Jump to content


Photo

Tex Hopkins - the famous Watkins Glen starter


  • Please log in to reply
21 replies to this topic

#1 pancho

pancho
  • Member

  • 95 posts
  • Joined: March 01

Posted 03 April 2001 - 18:54

Over the years, I've seen many race reports and articles about Watkins Glen. One figure that always draws a comment is that of Tex Hopkins, the official starter. Famous for his colourful suits, huge cigar and theatrical jump, I know little else about him. Anybody know more about Tex?

Advertisement

#2 Keir

Keir
  • Member

  • 5,214 posts
  • Joined: February 00

Posted 03 April 2001 - 19:52

:cool:
When Atlas lets us post pics without having to use a website, I have a great pic of Tex in action.
Mike A. should have tons on the lavender suited maestro.
Tex was always quite a sight later on at the Glen, his suit faded, but his enthusiasm was still bright!!:up:

#3 Eagle104

Eagle104
  • Member

  • 123 posts
  • Joined: March 00

Posted 03 April 2001 - 20:09

Tex's "jump" suit is on prominent display at the Watkins Glen Library.

#4 Wolf

Wolf
  • Member

  • 7,881 posts
  • Joined: June 00

Posted 03 April 2001 - 20:15

Keir- mail it to me... I'll put it in my Internet storage-room.;) Same goes to all who lack the resources to post pics (i currently have 5 mesg free).

#5 Ray Bell

Ray Bell
  • Member

  • 53,878 posts
  • Joined: December 99

Posted 03 April 2001 - 23:37

Keir will have 10mesg free in another 42 posts...

Interesting... The thread has overtaken him!

Could I suggest to anyone wanting to post pics, try the Homestead hosting site:

http://www.homestead.com/

Free site, 16 megs available, and you can have more than one in your name, with the tools coming just the same as the Geocities site.

And they do allow links and posting direct from the site. Went through the conditions, even bira would have been proud of me the way I checked it out. Of course, the terms and conditions do say that they can change the rules... but so do they all.

#6 David M. Kane

David M. Kane
  • Member

  • 5,399 posts
  • Joined: December 00

Posted 04 April 2001 - 16:15

Tex was a Porsche car salesman from Texas. I want to say the Dallas area. He used to work with my younger brother at Joe Heshmann Porsche/Audi in Arlington, Virginia. Later he worked at HBL in Fairfax. I lost track of him after that.

Joe Heshmann was a big race fan who had several drivers working for him at various times. The original driver I remember was a
guy named McDaniel, maybe Jim? A very, very good Formual V driver. Later, Steve Piper worked there selling cars. He was
a pretty good shoe too.

He was a wonderful man who loved racing and was very proud of his
roll at Watkins Glen.

He was one of the main reasons I got into racing.

#7 Keir

Keir
  • Member

  • 5,214 posts
  • Joined: February 00

Posted 04 April 2001 - 16:44

Anyone wishing for the "Tex" pic can e-mail me directly and I'll send it out. It's in BMP format so it's on the big side. :eek: :eek:

#8 Don Capps

Don Capps
  • Member

  • 5,933 posts
  • Joined: May 99

Posted 04 April 2001 - 20:29

One of the great pleasures of attending a race at Watkins Glen was to see Tex Hopkins in action. I, for one, thought he was great. If you noticed carefully, he did a superb job of starting the race. He was very deliberate in what he did and the drivers were fully cued to what was going on with the race start. I loved it when he did the "turn & jump" and snapped down the flag!

When I spoke with Mr. Cameron Artgetsinger for my RVM series on 1961 and the race at Watkins Glen, he made certain that I understood just how professional Tex Hopkins was in performing his tasks as the starter. As Mr. Artgetsinger pointed out, that he was entertaining was really a bonus!

It always pained me to read criticism of Tex Hopkins, especially in the "foreign press." I always enjoyed his starts; so did the drivers it seems since it is almost impossible to find nary a word criticizing how Tex Hopkins got the races off to a good start. Given the choice twix Tex Hopkins and "Toto" Roche, who do you think the drivers would choose? I thought so.... :lol:

At the International Motor racing Research Center at Watkins Glen is one of the suits that Tex Hopkins used while serving as the starter at Watkins Glen. There is also a wonderful article by his daughter on how she felt about delivering the suit to Watkins Glen and turning it over to the Director of the Center, Phil McCray.

#9 pancho

pancho
  • Member

  • 95 posts
  • Joined: March 01

Posted 05 April 2001 - 07:36

don,

It's interesting to hear you mention Toto Roche in your post - he seems to have been as unpopular as Tex was popular! Apparantly his startline antics were eccentric to say the least. But on a more serious note, I understand he caused a potentialy dangerous situation with his ambiguous use of the red 'abort' flag at the French (I think) GP in 1962 (I think).

Are there any other famous 'flag men'. The only other name I can think of is Pat Vidan, of Indy fame (am I right?)



#10 OneAndGo

OneAndGo
  • New Member

  • 1 posts
  • Joined: April 01

Posted 06 April 2001 - 11:15

Dear All,

What a delight to find this thread. Thanks to Michael Argetsinger for pointing the way.

I'm happy to try to answer any questions you may have, but given that I was just a kid during The Great Years :D you may know more than I do.

By the way: Who was "Toto" Roche?

