The Friday before the Great Race offers up plenty of activities for the racers, but the schedule is tight, and it serves as a warm-up day for the nine day Hemmings Motor News Great Race presented by Hagerty. The day kicked off with a big meeting to nail down the details of this grand adventure, as well as pay tribute to the folks (and companies) that make this event possible. We followed that with Rally School, a quick course in time, speed, endurance rallying, led by our Rally Master, John Classen. From there, we hit the road on the Hagerty Trophy Run to get the oil circulating and the tires warmed up before the real deal starts tomorrow morning.
The Hagerty Trophy Run usually starts around noon and lasts until 4pm, so it’s an abbreviated version of what the racers will experience each day. We headed north into wine country, exploring the back roads of Petaluma, Napa and Sonoma on our short, yet challenging course. As soon as the racers went on the clock, they entered an open range cattle farm, which was entertaining, but it affected some racers more than others, as evidenced by the photos. After we got out of the cow’s way, we went through a hilly and curvy landscape, filled with beautiful houses and property. And though the roads were a bit rough, the scenery made the bumpy ride worth every minute of it. When the racers went off the clock, everyone hightailed it to the host hotel to receive the scores, and then we made our way to the Peacock Gap Golf Club for a social gathering and opening banquet. During the banquet, Jeff Stumb announced the Top 5 of the Hagerty Trophy Run, which had a HUGE upset, with a ROOKIE team finishing in the top 5. The rookie team of Eric Frankenberger and Aaron Read shook up the field, driving their 1941 Ford pickup…look for these guys to continue to perform at the top of the rookie division. The overall winner for the Hagerty Trophy Run was G.R. Pike and Bobby Hadskey driving a 1916 Hudson Indy racer.
With the pre-race activities behind us, there’s only one thing left to do…start the Great Race! We’ll be live at five first thing in the morning, and the first car will leave the start line at 10am. San Rafael, California is geared up and ready for action, and we’re ready to hit the road on the adventure of a lifetime you can do every year.