The second edition of the Legends of Riverside Film Festival and Gala is just over one month away (March 26-28) and, exactly like last year, ticket sales have been quite brisk. “Word's spread fast about the kind of experience that our guests had with us last year,” said organizer Doug Magnon. “We put together a mixture of people's all-time heroes, racing movies, great food, some 20 million dollars worth of historic competition cars, and then only sold a limited number of tickets. That turned out to be a pretty darn good recipe for fun and friendships.”
This annual event is a “reunion” of sorts, bringing together the people and machines that competed at the legendary road racing track located on the outskirts of Riverside, Calif. The Riverside track was only in operation for 31 years total, but thousands upon thousands of fans flocked to the 3-mile ribbon of asphalt where every famous name in the sport competed in sports, formula, off-road, champ cars, karts, midgets, stock cars, sprint cars and motorcycles. Over the years, the track hosted every imaginable category of motorsports from international Formula 1 to wild Baja-style off-road competition
For the 2010 renewal of this event, the honored guest is none other than the “snake charmer” himself, Carroll Shelby. Known for his raucous, no-holds-barred Cobra racecars, and for his victories as both a driver and a car entrant in the grueling 24 Hours of Le Mans. One of the highlights of the three-day event will be a gala dinner with Shelby as the guest of honor.
Staged as a fund-raising event by the new Riverside International Automotive Museum, one of the beneficiaries of the motorsport memories weekend will be the Carroll Shelby Foundation. Shelby's foundation works with children who are battling life-threatening illnesses and has recently expanded its mission to raise funds to help children with scholarships and educational programs in the areas of automotive study.
“This is an exciting time for us,” Shelby, president of the foundation, said. “We've been trying for years to find ways to broaden our mission to continue helping kids later in life.” Shelby started the foundation in 1991 after receiving a life-saving organ transplant.
In addition to Shelby, over 40 other legendary competitors including Bruce Kessler, George Follmer, Howden Ganley, Denise McCluggage, Dan Gurney, John Morton, Scooter Patrick, Davey Jordan, Jerry Grant , Elliott Forbes-Robinson, Bob Bondurant, and Tony Adamowicz are scheduled to be on hand at the event.
“Our ratio of guests to racing stars, and other famous racing faces is about 3 to 1,” Magnon said. “This event isn't about huge crowds and long distances separating our paying guests and guests of honor. This is an up-close-and-personal pit area experience, not nose-bleed and binoculars seats in some far-off grandstands.”
Staged at the Museum, a trio of local charities will benefit from this special event. The Museum is a 501c (3) non-profit organization and was founded by Magnon and his father Ray to carry on the memory of the great racetrack and to celebrate the people whose heroics on the course made it the legendary place that it's so fondly remembered by so many today.
The event will see a number of special awards presented over the weekend. Included in the presentations will be the 500cc Club of America's Harry Morrow Award, the Lee Iacocca Award, and a new award created especially for the Riverside event to commemorate the memory of Peter Bryant, the motorsports designer/author who passed away two days after last year's event. The Bryant award, named for his book “Can-Am Challenger” will recognize past excellence in engineering and dedication to motorsports.
A full schedule of events for all three days is available on the event website: www.legendsofriverside.com
, as are the remaining event tickets.