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Vintage car "Great Race" to return to Buffalo in 2018

Michael Mroziak, WBFO

An annual competition featuring vintage automobiles will return to Buffalo in 2018. Officials with the Great Race announced Monday that the Queen City will be starting point of next year's run, which will end in Nova Scotia, Canada.

Buffalo, which served as a stopping point in the 2012 competition, will be the starting point of the 2018 race, which will continue for nine days, over 2,300 miles, and conclude in Halifax.


"We will bring 450 people and 120 automobiles from across the world," said race director Jeff Stumb. "We have teams from Japan, Canada, England, Germany and all corners of the United States from Maine to Florida to California."

Stumb explained that the Great Race is not based on speed but on accuracy. Competitors must cross checkpoints at a set time, as accurately as possible.

Douglas Sharp, who along with his father Howard is one of the competitors, explained that they're allowed to use a stopwatch, time-of-day clock and regulation speedometer.

"It tells us to one hundredth of a mile an hour but it's analog, so how accurate can you really make that?" Sharp said. "We calibrate it in the morning to match against what the rally computer has set for us for the day. That's how we'll determine our time, by following that speed."

The Great Race was inspired by the 1965 film of the same name which, in turn, was based on a real race from New York to Paris held in 1908. The winning car that year was driven by Buffalo's George Schuster. The vehicle, a Thomas Flyer, was also Buffalo built.

Michael Mroziak is an experienced, award-winning reporter whose career includes work in broadcast and print media. When he joined the WBFO news staff in April 2015, it was a return to both the radio station and to Horizons Plaza.