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Father-son team wins The Great Race


The father-and-son team of Jeff and Eric Fredette of Beecher, Illinois, won the 35th annual Hemmings Motor News Great Race, a time/speed/distance endurance rally that recently took vintage vehicles on a nine-day route from Buffalo, New York, to Halifax, Nova Scotia.

The Fredettes were in their flathead-V8-powered 1933 Ford pickup truck.

Entrants including the winners “drove a specific route, determined by the Director of Competition, John Classen,” the race reported in a news release. “Participants strive to match Classen’s pre-determined time by following specific, and sometimes cryptic, instructions. Designated speed changes, challenging turns and the feat of keeping a vintage car running for more than 2,300 miles makes for the ultimate test for these diehard car guys and girls.

“The 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.”

“We are very proud of this year’s competitors,” said race director Jeff Stumb. “Despite trying weather conditions, they never let up and continued to turn in excellent scores during their journey through the Northeast. 

“The Fredettes 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.”

In addition to being the overall victory, the Fredettes won the expert division. 

Other winners were:

  • Grand Champion — Jody Knowles and Beth Gentry, 1932 Ford cabriolet
  • Sportsman — Keith Wallace, Rick McIntosh and Brent Powley, 1930 Ford Model A Speedster

•  Rookie — Kari Schives and Kaitlyn Stahl, 1965 Ford Mustang

•  X-Cup — Tom Littrell, Nathaniel Donley and Jed Diamond, 1959 Plymouth Belvedere

The Great Race was inspired by the 1965 movie of the same name, featuring Tony Curtis, Jack Lemmon, Natalie Wood and Peter Falk. The movie was a comedy but was based on the 1908 race from New York to Paris.

The race has been organized by Coker Tire since 2011.

The 2019 route will start June 22 in Riverside, California, and conclude June 30 at Tacoma, Washington.

Larry Edsall
Larry Edsall
A former daily newspaper sports editor, Larry Edsall spent a dozen years as an editor at AutoWeek magazine before making the transition to writing for the web and becoming the author of more than 15 automotive books. In addition to being founding editor at ClassicCars.com, Larry has written for The New York Times and The Detroit News and was an adjunct honors professor at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University.


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