Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Racing Through The Forest Special Screening At Detroit's Auto Moto Film & Arts Festival

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Racing Through The Forest Special Screening At Detroit's Auto Moto Film & Arts Festival

This week will see the return of the Auto Moto Film & Arts Festival, “an event that embraces all the incredible aspects of our emotional attachment to all things motoring."

Detroit, The Motor City is the perfect venue for films about international motor sports, and the festival features its fair share of stories that are guaranteed to be a hit with the Dream Cruise set. Among them are Penton: The John Penton Story, a documentary about the American motorcycle pioneer, "Racing Through The Forest", a look back at the Pebble Beach races of the 1950s, or The Montana Dodge Boys, about a group of Treasure State gearheads who fabricate a 1928 roadster and race it at Bonneville.

The biggest labor of love documentary that brings an attention to detail from those who lived the post WWII time that spawned Automobile Week - the world renowned "Can't Miss" annual motor culture event in Monterey, California (Concours d'Elegance Pebble Beach and the Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca) - "Racing Through The Forest" is set to be shown on the big screen, Auto Moto Film & Arts Festival - Saturday May 14th – 7:15pm at 1515 Broadway.

Photo of the track shown in the film presentation of "Racing Through The Forest" at Spanish Bay. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks 

From 1950 -56 The “Del Monte Trophy” was held on the twisty, leafy, and very narrow town roads in Pebble Beach, California.

Before there was Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, young brilliant mechanics in California who had dreams of becoming race car drivers wanted to compete in their Jaguars, Ferraris, MGs, and Alfa Romeos, and they needed a place to race.

They chose 17 Mile Drive to be their dangerous track.

Graphic of the original track layout as shown in the film presentation of "Racing Through The Forest" at Spanish Bay. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks 

Not all of the road course track was paved; the original 1950 route consisted of both paved two-lane roads and sections of dirt or loose gravel. Races started along Portola Road near the present-day equestrian center. Cars then turned right onto Sombria Lane, then right again onto Drake Road.

In 1950, drivers would turn right once again onto Forest Lake Road; in 1951 and later years they turned left onto Alvarado Lane (now Stevenson Drive), then sharp right onto Forest Lake. The final corner was a sharp right-hander at Ondulado back onto Portola and past the start/finish line.

Although the course was always tight and twisty with tall Cypress trees hemming in the track on either side, accidents were scarce and relatively uneventful. The exception came in 1956 when Ernie McAfee (no relation to fellow racer Jack McAfee) fatally slammed his Ferrari into a tree. This spelled the end of the popular Pebble Beach Road Races, although it was the genesis of Laguna Seca, its modern-day successor.

Visitors can drive most (but not all) of the old race course today.
[ht: Auto Moto Film & Arts Festival]


Crowds and the track as a Triumph TR2 misses a corner as shown in the film presentation of "Racing Through The Forest" at Spanish Bay. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks

The goal behind making "Racing Through The Forest" was to unearth what these pioneering, fearless young drivers did in the 1950s and gather film footage that would otherwise be lost over time. The film was written and directed by filmmaker Dean Kirkland and produced by renowned race car driver Rick Knoop.

"What began as a tribute to my father, Fred Knoop, has evolved into a celebration of one of the world’s greatest road races," Rick Knoop said at the Spanish Bay movie first-screening. "We’re thrilled to share this incredible story with audiences at the Pebble Beach Concours. It is a privilege to have the opportunity to explore this incredible history, especially just feet from the road where the men and machines did battle."

Rick Knoop and Dean Kirkland delivered on the promise these photographs stored in an album and held in a box, to be brought back to life with heart, in a way an image could never do ... through film.

A must see film where the heart of the making of the presentation comes through in every frame and leaves an indelible and permanent impression.

Again, "Racing Through The Forest" is set to be shown on the big screen, Auto Moto Film & Arts Festival - Saturday May 14th – 7:15pm at 1515 Broadway, Detroit, MI.



TAGS: Racing Through The Forest, Auto Moto Film & Arts Festival, Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, Motor City, The EDJE

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