The 2019 Great Race

Hemmings Motor News “Great Race,” Sponsored by Haggerty Insurance, an annual event since 1983, evolved into what it is today, a time-speed-endurance rally for vintage cars, 1974 & older. Each year there is a different route. In 2019 the starting point was Riverside California and the finish line was Tacoma Washington at The LeMay, America’s Car Museum. It was about a 2300-mile trek.

Some 150 cars/trucks/participants left Riverside on Saturday, June 22nd and finished in Tacoma on Sunday, June 30th. The Overall winners were Howard and Doug Sharp, a father son team who drove a 1916 Hudson and hailed from Fairport New York.

The race has become so popular it usually fills up well in advance and would be participants, must put their name on a waiting list just to get a spot. There are classes, cash prizes and what looks like just plain fun traveling with like-minded car crazy people.

Jim Estes and Bill Nelson took a short trip to Hood River Oregon, one of the stops, to get some pics and learn about the race and the participants. They asked me if I wanted to go too but I had other commitments for that day. I did make it to Vancouver Washington for another stop later that day.

A kinda comical story was the 4 guys from Finland who started the rally in a 1910, 11, 12 or something, Simplex. The Simplex threw a rod early on day one so… They bought a Mercedes sedan in which to finish the rally. The Simplex was an open car (as were most cars from that era) so these guys from Finland were outfitted with leather helmets, goggles, rain gear etc. but with the Simplex out and a later model Mercedes sedan, stand-in, (closed car) it was decided that they should continue in an open car, they might as well make the Mercedes stand-in an open car too. They cut the roof off, windshield and all! In a tribute to the retired Simplex they attached the broken rod from the car to the hood of the Mercedes. There is a picture of the Mercedes crossing the finish line in Tacoma, on the web site.

www.greatrace.com. It sounds like this could be just plain fun.

In some of the pictures you’ll notice cars that are plastered with stickers that look alike. The significance of these stickers is, each one represents a different Great Race that the car participated in. Obviously, some of these folks a diehard rallyers, participating year of year.

Next years race route starts is San Antonio Texas on June 20th and finishes in Greenville South Carolina on June 28th. They say there is $150,000 in prize money, WOW! For more info call 800-989-7223 or email jeff@greatrace.com. Or visit their website.

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