It is with great sadness that I report of the passing of Great Race legend Stanley Jones. Stan was a successful real estate developer in Southern California, but in Great Race circles he was an icon in his 1932 Ford roadster. Stan not only drove his roadster on more than 20 Great Races, he always drove it to the start before the event and home again after. There is no telling how many miles he had on that vehicle.
Stan never had much consistency in the way of navigators, competing with numerous children and grandchildren through the years, but it was a way for his family to spend time with him doing what he loved. In the early years of the Great Race, Stan actually did quite well in the competition, winning several daily stages and coming close a time or two to winning the entire event.
He was selected the Spirit of the Event winner after the 2003 Great Race, the ultimate honor on the event. When I participated in my first Great Race in 1994, the salty Stan Jones already had nine under his belt. He had not competed in the Great Race since 2007, but he visited his friends on last time in 2015 when the event stopped overnight in San Bernardino, near his hometown of Woodland Hills, Calif.
The photo above, with his hair going every which way, is one of my all-time favorites of Stan (that’s his grandson Franklin Murphy in the navigator’s seat). Stan will be missed by everyone who had the pleasure of knowing him.