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Oriental Park, Havana, 1920


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#1 Darren Galpin

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Posted 24 October 2011 - 08:49

A newspaper article in the Syracuse Herald, 19th September 1920, pg 42, says that "recently" Roland Markham won a 10 mile stock car race in a Cole Aero Eight on a 1 mile dirt oval in Oriental Park, Havana, Cuba. Does anyone else know anything about the races, when they were, or anything about the venue, as I've drawn a blank.....

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#2 carl s

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Posted 24 October 2011 - 13:56

Just a photo from Wisconsin Historical Society.
http://www.wisconsin.....submit=SUBMIT

#3 Terry Walker

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Posted 25 October 2011 - 05:16

There's quite a good if brief little article on Wikipedia. Established 1915 as a horse racing track, owned reputedly in the 50s by Meyer Lansky and the Mob, closed no doubt post-Castro, no longer exists. When it did exist, it was close to the airport.

#4 carl s

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Posted 25 October 2011 - 14:26

From The Cuban Photograph Collections, Univ of Miami Digigital Collections: The photo collection of Marcelino Amador-many taken at Oriental Park

http://merrick.libra...p;CISOSTART=1,1

#5 Darren Galpin

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Posted 25 October 2011 - 19:49

Thanks for the links Carl. Looks like the track may have been used as early as 1918 for auto racing.

#6 carl s

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Posted 18 March 2012 - 04:46

For reference in case you want it:

Peter DePaolo 'Wall Smacker'. Chapter VI p 27-34 'Speed in Old Havana.'

Casual mention of Peter going in 1920 with Uncle to Oriental Park (Peter's second race as a Mechanician) following the dissapointing finish at the opening of the Beverly Hills Board Track.
Mention is made of the heavy, extremely slick dirt surface at Oriental Park and how Uncle tricked the competition by using a smooth tire in practice and then just prior to the race switching to a grooved, heavy grip tire. As soon as the two appraised the need for extra grip tires they surreptitiously went into town and purchased 12 non-skid tires being sure none remained for sale to others.