[Vintage-race] Wemme Cup History and More Rose Cup Info
franks97 at verizon.net
Sun Jun 7 22:17:47 MDT 2009
In June of 1909, the very first national championship auto race in the
United States was held on public roads between Portland and Gresham.
On June 12,1909, an automobile race was organized by the Portland Auto
Club and sanctioned by AAA. The race was a prominent feature of the
Portland Rose Festival, then in its third year.
A wealthy Portland businessman named E. Henry Wemme sponsored the
race. Wemme had imported the city9s first automobile, a Stanley
Steamer, in 1899. Later, he would own the city9s first Oldsmobile,
the first Reo, and the first Pierce-Arrow. The race was called the
Wemme Trophy in his honor.
The race track ran east on Division St. to 223rd St. northbound, then
west on Stark St. and south on 96th Ave., which is now a frontage road
for I-205. The winning average speed was 58.792 MPH, which would be a
pretty fast trip on those roads even today!
A total of 30,000 spectators turned out around the course to see the
race, with track security provided by 200 members of the Oregon
National Guard. Of the fourteen entrants, ten finished the race.
Amazingly, only one car crashed - an Auburn driven by Harry Cohen.
The race winner was 24 year old Bert Dingley, driving his Keats Auto
Company Chalmers-Detroit 40. Reports from the race said that Dingley
waved at the crowd each time he came by the stands. Victory here in
Portland helped Dingley claim the first ever AAA national driving
championship, and he was among the first class of drivers inducted
into the Automobile Racing Hall of Fame in 1966.
To celebrate the centennial of that first Rose Festival auto race,
we're bringing back the Wemme Trophy as part of the 49th annual Rose
Cup races presented by Temp-Control Mechanical, and AAA Oregon/Idaho
is once again the Wemme Trophy sponsor.
Starting this year, the Wemme trophy will be perpetual, recognizing
100 years (and counting) of Rose Festival racing, and it will be
awarded to a driver from the SCCA Vintage race each year at the Rose
Cup. As the Vintage grid is not a race for position, the recipient of
the trophy will be selected by the Rose Cup Auto Race Committee each
The trophy winner will be decided based on Saturday9s race, and the
trophy will be awarded at the end of the day at the Rose Cup Cruise-
In, where hundreds of classic car enthusiasts will cheer the deserving
Then on Sunday, the second Vintage race of the weekend will be
dedicated to honor the memory of Sam Egli. Sam was a respected race
driver and an SCCA racing official. His beautiful red Porsche 356
coupe will be driven on a parade lap just prior to Sunday9s race,
while the SCCA flagging and communications workers wave every flag
they9ve got to show their admiration and affection for their departed
The vintage group has two sessions on Friday and Saturday with a final Race
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