Lost Track: The Bridge

In the first of what I hope to make a long series here on the Chicane, let’s take a look at the sadly defunct track at Bridgehampton.

I’ve recently been plowing through the marvelous Last Open Road series of books by B.S. Levy. The series follows a young small-town auto mechanic as he throws himself headlong into the burgeoning sportscar racing scene of the early 1950s. We get to see through Buddy’s eyes the first race he attends at the street course in Bridgehampton, NY.

Bridgehampton hosted auto races on its streets since 1915. Following a fatal crash at Watkin’s Glen in 1952, the state of New York put a quick end to street racing on state highways. A group of enthusiasts, however, came together in 1953 and purchased a 550 acre plot of land that would ultimately house the 13 turn, 2.85 mile course.

A parcel of land that is now a golf course.

Bridgehampton Race Map overlayHere’s a Google maps screen grab of the current golf course with the track map laid over it; they’ve actually preserved a few turns and part of the main straight. Here are some photos of the site as it exists today. Follow that link to see some shots of the main straight, the blind 1st turn, and the Chevron bridge over the track. At least they didn’t make the whole thing a damn putting green.

Photos of the track in it’s heyday abound online, here are just a few:
Alfa discussion forum member Lowmileage collected a few in this thread.
Here’s a set on fotki. (lots of Can-Am era shots here).
Here’s pbraun’s set on Flickr.

On the bright side, there was some effort to maintain the track as late as 1999, as this New York Times article points out. It’s a good read for a quick introduction to the track and some of the legal wrangling that happens when people move to a neighborhood that has a long-established race track and then decide that race tracks are too loud.

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