Vintage automobiles crossed a portion of Genesee County Thursday as part of “The Great Race.”
The cars — some of more than 100 years old — are competing in a nine-day, 2,300-mile road rally that began in Michigan and arrived in Western New York Thursday.
Drivers stopped for lunch about 11:30 a.m. in Fairport before making their way west to Buffalo, where they began arriving about 5 p.m. at the Pierce-Arrow Museum, 263 Michigan Ave., for an overnight stay.
The cars passed through Genesee County Thursday afternoon on Barrville Road in Elba, entering the village along Route 98 about 3 p.m. The Race's Facebook page also indicated sightings in East Pembroke.
David A. Olsen tells us that he saw about a half-dozen cars on Route 77 between Indian Falls Road and the Thruway entrance around 5 p.m.
"Very cool cars," Olsen said in an e-mail.
Amy Vlack saw several of the cars heading west on Chapel Street in Elba. The cars then turned south towards Batavia.
"There are some pretty cool cars driving by," she said. "I started noticing them about 3:30 p.m."
Staff photographer Mark Gutman took photos of many of the autos as they passed through.
"Beautiful weather, bucolic scenery, and a very challenging course today," John Corey, a driver of a 1932 Buick, posted Thursday night in a blog on The Great Race website. "It was a real two-handed kind of run full of twists and turns, starts and stops, hidden corners and missing signs."
Participating autos most have been built before 1969, with most pre-war vintage. There were 99 cars in all shapes and styles registered for the start of this year's race, though some have since dropped out. Thursday's stage began with 79 cars remaining. A 1907 Renault is the oldest, with a 1969 Jaguar the newest. There are 10 cars that were built before 1920, including several 1916 Hudsons. Also in the mix is an Indy racer, a Hillclimber, a four-passenger speedster, a 1967 Corvette, several 1960s-era Mustangs and, yes, a couple of '57 Chevys.
Race officials had confirmed this spring that the race would not pass directly through Batavia, but “will be crossing somewhere in Genesee County.”
From Fairport, the cars were taken to another location where they began the afternoon race. The race routes typically use lesser-traveled, scenic local roads, though some of Thursday's travel was along the Thruway.
“The Great Race” is mentally demanding. It is a controlled-speed race, meaning competitors must reach a series of checkpoints on a precise schedule. Drivers and navigators follow a detailed set of turn-by-turn directions as they travel among the checkpoints. They are not allowed to use GPS navigations aids, computers or cell phones. Racers are penalized for being either early or late to the checkpoints. The winning team -- there is $120,000 in total prizes at stake in addition to bragging rights -- is the one with the lowest overall score at the end of the event.
The 2012 Great Race started June 23 in Traverse City, Mich., and made its way north into Canada by the second day. The route then traveled east toward the Canadian capital of Ottawa before turning south and entering the United States at the Thousand Islands.The racers spent Wednesday night in Watertown. Before finishing Sunday at the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Mich., the event will pass through Pennsylvania and Ohio.
The Great Race made an overnight stop in Watertown on Wednesday. Here's a report and pictures: http://tinyurl.com/bthxruc
If you see the cars, let us know or send pictures to firstname.lastname@example.org . Call (585) 343-8000 with information about sightings.
You can follow the final stages of The Great Race via its Facebook page, www.facebook.com/greatracerally , or website, http://www.greatrace.com/ .