|Car run set for return guests|
|May 27, 2016 Jerry Purvis|
File Photo Corporate sponsor Kuck Motorsports from Lincoln is one of the regulars at the annual Sugar Valley Rally. Last year, Kuck ran this 1917 Hudson Indy Pace Car. In its earlier days, the car ran at the Indianapolis Raceway on Memorial Day.
Next week, classic and antique cars from America’s past will hit the road in the 28th annual Sugar Valley Rally.
Rally Media Coordinator Dan Dickinson expects to see 53 cars that have so far registered for the June 2-5 event. “That number has been the average for the past few years,” he said. “Scheduling for the event is sometimes difficult with graduations, anniversaries and the like.”
Seeds for Sugar Valley Rally idea sprouted in 1988 when Dickinson and Fred Stoltenberg were at a stop for the Great Race in Nevada.
“We followed them for two days both on and off the interstate from Reno back to Wyoming,” Dickinson said. “I knew lots of people have restored cars in this area. So, I wondered if something like the Great Race would work here.”
Wasting little time, Dickinson and Stoltenberg approached the Chamber of Commerce with the same idea – a scaled down version of the Great Race. They organized a group, then contacted Great Race personnel about sanctioning the event as a “tune up” race.
“We had 47 cars that first year and many Great Racers participated to get prepared for the bigger event,” Dickinson said. “Older cars are sensitive to altitude, so it was good tune up for them.”
Since then, several drivers regularly come back for the event.
Drivers in the rally, helped by a navigator who holds a clock and provides direction, must rely on skill and timing. Cars try to match the predetermined time over a two-day course. Bad weather and passing trains can have a dampening effect on the outcome.
The Sugar Valley Rally starts June 2, Thursday, at Western Nebraska Community College where cars will be given a safety inspection. Drivers use the time to reacquaint themselves with old friends they have seen or met in previous rallies.
On June 3, Friday morning, drivers attend a rally school to get a brief on the rules of the road, which is followed by a practice run around the area.
On June 4, Saturday, drivers head south over the back roads to Kimball. They’ll stop for lunch in Cheyenne, an added feature to the rally. On the return route to Scottsbluff, they will cover the back roads through Pine Bluffs.
Starting at about 4 p.m. that afternoon, drivers will have their cars on display at TEAM Chevrolet and the public is invited to stop by and visit. The rally banquet is scheduled later at the Gering Civic Center.
Sunday’s short rally, still tentative, is scheduled to head west into Torrington, or maybe east to the Ash Hollow area.
“We try to hit as many of the historic sites as we can,” Dickinson said. “A lot of the drivers like to see the local area.”
The returning cars start rolling in at Cozad’s Antique Ford Garage in Gering at about 11:40 a.m. The Gering Merchants are sponsoring the Finish Line Lunch from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. with complimentary meals for drivers, navigators and rally staff. The public is invited to join them for a $7 lunch, and to look at the vintage hardware.
“We’ve had a lot of repeat customers. That says a lot about the rally,” Dickinson said. “People restore their family cars and like to drive them. They like the way the event is run and I always get comments about how friendly the local people are.”
For more information, visit their website at sugarvalleyrally.com.