Thursday, December 13, 2012

Road Racing in Cuba - 1958

For most Americans Cuba has been an off-limits island for their entire lives. What the under-thirty crowd knows about the island nation is largely based on a vibrant immigrant community, newscasts and the occasional diplomatic spat. Prior to the American embargo, Cuba was the destination of choice for Americans looking for sun and surf.

Prior to the rebellion led by Fidel Castro, Cuba hosted road races on the streets of Havana where the local population got a look at some of the exotic racing machinery from Europe. Like all street races at the time, safety came in the form of haybales placed around the course and crowd control was rudimentary at best. 

In 1958, just a few months away from Castro's triumphant arrival in Havana, the second of a total of just three races over four years took place. Stirling Moss won the 1958 race with the 1957 winner, Juan Manuel Fangio, unable to participate due to the inconvenience of being kidnapped by rebel forces. He was released just prior to the start of the race but had to sit out, embarrassing the Fulgencio Batista regime.

The folks over at the Retronaut web site posted a number of photos from the event and they certainly capture a lost time. The color photos of the cars, the stars, the spectators and the course convey the glamor of the race. The sharp-eyed observer will see an MGA in race trim and a D-Type Jaguar lined up for the start. Ferrari-driving, overall-wearing Carroll Shelby is in the series, too - see if you can spot him.  

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment