Start your engines: The National Game-Tour-Adventure Road Rally races through town on Aug. 12

By JEN CARDINES

STAFF WRITER

People across Southington will hear the roar of engines travelling down Meriden-Waterbury Turnpike when the Hurdle 2017 National Game-Tour-Adventure (GTA) Road Rally comes to town on Saturday, Aug. 12.

In its 20th anniversary year, the New England Hurdle will start and end in Southington, bringing drivers through the Litchfield County.

“My wife and I created the event in 1997 and we organize it every year,” said Jon Lamkins, who has also been participating in rallies since 1993.

Hurdle 2017 is sanctioned by the Sports Car Club of America as a national GTA and runs in compliance with SCCA Road Rally regulations. The club is broken into regions throughout the United States, where New England falls in the top three largest.

SCCA was formed in Stamford, Conn. in 1950, Lamkins said. Road rallies are just one of many programs the club offers, and the New England region Hurdle found a home right here in Southington this year.

It will start at the Southington Drive-In, where contestants will register and gather materials. Each car receives a list of questions and a map of Connecticut with an objective to answer as many questions as possible in the least amount of miles driven. It’s up to participants to map out the fastest route and claim first place.

Unlike racing or other car sporting events, road rallies focus on skill and the amount of miles driven. Anybody with a valid driver’s license can participate with any type of car that they have. Mini-vans, convertibles, sedans, pick-up trucks and crossovers are all examples.

“All it has to do is run,” said event coordinator Jon Lamkins. “The whole idea is that you are in a regular car and obeying the speed limit.”

Contestants will spend the day driving through Litchfield County, always maintaining the speed limit. While it may be frustrating for drivers not in the rally to be stuck behind a line of cars, the participants are told to obey traffic laws diligently.

From 7:30 a.m. to 9 a.m., all cars will have an odometer check and drivers will receive the list of 21 questions to tackle. Then, they will pull out of the drive-in and embark on their journey.

“You don’t have to go in question order,” Lamkins said. “When you get back to Southington, you want the most answers in the least amount of miles.”

Cars will finish at the Spartan II restaurant at 930 Meriden-Waterbury Turnpike. The finish area opens at 5 p.m. and all contestants must pull in by 6:30 p.m. Based on final odometer checks and the number of questions completed, a winner will be determined.

Registration is $45 for SCCA members and $60 for non-members, but the price includes a weekend membership. To register, visit www.msreg.com/hurdle2017 by Aug. 11.  Competitors under 18 years of age must have a minor waiver signed by both parents or their sole custodian. No more than three adults (over age 12) per car.

For more information, contact Jon and Kelli Lamkins at (860) 621-5964 (home), (860) 620-4839 (cell) or jon.lamkins@cox.net.

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