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2017 Hemmings Motor News Great Race: Day One! 

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Gary & Jean Ann Martin arrive at the finish line in Tifton, Georgia, in their 1964 Chevy Nova.

The 2017 Hemmings Motor News Great Race presented by Hagerty – the premier pre-1972 vintage car time/distance rally – began on Main Street in Jacksonville, Florida, under sunny skies, high humidity and temps in the mid-nineties. According to race officials, all 120 cars took the green flag; each of them eager to get a good start in an effort to claim the $50,000 grand prize.

After a year of careful route planning, day one of the rally was comprised of six timed segments, or legs, as teams traveled from Jacksonville to a brief stop in MacClenny, before proceeding to the day’s finish line in Tipton, Georgia. As a crowd of thousands gathered, racers began to stream in starting at 4:30 in the afternoon, arriving roughly at one minute intervals as designed.

When the times were tallied, Expert division racers Jeff & Eric Fredette led the field in their 1933 Ford Pickup with a time of just 1.63 seconds off perfect, collecting four Aces in the process. Coming home second overall were stout Expert division competitors Gary & Jean Ann Martin – who also collected four Aces – in their 1964 Chevrolet Nova, with a time of 1.94 seconds. Finishing third overall and first in the Grand Champion division was Dave Reeder & Sawyer stone in their 1932 Ford Victoria with a time of 2.43 off perfect. Other division winners were as follows:

Sportsman: Mike Weaver &a Craig Jongerius (1931 Ford Model A Coupe) with a time of 6.48 seconds (good for 15th overall);

Rookie: Will Hoehndorf & Jay Hixson (1966 MG B) with a time of 13.72 seconds off perfect (good for 34th overall);

X-Cup: Team Galax (1928 Ford Model A Roadster Highboy) with a time of 49.92 seconds off perfect (good for 71st overall).

Unfortunately, several teams failed to finish, including Leonard Harpenau & Tom Kucera, whose engine block cracked in their 1928 Ford Model A Delivery.


This year, we’re adding something special to our Great Race effort: a fundraising goal for Alzheimer’s Association. Donate a penny per mile – just one cent for every mile the Hemmings speedster covers – and it’ll all go to the Alzheimer’s Association’s “The Longest Day” fundraiser. Assuming the Hemmings team completes the entire 2,351-mile event, you’ll donate $23.51 to a great cause.

You can donate here: