The 2022 Hemmings Motor News Great Race will make Chippewa Falls their lunch stop as the city prepares for visitors from around the world.
It’s a busy weekend coming up for Chippewa Falls and Chippewa County! Not only will Cadott host Country Fest this weekend, but downtown Chippewa Falls will host a lunch stop on the 2022 Hemmings Motor News Great Race presented by Hagerty Drivers Club on Friday, June 24th from 11:30am to 3:00pm. The Chippewa Falls Chamber of Commerce and Chippewa Falls Main Street have teamed up to welcome teams and cars from Japan, England, Australia, Germany, Canada and every corner of the U.S.
The Great Race is the world’s premiere old car rally and will bring 120 of the world’s finest antique automobiles to town, with the first car rolling onto Bridge Street starting at noon. The event began in Warwick, Rhode Island on June 18th; it is slated to finish in Fargo, North Dakota on June 26th. On this run, the cars will roughly follow the historic Yellowstone Trail route, which cuts right through Chippewa Falls along with a slew of other Wisconsin cities and towns. This will be the first time Chippewa Falls will be a host city.
Jackie Boos, Tourism Director at the Chippewa Falls Chamber, said, “We are thrilled to be welcoming and providing our Midwest hospitality to hundreds of people and promoting the amazing community we have. We hope that we provide an experience while they are here that encourages a return to our community as a leisure trip down the line.”
Teri Ouimette, Executive Director of Chippewa Falls Main Street, echoed the excitement, saying “We are excited to have created an event that will showcase our beautiful downtown and businesses while providing a great backdrop to our visitors. We have been doing amazing car shows for a handful of years and this will bring that exposure to the next level.”
Both Boos and Ouimette invite the community – and road trippers across Wisconsin and beyond – to line the downtown and take in the sites of this one-of-kind race on Friday, June 24th from 11:30am-3:00pm. The specific closure for the event will be on Bridge Street from Spring Street to Grand Avenue. You’ll still be able to travel on Business U.S. 53, Business Highway 29, and Highway 124.
The Great Race enters the state Thursday morning and will have stops for lunch Thursday at the historic Angell Park Speedway in Sun Prairie, just off Highway 19, and will roll into Wisconsin Dells for the night Thursday before heading to Chippewa Falls Friday morning.
The Great Race, which began 39 years ago, is not a speed race, but a time/speed/distance rally. The vehicles, each with a driver and navigator, are given precise instructions each day that detail every move down to the second. They are scored at secret check points along the way and are penalized one second for each second either early or late. As in golf, the lowest score wins.
Each stop on the Great Race is free to the public and spectators will be able to visit with the participants and to look at the cars for several hours. It is common for kids to climb in the cars for a first-hand look. Cars built in 1974 and earlier are eligible, with most entries having been manufactured before World War II. The event was started in 1983 by Tom McRae and it takes its name from the 1965 movie The Great Race, which starred Tony Curtis, Jack Lemmon, Natalie Wood, and Peter Falk. The movie is a comedy based on the real-life 1908 automobile race from New York to Paris. In 2004, Tony Curtis was the guest of the Great Race and rode in his car from the movie, the Leslie Special.
The Great Race gained a huge following from late-night showings on ESPN when the network was just starting in the early 1980s. The first entrant, Curtis Graf of Irving, Texas, is still a participant today. The event’s main sponsors are Hemmings Motor News, Hagerty Drivers Club, and Coker Tire.
Find out more about The Great Race here!