Great time at Exposition Road Race centennial; take it yourself

It was a great showing for the centennial of the 300-mile road race around then-undeveloped Pt. Loma neighborhoods. Back on Jan. 9, 1915, the Automobile Club of Southern California and the Al Bahr Temple of the Mystic Shrine sponsored the race mapped out a nearly six-mile course around the point.

This 300-mile race attracted the top drivers of the day, making 51 laps around the nearly six-mile course. Barney Oldfield, Eddie Rickenbacker and Bob Burman were the Jimmy Johnson, Kevin Harvic and Jeff Gordon of their day.

The event attracted, by my count, about 50 cars that were on the road when the Exposition opened in January, 1915. They met at the San Diego Automotive Museum in Balboa Park on Jan. 10 for the commemoration of the event, with nearly 30 taking off for the trip to Pt. Loma.

If you’d like to take your own trip around the route, here’s how.

  • Find your best route to the San Diego International Airport. Continue west to Nimitz Boulevard.
  • Right at Rosecrans Ave. The start/finish line (by my reading of the ancient map, provided by the event’s 2015 sponsor, the local Horseless Carriage Club of America chapter) was at today’s Elliott Street. A grandstand that held 10,000 people was built there.
  • Left at Lytton Street. Continue onto Chatsworth Boulevard.
  • Left at Catalina Boulevard.
  • Left at Talbot Street.
  • Left at Cañon Street.
  • Left at Rosecrans Street.

This is a nice route that runs through the lovely Pt. Loma neighborhood. Enjoy seeing the homes, mostly built in the 1920s, and the gently curving roads.

Not much of this was developed in 1915 and photos show the streets were dirt.

Enjoy photos of the cars as they crossed the Cabrillo Bridge in Balboa Park.

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