Stacey Hopkins
(Tex's daughter)



#11 Ray Bell

Ray Bell
  • Member

  • 53,878 posts
  • Joined: December 99

Posted 06 April 2001 - 11:35

Raymond 'Toto' Roche was a pre-war driver who became some kind of a symbolic hero in the post-war years and had the honour of starting the French GP at Rheims....

Which he turned into a sideshow with his antics, from what I understand, and drew a lot of criticism from the British press, who seemed to be claiming that his senile ways shouldn't be tolerated.

He would, apparently, be in the middle of the road with the flag, drop it and then run off the road as the cars took off.

Welcome to you, Stacey... it seems your dad did explain some things to you... and thanks to our friend Mike for inviting you along.

#12 raceannouncer2003

raceannouncer2003
  • Member

  • 2,225 posts
  • Joined: March 05

Posted 22 May 2012 - 20:39

Posted Image

Who is this bloke, and wot's he doin'?

Vince H.

#13 Tim Murray

Tim Murray
  • Member

  • 14,308 posts
  • Joined: May 02

Posted 22 May 2012 - 21:18

Could it be be the Emperor Vincentus Howlettus about to start a chariot race in the Circus Maximus in Rome? :wave:

Edit: just pipped by Regazzoni.

Edited by Tim Murray, 22 May 2012 - 21:20.


#14 HeskethBoy

HeskethBoy
  • Member

  • 57 posts
  • Joined: June 10

Posted 23 May 2012 - 00:43

Are there any other famous 'flag men'. The only other name I can think of is Pat Vidan, of Indy fame (am I right?)


Glen Dix from Adelaide in South Australia had a distinctive style - he used to "do" the Aust F1 Grands Prix over there for the first few years.
He refined his technique at motorcycle races from memory. And he wore some quite flamboyant outfits to boot.

#15 Ralliart

Ralliart
  • Member

  • 669 posts
  • Joined: June 02

Posted 23 May 2012 - 01:02

What about Louis Chiron? :smoking:

#16 David Birchall

David Birchall
  • Member

  • 3,002 posts
  • Joined: March 03

Posted 23 May 2012 - 01:52

Posted Image

Who is this bloke, and wot's he doin'?

Vince H.


Vince, I see the wrist strengthening exercises are paying off! :rotfl:

#17 Lee Nicolle

Lee Nicolle
  • Member

  • 5,769 posts
  • Joined: July 08

Posted 23 May 2012 - 11:17

Glen Dix from Adelaide in South Australia had a distinctive style - he used to "do" the Aust F1 Grands Prix over there for the first few years.
He refined his technique at motorcycle races from memory. And he wore some quite flamboyant outfits to boot.

Glen had his checkered top with white trousers. Or the Yellow jackets from the GP days.
He did circuit racing, drag racing, speedway where he was badly injured when run over by a TQ, He did mud sprints and still does the Bay to Birdwood start.Plus Pedal Prix and the like. If it has wheels he has probably waved a flag at it. All over 40 plus years. He still organises the sheds at Mallala

#18 raceannouncer2003

raceannouncer2003
  • Member

  • 2,225 posts
  • Joined: March 05

Posted 24 May 2012 - 06:25

Could it be be the Emperor Vincentus Howlettus about to start a chariot race in the Circus Maximus in Rome? :wave:

Edit: just pipped by Regazzoni.


Yes, you guys got it. Pontius Pilate starting the chariot race at the Circus Maximus in Ben Hur. Apparently, there were crowds of 200,000 for the races.

Here is a link to the scene:



We just got home to Victoria, BC from Rome today.

Vince H.


#19 Michael Ferner

Michael Ferner
  • Member

  • 2,171 posts
  • Joined: November 09

Posted 24 May 2012 - 16:36

Here is a link to the scene:



We just got home to Victoria, BC from Rome today.

Vince H.


Hey, dirt track racing!! :love: :love:


Although, on second thougts, the driving standard is pretty poor. They had good crowds for F3 races, then.

Advertisement

#20 ControlThisIsStart

ControlThisIsStart
  • New Member

  • 1 posts
  • Joined: December 13

Posted 22 December 2013 - 15:55

Tex Hopkins is my dad. What would you like to know? :cool:



#21 Emery0323

Emery0323
  • Member

  • 231 posts
  • Joined: January 11

Posted 22 December 2013 - 17:02

Tex Hopkins is my dad. What would you like to know? :cool:

Welcome!   :wave:

 

Here's some of your father's SCCA results from the 1950's - Do you know if this is just a partial listing, or is it complete?

http://www.racingspo...opkins-USA.html

 

Where did he get those colorful suits, did he have then custom-made? Did he come up with his flag choreography on his own?

 

He was great fun to watch - Great footage of him waving the checkered at ~3:28 into this video :clap: :


Edited by Emery0323, 22 December 2013 - 17:04.


#22 B Squared

B Squared
  • Member

  • 3,156 posts
  • Joined: September 08

Posted 23 December 2013 - 12:47

ControlThisIsStart - welcome, I've heard so many nice things about your dad over the years from the Argetsinger's, those at the IMRRC that knew him, as well as the people of Watkins Glen in general.

Tex Hopkins with the checkered flag for Jim Clark in 1966
photo: IMRRC
USGPJimClarkLotus-BRMTexHopkins66001.jpg

A Tex Hopkins lavender suit that is on display at the International Motor Racing Research Center in Watkins Glen.
photos: B²
WatkinsGlen50thAnv021.jpg

WatkinsGlen50thAnv020.jpg