2017-06-15 / Community

Bad Axe men to compete in world-class classic car road rally

Navigator Ian Deering, of Grand Rapids, and Driver Bryan Deering, of Bad Axe, pose next to their 1935 Ford Coupe - Car #83 - as the winners in the Sportsman Division of the 2016 Great Race, a classic car road rally. 
Courtesy photo Navigator Ian Deering, of Grand Rapids, and Driver Bryan Deering, of Bad Axe, pose next to their 1935 Ford Coupe - Car #83 - as the winners in the Sportsman Division of the 2016 Great Race, a classic car road rally. Courtesy photo DIXIE HIGHWAY - Two men with local connections will be competing in a time and endurance road rally in a classic model 1935 automobile. They will traverse more than 2,000 miles from Jacksonville, Florida, to the finish line in Michigan.

On Saturday, June 24, Bryan Deering, of Bad Axe, and his son, Ian Deering, of Grand Rapids, will compete for the fourth time in the world’s premiere classic car rally - the Great Race. The 2017 Great Race route will travel 2,300 miles using the Dixie Highway as a guide. The 128 teams will begin the race in Jacksonville, Florida, when drag racing legend “Big Daddy” Don Garlits waves the green flag. The winner of the event will cross the finish line in Traverse City nine days later and will be awarded a check for more than $50,000.

The Great Race is not a speed race, but a time and endurance rally that attracts participants from all states, as well as other countries including England, Germany, Japan and New Zealand. The teams are placed into four divisions - Rookie, Sportsman, Expert and Grand Champion - based on their experience level. The teams, each with a driver and navigator, are given detailed instructions at the start of each day that require them to follow a predetermined route. The goal is to get a perfect score, which means completing the route in a precise amount of time as set forth by the Rally Master. Teams are scored at secret checkpoints along the way, and they are penalized for each second their time differs from the Rally Master’s predetermined time. This is no easy feat, especially since odometers are concealed; calculators, GPS devices and other electronics are prohibited; and the navigator can only use paper, pencil and a stopwatch to do any time and distance computations.

Driver Bryan and Navigator Ian debuted in their first Great Race in 2012 in a 1929 Model A Ford. After traveling nearly 2,400 miles around the Great Lakes, they finished in Dearborn as the winners of the Rookie division. In fact, their time was good enough that it also earned them a fifth-place finish in the Sportsman division. Proving they could compete among teams that have many years of rally experience, they were designated “The Bad A** Boys from Bad Axe” by Corky Coker, announcer for the Great Race and owner of Coker Tire Company.

In 2014 Bryan and Ian, now classified as Sportsman, raced from Ogunquit, Maine, to The Villages, Florida. Traveling through 19 cities and 12 states, they finished 35th overall. They won the Hagerty Trophy run, a rare occurrence from a Sportsman team, and they also earned 10 Aces (perfect scores) during the nine-day race.

The 2016 Great Race saw Bryan and Ian with a new racecar, a 1935 Ford Coupe. This time, they traveled the Lincoln Highway from scenic San Raphael, California, to the finish line in Moline, Illinois. They won the Sportsman division - receiving another coveted Eagle trophy - and also claimed sixth place overall, out of a total of 84 cars that completed the race. Winning the Sportsman division is a major accomplishment, as it generally has the most competitors.

This year, Bryan and Ian will again be competing in their 1935 Ford Coupe - car #83 - in the Expert division.

The Great Race is physically and mentally challenging and the competition is fierce, the father and son team agree. Getting to the finish line is a victory by itself. In fact, the Great Race motto is: “To Finish is to Win!”

Bryan and Ian encourage everyone to attend one or more of the stops on the 2017 route to show support of the local team. Each stop on the Great Race is free to the public. Spectators can take part in the excitement of old car rallying by getting up close and personal with the participants and the cars- with models ranging from 1916 to 1972 - and including many makes and models such as Auburn, Bentley, Maserati and Porsche just to name a few.

“When the Great Race pulls into a city, it becomes an instant festival!”

As race director Jeff Stumb says, Follow the Great Race at www.greatrace.com to see the full schedule, photos, all participating teams’ daily scores and stories about each stop along the way.

Return to top

Copyright © 2009-2018 Huron County View, All Rights Reserved

Click here for digital edition
2017-06-15 digital edition