This week a line of vintage, open-faced race cars are taking off on the 2016 Great Race. South Dakotans can experience the car rally at three stops across the state.
Participants of the 34th annual Great Race plan to make stops in Rapid City, Chamberlain and Sioux Falls June 23 and 24. Jeff Stumb is the director of the Great Race. He says this year’s theme is based on the Lincoln highway, but cars will deviate off of that route to visit Mt. Rushmore and the Badlands.
“Most of these cars, you’d be lucky if you could see them in a museum, and here we are, taking them out of the museum, putting them on the backroads, and racing for prize money and coming to all of these cities," says Stumb.
Stumb says each city on the route plans for thousands of spectators of all ages. “The people who come to the event are not just ‘car people.’ Everybody thinks a bunch of old guys that are old car guys, they’re there, too, but there’s a lot people who just come to see the unique event," says Stumb.
Stumb says the race begins in California and ends in Illinois and considers the race one of accuracy, not speed. He says the car rally scores drivers based on their times reaching secret checkpoints, the driver with the lowest score winning $50,000.
Howard Sharp has participated in the Great Race since 1991. He won in 2011 and 2015. For Sharp, the race has become his favorite summer activity.
“It’s been a family affair for twenty-something years, and I do it with my son Douglas, and we’re just a two-man band going down the road, driving a 1960 Hudson," says Sharp.
The Great Race started in San Francisco and arrives in Rapid City, South Dakota on Thursday evening.