Coker Tire Challenge 2008
There’s an old saying in SEC football “Three yards and a cloud of dust”. Well this weekend it was three days and cloud of dust, tire smoke and some speedy-dry too. Months of preparation and anticipation culminated in a great rally event here at Coker Tire.
The weekend kicked off Thursday night after tech inspections with a social in the museum. The teams were joined by a few bus-loads of folks from the AACA Southeastern Fall Meet in nearby Cleveland, TN. Good food, good music and good times were the primer for an early Friday start.
Quick hotel breakfasts and busy navigators were the scene as nearly 40 cars started the rally twisting its way to Lynchburg, Tennessee for a lunch and tour of the Jack Daniel’s Distillery. Day one ended with Curtis Graf and navigator Ty Holmquist atop the leader board with a time of 4 seconds in their 1932 Ford roadster. Just 13 seconds separated the rest of the top 10 teams and the second place ‘28 Speedster of Richard Fredette and Bill Loubiere looked to improve on their 11 second score on day two. Highlights included 3 aces by team Graf/Holmquist of the 12 total aces for day 1. The racer’s course ended at Mountain Valley Farms with good food, cold drinks and spectacular views as the setting for tall tales and aces.
Another early start and course instructions sent the teams twirling through east Tennessee and the Ocoee region on Day 2. There’s no shortage of technical roads and difficult rallying in these parts. And veteran teams made the most of their experience with Louise and Jim Feeney jumping up to the top of the board with a 12 second score at the day 2 finish. There were 13 Aces on day 2, three of them belonging to Joe Knowles and Beth Gentry. The racers made a lunch stop at the AACA Southeastern Fall Meet in Cleveland, Tennessee.
Day three was a half day’s rallying, so there was little room for error. 10 aces were posted and clearly the gauntlet was thrown down on Saturday night. Heated battles were all over the field for bragging rights and trophies. After three days and a cloud of dust, the 1932 Ford Speedster of Curtis Graf and Ty Holmquist took top honors with an overall score of 18 seconds. The second place team of Richard Fredette and Bill Loubiere ran out of room with a score of 24 seconds in a field that saw 34 aces over three days of rallying. Top rookie honors and 19th place overall went to Clay Miller and Blake Garrison wh piloted their 1935 Ford Phaeton to a score of 1m 33s. The top twenty teams were all under two minutes and were very competitive all the way to the finish. The heated rivalry between Casey and Theresa Coker in a 1961 Austin Healey and Greg Cunningham and Cameron Coker running a 1928 Ford Speedster saw day 2 close in a controversial tie. The end of the awards luncheon exploded in cheers when the girls’ final score of 1m 21s came in 7 seconds ahead of the boys’ 1m 28s effort.
Girls and boys duke it out on the course
The 1969 Mercedes team of Brad Phillips and Nathan Patterson dragged up in last place of the rookie class. They also managed to take home a very special trophy for their efforts. The “Bill Coker Spirit of the Event” award embodies the bright spirit and fun loving attitude that the late Bill Coker was known for. Brad’s team didn’t burn up the clocks or smash the leaderboard, but had a great time doing it! You can always shave your times down in the future but a great attitude and smiles are really what these events are all about and they deserved this special award.
The third annual Coker Tire Challenge was a ton of work. long days and plenty of miles. It was also a great event and enjoyed by the racers and Coker Staff as well. There are hundreds of great pictures in the gallery so check those out too. We look forward to doing it all again next year!