Boat Leaves Cars in its Wake
24 Hours of Lemons Rolls Into NHMS
With rains putting a bit of a damper on the first day of the 24 Hours of LeMons at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on Friday, there was one vehicle more than apt to handle the wet conditions.
Hailing from New Jersey, Jeff Wakemen's 1971 Sea Sprite is built on the frame of a 1993 Chevy S10 2WD V6 5-speed pick-up. Wakemen's Sea Sprite is one of three vehicles driven by a group that dubs themselves the Three Pedal Mafia, which has been racing 24 Hours of LeMons events since 2010.
"We did a bunch of junk car rallies, racing from New York to New Orleans," said Wakemen. "We actually won an essay contest for the "Worst Car in the World" and came away with a free entry into the LeMons. We've been hooked since."
The 24 Hours of LeMons, which will be at New Hampshire Motor Speedway Oct. 24-26, is the world's first endurance-race series for cars that cost $500 or less. With 10,000 participants spread across dozens of races at tracks coast-to-coast, no other event creates bigger, weirder, more hilariously irrational challenges than these weekend-long blowouts of door-to-door, bumper-to-bumper competition between cars that are due for the scrapheap.
Wakemen's Sea Sprite will be sure to turn heads over the weekend.
"There's two ways you can go in these races, you can choose fast or choose funny, we like funny," said Wakemen. "It is a real race car and it does go fast. In fact, one of our fellow racers came over this morning and said, "Man, every time I'm out there and driving like I think I'm doing something, I get passed by the boat."
Wakemen, who brings his boat-truck hybrid to "four or five events per year" will compete in Class C this weekend. Class A vehicles are apt to win the race, Class B are known as the survivors, while Class C are typically the wackiest, zaniest cars on-track.
Of course, while Wakemen would like to win the Class C trophy - a division he has multiple runner-ups in - simply finishing the race is the goal this weekend. At a recent event in South Carolina, a 10-hour tow noted Wakemen, he finished 10 laps before his motor blew.
"That's frustrating, but it's still better than a day at work," said Wakemen. "But 'if you went on a safari and the monkey ate your lunch, and you had to run from the lions, and the hippo flipped over your boat, did you have a good time?' People like us say, 'it was awesome: I got to see a monkey, a lion and a hippo.' That's the kind of fun we're having here."
The fun runs daily from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.