The ninth running of the Motor State Challenge saw 83 competitors take part in the busy three-day event in South Haven, Michigan and South Bend, Indiana on July 20-22.
The Motor State Distributing-hosted event began with registration and the drivers’ meeting at the Watervliet, Michigan Fairfield Inn. Once the afternoon requirements were complete, everyone topped off their fuel tanks and lined up behind the Berrien County Sherriff Department motorcycle escorts for a scenic cruise that ended at Das Dutch Essenhaus in Middlebury, Indiana. The Challenge participants were featured guests at the restaurant’s weekly Thursday evening car show as the Amish style restaurant served a meal for everyone involved in the Motor State cruise.
BONUS CONTENT: 2017 Motor State Challenge Photo Gallery
The next morning saw all the participants successfully pass the tech inspection process conducted by the South Bend Region SCCA. By mid-morning, Gingerman Raceway in South Haven was opened for all drivers to participate in two 15-minute timed lap sessions. After the lunch break, racing continued with two more timed lap sessions.
“I really like Gingerman as a road race course and Motor State and Scott Wahlstrom does a great job with the event. It’s just well run, well organized and guarantees lots of seat time,” said Bob Bertelsen, who raced his custom 1968 Chevrolet Corvette during the Challenge. Bertelsen has competed in five Motor State Challenge events, but it was the first for his ‘Vette, which he finished six weeks ago. “That’s how I pick where I’m going to run, where I’m going to get the most seat time. I’m still shaking out a few bugs in my ‘Vette-getting the last few things to work properly.”
Upon completion of the final run group, the track was closed and everyone in attendance was treated to a variety of Sherman’s ice cream.
The final day of the Motor State Challenge had all the competitors ready for a day of autocross at the Tire Rack in South Bend, Indiana. Each driver had six chances to record their fastest lap time.
By late afternoon on Saturday all the competition was complete and friendly bench racing broke out as everyone patiently waited all the results to be tallied. Along with the trophy presentation for the actual competition, Motor State Distributing’s Marketing Manager Scott Wahlstrom delivered several special awards and a large selection of product certificates from the many industry partners that make this event possible.
One of the awards, the Spirit of the Event, receives an automatic spot in the Optima Ultimate Street Car Invitational held Nov. 4-5 in Las Vegas. Thanks to the strong performance at the three-day event and his dedication to the PRO-Touring movement, Steve Rivett from Pewaukee, Wisconsin will represent the Motor State Challenge at the USCA Finals.
Another special award honors the contributions of Todd Gartshore to the Motor State Challenge as well as other motorsport events throughout North America. Aaron Oberle was the recipient of the 2017 Todd Gartshore Memorial Award.
“This annual event would not be a success without the volunteer help from the Berrien County Sheriff’s Department and the South Bend Region SCCA,” said Wahlstrom. “The Sheriff’s Department guides the Thursday cruise through Berrien County while the South Bend Region SCCA crews direct and officiate both track and autocross events.”
For additional photos from the event, visit 2017 MSC Flicker Photo Gallery.
Event Results & Awards