Dozens of automobile enthusiasts driving vintage, rebuilt, customized vehicles will depart Riverside Saturday for a roughly 1,200-mile trek north to Tacoma, Wash. for the 2019 “Great Race,” with a $50,000 grand prize going to the top finisher.

The event, which has been a tradition since the early 1980s, will get underway at 9 a.m. in front of the Mission Inn Hotel & Spa downtown.

At least 150 drivers are scheduled to take part in the eight-day competition, which will be completed in stages, with overnight stays in Lancaster, Chico and Eureka in California; Gardenville, Nev.; Grants Pass and Bend, Ore.; and Vancouver and Spanaway, Wash.

“The Great Race is an antique, vintage and collector car competitive controlled-speed endurance road rally on public highways,” according to “It is a test of a driver-navigator team’s ability to follow a precise course … on a cross-country trip.”

Drivers cannot exceed the posted speed limit on any route or leg of the journey.

The oldest car entered in this year’s contest is a 1909 Buick Model 16; the newest is a 1974 Plymouth Blues Mobile.

According to organizers, participants are categorized by division, with veterans and rookies separated and scored according to their automobile expertise and past experience in endurance races. Drivers must be at least 21 years old.

Along with the $50,000 grand prize to the driver who takes first place, awards totaling $100,000 will be given to other racers who complete the course on schedule.

The finish line is outside America’s Car Museum at the southern end of Commencement Bay in Tacoma. A rally will be held there to greet contestants on the afternoon of June 30.

Sponsors include Eckler’s Automotive Parts, Hagerty Insurance, Hemmings Motor News and Reliable Carriers Inc.

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