HomeCar CultureGreat Race Student Team Blog Days Six and Seven

Great Race Student Team Blog Days Six and Seven

Catching up on our adventures


Two student docents from the Maine Classic Car Museum are taking part in the 2024 Great Race as part of the X-Cup Challenge. Click here for part five of their journey.

Day 6: Wild, Wonderful West Virginia

Max and Cotton here again with our daily blog as we compete in the 2024 Great Race long distance rally. We’re two high school students from Maine and we’re reporting on our experience as rookies in this epic 2,300 mile race.

We crossed the Ohio River into the beautiful state of West Virginia today as we continued our Great Race. The team switched up a bit, with Bram driving and Max navigating today, and Cotton providing scouting support.

We had another late start time, so that gave Max and Cotton a chance to detail the Cadillac and make sure she was shining bright for another big day ahead. 

When we received our course instruction in Marietta, there was an emergency notice for racers warning us to watch out for deer. Turns out, the West Virginia deer population wanted to race along with us, as we saw many of them darting across the road and in front of our race cars. We really had to be careful. On Route 23 alone we had to change speed about two dozen times within a relatively short distance because of every hill, twist, and turn. 

Cadillac in Morgantown and the nice lady in front told us all about her town.

Many of the small towns along the Great Race plan months ahead for our arrival. On our way to the college town of Morgantown, we saw many billboards advertising the celebrations that invited all West Virginians to come see us for the midday festival. Cotton met an older woman in a wheelchair downtown who spent 15 minutes telling us all about the wonderful reasons to live and visit Morgantown.  

After a wonderful and refreshing stop with the friendly folks in Morgantown, we headed east and crossed into Maryland. Our final stop of the day was in the small town of Frostburg in the highlands of the Appalachian Mountains. Like Marietta, Frostburg is a college town and the townspeople rolled out another great welcome for the Great Racers. We even saw some local beauty queens wearing their sashes and crowns.  The race announcer at the finishing line for this leg introduced our team with the “Keep Calm and Caddy On” motto. It was definitely thrilling to hear that out loud. 

Our 1961 Cadillac, Car #161, rolls into the group car show in Frostburg, Maryland after a long day of rallying.

Tomorrow, we head south into Virginia and then turn north to wind our way towards Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. We’re turning in early tonight to get ready for our 12 hour day tomorrow. 

Day 7: Marching on Gettysburg

With today’s route heading towards Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, it seemed fitting that we first travelled south and then headed north. We started the day responding to an emergency distress call sent out before dawn by another student X-Cup team. The RPM Foundation, driving a 1959 Plymouth Savoy, got knocked out of the race when their engine failed, most likely due to oil rings gone bad. Suddenly four students had no place to go.   

But in the spirit of the X-Cup and the Great Race, we quickly came up with a rescue plan.  The Caddys welcomed a new passenger, Josie from California, who rode with us today from Frostburg to Gettysburg. Josie is a rookie member of the RPM Foundation racing team.

Cotton calculating our performance timing on the fly. The dashboard made for a great desk.

Today was another challenging course and we got off to a rough start. In the transit run (which is off the clock), we missed a highway turnoff only to find out that the next exit did not have an entrance lane on the other side. By the time we figured out our mistake, we got to the starting line with a five minute delay penalty. Ouch. Not how we wanted to start the day. 

We reminded ourselves to Keep Calm and Caddy On. Believe it or not, that really helped us mentally, and we turned things around with a five second time on the very next leg. We suffered another bad leg before ending that day with an 11 second and 32 second leg.  

At our lunch stop in Purcellville Virginia, we saw the Ken Walsh collection of 409 Chevys and other amazing cars. A special thanks to the Walsh Family.

Midday, we met at the family farm of Great Racer Ken Walsh in Purcellville, Virginia. The farm was mobbed with racers, local fans, and friends. The Walsh Family invited the Great Racers to see their amazing collection of 409-powered Chevrolets and drag cars. We want to give a special thanks to the Walsh Family for giving each car a free tank of gas at the Purcellville Shell station. Their hospitality was amazing, and we’d love to go back.

As we made it to our overnight stop, we had a very special moment when we had a chance to take a lap through Gettysburg National Military Park. We finished the day at Gateway Gettysburg.

At the end of the day, we heard some really good news from Nick Ellis of the RPM Foundation. Nick was able to secure another loaner car, so Josie and her teammates get to return to the road tomorrow. They are out of the official scoring competition but can enjoy all the excitement of the race by driving and navigating in an exhibition vehicle.

We will pass the half-way mark tomorrow on the Great Race as we make our way through the hills and mountains of Pennsylvania onto our next overnight stop in Binghamton, New York.  We’re having a blast, but it’s time for bed. We have an early day. 

Andy Reid
Andy Reid
Andy Reid's first car, purchased at age 15, was a 1968 Fiat 124 coupe. His second, obtained by spending his college savings fund, was a 1966 Ferrari 330 GT 2+2. Since then, he has owned more than 150 cars—none of them normal or reasonable—as well as numerous classic motorcycles and scooters. A veteran of film, television, advertising and helping to launch a few Internet-based companies, Reid was a columnist for Classic Motorsports magazine for 12 years and has written for several other publications. He is considered an expert in European sports and luxury cars and is a respected concours judge. He lives in Canton, Connecticut.


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