With the passage of time, Bridgehampton Race Circuit looks more and more like any one of our innumerable lost raceways—just another 2.85 miles of roadway laid down in America's postwar racing boom before fading into obscurity.
But anyone who was there, either as a driver or a spectator, would tell you Bridgehampton was special. Located in The Hamptons, Mario Andretti reportedly said the difficult circuit separated the men from the boys. Dan Gurney remembered the time he spent at "the Bridge" as fondly as he did his experiences at Goodwood or LeMans. Autoweek's own Leon Mandel once said that "the Can-Am days at Bridgehampton were as wonderful as that wonderful series got at any track in the land."
Shot during SCCA national championship races during the circuit's inaugural year of 1957, the above documentary features onboard film in Daniel F. Stanfill III's 1954 Austin Healey 100.There are enough dramatic elevation changes, corners hemmed in by dunes and overtaking maneuvers to keep the film interesting—as if the overload of vintage Jags, Porsches, Austins and Corvettes wasn't enough on its own. Even better, it's in color, giving us an even better sense of the drama of the blue sky, black tarmac and blowing yellow sands.
One-of-a-kind footage, indeed. By the time Bridgehampton closed in 1998—yet another victim of land appreciation and neighbors with sensitive ears—its best days were already long behind it. It's a swanky golf course now, but this film is a stirring look at its faster days, when sand dunes were safety barriers.