Earl Cooper, the race winner is shown ahead of second place winner, William Carlson in his Number 17 Maxwell. The Point Loma RR street car to Ocean Beach is seen along Wabash, which is now Nimitz Blvd.
Early in the race, the leader Grover Ruckstell in No. 4 Mercer is followed by Eddie Rickenbacher in No. 7 Peugeot rounding the 6th turn at Canon St. and Rosecrans St. The winner, Earl Cooper, can be seen in his No 8 Stutz behind Rickenbacher’s dust. The curve of Canon St. can be seen in the back ground on the left. Photo from Auto Club of Southern California, one of the sponsors of the race.
On Jan. 9, 1915, AAA sponsored a 300 mile road race over a six mile course around Point Loma on roads that exist to this day.
Earl Cooper in Stutz #8 won the race averaging over 65 mph. Only 5 cars finished the grueling route out of 18 cars that started. Racing cars in those days carried a driver as well as a mechanic. Other notable drivers were San Diegan William Carlson, who finished 2nd, Barney Oldfield, Eddie Rickenbacker, and Bob Burman.
On the morning of the great race, an estimated 20-50,000 people spread out along the course to watch the spectacle. The San Diego Union newspaper proclaimed, “It was the greatest throng ever seen at one event in San Diego, excepting, perhaps, the opening of the exposition.” For more information see the 2009 U-T Article “Point Loma site of wild automobile race in 1915”.
On January 10, 2015, this event will be commemorated by the San Diego Horseless Carriage Clubs with a living history car show and tour over the original race course featuring a procession of race cars and horseless carriages.
On car that participated in the race, the 1914 Tahis Special, will be retracing the route 100 years later. More information on this fascinating car will be posted later.