Toyota Celebrates 50 Years of the Corolla on the Great Race

June 12, 2016

1970 Toyota Corolla KE11-3in-edit
The Hemmings Motor News Great Race presented by Hagerty is packed with high end cars from 1916 Hudsons to high performance classics from the muscle car era. This year, Toyota jumped on board as a sponsor of the Great Race, and the 75-year-old automobile manufacturer is joining the fun by entering a car in the race. Toyota is celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Corolla, and it’s doing so by entering a 1970 Corolla, and strapping professional BMX rider Jamie Bestwick into the driver’s seat. Jamie recently won a gold medal in the BMX Vert competition at the 2016 X-Games in Austin, Texas, giving him a total of 14 gold medals in his X-Games career. Alongside Jamie will be Laurence Foster, who is the Editor-in-Chief of RACER magazine and Toyota has big plans to cover its experience on the 2016 Great Race through many social media outlets, and also plans to have celebrity ride-alongs each day of the race. You can follow their trip on Twitter and Facebook @toyota, @jamiebestwick and @racermag.
Jamie Bestwick
Day 1’s ride-along will be legendary off-road racer (two time Baja 1000 winner) who drives the number 97 Monster Energy Toyota Tundra trophy truck in SCORE off-road racing. He’s a hardcore racers, so the Great Race is a perfect fit, but it’ll probably be a smoother ride than his normal torture test across the desert. Follow his journey on Twitter @BJBaldwin97.

The Day 2 ride along will be Amy Purdy, a truly remarkable athlete who lost both of her legs due to a severe case of bacterial meningitis at the age of 19. She is a world-class snowboarder and a 2014 Paralympic bronze medalist, and also has a career in modeling and acting, having appeared in several music videos, as well as “The Amazing Race”. Follow her journey on Twitter @AmyPurdyGirl.

The Day 3 ride-along will be Elena Hight, a two-time Olympic snowboarder and five-time X Games medalist. She was the first woman to land a 900 in competition, and also the first woman to land a double alley-oop backside rodeo…even if you don’t know what the names of those tricks mean…trust us, they’re out of this world. Follow her journey on Twitter @Elenahight.

Day 4 sees Louie Vito riding along with the Toyota team. He’s a professional snowboarder, specializing in the SuperPipe competitioin. He’s a U.S. Olympian, an X-Games medalist and a multiple U.S. Grand Prix overall champion. Follow his journey on Twitter @louievito.

On Day 5, the Toyota Corolla will be occupied by Drew Bezanson, a professional BMX rider from Nova Scotia, Canada. He specializes in BMX Park competition, and he’s a rising star in the always evolving BMX world. He’s an X-Games medalist, and he’s won a host of other big time competitions. Follow his journey on Twitter @drewbezanson.

The Day 6 ride-along is Paul Czaplicki, the Marketing and Communications Manager at Toyota Motor Sales, USA. Paul is the driving force behind Toyota’s participation in the 2016 Hemmings Motor News Great Race presented by Hagerty. Follow his journey on Twitter @Toyota.

Day 7 sees Mike Eldred riding in the vintage Corolla. He’s the leader of the renowned blues band, the Mike Eldred Trio. With a brand new album, “Baptist Town”, recorded in the legendary Sun Studios in Memphis, this blue guitarist is influenced by icons such as Jimi Hendrix. Follow his journey on Twitter @mikeeldredtrio.

On Day 8, Roland Sands will be the guest ride-along. Roland is a former professional motorcycle racer, and his current profession is a custom motorcycle designer and builder. Roland Sands Design mixes sport bike performance with chopper influences to create wild bikes that garner worldwide attention. Follow his journey on Twitter @RolandSands.

The final day of the Great Race will feature a ride-along from Andy Bell, a former freestyle motocross rider, who is a founding member of the Nitro Circus. Andy has made numerous appearances on the Nitro Circus TV show and video series, among many others. Follow his journey on Twitter @andybell.

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