It was my father’s idea to take me to my first sports-car race. A group of Bridgehampton, Long Island businessmen had organized races for foreign sports cars on the public roads south of town. The 4 mile, roughly rectangular course enclosed the golf club, ran past stately homes, over bridges and around potato and cornfields. The races were held in June, starting in 1949, and the whole town pitched in selling hot dogs, programs and parking places on the front lawns.
Slender men in English clothes carried heavy leather helmets, while lovely women in plaid skirts and camelhair coats sat on picnic blankets with wicker baskets that had been unloaded, along with the spare tire, jack and other nonessentials, from cars that were about to go into combat.
The drivers didn’t look like the burly sports heroes my school friends emulated. They looked like me-or at least the way I wanted to look if only I would grow a little. I guessed that to be a race driver, you needed to be brave, a daredevil, which was my own adolescent self-image. It required some knowledge of cars and engines, which I didn’t have, but I knew I could learn. This was something I might be able to do-and do well.
On the drive home, we passed restaurants and hotels with sports cars out front, some still with their race numbers on the sides. Inside, I pictured those streamlined drivers with their golden-haired women, having a wonderful party.
“This is the perfect life,” I thought. Beautiful cars, beautiful people.
It was a new summer romance. And the beginning of a life-long love affair.
This significant excerpt was culled from the writing of a great driver, definitive gentlemen and a friend to all whom were lucky enough to have been graced with his presence and kindness.
If this small sampling of his motorsports wisdom touched you, if you relate to this youthful experience, well then, he will always be here, in our memories and serve as but a small tribute to this special sportsman..
NEVER FORGET-BOB AKIN
I’ll race with you on the other side of anywhere, my friend
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