• The Great Race Blog •

Well, since my last posting, I have been gathering bits.  I have all the required fenders to form the pontoons and head fairings.  Last weekend, my un-indicted co-conspirator, Dave Ullman flew in and we put some serious time into making sure the sketches could be matched with sheet metal reality.  Well, in fact we matched […]

Great Race Director Looks Back

By Jeff Stumb

Right after graduating college in the mid-1980s, I saw a television program on a new network called ESPN. They were starving for programming back then, and most late nights were filled with Australian Rules Football, motorcycles racing on ice and other TV show oddities.

This particular night— at 2 in the morning actually – I saw a program about an old car race across the country called the Great American Race. Little could I have known then how that show, and the race itself, would affect my life.

The show was all about these crazy men and women who drove their 1909 Buicks and 1913 Stutz Bearcats hundreds of miles each day while making their way from California to New York. It was hard enough just to make it to the finish line each day, but these folks were involved in a competition, too. It was the coolest thing I had ever seen.

Right then and there I told myself that I was going to do that one day.

Our buddies up North have a very cool (literally) rally event, and it’s called the Pumpkin Run. It’s held toward the end of October, and it’s based out of Millsboro, Delaware. The event sends rally-racers through the scenic land of the Northeast, and it has raised over $40,000 for the Millsboro Volunteer Fire Company’s Building […]

Countdown Begins

At our house we have a “rule” that if an activity is not on the calendar then it isn’t official. I recently bought our 2012 calendar and the first entry was The Great Race. So it is “official” we will be participating in the 2012 Great Race. I’m hoping others are marking their calendars for […]

Later today, I will lead the celebration of life/memorial service for one of the all time great Great Race volunteers… Garry Burke. From 1999 until 2007, Garry and Ruth were key staff, responsible for the headquarters trailer, setting up and taking down the night stop at every city. During Tom’s years, they became trusted friends, travelling each year from Ottawa to Granbury, to repair, load and generally get things done prior to hauling that trailer to the start city. Ruth was my right hand at every evening event, making sure that through Garry’s spotting that I knew every team as it approached the evening finish line.

Both had faced incredible health challenges over the past several months, Ruth with an increasingly stubborn vascular dementia, Garry with cancer. Garry lost his fight last Wednesday. He would so have loved to be at the Ottawa overnight in 2012.

Garry was a true volunteer hero in our community. While not a part of the rebirth of Great Race, many of our Great Race family members will reflect and remember what key members of the Great Race team the Burkes were.

“Through the Great Race, provisioner of most of Garry’s wardrobe over the past several years, I travelled extensively with Garry and Ruth. He was the true vagabond, someone who, like me loved the ‘circus’ life; and while others will speak of their sports and community and RV life experiences with Garry, I can tell you about travelling together ( 1999-2007), years when first Garry and then with Garry & Ruth. they were inseparable, travelled extensively with “MotorMouth” ; there was never a dull moment. From start to finish, be it Boston, MA to Sacramento, CA, Livonia, MI to Daytona, Florida, Washington, DC to Tacoma, WA, they were all truly amazing events! My personal favourite. 2006, from Philadelphia, PA to San Rafael, CA. that was the year that dear friends Mike & Nancy Ward and my wife Marion, travelling in their new motor home, came to see the start of that year’s event. understanding perhaps for the first time the love and commitment that Garry, Ruth and I shared with our Great Race family. Taking four or five weeks annually, start to finish, Garry and Ruth would travel from Kanata to Granbury, TX, home of the Great Race; they’d load trailers, clean and repair equipment from the previous year, then haul truck and trailer to the start city. often from Texas to the east coast of the USA, drive the entire rally route, setting up the headquarters trailer for our “night” show each evening along the way, then haul everything from the finish city back to Granbury, TX before returning to Kanata! They were troupers! Garry loved being on the road! I seldom got to see them setting up or taking down. they were always at the next city, ready for the show to go on when I got there. Garry loved being in the background. making things happen!”

Timewise Speedometers

The Great Race has teamed up with Timewise to have additional speedometers constructed for the upcoming rally season, which includes the 2012 Great Race.

