Long before Detroit or Indianapolis or Daytona, Bridgehampton was the home of an early U.S. motoring tradition that would come to enjoy a long and illustrious history. The races and industries on Long Island had a far reaching impact on the development of American automobiles and the individuals who, for more than a century, have sat behind their wheels. In 2016, the Bridgehampton Museum and Dan’s Papers will celebrate this storied history with an event that will reignite a passion and shine a light on a treasured piece of East End and American lore: the Bridgehampton Road Rally & Tour d’Hamptons, taking to the streets this October 1.
Between 1915 and 1921 the streets of Bridgehampton took on the sports cars of the time as they raced through wooded areas and past potato fields on dirt roads, kicking up dust in their wake. From 1949 until 1953, racing resumed as crowds of up to 50,000 people came from far and wide to watch cars race at speeds of up to 100 mph on public roads in and around Bridgehampton. When street racing was outlawed by New York State in 1953, the Bridgehampton Lions Club and racing supporters established the Bridgehampton Race Circuit just outside of Bridgehampton. On October 1, those same environs will welcome classic cars of these bygone eras and other autos of interest, now owned by collectors, as they cruise the Bridgehampton Road Rally course in a non-timed drive, making stops along the way to immerse themselves in the history surrounding them. Only automobiles manufactured prior to 1970 are eligible to enter the Rally (all entrants are subject to approval by the Bridgehampton Road Rally Committee), and the Rally is rain or shine.
Some owners of special automobiles simply wish to take their cars out for the day and have a nice drive in the company of like-minded enthusiasts in the perfect setting—a setting such as the Tour d’Hamptons. Open to Brass cars, antique cars, cars of interest, exotics, luxury vehicles—any automobile that exudes the spirit of the road in all its glory—the Tour d’Hamptons also takes place on October 1, navigating a different course than the Road Rally and lasting about 40 minutes, offering drivers a shorter but no less thrilling ride through historic Hamptons roads. (As with the Road Rally, the Tour d’Hamptons drive is rain or shine, and all entrants are subject to approval by the Tour d’Hamptons Committee.)
This year, there will also be plenty happening for car enthusiasts off the road on the grounds of the Bridgehampton Museum during the Bridgehampton Road Rally & Tour d’Hamptons. All are invited to come enjoy this gathering of vintage and prestigious cars and bring back the spirit of Bridgehampton racing from days gone by.
EVENT DAY OCTOBER 1, 2016
The Drivers Breakfast
As drivers, supporters and spectators arrive at the grounds of the Bridgehampton Museum, participant registration is held in the Rally Clubhouse inside the Museum’s 19th-century Corwith House. Once registered, drivers, their guests and event sponsors enjoy the warm welcome of an elegant continental breakfast by Sonnier & Castle under the Main Tent, setting a festive tone for the day.
Bridgehampton Road Rally & Tour d’Hamptons Car Display
The beautiful line-up of cars that join the Bridgehampton Road Rally and Tour d’Hamptons do so not only to take on the course, but to be seen and savored by aficionados. Each entrant will be displayed in the staging area on the grounds of the Bridgehampton Museum prior to send-off, as drivers make final adjustments to their vehicles, swap secrets and savor the chance to show off their autos before hitting the road.
Upon crossing the finish line later in the day, each driver returns to the staging venue, where guests and participants alike can view and walk amidst the cars, mingle and share their mutual love of these special automobiles.
Road Rally Send–off
Drivers, start your engines! Cars will present on the Main Stage in front of adoring fans prior to setting off as the Master of Ceremonies provides details of each car’s provenance. This year’s Road Rally will include: a judged show (prizes to be awarded at the conclusion of the Rally); a parade around the 1949–1953 four-mile race loop before returning to the Corwith House grounds to line up for the start of the Rally; a historic trivia quest, with stops at historic sites along the route; and a special timed component.
The Rally Route will be approximately 60 miles and will include four stops to collect poker cards (the best hand upon everyone’s return wins a special prize) and stops at the historic trivia sites. The route should take about three hours to complete. This year there will also be a prize for the car that returns back to the Bridgehampton Museum closest to the official projected Rally time, as pre-determined by the Rally Coordinator. Teams must obey all traffic regulations while making allowances for lunch, “pit stops,” poker stops and trivia stops.
