Brighton Beach - August 1909

These articles recount the 24 hour race that took place at Brighton Beach August 27-28 1909. The troubled event, won by Charles Basle in a Renault, was overshadowed by accidents, two of which were spectacular with one involving two fatalities.
The two deaths were to the driver and riding mechanic of the Stearns entry - Laurent Grosse and Leonard or Louis Cole. Cole, the mechanic, was killed instantly and Grosse, a 27-year-old veteran driver who had been racing in the Northeast at least since 1903 passed away after an emergency operation. Cole's first name is reported differently by different sources, Louis or Leonard.
The race occured just days after the tragic first auto races at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. These races involved five fatalities including one driver, two riding mechanics and two spectators. The names of the men killed at Indianapolis appear below:

Race officials tried to spin a story (see the Indianapolis News story in attachment BrightonNews082609) that they had altered the track as a precaution against the kind of accidents that had taken place at Indianapolis but this stretches credulity as it hardly seems plausible they could have conducted any kind of analysis of the circumstances of those incidents and taken meaningful action in a matter of days. More likely they were concerned about a backlash against the sport especially since the promoters had only leased the former horse track a month earlier and in that time made alterations that they insisted made it more ideal for automobile competition.
Attachment BrightonNews082809 is an Indianapolis News article that provides a mid-race report that includes descriptions of the accidents. By that time Basle had a solid lead and it was apparent that he had the contest in hand barring mechancial maladies or another incident. An earlier article from the morning Indianapolis Star (attachment Death082809) also reports on the accident as well as some of the other events.
The accident happened shortly before midnight, August 27. The wreck involved another machine of the Acme Company driven by Cyrus Patschke (the name is misspelled in the article as "Patcheke") with his mechanic whose first name is not provided. His last name was Maynard. Patschke would go on to serve as relief driver for Ray Harroun in winning the first Indianapolis 500. A team Acme driver with the last name of Vantine also wrecked, apparently losing control and crashing through a wood fence. Both Acme cars were repaired and returned to the race.
Another frightening accident came when a driver by the last name of Hughes in an Allen-Kingston was seriously burned when his clothes caught on fire. Another driver stopped to assist helping the riding mechanic roll Hughes in sand to extinguish the flames.
The 24 hour grinder was just part of a card of events that included a one-hour motorcycle race (won by Walter Goerke). A six-hour race for "low-price" cars was staged, won by a Hupmobile. Ralph DePalma (Fiat) and J. Walter Christie (Christie) ran in a one-mile time trial. DePalma edged Christie by 2.6 seconds at 55.2. Note that there were reportedly 15,000 spectators in the stands.
The entries in the 24 hour contest were the following cars, drivers and mechanics:

The next day's Indianapolis Star article (Brighton082909) provides a good overall post-race summary. The plans for the support races are discussed in the attached Indianapolis News article BrightonNews082409 published days earlier on August 24.

BrightonNews082409.pdf1.53 MB
Brighton082609.pdf726.43 KB
BrightonNews082709.pdf578.9 KB
BrightonNews082809.pdf1.77 MB
BrightonNYT.pdf51.17 KB
Brighton082909.pdf597.95 KB