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Team Hemmings finishes strong in the 2018 Great Race

Published in blog.hemmings.com

Driver Jim Menneto and navigator Stephanie Sigot pose with the Hemmings Speedster. Photo courtesy Stephanie Sigot.

Aided by a sixth-place finish on stage nine, the leg from Dartmouth to Halifax, Nova Scotia, Team Hemmings finished a particularly challenging 2018 Hemmings Motor News Great Race presented by Hagerty in the top-25 of the Sportsman category, and in 43rd place overall with a corrected score of 4 minutes, 51.48 seconds. Considering that 31 of the 117 teams that started the event – or 26.5-percent – failed to complete it, even crossing the finish line this time around counts as a win.

The Fredettes pose with race director Jeff Stumb. Remaining photos by Tommy Lee Byrd.

This year’s overall victory went to Jeff and Eric Fredette, competing in the Expert class (reserved for experienced competitors who’ve not previously won), who amassed a score – adjusted for the age factor of their 1933 Ford pickup – of 1 minute, 6.83 seconds after nine days of competition. The Fredettes were runner’s up in the 2017 Great Race, and staged a come-from-behind victory by finishing Sunday’s stage just 0.82 seconds off of a perfect score.

Beth Gentry and Jody Knowles with Corky Coker.

Second place, and the win in the Grand Championship class (reserved for past Great Race winners), went to Jody Knowles and Beth Gentry, driving a ’32 Ford Cabriolet. Winners of the 2017 Great Race, the team finished with a corrected score of 1 minute, 9.66 seconds.

Sportsman class winners Keith Wallace and Rick McIntosh.

The Sportsman class, which contains teams not competing in the Rookie class, but not yet eligible for Expert or Grand Championship status, traditionally hosts the largest number of entrants. This year was no exception, with 55 teams (including Hemmings) competing in the segment. The class winners, who finished ninth overall , were Brent Powley, Keith Wallace and Rick McIntosh, competing in a 1930 Ford Model A speedster and ending up with a corrected score of 1 minute, 50.4 seconds.

Kari Schives and Kaitlyn Stahl in their 1965 Mustang.

In the Rookie class, which consists of first-time contestants (including those with prior time-speed-distance rally experience), the 2018 winners were Kari Schives and Kaitlyn Stahl, who amassed a corrected score of 3 minutes, 7.2 seconds in their 1965 Ford Mustang. This year’s X-Cup class, aimed at schools and requiring a navigator 21 years old or younger, was won for the second consecutive year by Tom Littrell and his team from Galax, Virginia, who drove a 1959 Plymouth Belvedere to a corrected score of 5 minutes, 57.21 seconds.

1959 Plymouth Belvedere

The 1959 Plymouth Belvedere driven by the winning X-Cup team from Galax, Virginia.

Scott Henderson, who used his Ford Mustang to stop a fellow competitor who’d lost his brakes descending Mount Washington, was presented with the Tom McRae Spirit of the Event award for his heroic actions.

Scott Henderson accepts the Tom McRae Spirit of the Event award from Corky Coker.

The 2019 Hemmings Motor News Great Race presented by Hagerty – already sold out – will trace a West Coast route, beginning in Riverside, California, on June 22 and ending in Tacoma, Washington, nine days and 2,300 miles later. For additional information, or to add your name to the waiting list (increasing the odds of landing a spot in the 2020 Great Race), visit GreatRace.com.