CIRCUITS: BRIDGEHAMPTON

Name: Bridgehampton

There has been racing in the Bridgehampton area since the very early days of the sport with the eastern end of Long Island having hosted the Vanderbilt Cup on a four-mile road course which included a long section along Ocean Road. In the early 1950s, however, an accident at Watkins Glen resulted in a New York State ban on racing on public roads. As a result the local authorities in Bridgehampton began to look for a permanent facility. The annual races were held in 1955 on the Westhampton Air Force base but by then an area of land near near Sag Harbor had been acquired and work began on a permanent racing circuit. The 2.85-mile course weaved its way through the sand dunes, climbing up and down and offering a very real challenge to the drivers, while the spectators enjoyed not only the racing but a panoramic view across picturesque Peconic Bay as well.

Despite its popularity it struggled to survive, fighting constant resistance from local residents who were able to restrict the development of the facilities. Eventually the track ran into financial difficulties and in 1981 it was bought by an organization called The Friends of Bridgehampton but once again the local residents maintained pressure and development was curtailed. As a result a new organization called The Bridgehampton Racing Heritage Group took over to continue their efforts to save the popular little facility.

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