Coker Tire Challenge 2019 FULL RECAP
The month of September is always packed with activities at Coker Tire, and this past weekend was the 14th annual Coker Tire Challenge. The event is a three-day cloverleaf style rally, which means that each day's route starts and ends in the same city...Chattanooga, Tennessee of course. In terms of competition, the event is like a smaller version of the Great Race. The same basic rules apply, but there isn't a year cut-off on the vehicles, so there are sometimes a few modern vehicles in the lineup. This year, the event was held entirely at the Chattanooga Choo Choo hotel, giving participants plenty of options for food and fun during the evening hours. Many of the regular Great Racers came out for the Coker Tire Challenge as it provides excellent practice, and it's a great excuse to hang out with the extended Great Race family. This year, we had a total of 34 entries, with the oldest being a 1916 Hudson, campaigned by Dan and Brad Epple.
Friday's route sent the racers south of Chattanooga, where they rallied through the backroads of Northwest Georgia. Mountain roads, farmland and small towns made for some great scenery, while the course instructions kept racers on their toes. Saturday was another day of twists and turns, followed by some evening fun on Station Street. Sunday was a short route that had the racers back to the hotel getting their scores by lunch time. Winning two out of the three stages and taking home the overall victory was Jeff Fredette and his sister Kim (Fredette) Barksdale driving the famous yellow and black 1933 Ford pickup with a final score of 12.23 seconds. The top 5 finishers are as follows:
Jeff Fredette & Kim Barksdale - 1933 Ford Pickup - 12.23 seconds
Dan & Brad Epple - 1916 Hudson - 22.44 seconds
Curtis Graf & Robert Dinges - 1932 Ford - 22.68 seconds
Bryan & Ian Deering - 1935 Ford - 24.75 seconds
Jody Knowles & Beth Gentry - 1932 Ford - 25.11 seconds
The Rookie winners were the team of Thomas Votino and Jim Shelly driving a 1973 Citroen with a score of 1m21s.
The Coker Tire Challenge Spirit of the Event award winner was Howard Sharp. He has attended the Coker Tire Challenge for many years, usually driving his 1916 Hudson Pikes Peak Hill Climber. This year, the Hudson stayed home, and Howard ALMOST decided to stay in Fairport, New York as well. At the last minute, he decided to come down, and ended up driving one of the Stahl's team cars, the 1962 Chevy II. Erin Stahl was supposed to be the navigator but had to handle some business on Friday, so Kathy Hermanson and Scott Culp hopped in to co-navigate the course. Erin was back in Chattanooga on Saturday, so she jumped back in the car and closed out the weekend with Howard at the wheel. Howard showed his true spirit by making the trip down here and enjoying a weekend with his rally family. Take a look at some of our highlights below from the weekend of fun!