This article originally appeared at CarShowSafari.com.
The Bridgehampton Race Circuit, which opened in 1957 and closed in 1998, is a track fondly remembered by fans and competitors alike. On Saturday, October 1, 2016, the history of the track and of the road racing that preceded it will be celebrated by the Bridgehampton Road Rally & Tour d’Hamptons – and CarShowSafari will be there!
The Bridgehampton Race Circuit has an early history that in many ways parallels that of Watkins Glen: Racing took place on the streets of the town before the State of New York outlawed on-road racing in 1953, at which point each community made plans for a permanent course. Watkins Glen International opened in 1956, followed by Bridgehampton the next year.
But the history of racing in Bridgehampton dates back much further than that in Watkins Glen, back as far as 1915 when races were first conducted on the then-rural roads of the East End of Long Island. Once the permanent circuit was built, racing series including the SCCA Can-Am and even NASCAR staged events at “the Bridge.”
Residential development and skyrocketing real estate values, however, doomed the track. As early as the 1970s, moneyed residents were complaining about noise, and the increasing value of the land stood in contrast to the lack of funds held by the ownership entity, the Bridgehampton Road Races Corporation. The Corporation simply did not have the money necessary to maintain and improve the facility such that major racing series would still find it suitable. In the track’s last years, only club racing and similar amateur events took place.
Today, much of the original 550-acre site has been redeveloped into a golf course, but fortunately for lovers of racing history, a section of the track and its iconic Chevron Bridge have been preserved on the grounds of the golf course.
Which brings us to October 1, 2016, and the Bridgehampton Road Rally & Tour d’Hamptons. For this year’s celebration of Bridgehampton’s rich racing history, the Bridgehampton Museum and Dan’s Papers have planned a full day of car-centric activities intended to, in the words of the organizers, “reignite a passion and shine a light on a treasured piece of East End and American lore,” and they invited CarShowSafari to be a big part of it.
Owners of classic and special-interest cars manufactured before to 1970 will cruise the Bridgehampton Road Rally route, utilizing roads that were part of the original race course a century ago and making stops along the way at historically significant points. This will be a Poker Rally, although there will be a prize for the car that returns to the Bridgehampton Museum closest to the official projected Rally time.
Owners of special-interest automobiles both older and newer than 1970 can join the Tour d’Hamptons, following a route different from and shorter than the Road Rally but still covering historic Hamptons roads. The Tour d’Hamptons is open to brass-era cars, antique cars, classics, exotics, luxury vehicles – any automobile as long as it embodies the spirit of the event. Leave the minivan at home.
Both the Road Rally and the Tour d’Hamptons go off rain or shine, and all entrants are subject to approval by the organizers.
The participants in the Bridgehampton Road Rally & Tour d’Hamptons will assemble on the grounds of the Bridgehampton Museum for a car-by-car formal sendoff – and this is where CarShowSafari comes in: As the cars cross the main stage to hit the road, members of our team will be on the microphone, introducing each entrant and providing details of each car’s provenance.
Upon crossing the finish line later in the day, each participant will return to the staging venue, where drivers and spectators alike can view and walk amidst the cars, mingle and share their mutual admiration for these special automobiles.
There will be much more for car enthusiasts not participating in the Rally or the Tour, all taking place on the grounds of the Bridgehampton Museum. There will be the Invitational Showcase, a display of exquisite, exotic, and exciting automobiles by invitation only and for all to see.
In the Main Tent at the Museum will be talks by automobile aficionados and experts, book signings with writers from the world of cars, racing and Bridgehampton history, and an exhibit on the history of racing in Bridgehampton including rare artifacts and memorabilia.
At the end of the day, there will be a Cocktail Reception and Awards Ceremony, where the drivers from the Road Rally and the Tour will be feted under the main tent. The organizers have planned a “Hamptons Tailgate-style” event with hors d’oeuvres, and a toast featuring the Hamptons’ favorite beverage – rosé. Awards will be given for cars and drivers in the Bridgehampton Road Rally, the Tour d’Hamptons and the Invitational Showcase, and additional prizes will be awarded in various categories.
[See Dan’s Papers’ coverage of CarShowSafari’s participation here.]
The Bridgehampton Museum is located at 2368 Montauk Highway in Bridgehampton. Gates open for Road Rally and Tour d’Hamptons cars and exhibitors at 9 a.m. on October 1. Gates open to the public at 10 a.m. The Road Rally begins at noon, immediately followed by the Tour d’Hamptons. To sign up for the Bridgehampton Road Rally & Tour d’Hamptons presented by the Bridgehampton Museum and Dan’s Papers and for more information, visit BridgehamptonRally.com.
This article originally appeared at CarShowSafari.com.