JPG: RIR Logo jacket patch

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- 8 -  Notes roughly coordinated with Tam McPartland's Old Race Car site  - 8 -


Turn Two: There was a gold XKE entered in the SCCA Runoffs, 1964. I had worked some of everything from registration to tech inspection (a Canadian Mini-Cooper with a roll bar made of black iron pipe appealed my rejection and was allowed to race!) and emergency, since I was able to take time off and help out on Wednesday through Friday.

On Saturday I took the day off and watched races with my brother. At the start of the XKE race we were outside Turn Two and saw a mix-up that startled me: traffic bunched up and blocked the track, and the gold E-Type came along too fast, began spinning to the outside, then over-corrected and headed toward the considerable hill at the inside of the turn.

He managed to stay upright as he went up the hill and through the flag station. The flagmen had to go down the bluff to the edge of the track to avoid him! It wasn't over, though: now he came down the bluff and landed nose down in the dirt at the edge of the track, the car buckled in the middle and (more or less) 60 degrees off horizontal.

I had always thought the Turn Two station, fifteen feet or more above the track, was one of the safest at Riverside. Shows what I knew. This may have been the last event I worked as a flagman.

Turn Seven—exit: The flagmen's location was perfect for one of the most sensual experiences available at a Times Grand Prix race: those 12-cylinder Ferraris' quad exhaust pipes were pointed right there. When the cars accelerated up toward Turn Eight, it was a visual, sonic, and chest-pounding delight. I have a couple of pictures taken from there. They are OK, but nothing short of being there could transfer the experience.

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There was a bridge across the straight, located approximately opposite Turn Two, quite a little north of the Turn One tunnel and connected to it by pavement. It had the form of a box open at the ends with partially closed sides and top. The bottom was 4x8 or 4x10 planks, the frame, steel. It sat atop a small hill that had apparently been built up and then cut. Michael T. Lynch's book has a picture of some very early activity at RIR, showing the bridge area was as flat as the track straightaway. That book is wonderful, a must for anyone with an interest in 50s sports car racing in California.

Click here to see a 1970s picture of one end of the bridge.

There was a ladder built-in to the north, uptrack side of the bridge. A platform at the top allowed comfortable but brief periods of viewing (before Course Security showed up going on about insurance and so forth).

During the era of high-wing CanAm cars it was an esoteric treat to scale that ladder and stand above while the big cars were passing underneath at near their top speeds. If public claims and the performance of the cars didn't convince you there is such a thing as aerodynamic downforce, one visit at that time and place, would. When one of those big honkers went by down there the bridge lifted by an inch or two, then settled back down. The first time it happened it was startling. The second time, awe-inspiring.

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