SI Vault
It Was a Really Bad Trip
Neil R. Stout
November 26, 1973
At 3:45 a.m. on Sunday, May 24, 1903 a bomb went off amidst 200,000 people gathered at Versailles, just outside Paris. It signaled the beginning of an automobile race, not a revolution, but the results were similar. Before the day was over, eight persons had been killed, many more badly hurt, and wreckage strewed the road from Paris to Bordeaux. The French government went into emergency session, followed by that of Spain. Almost incidentally, the surviving cars set new speed records and inaugurated modern auto racing.
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November 26, 1973

It Was A Really Bad Trip

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There was really little danger that auto racing would be prohibited, for by 1903 the prestige of too many manufacturers and too much national pride were involved. Besides, within a short time the public was, to say the least, quite used to deaths among automobile race drivers and spectators.

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