Photo of the Week
FROM THE SCHS LIBRARY ARCHIVES
“How shall we know it is us without our past?”
– John Steinbeck
Bridgehampton Sports Car Road Races, 1952
by Wendy Polhemus-Annibell, Head Librarian
Bridgehampton Sports Car Road Races, Program Cover Page, May 24, 1952. (From the Collection of the Suffolk County Historical Society Library Archives. Image copyright © Suffolk County Historical Society. All rights reserved.)
The original Bridgehampton Sports Car Road Races were held on the streets of Bridgehampton as early as 1915. According to the 1952 program in our library collection, the original three-mile route “started in front of Motta’s Restaurant on Montauk Highway, going west to Shanahan’s corner, then south down Halsey Lane on a fast run to Paul’s Lane, east to Ocean Road, north to the monument in the village, and west down the highway to the finish.” The 1952 event, sponsored by the Bridgehampton Lions Club under the auspices of the Sports Car Club of America (SCCA), included several races of sports cars with similar engine sizes and performance ratings.
In 1953, a community group of racers and enthusiasts formed the Bridgehampton Road Races Corporation to buy land for a private track. The group settled on a 550-acre plot overlooking Noyac Bay and bought the site for $55,000. When the 2.86-mile track was opened in 1957, it was an immediate success. Fans enjoyed the Bridgehampton Race Circuit – commonly referred to as “The Bridge” – over the next several decades, flocking to see famed racers who came from all over to compete at one of the country’s most challenging race courses. The last race held at the track occurred in the 1970s, and in the late 1990s the track was dismantled for a golf course and housing development project.