Safari News

Bridgehampton is a Success Story

by | Oct 16, 2017

Bridgehampton, NY – You’ve got to give these guys credit. Despite a first year event drenched by a late October deluge, the combined efforts of Dan’s Papers and the Bridgehampton Museum came up to bat again, with this year’s Bridgehampton Road Rally and Tour D’Hamptons.

Of course, it was a fantastic event.

The weather overcompensated for last year, with a delightful, dry day of sun, and the cream of the Hamptons’s classic car crop came out to celebrate a long and storied history of racing in Bridgehampton. Car Show Safari was once again honored to be one of the show’s sponsors. Our very own Motorsports Editor, Bob Marlow, was the event’s announcer, introducing the cars and their drivers, as they rode onto the stand and then out to the streets. 

Racing is not new to Bridgehampton. It can be traced back to “street” racing between 1915 and 1921, as sports cars of the era kicked up dirt past corn fields and thick brush. From 1949 to 1953, race fans descended on the town in the tens of thousands, to watch street racers reach and beat over 100 miles per hour. In 1953, street racing was outlawed in New York state, inspiring the establishment of the Bridgehampton Racing Circuit.

The Bridgehampton Racing was one of the first permanent racing venues in the country, emerging around the time of Watkins Glen International, Lime Rock Park and Laguna Seca Raceway. For decades, it would play host to a myriad international, high level competitive racing, including The World Sportscar Championship, Can-Am and NASCAR Grand National.

Eventually, the larger events petered out, turning the once feared and respected Bridgehampton Racing Circuit into a beloved local track, hosting weekly events up until 1998, when the track shut down for good. And so, on this beautiful October day, nearly twenty years later, the Bridgehampton Road Rally and Tour D’Hamptons had quite the legacy to live up to.

And it succeeded. In this latest iteration of racing, with Dan’s Papers and the Bridgehampton Museum at the helm, the rally was only in its second year, and let me say that we often underestimate the importance of a second year car show.

But Dan’s Papers the Bridgehampton Museum did not.

Not only did they properly sacrifice to the weather gods this year, (car show producers, take note,) but they actually paid attention to last year’s events and learned from them. They moved the rally cars down to the main field, so as to properly highlight them before the event began and after the cars returned. They rigged up a far superior sound system, so Announcer Bob could properly introduce the cars, as they rolled into the foreground. They hired good, interesting musicians that kept those of us left behind interested, even when all but three of the cars missed a checkpoint and ended up hanging out together about half a mile down the road from where they were supposed to be.

The production, care and attention that the team at Dan’s Papers and the Bridgehampton Museum put into this year’s show speaks to a successful legacy event that will continue to improve year after year. Sure, there are things they can do differently. Our team suggested a lot of cars that remain on the field, keeping the car spirit alive even while the racers are out on the road. They were receptive and excited and ready to chat about the improvements they could make for year three. Because not only will there be a year three, but I anticipate there being a year 33, if the show continues to evolve and grow as it has in just one year alone. 

Because just putting on a good show isn’t enough. If the history of Bridgehampton racing tells us anything, it’s that the times will change. Racing will change. Cars will change. Laws will change. Do you hang up your helmet and park your car in the garage? Hell no. You pull your seatbelt just a little bit tighter and see how fast you can make it on the next go around. Where The Bridgehampton Road Rally and Tour D’Hamptons, a car show mired in classic history and racing, is concerned, the next lap is sure to be even better than the last. We can’t wait to see it. 

Images by Tomm and Ruby Scalera – Check out our full pictorial HERE!