Over 100 of the coolest antique cars ever built rolled into Beckley on Friday, June 25, as part of The Great Race, a controlled-speed road rally and test of endurance for classic cars built in 1974 or earlier.
The Great Race begins at Alamo Plaza in San Antonio, TX, on June 19, and ends in downtown Greenville, SC, on Sunday, June 27. Along the way, each driver must take their car through checkpoints located along scenic, county and state highways. Competitors will travel through 10 states covering 2,300 miles in 9 days. This year, one of the overnight checkpoints will be in Beckley.
According to information provided by The Great Race, 150 classic cars have been entered into the rally including a 1916 Hudson Hill Climber, a 1966 Aston Martin, a 1932 Ford Roadster and many more.
The driver of each car, along with a navigator, must be able to travel 220-250 miles per day and find their checkpoints the old-fashioned way — no GPS is allowed. Scores are given based on the ability of the team to follow course directions precisely. The grand prize winner will take home $50,000.
In a recent Get Out N Drive podcast, The Great Race Director Jeff Stumb said “It’s like going to the circus and seeing the animals. It’s just the cars, the animals and each car will stay in place until 8 p.m. and then they’ll head to their hotel. So, you know, for three to four hours, it’s a big festival in these cities.”
Jill Moorefield, director of Beckley Events stated, “We are excited to have the opportunity to host this event. It’s a really big deal.”
The city of Beckley has welcomed The Great Race twice before as lunch stops — once in 1995 and again in 2005, but this is the first time the city has been an overnight stop for the event. “Being an overnight stop gives us the opportunity to have these cars displayed in Beckley for an extended amount of time,” said Moorefield. “This is a real treat for all the car enthusiasts in our region.”
Beckley Mayor Rob Rappold added that city officials are “extremely excited” to host a stop on the route. “We are thrilled to death to have it back.”