I was asked to participate in the Great Race in October 2014, when I went to Detroit to celebrate my 30th birthday with my friend, Trevor Stahl. Trevor’s Family have been competing and sponsoring the great Race for years. Every couple of years, the family adds another car into the race. This year they decided to let their youngest son, Trevor join the team. Trevor asked me to come along as his navigator.
Since team Stahl has been competing for a few years, we didn’t go into the rally totally blind. Trevor’s Dad, Ted, taught me how to decipher the day course packets and how to calibrate our Speedo. We also knew that we would be going ¾ of the way across the United States in a cockpit no bigger than a love seat through some of the hottest areas in the U.S.
The Great race has a motto Ride, Repair, Repeat. After this race, I know why. Every day you are fixing something on the car. Sometimes you are literally up all night working on the car to make it race ready for the next day. This happened to us in Lake Havasu, AZ. where we ended up rebuilding our transmission all night in temperatures above 100˚F in a local man’s personal garage at his house. One thing that really stood out throughout the whole race is how friendly and helpful the competitors are. Other teams are all the time giving you pointers or willing to answer any questions you have. They will also stay up with you all night and help you work on car, so you can race the next day. Lastly, the Great Race allows you to get reacquainted with how beautiful our country really is, by driving down back roads and also some of the most historic routes that formed the foundation of America.
It is hard to explain the excitement as you drive under the blow up arch each day and see thousands of people lining the street taking photos and cheering as you pass. Sometimes the crowd is lined up 3 to 4 people deep. The only thing that could top that, is when you have traveled 2,400 miles across America, overcoming many obstacles such as mechanical issues and Mother Nature, and you pull down onto the Historic Santa Monica Pier and drive under the blow up arch for the last time. Finally, in front of tens of thousands of people, Motormouth and Corky Coker tell you that you have fished the race as the number one Rookie team. I immediately became overjoyed. Just to think- four days prior, we were going to call it quits and put our car on the trailer, because of transmission issues. The Great Race is an amazing life experience in which we have made many lifelong friends. I can’t wait for 2016’s race along the Lincoln Highway. See you on the road!