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American Roads: Site Map > Auto Trails > Auto Trail Articles > Touring Topics article October 1912


Preliminary information on the 5th annual desert race.

― from Touring Topics, October 1912, page 13-14.


The fifth annual Los Angeles-Phoenix road race, the longest and hardest contest of its kind in the world, is scheduled for October 21st. Already entries have been received in sufficient numbers to indicate that this year’s road and sand battle will be more keenly contested than any prior event. It seems certain now that fully fifteen cars will compete over the four hundred mile course and the list of cars that have already posted their entrance fees or are pledged starters includes the very best of machines that the greatest factories of the United States are producing. Among the entrants who have signified their intention of making the race are a National, a Franklin, a Buick, three Cadillacs, a Knox, an Apperson, a Mercer, a Cole, a Hupmobile and several other machines. The prizes this year will exceed five thousand dollars in value and additional prize money will be offered by the racing association which has in charge the track contests that will be held at Phoenix during the two days following the finish of the long race.
The course this year will follow the route of the ocean-to-ocean highway by way of the Valley Boulevard, through Beaumont and Brawley to Yuma and the roads will be in much better condition than at any previous time in the history of the race. Several gangs of men are already at work along the route and within another week’s time the course will be in as good shape as time and money can put it. Already several of the drivers have covered the route in preliminary practice and all unite in declaring that this year’s winner will lessen the best time recorded for the distance by one to two hours. All the towns along the course are evincing unusual interest in the race and all speed restrictions will be removed in order to give the racers every opportunity to establish a new record.
Last year’s race, which was won by the National with Harvey Herrick driving, was run by way of San Diego, thence eastward over a route that led through Devil’s Canyon, down into Mexico, then back into the United States to the crossing of the Colorado River at Yuma and from that point through Dome, Middle Wells, Agua Caliente and into Phoenix. The entire distance totaled 542 miles and Herrick covered the route in the fast time of 20 hours and 22 minutes. This year’s race will be approximately 120 miles shorter and will more nearly follow the 1910 Los Angeles-Phoenix roadrace course. The 1910 race was participated in by fourteen cars and was won by the Kissel Kar with Herrick in charge in the elapsed time of 15 hours and 44 minutes.
The start this year will be made from the Hollenbeck Hotel in Los Angeles, the cars getting under way at five minute intervals with the last machine leaving at midnight. The cars will continue speeding during the rest of the night and the following day until Yuma is reached, which point has been established as the night control, and here the racers will check in and remain over night. Early the next morning they will be started again in the order of their arrival and will contest for supremacy over the final two hundred miles of the course. From Yuma to Phoenix the roads are in fairly good condition and the cars that have withstood the hardships of the journey through the sand and desert roads that intervene between Brawley and Yuma should have no trouble in negotiating the remainder of the distance.
The list of entrants at the time this article is written is still somewhat problematical and but few of the drivers for this race have been named. However, among those who will surely be at the wheel of a car in this contest are Ralph Hamlin in a Franklin, Fred Fuller in a National, William Bramlette in a Cadillac and William Tremaine of Phoenix is a probable driver in a Hudson. Many of the drivers and cars that have figured in preceding Los Angeles to Phoenix races will not start this year and Ralph Hamlin and his Franklin will probably be the only entrant who has contested in every one of these events since this road race was instituted.



Copyright © S. Varner 2006