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The crowd of 8,000 which attended Saturday seemed not to mind slogging about over loose sand to find good viewing spots. A sharp, autumnal tang laced the crisp air. Overhead the sky was a clear, pale blue. Old 16, the venerable Locomobile which won the Vanderbilt Cup race in 1908, chugged across the starting line, parting an inaugural ribbon. Race No. 1 was a corker. Holbert, Wallace and Lake Underwood flicked their Porsche models about the course as quickly as anyone could want. Holbert, leading, spun and dropped to third, and Wallace thereupon caught Underwood to win the race at 85.37 mph. Underwood's average: 85.36. Bridgehampton's course was truly opened.
The weekend continued to be a slam-bang one. There were moments of exhilaration and there was a tragedy. On Saturday, Charles McAdams of Woodhaven, N.Y. flipped his Jaguar, suffered head injuries and died 48 hours later.
On Sunday, when an unexpectedly large gathering of 20,000 overran the plant, a substantial stockholder hiked two miles from a roadside parking spot to get in—no place to park inside.
Some of Saturday's chill had gone out of the air when Briggs Cunningham got things rolling on Sunday with a five-lap vintage car victory in his 8-liter 1930 Bentley touring car. Among the also-rans: Cartoonist Charles Addams, armed with a 1934 Alfa Romeo roadster. Rather more competitive wins were achieved by Tony Briggs ( Alfa Romeo Veloce), Harry Carter (AC Bristol), and Lake Underwood ( Porsche Carrera).
And then 37-year-old Walter Edwin Hansgen, who had driven his first race on Bridgehampton's old open-road circuit in 1951, delivered one of his finest performances in the big-bore main event. He won from here to Peconic Bay, followed by his teammate Wallace, Hill, Holbert, Fitch and Kessler. Average: 85.83 mph.
Hansgen handed his helmet to his 10-year-old son Rusty and shrugged when a wide-eyed teen-age girl gasped, "Weren't you scared?"
This is to report that Hansgen was not scared, but he did have a bad time with the D Jaguar's seat, which kept sliding forward and back as he drove.