During the awards banquet immediately following the conclusion of the 2017 Hemmings Motor News Great Race presented by Hagerty, Great Race and Coker Tire Company owner Corky Coker announced that the 2018 event—the country’s premier time/distance vintage-car rally—would start in Buffalo, New York, and finish in Nova Scotia, Canada. Speculation as to the general route can now come to a rest since event officials have formally announced both the lunch and city stops during the nine-day contest.
Following registration and safety inspection traditions, teams may be arriving in Buffalo as early as Tuesday, June 19, and should all be on-site for the aforementioned formalities by Thursday, June 21. This brief stretch of what seems to be down time to the casual observer is an opportunity for teams to hone their rally skills and make fine adjustments to their vehicles in advance of the rest of the schedule, starting with the Great Race’s preliminary event, the Hagerty Trophy Run. Held on Friday afternoon, June 22, the Trophy Run—which doubles as a Great Race tie-breaker—will start and finish in Buffalo (the exact start/finish location of which is still to be announced).
The 2018 Great Race will officially commence on Saturday morning, June 23, in Buffalo. Once teams have taken the green flag, they begin their 2,200-plus mile journey, which will take them to 16 cities. In order of appearance, scheduled lunch/overnight stops include Fairport, New York (note that this is an overnight stop due to the mid-morning start time); Norwich and Troy, New York, on June 24; Bennington and Burlington, Vermont, on June 25; Mt. Washington, New Hampshire, and Gardiner, Maine, on June 26; Owls Head and Bangor, Maine, on June 27; Seal Cove and Bar Harbor, Maine, on June 28; Saint John and Moncton, New Brunswick (Canada), on June 29; and Truro and Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, on June 30. The final leg of the journey will be held on Sunday, July 1, and will take teams from Dartmouth to the finish line in Halifax, Nova Scotia, where the team with the lowest cumulative time will be presented with a check for $50,000; just part of the collective $150,000 in prize money to be distributed at the awards banquet that follows.
First run in 1983, the Hemmings Motor News Great Race presented by Hagerty is open to all 1972 and older collectible cars and trucks. Based on experience, team entries compete in five divisions: Grand Champion, Expert, Sportsman, Rookie, and X-Cup, the latter reserved for college and high school teams. Registration is already open for 2018 for teams wishing to compete in this south-to-north adventure along the Dixie Highway, but available spots are filling up exceptionally fast. For more detailed information, or to register, visit GreatRace.com.
A quick note to those who would like to catch segments of the 2018 Great Race: As is always the case, the exact rally route is kept secret to prevent teams from practicing. Before the start of each day’s stage, teams are given course instructions just one hour before their start time; no GPS or maps are permitted in the rally vehicles, so drivers and navigators must rely on analog watches and course instructions to get from point A to B successfully and on time. The best locations to see the cars and meet the drivers/navigators are at the day’s lunch and dinner stops. Exact locations for each day’s stops will become available as details are finalized, or you can monitor the official Great Race website where you can also learn more about the Great Race history, rules, and award structure.