Continued caution over the COVID-19 outbreak has forced the postponement of The Great Race rally for two months in the interest of public safety. With many events hitting the pause button and moving directly to 2021, Great Race officials hope that the field of drivers and navigators will band together and make the slightly delayed event successful, if participants can adhere to CDC guidelines.
The rally was originally scheduled for June 20–28, along a route that begins in San Antonio, Texas, and ends in Greenville, South Carolina. Now the organizers and sponsors have selected an August 22 start. A final decision about whether or not the event can be held will be made on July 1.
“We admire our sponsors Hemmings, Hagerty, Coker Tire, and Reliable Carriers for their commitment to getting everyone back in their cars as safely as possible,” says Legendary Companies, which owns TheGreat Race CEO Wade Kawasaki. “After all, there is no place safer than your own car, and that’s where Great Racers are 90 percent of the time during this great backroad adventure.”
The Great Race has been in close communication with state and local officials along the route to discuss how the event—which typically gathers significant crowds at the lunch and dinner stops—can still occur while ensuring public safety. The core of the event is the driver and navigator pairs executing the precision driving alone on the road, but the character of the event is really captured in the lunch and dinner stops, where the public gets to interact with the cars and participants.
“I’m pleased to announce that all of our Grand Champions, as well as a majority of the race teams, volunteers, and staff, have agreed to the new schedule,” says event director Jeff Stumb. “We look forward to having a full field for the start of the 2020 Great Race in front of the Alamo on August 22.”
As a two-time participant (once successfully, the other time less so) while driving Hagerty’s 1917 Peerless Green Dragon, it is exciting to still have a chance to go “on the clock” again this year, but the restrictions may hamper what some participants see as the most fun part of the event. If public contact is limited, this year could potentially be more competitive than ever, with drivers and navigators getting more rest and having to deal with fewer distractions and less fatigue on the course.
Whether or not the rally happens this fall, solo and household drives are keeping some folks sane currently, so I have no doubt that the drivers and navigators will happily be preparing for the delayed rally. With the highly interesting array of cars that typically gathers at the start line, communities across the country will be enjoying one-car parades for some time. And that isn’t so bad.