17 June 2015

The Great Race: Hagerty rookie team ready for the ‘adventure of a lifetime’

(Editor’s Note: In honor of Father’s Day, and over the course of the 2015 Great Race beginning June 20, we’re profiling nine teams, each consisting of some variation of a father and daughter, father and son, or grandfather and son. Stay tuned for these stories and results from the race. And Happy Father’s Day to all of the dads out there!)

Karl and Hannah Mikula (Traverse City, Mich.)

1964¼ Ford Mustang (#75)

Cars have always been a family affair for the Mikulas. Dad Karl, a certified master mechanic and Hagerty strategy analyst, first developed his automotive interest at a young age, thanks to his own father. He passed that love on to his children, Shawn (27), Brady (24) and Hannah (22), teaching them to drive and wrench on the family’s collection of Jeeps.

And Hagerty events team intern Hannah fondly remembers sitting her grandpa’s garage while he worked on his collection of classic cars, with her attention frequently rewarded with a cruise around town.

Karl and Hannah plan to turn that love into lasting memories as the rookie team pilots the Hagerty employee-restored 1964½ Mustang in this year’s Great Race on historic Route 66.

Karl calls the opportunity a dream come true. “When I became familiar with the Great Race a couple years ago I often dreamed of participating with any of my children,” he says. “Driving across the desert and through the mountains with my daughter on Route 66 in the 64½ Pony car is a life event – for both of us.”

“I learned about this race last year, and I thought it was so interesting, I remember thinking, ‘I wonder if I could ever do The Great Race and be successful…,’” Hannah says. “The answer is yes, after practicing with my dad only a few times, I know we are going to do a great job! … Competing with a family member is a great idea for this race, we are so familiar with each other’s strong and weak points, we already know how to build up and support one another and how to work together efficiently.”

As for family support, Wife/Mom Jill and Hannah’s grandparents will see the team off in Kirkwood, Mo., and Jill will meet them at the finish in Santa Monica, Calif. “My grandpa is absolutely ecstatic about this; he is so excited to have his granddaughter in the race.” Hannah says.

The pair is looking forward to “the adventure of a lifetime,” as Karl puts it, as well as the opportunity to strengthen their father/daughter bond. Hannah adds, “I am really looking forward to being with my dad travelling through places neither of us has been before. We are both so adventurous and this is a huge adventure that incorporates things we both enjoy such as math, driving, and each other’s company.”

Time will tell if the duo meets their primary goals: to finish the race and make the front page of “Finish Times.”

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