|Crowd of motor culture enthusiasts gather to see the premiere screening of “Racing Through the Forest – The History of the 1950-56 Pebble Beach Road Races”. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2014)|
Spoken Word Documentary “Racing Through the Forest” At Pebble Beach Delivers A ‘Must See’
Boxes that contain photographs arranged in albums (not just images) of times shared in a lifetime are nothing more than just books with photos. It takes other humans who have courage, patience, acumen, and heart to attempt to capture context and tales associated with the lives and times of a bygone era so important to our modern day motor culture … here, and throughout the world.
Race car driver, Rick Knoop is one such person who, with the support and talents of film-maker Dean Kirkland, Rick’s wife Cydette Vikander Knoop, and the rest of the organization at K&K Productions, who stepped up to the challenge to bring forward the stories behind the images stored in book placed in a box then conducted and edited over 50 interviews, 100’s of photos, and archive film into one 1 hour 16 minutes piece of informative movie entertainment.
|Fred ‘Frosty’ Knoop as he appeared during an interview in the film presentation of “Racing Through the Forest” at Spanish Bay. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2014)|
For those who may have been unfamiliar with Rick, he is the son of Fred ‘Frosty’ Knoop who also happened to be a driver of sport cars while ranching, raising and judging horses in Northern California. Rick came by his skill through his DNA, in that Frosty raced sport cars in the formative years of modern road racing through the woods of the Monterey Peninsula.
For Rick’s contribution to motor culture, as a driver, Rick consistently won and placed in the world’s most challenging and prestigious sports car races that include his victory at the 24 Hours of Le Mans to winning at Daytona.
|Rick Knoop as he winds up the V8 engine of the 1972 Can Am McLaren M8F on the front straight of Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca during the 2014 Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion. Watch Rick move from his P11 starting placement to finish on the podium in P3. Image Credit: Thomas Stahler (2014)|
Today, Rick still straps on his similarly colored Bruno Junqueira helmet (or should this be stated the other way around) in an effort to keep alive race cars from past series so that the memory of these engineering marvels never fades.
|Movie Poster – Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2014)|
This excerpted and edited from KSBW.com –
Pebble Beach race track remembered in ‘Racing Through The Forest’
By Amy Larson – Aug 15, 2014 – UPDATED 11:48 AM PDT
“Racing Through The Forest,” which premiered at The Inn at Spanish Bay in Pebble Beach on Wednesday during Monterey auto week.
The film revealed never-before-seen footage of the Pebble Beach Road Races, held from 1950-1956.
Before there was Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, young brilliant mechanics in California who had dreams of becoming race car drivers wanted to compete in their Jaguars, Ferraris, MGs, and Alfa Romeos, and they needed a place to race.
|Photo of the track shown in the film presentation of “Racing Through the Forest” at Spanish Bay. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2014)|
They chose 17 Mile Drive to be their dangerous track.
The public road had sharp turns and dramatic elevation drops. Del Monte Forest’s dense pine trees lined the road and created a strobe light effect. Dark shadows from the trees sharply contrasted against a bright white sky, and the visual effect distracted drivers.
The 1950s is now considered the romantic time of American racing, before the sport became a business for car manufacturers and competition between athletes for sponsors. The Pebble Beach Road Race’s entry fee was $15, and drivers were only semi-professional because sports car racing was just being born in America.
|Graphic of the original track layout as shown in the film presentation of “Racing Through the Forest” at Spanish Bay. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2014)|
Each race, the men behind the wheel got better, the pits become more innovative with designs, and some drivers went on to become world champions (In 1961, Phil Hill became the first American to win the Formula One World Drivers’ Championship. Carroll Shelby went on to win the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1959 and design Shelby Cobra and Shelby Ford Mustangs).
Crowds of fans were nine-people deep along some parts of the Del Monte Forest track, and the only barriers between fans and the track were a few bales of hay. There was always an undercurrent of adrenaline and danger, fans said.
|Crowds and the track as a Triumph TR2 misses a corner as shown in the film presentation of “Racing Through the Forest” at Spanish Bay. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2014)|
Pebble Beach’s race track ended in tragedy, when driver Ernie McAfee crashed a Ferrari into a tree and died instantly. A race in Pebble Beach never happened again.
Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca was built on Fort Ord in 1957 and became the modern day successor.
The goal behind making “Racing Through The Forest” was to unearth what these pioneering, fearless young drivers did in the 1950s and gather film footage that would otherwise be lost over time. The film was written and directed by filmmaker Dean Kirkland and produced by renowned race car driver Rick Knoop.
|Invited guests watch the screening of “Racing Through the Forest” at Spanish Bay. Here, Bill Pollack imparts some memories in the movie as Bill Pollack (end of front row) watches. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2014)|
This seminal set of races also placed in motion the process of finding lighter, faster, more powerful, nimble cars from around the world and helped to fashion a racing resource template used today that has its motor culture roots firmly based in the forest around Pebble Beach.
“What began as a tribute to my father, Fred Knoop, has evolved into a celebration of one of the world’s greatest road races,” Rick Knoop said at the Spanish Bay movie premiere. “We’re thrilled to share this incredible story with audiences at the Pebble Beach Concours. It is a privilege to have the opportunity to explore this incredible history, especially just feet from the road where the men and machines did battle.”
Rick Knoop and Dean Kirkland delivered on the promise these photographs stored in an album and held in a box to be brought back to life with heart in a way an image could never do … through film.
A must see film where the heart of the making of the presentation comes through in every frame and leaves an indelible and permanent impression.
… notes from The EDJE