Friends from Sioux Falls prep for The Great Race

Local News

GARRETSON, S.D. (KELO) — Two Sioux Falls men will soon be heading west  to take part in The Great Race. It’s a vintage car competition where teams put their rides to the test on a cross-country trip and have to follow precise course instructions along the way. 

Driver Steve Larson and navigator Mike Skiles love vintage vehicles. The longtime friends have wanted to experience the Great Race for years. 

“We’ve been interested in cars all our lives and we really like this race idea,” Larson said. 

Recently, they came across this 1969 Buick Riviera that they’ll be using for the competition. Today, they’re building speed charts on a road in rural Garretson. The Great Race is described as not a test of speed, rather a team’s ability to follow instructions and a car’s ability to endure a more than 2,000 mile journey. 

“As you can see it’s in wonderful shape. It’s 430 horsepower, three-speed automatic, air-conditioning. So we’ll be one of the lucky ones in the race. Many of the cars are real vintage cars, open cars. The goggles, the scarves, you know. Sunburned and fixing their cars all the time. We hope we will not be doing any of that,” Larson said. 

The Great Race takes off from Riverside, California. It ends in Tacoma, Washington. It takes place over nine days and there’s a car show every night along the way.

“Every night when you arrive at the host city, there is a mandatory car show that we’ll be at every night just meeting the local citizens coming around. Other people who have an interest in vintage cars will be there so that will be a lot of fun too,” Skiles said. 

On top of trying to arrive at checkpoints on time, Larson and Skiles will also get to visit car museums and national parks along the way. 

“There are people that try to win it. We’re not among that group,” Skiles said. 

“There will be so many people from all over that we’ll get to meet that have the similar interest that we have and our wives will be watching that we’re doing well on the way. We’ll have a great time,” Larson said. 

The men leave for California this Sunday. The Great Race starts a week from Saturday. The winner of the race will receive $50,000.

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