America’s love story with the automobile began in Bridgehampton. This hamlet was the home of a U.S. motoring tradition that would come to enjoy an illustrious history long before Detroit or Indianapolis or Daytona. The early 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 2017, the Bridgehampton Museum and Dan’s Papers will once again 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 Columbus Day Weekend on Saturday, October 7.
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 7, 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, making stops along the way as drivers immerse themselves in the history surrounding them. 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 may 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, regardless of its age—the Tour d’Hamptons also takes place on October 7, 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. The public is invited to come enjoy this gathering of vintage and prestigious cars and bring back the spirit of Bridgehampton racing from days gone by. Gates open to the public at 10 a.m., free of charge.
Event Day October 7, 2017
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 under the Main Tent, setting the festive tone for the day.
Bridgehampton Road Rally & Tour d’Hamptons Car Display
The beautiful lineup 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, 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 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 Tour d’Hamptons get 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.
The Bridgehampton Road Rally & Tour d’Hamptons 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. Own a great car you’d like to show the world? Sign up and come join us!
Main Tent Events
While drivers are out motoring the streets of the Hamptons, the Main Tent at the Bridgehampton Museum will be a hub of activity—free and open to the public—featuring talks by automobile aficionados, book signings, and a specially curated exhibit on the History of Auto Racing in Bridgehampton—including rare artifacts and memorabilia from Bridgehampton’s storied auto racing past. There will also be live music, food and drink, autos on display and other free events.
Cocktail Reception and Awards Ceremony
Following an exhilarating afternoon on the road, drivers from the Road Rally 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 with 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.
For more information on the Bridgehampton Road Rally & Tour d’Hamptons Presented by the Bridgehampton Museum and Dan’s Papers, and to enter the Bridgehampton Road Rally or Tour d’Hamptons, visit BridgehamptonRally.com. Entry fee per car (driver and navigator) for the 2017 Bridgehampton Road Rally is $125; for the Tour d’Hamptons, $75. Entry for show cars only is free—space is limited. Event is rain or shine on Saturday, October 7 at the Bridgehampton Museum, 2368 Montauk Highway, Bridgehampton. See you there!