If you have found your way to this blog, you either have already signed up for the 2011 Great Race or are seriously considering it. If you have not signed up yet, go ahead and take the plunge. Some racers say that these rallies are the most fun you can have with your clothes on! My goal in writing this blog is to help the rookies have a great experience this year. I will start with a brief background on my experience and then move on to suggestions, tips, hints, etc. for you first timers. Vintage rally racing is a lot like golf. The basics are simple, but understanding the rules, having the right equipment, practice and good execution make the experience memorable.
Now a little background. I first ran the Great Race in 2007 in a 1960 Rambler American. I was the navigator and my friend, Terry was the driver. In preparation for the Great Race we ran a 3 day regional rally in a rental car. We did reasonably well in the Great Race finishing 5th out of 24 in the rookie class and we had no mechanical problems. In 2008 we participated in one regional rally and did two more rallies in 2009. At this point we decided to give it all up, since the travel requirements from California to attend two or three regional rallies each year were excessive. So we sold the Rambler. In 2010 my wife, Carolyn, and I were on a trip back East and I suggested that we try the Coker Challenge. She agreed to try it, with big apprehensions about being the navigator. All we had for a car was our 2007 Mini Cooper, so we did it in that car. My hope was that my wife would enjoy the rally and would consider doing the Great Race in 2011. She had a wonderful time (this rally stuff gets in your blood) and before we even got back home, had purchased a 1936 Packard 120 Coupe, sight unseen, on eBay. The car is in the final stages of assembly and we will soon be testing and calibrating. We can’t wait to get to Chattanooga and start another great adventure.