The competition on Great Race has stepped up year after year. The days of total domination are over, and we love nothing more than seeing new faces in the winner circle each year. At the 2018 event, it was a tough battle for all of the teams, and the class winners proved to themselves and everyone else that they were serious about competing. We were blown away with the scores that these guys and girls turned in throughout this 9-day torture test of mind and machine. The scores told the tale, as we crossed the finish line today in Halifax, Nova Scotia. What better way to celebrate the finish of the Great Race than at the Waterfront Warehouse in downtown Halifax on Canada Day! Thousands of people saw how it all unfolded and we’re here to put it into words for those who missed it. Here we go!
First of all, yesterday’s shake up in the standings gave everyone motivation to bring home a victory today. For those that jumped ahead, the motivation was to STAY ahead, and for those who fell back in yesterday’s shake up…it was time to bear down and see if they could pull off a comeback victory. In the final two days of competition, no scoring legs can be thrown out, so a simple mistake can be very costly.
Up first through the finish line gate was X-Cup, which went to Tom Littrell’s team from Galax, Virginia. They won the X-Cup division last year in a Ford Model A, but switched to a Plymouth Belvedere this year. They finished with a final score of 5 minutes, 57.21 seconds.
Next was the Rookie class, which is always highly contested. Kari Schives and Kaitlyn Stahl won the Rookie division, finishing in 22nd place overall, with a final score of 3 minutes 7.20 seconds. They rallied in a 1965 Ford Mustang.
The most impressive group in this year’s Great Race was the Sportsman competitors. These teams finished very well, many of them proving that it’s time to step up to the Expert division. Winning the Sportsman class was Brent Powley, Keith Wallace and Rick McIntosh, driving a 1930 Ford Model A speedster. The Lockport, New York team finished 9th overall with a score of 1 minute, 50.40 seconds, with the Gentry girls following closely behind.
Now to the Grand Champion division, a class reserved only for past champions of the event. There were some heavy hitters in the Grand Champion class, including last year’s winners, Jody Knowles and Beth Gentry. The Geogia-based team won the Grand Champion division, and finished 2nd place overall with a score of 1 minute, 9.66 seconds.
Finally, the Expert class. This class had been chasing Jeff and Eric Fredette until the standings were shaken up in recent days. With a sizeable deficit, the Fredette’s put together an epic day, scoring only 1 second off of the perfect time, which ends up as a .82-second day with the age factor applied. They came from behind, winning the Grand Championship with a final score of 1 minute, 6.83 seconds. This is their first Great Race overall victory, and the emotions were high as Corky Coker announced the winning team to thousands of spectators.
After the Finish Line ceremony was complete, we gathered for our Award’s Banquet, where more awards were given for various accomplishments. We also gave awards to the best lunch and overnights stops, which went to Owl’s Head, Maine and Gardiner, Maine. The special awards included:
Best Dressed — Team Vibe, Jon Cramer, Neil Socquet, Jesse Jameson, Marc Cramer, Howard Jameson and Bill Sorquet
Best Classic Car — Ron VanderMarel and Sheldon Rier, 1937 Studebaker Coupe
Best Race Car — John Barrett and Danny Thompson, 1953 Hudson Hornet
Lokar’s Pick of the Show — Marybeth and Tag Lewis, 1940 Cadillac Convertible
“Our Best Friend” Award — Team Unser Racing X-Cup, Stephen Legate, Evelyn Cisneros-Legate, Marizabella Legate, Ethan Legate, Sophia Legate
At the end of the Award’s Banquet, we give the Tom McRae Spirit of the Event award to a deserving recipient. It’s a highly anticipated award that recognizes people within our Great Race family who embody the spirit that made the Great Race what it is today. This year, it was Scott Henderson winning the Spirit of the Event award for several reasons. The largest of those is the heroic act of driving his 1964-1/2 Ford Mustang in front of the 1955 Buick station wagon that had lost its brakes on Mount Washington. His quick thinking and selflessness saved the lives of Carl Schneider and Jack Juratovic, who were in the middle of a very bad situation. Scott and his daughter Mallory (and his son Travis) are fixtures in the Great Race family, and this award couldn’t have gone to a more deserving individual.