Little goes full throttle to defend championship titleGranite Falls zooms by and takes the lead BY PAM STEVENS | EDITOR After Mayor Vern Little’s big win at the 2007 Mayors Cup Race last year, he was warned walking into Evergreen Speedway in Monroe last Saturday evening that “they’re all out to get you,” meaning of course the Mayors from other cities in Snohomish County who wanted to take the trophy home to their own community.
Little didn’t seem worried and was looking forward to racing the other Mayors and Snohomish County Executive Aaron Reardon at that evening’s big race.
“I’m ready to defend my title,” Little said.
Granite Falls’ driver, Darin Jackson, a Granite Falls City employee and representative for Mayor Lyle Romack, was looking forward to being able to feed his need for speed in someone else’s car.
“It’s all new,” Jackson said. “It’s pretty thrilling not having to worry about your own car.”
Gold Bar Mayor Crystal Hill, the smallest in the group, was excited to be able to race again this year after being t-boned during the 2007 event.
“Are you kidding?” she asked. “It’s a blast!”
While some of the drivers had raced before, about half were new to the adventure and weren’t sure what to expect, including Kimberly Walser, Monroe Mayor Donetta Walser’s daughter-in-law, who was racing in her place.
“I’m a little nervous because I haven’t driven a stick in a while,” she said.
After lining up cars for all of the drivers, the Mayors hopped into their cars and started the engines for a quick check-up and to get a feel for the car they would be driving. Mayor Little, who was driving car number 7, sponsored by SVR Construction Services, Inc., was missing a spark plug, leaking water and currently running on only three cylinders. However, Chris Williamson, the regular driver of car number 7 and an employee of SVR, quickly got the car up and running on all four by the start of the race.
“I’m running on four cylinders again,” Little said. “And the best part is I’m driving a Lake Stevens car.”
Little, along with Jackson, who was driving car 81, and the rest of the group moved to the start line and followed Maria Foster Hicks, in her 1967 Ford Mustang Pace Car for a couple of laps.
Green flags were waving and the race began to a cheering crowd of fans from both Lake Stevens and Granite Falls.
Little and Jackson raced neck in neck the entire race with Little starting out in front and Jackson quickly coming in from behind to scoop the lead. Little and Jackson both fought hard for the lead the entire race.
In the end, Jackson, from Granite Falls, was the first to cross the finish line as the checkered flag waved them through their last lap. Little was a close second.
Jackson was presented two trophies, one for him to keep and one to keep at City Hall until next year’s race. He was all smiles as he stepped up on that pedestal.
“I’ve never done anything like this before,” he said.
The annual event was presented by Foster Press of Lake Stevens with Mayors, or their representatives, from almost every city in the county.