Tour D’Hamptons Send–off
Following the official Road Rally Send–off, cars participating in the inaugural Tour d’Hamptons will have their time in the spotlight. Motorists will drive their Tour car onto the Main Stage as the Master of Ceremonies shares the unique features of each auto with the audience. There will also be a judged show component to the Tour d’Hamptons, and spectators will be able to view the Tour d’Hamptons Send-off from underneath the Main Tent.
The Bridgehampton Road Rally & Tour d’Hamptons Invitational Showcase
The Hamptons’ most prestigious automobile gathering! Staged on the scenic lawn of the Bridgehampton Museum, this is a curated display of exquisite automobiles for all to see, a rare opportunity to speak with the owners and experience the history of these remarkable machines. This singular gathering of vintage and unique cars is by invitation only.
Main Tent Events
While drivers are out motoring the streets of the Hamptons, the Main Tent at the Bridgehampton Museum is a hub of activity, featuring:
Get an up-close view of the latest automobiles from Southampton Audi, BMW, Jeep, Porsche and Mini. Take a luxury test drive and get the feel behind the wheel of one of these incredible cars.
Dan’s Papers Literary Salon, Cars & Drivers
Everyone has a story of driving in the Hamptons—come hear some of the best at this Dan’s Papers Literary Salon curated specially for the occasion. Hear tales about the timeless tradition of taking to the open road on the East End featuring select entrants from the Dan’s Papers Literary Prize for Nonfiction: Joseph Antretter reads “Prius Envy,” Linda M. Davies reads “Sound Avenue,” Larry McCoy reads “Mapless in Suffolk,” Rafael Rodriguez reads “My First Car” and Dan’s Papers Founder Dan Rattiner reads “The Triumph Stories.”
Bridgehampton Museum Exhibit
Featuring a rare display, curated just for this special event, of historic photos of The Bridge on loan from Bob Rubin.
The Heritage Racing Group Video Exhibit
Step back in time with vintage video footage of racing days in the Hamptons gone by.
Live Music by Jim Turner
The Hamptons’ favorite easy-going guitar guy will entertain under the tent all day long.
Stage Interview and Book Signing with Gary Belsky
Former Editor in Chief of ESPN The Magazine and ESPN.com/Insider, The acclaimed author brings the history of stock car racing and other sports to life in discussing his New York Times Bestseller, On the Origins of Sports: The Early History and Original Rules of Everyone’s Favorite Games. A book signing will follow. (Book purchase required for signing. Books will be available for purchase onsite while supplies lasts.)
The Hospitality Lounge
Complimentary catered lite bites and beverages are offered throughout the afternoon to sponsors and VIP participants, while local purveyors such as Hampton Coffee will offer provisions for purchase to all spectators and guests.
Cocktail Reception and Awards Ceremony
Following an exhilarating afternoon on the road, drivers from the Road Rall and Tour d’Hamptons will be feted under the Main Tent at the Cocktail Reception and Awards Ceremony. This “Hamptons Tailgate–style” event will feature delectable passed hors d’oeuvres, and, of course, 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 the post-race celebration will conclude with the awarding of prizes in various categories.
Winner’s Circle VIP Experience
A new level of experience this year in both the Bridgehampton Road Rally and Tour d’Hamptons is the Winner’s Circle VIP Club. In addition to entry into either of these events for a driver and navigator, Winner’s Circle VIPs limited packages are available—receive an official event driving cap, limited edition event poster and VIP swag bag, and are invited to a private dinner where toasts will be raised and a world-class meal enjoyed while VIPs share stories of the road, enjoying the camaraderie of fellow drivers and noted guests from the day’s Main Tent activities. It’s the perfect one-of-kind cap to the uniquely Hamptons experience that is the Bridgehampton Road Rally & Tour d’Hamptons.
For more information on the Bridgehampton Road Rally & Tour d’Hamptons Presented by the Bridgehampton Museum and Dan’s Papers, and to enter yourself as a driver, visit BridgehamptonRally.com. Event is rain or shine on Saturday, October 1.