Tick Tock! Its Almost Time!

 The Hemmings Motor News Great Race presented by Hagerty will travel the historic Dixie Highway for the 2017 event. The Dixie Highway, which is actually a network of highways, stretches from Florida to Michigan, making its way through Georgia, Tennessee, Kentucky, and Indiana along the way. We start in Jacksonville, FL on June and cross the finish line in Traverse City, MI on July 2. It’s gonna be great!

Team “Altered States” has been busy over the past few months getting prepared for the rally, making sure the 1965 Ford Ranchero Deluxe is in good shape for the event, developing a new set of performance charts, and picking up spare parts and supplies. Somehow, the end is never in sight! There’s always more to do or something else to get.

So What Is The Great Race?
Lots of folks have asked that question! The Great Race is precision driving, timing, and endurance road rally for classic and antique vehicles. Each year since 1983 the rally has traveled a different route, covering all parts of the USA. Typically covering 1,500 – 2,000 miles in the 9-day event, participants are treated to most scenic and spectacular parts of the country, all while following cryptic instructions to stay on course and on time! There are no calculators, maps, GPS, or phones allowed – only a speedometer, a clock, a stopwatch, and paper and pen!

The Rallymaster has calculated the precise time that it takes to cross each checkpoint in the rally. If you cross a checkpoint early or late, you are penalized one point for every second. A score of 0 on a leg (an “Ace”) is highly prized! Multiple Aces are not uncommon for experienced rallyers, but consistent 1s and 2s will keep you in the top tier.

At the official start time, cars set out on the first leg of the stage one minute apart, based on the assigned start position. If the official start time is 8:50 AM and your assigned start position is 97, your start time is 97 minutes after the official time, i.e, 10:27 AM. All your instructions are based on that time.Drivers must drive at the precise speeds and times indicated in the instructions based on the navigators’ precision calculations. In this example, start at the “Guernsey 24” sign at 50 mph. The next instruction (28) is a right turn onto Grayrocks Rd where you change speed to 15 mph for 48 seconds, then go to 50 mph. Instruction 29 is read as “Go straight at the Speed Limit 45 sign and, at the sign, change your speed to 35 mph for 16 minutes, 48 seconds, then change speed to 40 mph.”

Of course, you can’t instantly change speeds so you must know how much time you loose going from 0 to 50 mph and 35 to 40 mph etc. So you must make up those seconds lost! That’s where the navigator’s calculations must be swift. We’ve built performance charts with the time cost for speed changes at different speeds, but it’s figuring out how to make up that time before a checkpoint that is vital!

Clarity in communication is absolutely critical! It’s easy to get lost and even easier to compound any error by not having a game plan on how you will react in a crisis. And everyone makes mistakes! What separates the experts from the rest is they know how to recover from those mistakes.

Why Would Anyone Do This???


It is a fabulous way to see this great county! You go places that are off the beaten path and see some of the most spectacular terrain on the planet. The entire experience is about the people and, of course, the cars. The people you meet and get to know and love come from all walks of life, from every socioeconomic level, and from several countries and cultures. And everyone loves the cars! It’s a rolling car show and a huge party every day with friends old and new.


Oh. Did I mention this is a serious competition? You can certainly do it just for the fun of it, but for most of the teams the objective is to win! (At least to make a good showing!) And while everyone is in head-to-head competition, we all help each other. The rally organizers, expert rallyers, veterans, rookies, all work together to figure out what works or doesn’t work. Everyone helps as much as possible when a car breaks down. You’re never on your own!


We Hope You’ll Follow Along!

We’re going to do our best to keep track of our progress and the whole adventure here and on Facebook! We’d love to hear from everyone as we go, so feel free to ask questions, comment, or editorialize!

Lastly, as part of this years Great Race we are partnering with the Vintage Car Rally Association (VCRA) to raise funds in the effort to address the need for research and treatment of autism. Please join the cause by clicking here: VCRA Race For Autism.