By Pam Dudding
The Great Race, limited to models made before 1972, is a nine-day road rally that focuses on time, not speed. This year’s route traveled between Riverside, Calif. and Tacoma, Wash.
Josh Hull and Trevor Stahl started the race in good weather, but the days ahead brought everything from rain, sleet, snow, frigid temperatures and temperatures over 100 degrees.
Hull, a previous firefighter in Craig County, and his driving partner, Stahl, made the trip for the fifth year in a row.
“It was by far the most beautiful route we have ever taken. We loved it,” Hull said. “Our favorites were the Avenue of the Giants, Crater Lake and the Cascades National Park.”
Their famous Stars and Stripes 1932 speedster had its good days and bad days in the winner poles.
They had put over $12,000 of further modifications into the car. “The car handled like a dream. We had no mechanical issues at all,” noted Stahl.
Both expect the car to be 100 percent next year.
Hull shared that dealing with the cold, along with the rain, sleet and snow was the most difficult part of the race. On the morning of June 27, both men were in Oregon getting ready to head for Crater Lake and later Bend for the night.
“We have been doing some amazing rallying in both the sun and driving rain,” they said. “I think we are in 33rd place overall, not bad for spending half a day on the side of the road.”
It was an extremely cold day on June 28 for Stahl and Hull. However, the weather didn’t bother them as they finished first for Stage 6, which took them to 12thplace overall out of 120 vehicles.
Jesse Jameson, owner and navigator of a 1952 Hudson Hornet, said the race started with 120 cars, but “a few had dropped off by the time it reached Vancouver.”
“That’s the low point,” he said. “We didn’t get everybody across the finish line, which is everybody’s goal. We all try really hard to keep everybody moving; it’s kind of a family thing.”
Hull and Stahl agree. They took pictures with many people, including some new friends, before the event concluded.
They finished 12th out of 120 cars. “It wasn’t our best finish,” they said. Still, many agreed they did a great job placing in the top 15.
“I recommend everyone visit Northern California, Redwood Forest and go all the way through Oregon and Washington states as there are so many beautiful places and snow caped peaks,” Hull noted. “Seriously, it’s like driving through a Bob Ross painting.”
Howard and Doug Sharp won and took home top honors in the Grand Champion division, as well as the overall win, with more than $50,000 and “lots of bragging rights.”
On July 1, Hull and Stahl posted the following on Facebook, “What an incredible time on the Great Race as our first time as rookies! So many great times and great people. We’ve got the rally bug.”
In next year’s Great Race, they will start in front of the Alamo in Texas, and drive through Galax, Va., before ending up in Greenville, S.C.