The Third-Annual Historic Sportscar Racing (HSR) Ridge Runner Rally came to a safe and successful conclusion Thursday after a 586-mile and four-state journey through some of the most spectacular terrain and natural landmarks in the scenic Southeastern U.S.
The sold-out gathering of HSR members and their pristine sports cars ended the four-day trip back where it started Monday morning at the Westin Hotel Chattanooga, which has been a headquarters hotel of the Ridge Runner Rally since the event’s inception in 2019.
The group then traveled nearby to The Read House hotel for one final get together and awards dinner Thursday night that brought the 2021 running of the HSR Ridge Runner Rally to an official close.
The popular People’s Choice Award was a split decision that saw the honor go to two brothers that frequently share the victory lane podium together as well at HSR at-track race events.
Dean DeSantis and his wife Laura DeSantis saw their 1965 Ferrari 365 GTC tie for first place with the unique 2009 Spyker C-8 Laviolette LM85 owned and driven by Dean’s brother Damon DeSantis and his wife Cindy DeSantis.
One selfless gesture at the onset of this year’s Rally was the impetus behind two other award winners.
Forced to a loaner when their own sports car had a mechanical issue early in the Rally, longtime HSR competitor and member Tim Baker and his wife Shonnie Baker didn’t let the setback bring them down. They were among the most enthusiastic and enjoyable couples over the four day adventure and were deserving winners of the Spirit of the Event Award.
The inaugural presentation of the Jim Pace Award went to Byron DeFoor who didn’t hesitate to loan the Bakers his Porsche 993 Cabriolet when they needed a car. It was a fitting tribute to Pace, the champion race car driver and former HSR co-owner who was regarded as one of the true gentlemen of American sports car racing. Pace passed away last November.
The Coolest Couple Award went to Conrad Mielcuseny and his wife Katherine Mielcuseny who looked the part throughout the Rally in their sleek Aston Martin DBS Ultimate.
In addition the Westin Chattanooga, other overnight lodging during the Rally included the Dancing Bear Lodge in Townsend, Tennessee and the Old Edwards Inn in Highlands, North Carolina.
Other downtime highlights included a fireside S’Mores get together at the Dancing Bear and a just-for-fun Croquet Tournament – complete with players adorned in proper croquet dress whites – organized by Dick York and his wife Sally York at the Sapphire Valley Country Club in Sapphire, North Carolina.
Next up for HSR is a return to its on-track competition calendar at the the Finger Lakes Invitational with Masters Historic Racing at Watkins Glen, July 9 – 11. Visit www.HSRRace.com for more information.