Unseen Racing Footage: Santa Ana Road Races, El Salvador, April 1959

Like our last look at the racing community of El Salvador, this footage from the Santa Ana races just stopped me in my tracks. We often see photographs of races with little barrier between the on-track action and the off-track spectators but this footage really demonstrates how very precarious the situation really was. It must have been incredibly nerve racking as a driver (particularly during the LeMans style starts shown here). It must have been spectacularly thrilling as a spectator, with those “lucky” few in the front rows equally stepping closer to the action and pushing back against the crowds behind that threatened to nudge you onto the track. The adrenaline must really have been coursing through the veins of these race fans.

Again, many thanks to George Kehler for providing this footage, shot by Dr. Carlos Alvarez when he was just a young teenager. Keep a sharp eye peeled for Pedro Rodriguez in the red green #24 Austin-Healey 100M (he DNFed with ignition problems). Ricardo was also in the race in an OSCA. The day was won by Mauricio Miranda in the #42 Jaguar D-type with 2nd going to Manfredo Schmid in the Mercedes-Benz.

Keep on digging those film cans out of the attics, people. We’d love to share them with readers.

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