Coker Tire Challenge 2018 Photo Highlights
When September rolls around each year, we prepare for the Coker Tire Challenge, our regional vintage car rally here in Chattanooga, Tennessee. It's our opportunity to welcome the rally community to town, and show them some of the best scenery that Eastern Tennessee, Northern Alabama and Northern Georgia has to offer. The 13th annual Coker Tire Challenge presented us with some challenges, from the previous week's hurricane, to health problems to last-minute car troubles, but we pushed through and made the best of it. Thursday was tech inspection day, which ended with an opening reception in the Coker Tire Museum. Then, it was time to rally on Friday, and the day of winding through the Alabama backroads sent us to Corky Coker's farm for dinner. Then, Saturday saw more beautiful scenery and intense rallying, with a finish and special parking area on Station Street at the Chattanooga Choo Choo. Finally, Sunday featured a short route that came back to Coker Tire's headquarters, where racers rolled through the finish line and enjoyed the awards banquet and hosted lunch.
Despite some of the troubles, the competition was tough, and featured three days of rallying to determine the winners. With a score of 14.52 seconds overall, Howard and Doug Sharp took home top honors in their 1916 Hudson Pikes Peak Hillclimber. Of course, he did it on Coker Tire products, Excelsior Stahl Sport Radial tires to be exact. Not too far behind them was Team Coker Tire, Gary and Jean Ann Martin in their 1964 Chevy II with a score of 20.37 seconds. Also in the Top 5 were Neil Myerscough and Shanna Chatraw (27.55 seconds), Jody Knowles and Beth Gentry (29.97 seconds), and Richard Fredette and Jim Caudle (34.44 seconds). The Rookie class was won by Neil and Wendy Bishop in their 2004 Corvette.
One of the most anticipated awards at the Coker Tire Challenge is the Bill Coker Spirit of the Event award. This year, we had a special guest at the Challenge, Marybeth Lewis, a Great Racer who lost her husband Tag at the end of the 2018 Great Race. It was unexpected, and Tag's death shocked all of us, but Marybeth came back and joined her rallying family for our annual event. Corky and Theresa Coker offered up their Morris Cooper for Marybeth to drive and Kim Barksdale offered to navigate for her. Marybeth's willingness to make the trip to Chattanooga and Kim's generosity to navigate for her earned them the Bill Coker Spirit of the Event Award for 2018. Take a look at this year's coverage, and get a taste of what keeps these vintage rally enthusiasts coming back year after year.
Rookie Winners: Neil and Wendy Bishop, 2004 Corvette, 2minutes 45.00 seconds
5th Place: Richard Fredette and Jim Caudel, 1930 Ford Roadster, 34.44 seconds
4th Place: Jody Knowles and Beth Gentry, 1932 Ford Cabriolet, 29.97 seconds
3rd Place: Neil Myerscough and Shanna Chatraw, 1960 Studebaker, 27.55 seconds
2nd Place: Gary and Jean Ann Martin, 1964 Chevy II, 20.37 seconds
1st Place: Howard and Doug Sharp, 1916 Hudson Pikes Peak Hillclimber, 14.52 seconds
Bill Coker Spirit of the Event Award: Marybeth Lewis and Kim Barksdale