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The First Brighton Beach 24 Hour Race

Because this country had no roads comparable to those in Europe and the UK, auto racing here began on dirt horse tracks. One of the early racing objectives was to cover 1000 miles within 24 hours. In August 1904 Packard designer Charles Schmitt drove a 24 h.p. model 1000 miles in 25 hours and 50 minutes.

In June of 1907 S.F. Edge set sensational figures at the new Brooklands track driving a 60 h.p. Napier. Edge was able to drive 1581 miles in 24 hours at 65 mph.

In this country the early Morris Park and Brighton Beach 24 hour “Grinds” in 1907 cap-tured the motor enthusiasts interest. The first event was won by Montague Roberts who was driving his 4-60 Thomas that we looked at earlier in a wonderful set of photos. Many of the cars that were entered in these early events were imported and only three of the cars in the photos on this post have been identified. The air-cooled Frayer-Miller above, which was driven by F. Lawell and W. Knepper and went out at 7 hours after covering 269 miles. The car below in the second thumbnail according to Helck is a Delauney which was driven by Mongini and Louis Strang and the forth car is an Oldsmobile that also did not finish. Photos from the Peter Helck Collection Courtesy of Racemaker Press.


5 responses to “The First Brighton Beach 24 Hour Race

  1. I’m really enjoying these excellent Helck and Roe photographs.

    The auto in the first thumbnail could be the Lozier driven by Harry Michener and Ralph Mulford. According to newspaper reports Mongini and Strang drove a Delahaye not a Delauney. The third car looks to be the Thomas of Montague Roberts and William McIlvrid while the Olds was driven by Steurwald and Anderson. It seems Strang and Anderson were doing double duty, entering a Pillain that ultimately went out after 9 hours. However, on the last day of competition Strang finished 2nd in a 10 Mile race in the now repaired Pillain. Michener and McIlvrid also entered in a 100 Mile race. I wonder if these three drivers ever got any sleep.

  2. Thank you for the wonderful photos from the 1907 Brighton Beach 24 hour race. My grandfather, Charles Rifenberg, raced in that event with James Ryall. They drove for 17 hours and were forced to withdraw. (Ryall was driving with a broken leg in a cast). The car they drove was a Matheson. I have a few photos of them in the car at the start of the race. I would be happy to share them with you, and I’m eager to find other photos of the race. My grandfather also raced in the Morris Park (Empire City) 24 hour race that same year.

    • For Frank Rifenberg — My grandfather was James Ryall, who according to your msg drove the 1907 race with his leg in a cast. Would be interested in any other information you might have. Thanks,

      Alan Ryall

      • Alan,

        Sorry, I just saw this message!! (3/25/17). My grandfather, Charles Rifenberg, was the riding mechanic with your grandfather in the 1907 Brighton Beach 24 hr. I have a few photos of them together if you are interested in them, let me know.

        Frank Rifenberg

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