Legends of Riverside is Right Around the Corner

Speaking of Riverside, the 2nd Legends of Riverside event is only just over a month away. This year’s event and gala dinner honors Carroll Shelby. I watched with quite a bit of interest the coverage of last year’s Legends. I thought it interesting to see how a vintage racing event would fare without the benefit of an actual race, or without proximity to Monterrey or some other high-visibility vintage weekend. I do like their film-festival-meets-academic-conference approach—it’s the very kind of thing we do here—and hoped that it would be a success.

Now that they’re following it up with a second event, I think the verdict on the concept is in. I must admit that that a large part of the appeal for me was the film festival. As someone substantially younger than the events and cars that we’re so obsessed with, historic film has been my only full-sensory exposure to the racing of the era. Sure, I’ve read a lot of old racing books, and heaven knows i’ve spent a lot of time looking at photos of old racecars, but the full experience has best been displayed to me through film. Even attending vintage race weekends, which is invaluable and does so much to showcase these incredible machines, doesn’t convey the era in full (I suspect that Goodwood is the exception here). These films have long been our conduit to the races, drivers, and machines as they were; to a time when drivers didn’t think twice about banging the doors of their Gullwing through the turns, or happily risked spinning their GTO or 550 in a tight battle. Few drivers are willing to take these levels of risk today (and I applaud those who are). So I’m glad the film portion of the Legends of Riverside event remains prominent this year; filled with old favorites (LeMans, Winning), and less-seen productions (Sound of Speed, Formula One Comparo).

Of course, the opportunity to meet with legendary drivers is the big draw for the event, and with invited drivers as Dan Gurney, Bob Bondurant, Vic Elford, Jim Hall, Brian Redman, and David Hobbs (I’ve seen Hobbs speak before, and his stories are absolutely hilarious), it’s sure to be a weekend of excellent tales. The ticket price may seem steep, but with all the events, meals, opportunities to mingle with both fellow racecar geeks and drivers, and the donations made to charity by the event, it seems like money well spent to me.

More info and tickets at the Legends of Riverside site.

3 responses to “Legends of Riverside is Right Around the Corner”

  1. Jon says:

    We can’t time travel back to the 1950s, but I went to the Monterey Historics last year and the pit area alone was better than any car show I’ve been to. Also Coronado in San Diego is fantastic. Vintage racing is an incredible blend of history, style and sport.

    So, I hear what you’re saying, but I’d much rather see, hear and smell the cars than listen to speeches from the drivers of the time. That said, now that I own a 1950s Porsche (for touring, not racing… yet), I’d love to go for a couple of laps with one of these guys… THAT would be a legendary event.

  2. Harlo says:

    I absolutely agree, Jon. I much prefer actually attending a vintage race weekend to watching a movie.. The point I was trying to make was that even the amazing vintage race weekends only go so far towards showing us the glory of racing’s past..

    But I agree, there’s no substitute for the sights, sounds, and emotion of an actual race.

  3. DOUG STOKES says:

    There’s really no substitiute for BOTH … The machines are wonderful and feeling them run is a real treat.

    However (heard that coming, right?)

    Hanging out with the really people who ran them … Jerry Grant telling stories about the Targa and the Ford PR guys who followed the Cobras around in practice to pay off the shepherds when the race cars took out their sheep … “At 20 bucks apiece they were running them across the road every time we came by …” or any of a thousand little personal stories that we heard, not from the stage in a speech or a forum … but personally, sitting across from the guy (or gal like Paula Murphy or Linda Vaughn) who was there.

    The cars will go on, the heros and legends who made them go won’t alwasy be here … It was (and will be again this year) a weekend to be savored.

    Doug Stokes

    (Stokes is the Public Relations guy and organizer for the Riverside event)

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