by john manzi for NAADA
The North American Amateur Drivers Association is anxiously awaiting for the rematch of the French/ American Amateur Friendship Challenge in late May over the appropriate Memorial Day weekend holiday. Appropriate because the first race will be in Normandy on French soil not far from the famed beaches of World War ll.
The competition, which begins on May 26 in Nomandy, will then move over to the fabled Vincennes racetrack outside the City of Lights home of the Prix d’ Amerique. That event commemorates America's aid to France in World War I.
At the time of the offer NAADA president Joe Faraldo responded positively telling his French counterparts that Americans would field a team of members who participated in NAADA 's Spring Trotting Series currently nearing its completion. That series began in mid-March at Monticello Raceway and will culminate with the Series finale slated for May 18 at Yonkers Raceway.
After reviewing possible candidates NAADA canvassed for available drivers willing to make the trip and named six American amateur harness drivers who will travel to Paris and represent the USA in races with some real talented French drivers, perhaps amateurs in name only.
Slated to join Faraldo for the upcoming USA-France Friendship Competition are Alan Schwartz, Tony Verruso, Tony Ciufettelli, Bob Davis and Peter Kleinhans.
On May 26 the visiting Americans are scheduled to arrive in Paris and then leave directly to Normandy for a night in Caen, the city severely ravaged in WWII but today a beautiful metropolis. Then the next day they will visit the Memorial de Caen and Omaha Beach and Utah Beach.
On May28 the visitors will don their colors for a race in Argentin with the next day free for visiting the wonders of Paris. A tour of the fabulous Grosbois Training Center on the outskirts of Paris is slated on May 30 and then it’ll be off to the races in Vincennes where the Americans will get a chance to drive against their French counterparts over the famed race course. On May 31 the Americans are scheduled to return home
“We will have a tough row to hoe to avenge the terrible loss we sustained at the hands of the French when they visited the USA two years ago, nevertheless we look forward to the challenge, and win or lose, we will definitely enjoy all the locales, wine, food, the comradery and the sincere hospitality shown us while in France".