Antique cars on cross-country race plan stop in Mansfield

By Mansfield News Journal

June 27, 2012

MANSFIELD — About 100 antique vehicles, dating from 1911 to 1969 will roll into the Carrousel District downtown from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday.

Part of The Great Race, the visitors are on a multi-stop, nine day international race that travels through the United States and Canada.

Jamie Thompson, co-director of Downtown Mansfield, said it is not a timed race. Participants in The Great Race have a driver and a navigator.

‘‘They were here eight years ago,” she said.

The public is invited to come and see the vehicles, dating from 1911 to 1969. The vehicles will park downtown in the municipal lot across from the Carrousel.

‘‘They have lunch stops,” she said. ‘‘Downtown Mansfield and the Carrousel and the Mansfield/Richland Convention & Visitors Bureau is working to provide them lunch.”

The event, which starts in Traverse City, Mich., and circles the Great Lakes through Canada before finishing in Dearborn, Mich., is free to the public and will last for several hours beginning around 11:30 a.m.

Mansfield is the only lunch stop in Ohio on the nine-day international trek. Additional details will follow in the coming months. Lee Tasseff at the CVB and Jamie Thompson with Downtown Mansfield are helping with the planning.

The Great Race began 30 years ago. 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.

Cars start -- and hopefully finish -- one minute apart if all goes according to plan. The biggest part of the challenge other than staying on time and following the instructions is getting an old car to the finish line each day, organizers said.

The first car is expected to arrive around noon and another car will arrive each minute for the following hour and a half. The cars will remain parked across from the Carousel to allow spectators to visit with the participants and to look at the cars. It is common for kids to climb in the cars for a first-hand look.

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