Father and son take out Great Race

Riley Riley

Remember the 60s film The Great Race with an all-star cast including starring Tony Curtis, Jack Lemon and Natalie Wood — to name a few?

Well, believe it or not, there really is a Great Race in which teams compete in classic cars and — just like the movie — need to solve cryptic clues to get to the finish line.

This year it followed a 3700km course between Buffalo, New York and Halifax in Canada’s Nova Scotia, starting June 23 and finishing nine days later.

Winners of the 2018 Great Race are a father and son combo, Jeff and Eric Fredette, who took home a $50,000 cheque for their efforts.

The father and son team from Beecher, Illinois piloted a Flathead V8 1933 Ford pickup to victory.

This year’s race marked the 35th running of the annual time, speed and distance endurance rally, first organised by Tom McRae in 1983.

Participants visited 18 cities in north-eastern United States, as well as New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, Canada — behind the wheel of their pre-1972 vehicles.

They were required to follow a specific route, determined by the Director of Competition, John Classen.

Participants were also asked to match Classen’s pre-determined time by following specific, and sometimes cryptic, instructions.

Designated speed changes, challenging turns and the very act of keeping a vintage car running make for a true test of man and machine.

Race teams are made up of a driver and navigator, who use a specially calibrated speedometer in order to match the speeds precisely to the instructions.

The team who is closest to the pre-determined “perfect time” wins.

The route of the Great Race route changes each year, adding to the challenge of the event.

“We are very proud of this year’s competitors,” race director, Jeff Stumb, said.

“Despite trying weather conditions, they never let up and continued to turn in excellent scores during their journey through the Northeast.

“The Fredette’s have been a part of the Great Race family for many years, and it was an emotional moment at the finish line when they were announced as the winners.

“It was a long time coming for this father and son team, who had finished second on a few occasions, leading up to this milestone.”

Next year’s race will follow a new route along the west coast of the United States, remaining within the boundaries of the United States for the first time.

It will kick off on Saturday, June 22 in Riverside, California and conclude in Tacoma, Washington on Sunday, June 30, 2019.

Stops will include 18 cities in California, Nevada, Oregon and Washington.

As a side note, actor Tony Curtis was actually a guest of the Great Race in 2004 and rode in his car from the movie, the Leslie Special.

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