Hotel reservations for the 2013 Great Race can be made starting Friday, March 8, race officials have announced. An email will be sent at the same time to every team signed up for the event with an invitation to the hotel reservation site.
“Just as last year, all hotels can be made at one time by clicking the link in the email,” race director Jeff Stumb said. “That will take each person to the site where they can choose which type of room they want.” And it is real time, so the website will accurately reflect the number of each type of room available at that moment. “And we have a nice lineup of hotels from Minnesota all the way to the Gulf of Mexico.”
The Great Race likes to keep everyone together at the same hotel, but sometimes it is just not logistically possible to have just one. But when more than one hotel is needed, the event staff works hard to make sure they are next to each other.
“We have a fantastic situation this year for the start of the race,” Stumb said. “The Marriott and the Ramada are right next to each other,” he said. “In fact, you can’t tell where one parking lot ends and the other begins.” The added benefit for the start hotels is they are near the airport and within walking distance to the Mall of America.
The race will use only one hotel in Davenport, Iowa; Baton Rouge, La.; and Mobile, Ala. And in Cape Girardeau, Mo.; Vicksburg, Miss.; and Covington, La.; multiple hotels are used but they are all near each other.
In La Crosse, Wis., multiple hotels are being used because the Great Race is not the only national event in town that day. The Bass Masters fishing tournament will end the same day the Great Race is in town, making hotel rooms hard to come by. “We do have about half of our rooms at the Radisson and the Courtyard in downtown La Crosse – walking distance from the venue,” Stumb said. The other two hotels are a few miles north of town.
In Germantown, Tenn., multiple hotels are being used after the local Courtyard unexpectedly shut down for renovations. The Great Race is using four hotels in Germantown, including the Fairfield Inn and Residence Inn which share a parking lot. Those two and the Hyatt Place are near each other, but the fourth hotel (the Comfort Inn) is a few miles away.
Hannibal, Mo., is the second-smallest city to ever host an overnight stop on the Great Race, and race participants will be using three nice hotels – they are just located in different sides of town. Great Racers will remember the infamous overnight stop in the smallest overnight city ever – Tonopah, Nev. – in 2006, when the desert, high winds and distance took its toll on a dozen race cars. Tonopah has a population of less than 2,500 while Hannibal has a population of almost 20,000. “That day in Tonopah will be long remember for many reasons, including having to ask residents to help go out and bring broken down cars into town and for the unveiling of the mural dedicated to the town’s hosting of the Thomas Flyer on the 1908 New York to Paris Great Race,” Stumb said.