This year’s Bridgehampton Road Rally and brand new Tour d’Hamptons will feature some special guests on October 1, including the esteemed Master of Ceremonies, racing announcer and journalist Robert Marlow, and his colleague and friend of 20 years, Tomm Scalera, the founder of CarShowSafari.com.
Together, the two men bring decades of car knowledge and experience to an event already brimming with auto racing history, beautiful vintage cars and a long list of activities celebrating over a century of motorsports in Bridgehampton.
As emcee of the Road Rally and Tour d’Hamptons, Marlow will announce each car as it sets off for one of the two drives around the Hamptons. He will also announce the awards and take part in various other talks and events throughout the day.
“I started my racing career on Long Island,” Marlow says, explaining that he announced his first auto races at Freeport Municipal Stadium, which closed in 1983 and was eventually torn down in 1989. But his love of racing and cars began much earlier.
Originally from Northern New Jersey, the now 64-year-old Marlow fell in love with the sport after his father, a vintage car collector, built the Pine Brook Stadium racetrack in 1962. He started as a newspaper vendor in the stands, then a scorekeeper, announcer and, finally, writer, which he says is the best job out there. “I get to go [to races] for free, I get the best seat in the house, and I get paid to do it,” he laughs.
Marlow was a correspondent for the weekly National Speed Sport News in 1973 and was a regular contributor through 2010. “My primary beat was regional short-track racing, but through the years I was able to cover everything up to the Indy 500 and Formula 1, and events from coast-to-coast,” he explains.
Marlow is quite comfortable with a microphone in his hand. He became a speedway public address announcer in 1974 and has since been on the mic at more than 60 tracks—from the indoor arena at Atlantic City’s Boardwalk Hall to the road course at Watkins Glen International, and everything in between. With his announcer cred well in hand, Marlow says he’s emceed more racing award dinners, auto shows and similar events than he can count.
Today much of his efforts go into working with Scalera on CarShowSafari.com, a website covering all auto events around the country, which regularly publishes Safari News, featuring original articles by Marlow and others, along with video content and much more auto-related resources and fun.
Scalera, who says Marlow is a smart and lively announcer with an “encyclopedic knowledge” of racing, shares the story of how his website was born after he drove his 1962 Thunderbird convertible to an out-of-state car show. Upon arriving he found himself in an empty field with a handful of other car enthusiasts who, like him, were wondering why the show was cancelled despite perfect weather. He checked his smartphone for any indication of the cancellation or alternative events to attend, but he found nothing. Later, after returning home, he learned that another car show had occurred on the same day, not far from where he’d just been. As a result, Scalera tasked himself with creating a website that lists every car event with real-time updates to help all enthusiasts make informed choices and avoid the disappointment he experienced.
A great deal has gone into making CarShowSafari.com what it is today, but Scalera says this is just the beginning, adding, “We have a lot of concepts we want to build into the site as it grows.” He plans to share what he’s already accomplished, as well as what he sees for the future, at the Bridgehampton Road Rally on Saturday, October 1 at the Bridgehampton Museum.
Visit BridgehamptonRally.com for details about the Bridgehampton Road Rally and Tour d’Hamptons, including car registration.