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Around The World In 80 Days Motor Challenge

Link to Official Around The World web site 29 June 2000

Duluth, Minnesota

The JAM TART negotiates the Scenic Backway. The stretch from Jamestown to Duluth has been the longest section of the rally in terms of distance, over 800 kms (500 miles). Add one rather difficult test section, and it was a very long and tiring day, indeed.

The morning run took rallyists along the gravel Scenic Backway through Fort Ransom, then across country to a lakeside lunch in the resort town of Detroit Lakes. Again, dozens of old car enthusiasts turned out to see the cars, if only for the short time they paused for lunch.

Visitors trace the Around The World course on a map on the hood (or bonnet, in English) of the Giles' Hillman Hunter. The test section was in the White Earth State Forest and White Earth Indian Reservation, staffed by the Land o' Lakes Region of the Sports Car Club of America. The roads have been a popular part of the SCCA Ojibwe Forest ProRally many times and are quite twisting with little opportunity to pass. Several quick cars that have had problems remain seeded according to their standings overall rather than their potential. A better plan might have been to re-seed each day based on the previous day's finish, but I'm not the guy who makes the rules. Regardless, the drivers had about an hour to negotiate the section, and none cleaned it. Closest were overall leader Freddy Giles in the Hillman and Edmund Holfeld in the Mustang with six minutes apiece. Kevin Clemens moved up another position in his Mercedes 220S, but at a price; the camshaft towers have broken again, as they did in Turkey, and they will be seeking replacements for those parts along with the already planned transmission replacement and starter rebuild.

The Brodericks' Mercedes runs second in the Classic category, seen here in the White Earth forest. The final few miles took teams through the twisting roads of Jay Cooke State Park, then into Duluth via Skyline Parkway. Like Seattle or San Francisco, Duluth is built on the side of a hill overlooking Lake Superior. The vistas from Skyline offer a spectacular view of the city from above. Lake Superior is the largest fresh water sea on earth, and a major shipping port for grain, iron ore and coal.

Once again the car enthusiasts were on hand, waving as rally cars passed on Skyline Parkway, and as they parked in the enclosed ramp at the Holiday Inn, along with a couple of TV news crews and newspaper reporters. Duluth has welcomed the Around The World Motor Challenge with many preparations for the teams' "day off". In reality, most will be quite busy making repairs or simple maintenance... and doing laundry.

Tim Winker

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