Friday, May 24, 2024
Home Wedding Cars 100 vintage cars will rumble through Montgomery, NY

100 vintage cars will rumble through Montgomery, NY

Jane Anderson for the Times Herald Record
| Times Herald Record

A rumble will sound through the streets of Montgomery on Sunday as 130 vehicles pass through the village as part of The Great Race. The annual cross-country trek this year runs from Warwick, Rhode Island, all the way to Fargo, North Dakota.

The event, founded in the early 1980s, is unlike most other car races: It’s a controlled-speed endurance road rally with a driver and navigator in each car. The race tests each pair’s ability to follow precise instructions and handle a cross-country trip while driving at or below the posted speed limits.

“It’s quite a thing to see,” says race director Jeff Stumb from Chattanooga, Tennessee.

The race begins Saturday in Warwick, Rhode Island. As the cars embark, each team gets course instructions every day – up to 250 separate instructions – detailing every turn, speed change, stop and start. Checkpoints along the route will record the exact time each car passes by.

The cars that participate in The Great Race are vintage 1974 or older. “Half the field is pre-World War II,” Stumb says. The oldest car running this year is a 1916 Hudson. In 2011, a 1911 Velie won the event.

Classic car fans take note: Among the cars slated to race will be a 1931 Ford Model A, a 1966 Ford Mustang, a 1941 Packard 20 Coupe Convertible and a 1969 Porsche 912. Following the spirit of those years, there are no GPS units or computers (or smartphones) allowed to assist in navigation. Even the cars’ odometers are taped over.

But those strict rules haven’t determined participation. “We’re starting in Rhode Island with 130 vehicles. It’s the largest bill we’ve ever had,” Stumb says. “Normally we run about 120 cars. But we’re allowing teams that didn’t participate in 2020 or 2021.”

Not every car that starts in Rhode Island will make it to North Dakota. “I’m sure we’ll lose a car or two,” Stumb says.

The route takes racers from Rhode Island to Connecticut before their pitstop in Montgomery on Sunday, June 19. Starting at 12:15 pm, the cars will stop near a tented area on Clinton Street. “They’ll be arriving one minute apart for two hours; each car will have one hour for lunch,” Stumb says.

Juneteenth events: What’s happening locally?

Planning a wedding?: Better book now

Paul Satkowski, the owner of Copperfields Kildare Pub in the village, said he and his staff are looking forward to The Great Race.

“It is definitely something different coming through our village, and we are excited to see the cars and see how the race operates,” Satkowski says.

The two-hour race window doesn’t leave a lot of time to do much, Satkowski says. “But we will be having Great Race food and drink specials all day for fans. It is also Father’s Day, so we will have Father’s Day specials as well.”

“Our village in Montgomery always seems to have something exciting going on,” he says.

By 5 pm that day, the cars are due in Binghamton, where the drivers and navigators will stay overnight in local hotels before heading west to Erie, Pennsylvania; Ohio; Indiana; Illinois; Wisconsin and Minnesota before arriving in Fargo, North Dakota, for the Grand Finale Championship on Sunday, June 26.

Herb Lorenz is the local coordinator for the event. “He puts on car shows, most recently one in Rhinebeck,” Stumb says. “He’s a big car guy—he’s responsible for bringing the race through Montgomery this year.”

Top prize is $50,000, with smaller prizes scattered throughout various categories. But the experience alone is enough of a reward for most of the drivers. The routes are planned for local roads and highways, with stops along the way for sightseeing. Previous years included stops at the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Michigan, and other sights and museums. And the race doesn’t follow the same route each year: It’s gone from Maine to Florida, Philadelphia to California, Buffalo to Nova Scotia, among many other routes.

“This race combines old cars and back roads and lots of great towns,” says Stumb. “If you like old cars and like to travel, and like a little bit of competition, this is for you.”

With an entry fee of $6,000, this race is not for the faint of heart. But once the drivers race, they’re hooked. “Once people start doing it, they do it every year; it becomes your extended family,” Stumb says.


Most Popular

Recent Comments