Bridgehampton Street Races Were Historic

Bridgehampton Road Rally
Bruce Stevenson in an early race.

Southampton Town is receiving a historical marker for the Bridgehampton automobile races to be placed along Montauk Highway.

There will be a dedication ceremony Friday, December 20, at noon, at 2415 Montauk Highway to recognize the historical significance of the Bridgehampton Fire Department’s annual carnival and motor races, which was Southampton’s first organized street racing at the turn of the 20th Century.

The town’s historic division of the town clerk’s office received funding for the historical marker from the William G. Pomeroy Foundation Historic Roadside Marker Grant Program. The foundation believes historic markers play an important role in local historic preservation by commemorating significant historic people, places, and things from 1740 to 1920.

On the heels of the 1904 Vanderbilt Cup Races, the Bridgehampton Fire Department’s carnival, held annually dating back to 1911, began holding automobile and motorcycle races in 1914. At the close of the carnival, two automobile races 35 miles long were held for 30-horsepower cars. Both wealthy sportsmen and local young men took part. The races began on Main Street and followed a course around Bridgehampton and through the scenic farmland.

“Those races ran laps over a rectangular course that included Main Street, Halsey Lane, Paul’s Lane, and Ocean Avenue,” reads the website

“Homemade and modified cars piloted by local drivers like John Ambrose, Moosie Thompson, Court Rodgers and Norris Hopping put pressure on visiting racers as they reached speeds of up to 50 miles per hour. These early races continued through 1921.”

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