Classic cars making Great Race stop in Cedar Rapids

Public invited to Saturday event on Third Avenue Bridge

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CEDAR RAPIDS — Saturday marks a homecoming of sorts for classic car enthusiast John Williams.

The Shueyville resident is among those taking part in an annual event called The Great Race, a 2,400-mile trek across the United States roughly following the historic Lincoln Highway, one of America’s first transcontinental roadways.

This year’s race — featuring automobiles built in or before 1972 — Started June 18 in San Rafael, California, north of San Francisco. The race ends Sunday in Moline, Illinois.

On Saturday, the 120 vintage vehicles taking part make a stop in Cedar Rapids.

Williams is racing in a 1936 Railton Hudson Boattailed Speedster he has dubbed “The Flying Welshman.”

Beginning at 5:35 p.m., race vehicles are to begin cruising onto the 3rd Avenue Bridge in downtown Cedar Rapids, where they’ll be on hand for a couple hours. Organizers said the public is invited to stop down, take a look, talk with the owners and even sit behind the wheel of some of the vehicles. The event is free. Part of the 3rd Avenue Bridge is to be closed to traffic from noon to 9 p.m. for the event.

After an overnight stay, racers are to travel to Walcott on Sunday for lunch before heading to the finish line in Moline.

Sponsored by Hemmings Motor News, the Great Race is not a speed race. Rather, participants follow instructions on how to get from the start to finish of each leg of the race. They are not allowed to use any type of map along the way and are penalized for every second they are early or late to each checkpoint. The winner is to receive a $50,000 grand prize.

This year’s race is taking participants through California, Nevada, Utah, Wyoming, South Dakota, Iowa and Illinois.

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