Motor Mouth Blog


Great Race Day 6: Trees, Rain, and Snow

Photos: Driving the Studebaker through redwood tree, as shot by the Great Race photographer Tommy Lee Byrd.

By Steve Hedke, who is representing LeMay – America’s Car Museum with his wife Janet and their daughter Allison in the Great Race

After finishing second overall and first in the Expert class yesterday, you hesitate to change a thing. Like a baseball player with his favorite socks, you feel like you can’t experiment as much. Yet you can’t be casual about trying to simply hold your position. Other teams, really good ones, want that spot too.

Today we had temperature, altitude, and terrain changes as we went up to 7,000 feet to see Crater Lake. Plenty of good rally roads here in central Oregon, well paved and light traffic. Much of our rallying time on the clock consisted of long runs with few speed changes. Any fraction of a mile per hour off, as in the speedometer calibration run, can affect your whole day. The data we got changed during the run, from late to on time. We seem to run late in cold weather, and it actually got colder as the day progressed (including snow alongside the road) so our guess as to how to set the speedometer may have been off. We finished 19th for the day, and we are now third overall, but still first place in the Expert division.

While the scenery was spectacular, we need to be as close to error free as we can for the last 3 days if we hope to finish first in Expert, which is now an obtainable goal. We really want to bring home trophies for the LeMay – America’s Car Museum Great Race display. So far we have two, but we may be able to do better. Oh, and we did have another Ace today!

We had a nice crowd at the Bend, Oregon, dinner stop, despite rumbly skies and scattered showers. They had the added delight of watching me swap the wheels from front to rear on the left side due to tire wear. I found out that other racers have swapped over their spares for the most badly worn tire. Worn tires are not fun in rain, and safety has to prevail. We should be good to the finish now.

Tomorrow ACM Curator of Collections Renée Crist and her husband Pat will be joining the Great Race for the first time in their Porsche 356. They will be joining 4 other Porsches in the race. They can’t be scored since they couldn’t make the start, but they will get to experience the race first hand. We will help as much as we can of course, and look forward to them joining our merry band of travelers.

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