Reminiscing about racing

One of the great things about the internet these days is how you can subscribe to feeds from various news sources and blogs and put them in an aggregator so that you can quickly scan headlines, without actually visiting the sites or blogs themselves. Since some bloggers are less prolific than others the aggregator helps to know when one of these infrequent posters has published something.

Every time I see a little (1) next to the feed for Alberto Quiroga’s Havana 50-60 blog I feel like a kid in a candy story, because I know when I click on his blog I’m going to be transported to pre-castro Cuba to learn something new through the eyes of a (then) 7 or 8 or 9 year old boy.

Well today a litte (1) appeared next to Alberto’s blog in my aggregator and I wasn’t dissaponted. Saturday, you see, was the 50th anniversary of the first Cuban Grand Prix and Alberto tells the story of how he viewed it from the balcony of his family’s apartment in the famous Focsa building.

It reminded me of the first time I went to see an auto race. My father took me. It wasn’t Havana, but instead downtown Miami and it was raining. The famous first Grand Prix of Miami. Though that race doesn’t exist anymore it has left a lasting legacy. Miami-Dade county now has its own world-class speedway and hosts important NASCAR and IRL races. All of this of course was started by Ralph Sanchez, who no doubt was as captivated by the fast machines racing down the Malecon as a little boy just like Alberto.

Don’t miss this fantastic post and don’t forget to add Alberto’s blog to your feed aggregator because you don’t want to miss any of his well-researched and incredibly well written posts.

5 thoughts on “Reminiscing about racing”

  1. I left these comments on Quiroga’s website:

    Your story was wonderfully written and evocative of that time. The country was then in the midst of a civil war marked by the ferocity of the rebels’ indiscriminate bombing of public places. It was unfortunate but understandable that Batista’s security detail should have sought to protect him from a besieging mob, not all of whom might have been well-wishers. President Batista and his family had only recently been the victims of an assassination attempt at the Presidential Palace. It is true, however, that Batista was immensely popular with Cuba’s blacks whose benefactor and protector he always was throughout his political career. This is the reason that blacks were almost entirely absent from the ranks of the “July 26th” Movement. It was not uncommon for the president’s motorcade to be overtaken by his enthusiastic followers. At any other place and time, they would have been welcomed; but this was not the time or place. The anecdote does demonstrate that these outpourings of affection were spontaneous and not staged, unlike, say, Fangio’s “kidnapping” next year.

    It was suspected at the time that Fangio’s kidnapping was a publicity stunt staged by the rebels with Fangio’s cooperation. Fangio himself has always refused to clarify the matter, apparently unable to decide whether his legend would be better served by his actually having been kidnapped or by his connivance with the rebels.

  2. Henry – you are so kind! The compliments are well appreciated; more so when the praises are posted on Babalu. This reminded me of the need to “tune up” the post a bit – for one thing, forgot to credit Babalu for the photograph of the firing squad victim. That is where it came from and attribution will be given. I also forgot to credit my cousin and my father for their outstanding recall powers and their help with the post. For that I deserve to be whiplashed with Maserati or Ferrari timing-chains.

    Mr. Tellechea’s comments are very interesting and add to the story – they will be published. I thought the same when my cousin told me the story about the attack on the crowd by Batista’s security: Could it have been due to fear of an assasination attempt? The overreaction, if not forgivable, was perhaps understandable, but it certainly made an impression with my then 14-year old cousin. Who, by the way, quickly became disenchanted with the “barbudos” too and joined a resistance group in Havana, in 1959. Maybe someday he can be talked into sharing some stories about that part of his-and our-history.

Comments are closed.