GT-44 in Dubuque: A Preview

Photo for GT-44 in Dubuque: A Preview

GT-43 and all the wonderful activities with friends is in the rearview mirror, and GT-44 is still over the horizon; but it is not too soon to be thinking about plans for next summer. The 2019 GT will be in July from the 10th to the 14th.

We at the Minnesota MG Vintage Racers (MMGVR) have been working with the NAMGAR Board and the City of Dubuque to bring you a GT you will long remember. While we don’t have everything nailed down yet, we do have some exciting news to share as our plans begin to take shape.

The featured car next year is going to be the MG racecar. It has never been featured at a GT; but considering how many MGAs have been circling racetracks and taking home trophies over the years, it is time. We want to send a special invitation to all current and former MG race drivers to join us in Dubuque. Keeping with the race theme, our guest for the week will be David Hobbs. For over three decades, Hobbs had a distinguished driving career in everything from sports cars to NASCAR to Formula 1. He has also spent many years as a race commentator for NBC. We will have a special tie in to the Vintage Race Festival at Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin the following week, but more on that later.

We chose Dubuque for its beautiful sports car roads that wind along the bluffs astride the Mississippi River, its rich history, the wonderfully preserved homes and businesses, and its location a little off the beaten path; but easily accessible from most major metropolitan areas in the Midwest. You can choose to arrive by car or plane, or with Dubuque’s location on the Mississippi, you can choose to arrive by boat as well. There are slips available for rent within walking distance of the hotel and convenient to downtown. This could be your unique opportunity to play Tom Sawyer and navigate your way to join us for GT-44.


Speaking of the hotel, our base of operations will be the historic Hotel Julien in downtown Dubuque. I encourage you to take a look at the recently restored historic property, but please don’t try to book your room yet. We have rooms set aside at a special rate that will become available only through the NAMGAR registration process that begins in January. The Julien has great spaces for our banquet, vendors, and tech sessions as well as common space to meet old friends and make new ones. We have dedicated parking for our MGs at the hotel and nearby parking for trailers and tow vehicles. We even have special covered parking if you bring a vintage racecar. Within walking distance from the hotel are two Smithsonian-affiliated museums, a beautifully preserved Carnegie library, a casino, dozens of restaurants (everything from a hotdog stand in a converted Fotomat booth to haute cuisine), and too many interesting shops to mention here.

Ulysses Grant HomeA short drive from Dubuque is Galena, Illinois. It is a small, historic, and beautifully preserved town that boasts many fine restaurants and unique shops. It was also the home of Ulysses Grant, and his home and other mid-19th century mansions are available to tour and enjoy. Another short drive takes you to Dyersville, home of Ertl and SpecCast, and the Field of Dreams. If you are over 40, you probably remember the Kevin Costner movie set deep in an Iowa cornfield. The corn and baseball fields are still there and are available to tour. It has been a popular destination for over thirty years.

We have several drives planned to take you along the Mississippi bluffs, through tree-lined valleys with stops along the way at some secluded wineries and breweries. One destination is the Petosi brewery and National Beer Museum. The Petosi Brewery is the oldest brewery in Wisconsin (and that’s saying something), and the National Beer Museum contains a full research library. You can do both liquid and literary research at this place.

I still haven’t mentioned the Arboretum, the tea room, the spas, the world’s shortest and most vertical railroad, the antique mall, or the diecast model outlet. There are so many things to do that you may want to book an extra day. To that end, if you choose to stay longer, the Hotel Julien has agreed to extend our special rate for Sunday.

You may consider extending your stay even longer because of the special tie-in with Road America that I mentioned earlier. Each year Road America hosts a Vintage Race Festival and has several featured types of racecars. We worked with the planners, and they agreed to make one of the featured cars MG. That means that starting Tuesday after GT-44 in Dubuque there will be a host of special events for MGs and MG racecars just three hours away at Road America.

Here’s what Road America says about the event.

“Road America announced that the feature of the 2019 WeatherTech International Challenge with Brian Redman presented by HAWK will be a special MG “Focus Event.”

“Widely known as one of the largest vintage racecar gatherings in the United States, featuring several classes of cars racing in multiple groups, the WeatherTech International Challenge with Brian Redman presented by HAWK will return on July 18-21, 2019.

“The mid-summer classic will include everything from a special concourse on Friday and Saturday along the streets of Elkhart Lake, to a Historic CAN-AM race, plus All-MG Races and a special scenic drive for any non-racing MGs on Tuesday of race week, making the 2019 event a can't miss spectacle for any racing and MG enthusiast.

“This event has become an annual tradition for hundreds of racers, enthusiasts, and thousands of fans every year,” said George Bruggenthies, president and general manager of Road America. “We are extremely proud to announce that the event will pay tribute to the MG with an MG ‘Focus Event’ as the MG celebrates its 60th anniversary. Road America is poised to usher in the celebration with a racer’s reunion, races for club and pro series-vintage, historic and contemporary racers, a scenic drive for non-racing MGs; a concours with expert and people’s choice awards, track touring, parade laps, and a vendor marketplace making the 2019 WeatherTech International Challenge with Brian Redman presented by HAWK an event that everyone of all ages can enjoy.”

More details for the 2019 WeatherTech International Challenge with Brian Redman presented by HAWK including entry information, qualifying procedures, concours information, and tickets are expected in the coming months.

This will be a unique opportunity to extend your vacation and take part in a premier vintage event on the shores of Elkhart Lake. Registration is still a couple of months away, but with all the expanded possibilities for next summer, we wanted to give you time to consider joining us in Dubuque and Elkhart Lake. We will be sure to update you as more information becomes available. Check the NAMGAR website for more information about GT-44 in Dubuque and the Vintage Festival. Safety Fast!

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Reader Comments (3)

Picture of Mike Adams
Mike Adams (192 Hanley Crescent - Regina, SK, Canada)
on December 20, 2018 10:11am
I would like to bring my Supercharged MGB race car to the event, but would need to park and paddock my trailer very near on a closed course as the MGB can not be driven on any public roads. I assume many race cars will have the same needs and requests. Can you advise about trailer paddock and access.
Looking forward to attending prior to the Hawk event in Road America.
Picture of NAMGAR Internet Coordinators
NAMGAR Internet Coordinators
on December 21, 2018 1:56pm
Mike - there will definitely be parking for trailers at the GT. Once the event registration form is released, there is a section for signing up for trailer parking. For more specific information about the location, access, security, etc, please email the organizers at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).
Picture of Scott Dougherty
Scott Dougherty (Ramsey, MN)
on December 21, 2018 6:34pm
I’m really glad you will join us at GT-44. We will have trailer parking about four blocks from the hotel and covered secure parking for the race cars at the Holiday inn. We are working with the Dubuque police to see if we can get permission to have a parade of race cars from the Holiday Inn to the show field. It’s a trip of about 6 blocks. No guarantees, but we will have it all figured out soon.

If you have more questions or comments you can contact me directly through the MMGVR website at

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Last updated on December 4, 2018.