Click on the blue-framed pictures for a larger image. Click the button to the right to return to the racing index page.
Racing at Thompson - II
The photos in this first section, and all the verbiage printed like this were supplied by Duncan Johnson, who is a major contributor to this site. They show 1958-1961.
and I think this has to be the 1958 season. The slide has a processing
date of 2/59. All the cars have roll bars (that started in 1958) and the
picture is shot from so close to the apex of turn 1 that the extra-cost
grandstand was not in place yet. (I would never pay extra to get into a
grandstand.) I can't find a program that identifies the drivers."
View the larger version of this (click on the image above) and you'll see clearly that some of these cars are wearing their license plates. Number 53 appears to be from New York, while number 142 looks like it has a Connecticut plate. "Race on Sunday, drive on Monday".
|"Slide is undated, but I think this is Labor Day 1959 with Paul Richards in the lead of the F-3 race. Can anyone else do better? Why would there be such a huge pack of F-3 cars except for the national championship weekend?"|
|"Labor Day 1959. This
shows Ralph Troiano flipping his Alfa-Romeo in Turn 1. He wasn't hurt and
scrambled to safety among the corner workers. The race continued with a
steady yellow flag at this corner only; no "full course yellow" in those
days, but nobody else hit the disabled car. Note the general lack of
reaction among the spectators as the crash starts, but the flagman is
already dropping his green flag and starting to wave the yellow. The tow
truck would be a classic nowadays."
You can see Ralph standing with the corner workers in the center photo.
|"Labor Day 1960 Turn 12. #0 Alfa Veloce is John Kingsley, other Alfa unidentified."||
"Labor Day 1960, heading into turn 3. #4 Lotus XI David Fenton, #18 OSCA
I don't think there's a prettier car than those little 750cc OSCAs. The engine in Gordon's car is pictured here.
|"Labor Day 1960, coming out of turn 2, heading to turn 3. #4 Lotus XI David Fenton, #18 OSCA Gordon Heald. This wasn't an official spectator area, but we enterprising teenagers would walk along the outside-the-track fence through the swamp off the end of the Turn 1 escape road and pop up here. The view was great, and the public never really discovered this area."||"Labor Day 1960, Start of the big production race, heading for turn 1. #39 Corvette (Richard Jalbert) in lead. Ferrari 250-GT in the pack, then all the Porsche Carreras. Note the starter standing between the course and the pits; times have changed."|
|"Labor Day 1960, turn 12. Corvette #40 is Bob Johnson. Ferrari 250-GT unidentified."||
"Labor Day 1960, looking into turn 12. Stutz Plaisted in Cooper #51 (I
think it's a Formula-II car, running in the SCCA Unrestricted class.)"
That's how I remember it also.
|"October 1960, the hairpin. #96 Elva Courier, Herbert Klay; #77 Elva, Stan Sherman; #44 Elva (?) unidentified; #12 MG-A, Don Hampton."||"Turn
12 in 1961; can't identify any drivers. Does any other spectator at that
corner remember eating free potato salad that day? Some teenager's
girlfriend was a "candy-striper" volunteer at a local hospital and she
brought a huge tub of potato salad to the races; it had been leftover from
some hospital fund-raiser function and she was serving it to anyone on the
hillside who was hungry. Another aspect of improved race safety: we
weren't too concerned about food poisoning from leftover potato salad in
the Olden Days."
So, do Alfas understeer or oversteer? Nice picture!
We recently received several rolls of negatives of races at Thompson, Lime Rock, and at least one other venue. These were tightly rolled in metal 35mm film cans (remember the metal yellow & red Kodak cans?) that probably hadn't been opened in 45 years or more. Because of their age and condition, special care is needed in laying them flat and scanning them - in other words, it takes a while.
We also have only basic information regarding the dates but the photos probably date from mid to late 1955 based on information from Dave Belden. Rather than wait until I have enough info for intelligent captions, I'll put the photos up as they are completed and caption them later. If anyone can identify cars, drivers, events, etc., please jump in any time. Thanks. ( I believe these are from Joel Blatt, so maybe he can help.) Thanks to Dave Beldon and Daniel Rapley for their help so far.
|Bandini & Nardi Danese
(probably with Frank Dominiani driving).
[Thanks to Daniel Rapley for info on the Nardi]
|Lotus & Bandini. The Lotus was a Mk IX, raced by Len Bastrup and currently owned by Dave Belden. Dave dates these photos as mid to late 1955 since the Lotus was shipped from England in late May of that year. It was then painted by 1956.|
|Interesting Abarth 207A Spider (#112) - probably John Bentley, the car book publisher from Cambridge. (What is number 43?)||Candy Poole's PBX|
|Stew Rutherford's #36 Allard with an F3 trailing. [ID thanks to John Rutherford's sharp eyes]||Jack Meyer's special in one of its guises. Pontiac powered. Fast.|