest 24 Hours of LeMons at New Hampshire Motor Speedway last weekend, and it capped what we think was the best month in LeMons history. To start October 2016, there was the Button Turrible race, with Spank J. Spankson’s slow-speed Bronco chase and a Humber Super Snipe wagon taking the top prize. A week after that, the Decade of Disappointment race celebrated the tenth anniversary of LeMons madness, with amazing machines ranging from a 1,000-cubic-inch Eldorado to a Geo Metro-based Porsche 935 replica. The ’16 Hooptiefest kept the streak of great races going, and here’s how.
The tone was set early in the Friday car inspections, with The Deliverators and their Nissan 300ZX showing up in full Snow Crash regalia. Yes, Hiro Protagonist, Y.T., Cosa Nostra Pizza franchisees, and— of course— the Z converted into a highly credible Pizza Deliverator.
Snow Crash is the 1992 novel that pretty much defined the terms for much of the stuff we take for granted in the online world today, and its cult following is such that a team racing a car built by the Mafia to deliver pizzas must get the details right. For example, the car’s windows were plastered with the correct stickers slapped on by Y.T., the skateboard-riding Kourier of the novel.
The Deliverators’ story doesn’t end there. After their previous race, the team had replaced their blown-up Nissan V6 with a Toyota 2JZ I6, from a Lexus SC300 they’d found at a Rhode Island Pick-n-Pull. Naturally, the clutch, pressure plate, and other junkyard-quality bits failed, and The Deliverators had to scramble to gather parts and fix everything during a frenzied overnight racing session in the chilly NHMS garage.
On Sunday, the Toyota ECU failed (Toyota hardware, while bulletproof on the street, has an extremely poor reliability record in our series). Drawing upon online Toyota lore, or perhaps just instinct, the team decided that the capacitors in their ECU must have gone bad, and they spent maddening, headache-inducing hours desoldering allegedly good capacitors from thrift-store electronics and soldering them onto the circuit board of their stricken car’s ECU. Everybody was skeptical that this would work, but the car fired right up and The Deliverators finished the race. For this, the Most Heroic Fix award.
The BRIBED stencil for this race, applied to the cars of teams who give generous tribute to the wise, all-seeing justices of the LeMons Supreme Court, featured a Vermin Cutlass Supreme. Why would we have Vermin Supreme on our stencil, less than a year after the visage of the fourth-party presidential candidate went onto a stencil at Sears Point?
Not surprisingly, Mr. Supreme fit right in with the LeMons crowd. Free ponies for every American!
While we lined up the cars on Saturday morning, the candidate used his giant toothbrush to clean up the dentition of Super Grover, who lives on the roof of a 1968 Rover P6.
Miscreant drivers were forced to debate the pressing election-year issues with the candidate who has received the official endorsement of the LeMons Supreme Court. Here we see a racer who spun out, debating the pros and cons of Medical Meth with The Verminous One.
Since Vermin Love Supreme (his middle name is Love, according to his driver’s license) had never competed in a road-racing event before, Three Pedal Mafia volunteered to loan him racing gear and let him drive one of their four race vehicles.
These guys won the New Jersey race in May, and their relentlessly clean, zero-drama driving and mistake-free pit stops sent them climbing up the standings at this race. This win clinched the LeMons Eastern Region team points standings as well, which leads us to…
…the I Got Screwed award winners for this race: Three Pedal Mafia. You get points for starting a LeMons race, and lots more points for placing in the top ten of one, and 3PM brings so many cars to every race that they were leading the regional points standings going into the final Eastern Region event of 2016. All they had to do to win the regional team championship was to put one of their four entries in the top ten or see One Tire Fire finish fourth or worse. Their GM 4.3 V6-swapped Triumph TR7 started Sunday in P9, but then a series of mechanical mishaps knocked it out of the chase. One Tire Fire finished on top of the whole heap of heaps, and so 3PM got completely screwed.
Worthy of mention is the team that finished a single lap behind One Tire Fire. Team Pro Crash Duh Nation and their Alfa Romeo Milano have been racing in LeMons since the early days, and they have many P2 and P3 finishes but not a single overall win. They led this race for most of the weekend.
LeMons tradition calls for fast Alfa Romeo teams to feed everybody a nice Italian meal on Saturday night (one of the many reasons we prefer fast Alfas to fast BMWs), and the Pro Crash Duh Nation crew stepped up proper-like with spaghetti, garlic bread, salad, Chianti, Italian music, the works, and fed all comers.
After two days and 500 laps (that’s 830 miles, on this course), the whole thing came down to a single lap. We awarded Team Pro Crash Duh Nation a created-for-the-occasion Doing Everything Right trophy.
One lap back of the Pro Crash Duh Nation Alfa, the Scooby Doobies and their 1990 Audi Coupe Mystery Machine finished third while getting black-flagged zero times. This was such an impressive achievement on the rain-soaked, crowded-with-red-misty-hoons NHMS track that the LeMons Supreme Court issued the Scooby Doobies the Judges’ Choice trophy.
Class B was especially exciting, with plenty of lead changes and mechanical failures. In the end, the Killer V’s and their Volkswagen Jetta got the class win, finishing an impressive 11th out of 117 entries.
The Class C victory went to this 1994 Chevrolet S-10 and Bright Ideas Racing, automatic transmission, V6 engine, Alfred E. Neuman theme and all. The twin-engined Stinkin’ Schinken Audi A6 had a shot at a C win, but then it spat out the chain that transmitted power from its rear-mounted snowmobile engine and the slow-but-reliable Chevy won the class with a six-lap edge.
The Organizer’s Choice trophy went to the ERM Racing 1952 Chrysler New Yorker, which made its racing debut last weekend. You can read the whole story of this thoroughbred road-racing machine here.
The members of Team Great Globs of Oil have been racing their 1978 Buick Opel for several races now, but missed winning the Index of Effluency by a hair every single time. At the ’16 Hooptiefest, though, they finished 40th overall and second in Class C, a performance so startling that there was never any doubt about the IoE winner this time.
Yes, General Motors actually called a car a “Buick Opel” back in the dark days of the Malaise Era. This car was a Buick-badged Isuzu Gemini, which was in turn an Isuzu-badged Opel Kadett. So, we’re talking about an Isuzu-engined European GM econobox, badged as a Buick for the American market because GM execs back then were having a lot of 19-martini lunches and it seemed like a good idea.
With just 80 horsepower and suspension design dating back to the 1960s, the Great Globs of Oil Opel/Isuzu/Buick beat nearly two-thirds of the field, including 16 BMWs, 12 Hondas, and a trio of GM F-bodies. Congratulations, Great Globs of Oil!
If you happen to be in New South Wales this weekend, be sure to catch the 24 Hours of LeMons Australia race at Wakefield Park. To see more photos from the Hooptiefest, go here. For all your LeMons updates, check the Foolishly Presented by Roadkill home of the 24 Hours of LeMons.