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.

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.