Unseen Film of Riverside ’57 – A Chicane Exclusive!

Although it’s been quite some time since our profile of Torrey Pines for our Lost Tracks series, that post has had some interesting action in the past few weeks when I was contacted by a reader with Torrey Pines stories to share. John McClure was a member of the San Diego Jr. Chamber of Commerce and sports car fan and driver. His association with the Chamber put him in a position to combine his passions as part of the team that developed the Torrey Pines Race Course. Thankfully, John also carried a camera around with him for races up and down the West Coast. John has very kindly sent a DVD of his 1950s West Coast racing films to be featured on the Chicane. This is the first installment of this footage from many of the West Coast racetracks.

This film is from the inaugural race at Riverside International Motor Raceway on September 21-22, 1957. There’s a lot of great clips here. Some amazing racing machines, including well known West Coast specials. It’s a 1950s race, of course, which means that there are a few dramatic crashes. The spectators just pile on to the track and right the car. Just another reminder of how very close and immediate the action, and danger, was at those events. Which allows for some wonderfully close camera work. Thanks again, John, for letting us share this footage with vintage racing fans. It is outstanding.

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that The Chicane Shop is currently offering a t-shirt commemorating this very race. Check it out here.

Update: Commenters at Ferrari Chat and The Nostalgia Forum have been spotting some details in the footage. Among them, that some of these shots are actually from the November ’57 Palm Springs race (oops!). There’s particular interest in the D-Type/Troutman-Barnes duel of Pete Woods & Chuck Daigh, both of whom retired allowing Richie Ginther to claim his first victory in John Edgar’s Ferrari (Woods’ D-Type was the marvelous example featured at last month’s Scottsdale Auction).

If this footage is stirring up any additional observations, insights, a story, if you spot a favorite driver… please share in the comments.