The Timewise 825 Electronic Speedometer has been the standard is Great Race events for a decade, but the company has not produced any new ones in several years.
Timewise Speedometer
But with the strong comeback of the Great Race in 2011, and the overwhelming enthusiasm for next year’s event circling the Great Lakes, Timewise has committed to making 60 new speedometers.

“Timewise and the Great Race have gone hand-in-hand for more than a decade,” race director Jeff Stumb said. “And the folks at Timewise are old friends and former Great Racers, Jack Christensen and Wayne Bell.”

Timewise speedometers have become a hot commodity over the last few years with more and more new competitors joining the events and veterans buying up extras as backups. And with more than a dozen first-timers already paid up for the Great Race there would not have been enough to go around.

“We are excited to be working with Timewise to be able to provide our competitors the best possible rally equipment,” Stumb said. The Timewise 825 holds the records for lowest Championship Run score, lowest accumulative score, lowest single day score and most Aces.

Timewise speedometers hold their value, and used ones regularly sell for the price of a new one, Stumb said. “Last year, one rookie in the Great Race bought a Timewise speedometer from a veteran, and after the event the rookie sold it for the exact same price he paid for it a few months earlier.” It is expected that the 2012 Great Race will have the largest rookie field ever.

Hers Not to Reason Why…

Those of you who are married are likely less lucky than I.  It’s not that I am single – far from it, in fact we’re married 35 years this December 2011.  It’s just that most spouses I’ve seen are less tolerant/supportive of a dedicated lunacy in one’s Significant Other than Sue is of mine.   As […]

Hers Not to Reason Why…

Those of you who are married are likely less lucky than I.  It’s not that I am single – far from it, in fact we’re married 35 years this December 2011.  It’s just that most spouses I’ve seen are less tolerant/supportive of a dedicated lunacy in one’s Significant Other than Sue is of mine.   As […]

2012 Schedule

The 2012 Great Race route has finally been finalized. Director Jeff Stumb and Rally Master John Classen have already taken the first trip on the route and have assured us that we are to have a race like never before. This will be the first year that the Great Race ends in the same state that it begins in. If you have been waiting on the perfect route to try the Great Race, this is what you have been waiting for. Head on over to the registration page to get signed up today!

Saturday, June 23, 2012
Start: Downtown Traverse City, Mich.
Lunch: Shore of Lake Huron in St. Ignace, Mich.
Finish: At the Soo Locks in Sault Ste. Marie, Mich.
Sunday, June 24, 2012
Start: Sault Ste. Marie, Mich.
Lunch: Downtown Elliott Lake, Ontario
Finish: Downtown Sudbury, Ontario
Monday, June 25, 2012
Start: Sudbury, Ontario
Lunch: Bobby Orr Hall of Fame in Parry Sound, Ontario
Finish: Heritage Park in Barrie, Ontario
Tuesday, June 26, 2012
Start: Barrie, Ontario
Lunch: Zurakowski Park in Barry’s Bay, Ontario
Finish: Hazeldean Mall in Kanata (Ottawa), Ontario
Wednesday, June 27, 2012
Start: Kanata, Ontario
Lunch: Confederation Park in downtown Kingston, Ontario
Finish: The Fairgrounds in Watertown, N.Y.
Thursday, June 28, 2012
Start: Watertown, N.Y.
Lunch: Erie Canal in downtown Fairport, N.Y.
Finish: Pierce-Arrow Museum in downtown Buffalo, N.Y.
Friday, June 29, 2012
Start: Buffalo, N.Y.
Lunch: Downtown Franklin, Pa.
Finish: National Packard Museum in Warren, Ohio
Saturday, June 30, 2012
Start: Warren, Ohio
Lunch: The Carousel in downtown Mansfield, Ohio
Finish: Downtown Findlay, Ohio
Sunday, July 1, 2012
Start: Findlay, Ohio
Lunch: Ypsilanti Automotive Heritage Museum in Ypsilanti, Mich.
Grand Finish: The Henry Ford and Greenfield Village, Dearborn, Mich.

While in Hershey, Pennsylvania for the HUGE AACA event, we signed up Tom and Sherry Alley for the 2012 Hemmings Motor News Great Race presented by Hagerty. Tom and Sherry live in Bar Harbor, Maine and run the Seal Cove Auto Museum. Here, you can see them showing off their new shirts…they will be piloting […]

• The Latest Stories •

• Thanks to all our Sponsors •