The Great Race Puts Rocky Point State Park Back on the Radar
Gear up, Lil’ Rhody, as The Great Race begins at the historic Rocky Point State Park and ends in North Dakota.
The Great Race brings excitement back to Rocky Point State Park after being closed for nearly twenty years, choosing the historic Warwick landmark as the starting location for 2022. The park is no stranger to adversity, after recovering from a hotel fire in 1883 and The Great Hurricane of 1938. In the ’90s, the park was closed due to financial struggles, breaking the hearts of locals (Fun fact: You can ride the famous Corkscrew ride at its new home of Wild Waves Theme and Water Park across the country in Washington). Fortunately, after reopening in 2014, its comeback is about to begin with the kickoff of the 2022 Great Race.
About The Great Race
The Great Race consists of classic cars driven by contestants from Japan, England, Australia, Canada, and all over the United States. These automobiles date as far back as 1916, so understandably, this race is not about driving as fast as possible. Instead, the Great Race is a time/speed/distance relay. Each car has a driver and a navigator that are given meticulous instructions that describe each move of the race down to the second. The contestants are scored at hidden checkpoints, at which they are supposed to arrive at a specific time. They are penalized for every second they are early or late to these checkpoints.
Around 120 vintage cars will assemble in Warwick, Rhode Island at Rocky Point Park at the starting line of the Great Race relay on Saturday, June 18. The first car is set to take off at 8 a.m., with the last car leaving at 10:30 a.m. The race will take nine days, as the cars travel 2,300 miles through nineteen American cities to the finish line in Fargo, North Dakota. This year’s race will add Rhode Island and North Dakota to The Great Race itinerary, the last of the forty-eight contiguous states in which the race has once crossed.
“We are honored and thrilled The Great Race is coming to the city of Warwick,” notes Warwick Mayor Frank Picozzi. “Not only will the spectacular event bring the world’s finest antique automobiles to Warwick, but it will also showcase our beautiful city to spectators young and old.” As Rocky Point Park is revived with an exciting event, the local economy of Rhode Island will benefit from the race as well, projected to bring in nearly half a million dollars in revenue from accommodations of more than 1,300 guests, according to John Gibbons, executive director of the Rhode Island Sports Commission.
More Ways to Get Involved in the Event
Events around the state have been developed to complement the Rocky Point starting event. Thursday, June 16 designates “Newport Day” to celebrate the city’s rich car culture. After the contestants check in for the race and get their vehicles inspected, they are set to travel to Newport to cruise along the beautiful Ocean Drive. Next, a stop at the Newport Car Museum to relax and show off their cars to the public from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. This event is free for the public to attend in the parking lot, but tickets are still required to view the museum collection. From 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. guests can enjoy a snack from a taco truck that is going to be present.
Newport’s Audrain Automobile Museum will be holding their classic Cars and Coffee event at Rocky Point on the day of the race on June 18 at 8 a.m. Spectators are invited to grab their morning coffee and watch the event.
Each event in Rhode Island and each stop on the Great Race is free, and guests will be able to visit the contestants and look at the vintage automobiles for several hours. More information can be found at greatrace.com.