Region News

September-October

Several years ago Sports Car magazine (the official publication of the SCCA) ran a several issue story on Ghost tracks in the US of A. I thought it was a great series of articles and enjoyed seeing the then and now shots of the tracks. I mention this because earlier this year Linda and I had an occasion to be out in Bridgehampton, Long Island. Unfortunately it was not a happy occasion as we were out there to attend the wake of a friend. After the wake I took Linda on a drive to look for the remains of the Bridgehampton race track. It had been a long time since the last time I raced there (1984) so it took me a while to get my bearings straight and find the turnoff on route 27 that takes you to the old entrance. We eventually found the turnoff and the old entrance roadway. It was blocked and over grown with brush. So we continued down Millstone road till we came upon the old access road that was used to get to flag station 4. Much to our surprise the gate there was open. There were the usual warning signs about trespassing and fines and penalties which we promptly ignored and drove on in. Most everyone knows that they built a golf course right over the top of the track and that almost all of the original track surface still exist. The back entrance brought us out onto the track at the bottom of the downhill just at the entrance to turn four. As we looked to the left, we could still make out Millstone straight as it led down towards Echo Valley. We drove up the hill through turns three and two and under the famous “Bridge” and onto the main straight. It brought back lots of wonderful memories of the many times I raced there. The first time I ran there was on a Friday test day in May of 1975. I was running my G Prod Spitfire. I made it through two sessions before I blew the rear end. I packed up the car and drove back to New Jersey, changed the rear and drove back out Saturday morning for the race weekend.

Bridgehampton was a great old track. It had massive elevation changes, blind corners, the “light bulb” and of course “the downhill”. It was midway through my first season of racing before I could take the downhill without lifting. It had a blind entrance and you had to commit to your line without seeing it. There were half buried tires down the inside of the turns two and three that you had to avoid and of course the sand on the outer edge of the track. It was frightening in my Spitfire, I can’t begin to imagine what it must have been like in a 700hp McLaren Can Am car!

The Bridge held many famous races over the years. Everything from the original Road Race of Champions in the mid sixties to the original Can Am and Tran Am series. Early on it became the home of the Vanderbuilt Cup races when they banned racing on the open roads of Long Island.

Looking Up towards the famous “Bridge” at Bridgehampton race track as it looks today.

I guess I was thinking about race tracks as we had a lively discussion about race tracks at our recent board meeting. Over the next several years there are going to be at least five new tracks opening with in several hours drive of Northern New Jersey. Several of these are already under construction. Alpine Raceway in northeastern PA is under construction. It will be a club track that may be open to the SCCA in the not too distant future. Also in PA down near Philly they are set to build Liberty Bell. We have been told that Beaver Run is now under new ownership and that the new owners plan to expand Beaver to the original 3 plus mile design by 2014. In New York state, just outside Syracuse the Adirondack Race track is on its way and should be ready for 2013. New England has received all the clearances to begin building the Palmer circuit which will be located by Sturbridge Mass. This one may still be a few years off as they still don’t have complete funding to complete the project. Last of all, the old Thompson Speedway in Northeastern Conn is planning on rebuilding the original road course that utilized the stock car oval and road racing circuit that ran out into the woods that closed down back in the late seventies. I’m looking forward to this one as I never got the chance to run there back then. There will be a members meeting in September 19th at Tiff’s in Morristown. Food, beer and wine included in the cover charge Round 8 of the Pro IT Series will take place at Watkins Glen on October 7th. The Jersey Road Racing Classic or Jerk as it’s commonly referred too, is coming up in October 20-21. This year it will be held at the Thunderbolt circuit in Millville. September 29, Solo at the Meadowlands in New Jersey.