Not too long before this, I had come downstairs with an unexpected folder full of photos that I had given up on as lost. I did a previous blog on a few of these shots, in depth. Now I will do some brief snapshots - short vignettes on several more of these recovered treasures. In the quest of fossils like myself, finding photos or data once thought to be lost is about as good as it gets.

        The first such photo is that of the George Ingalls 888, trailered, ready to leave Fairmont Speedway in Fair Haven, VT after a Sunday afternoon race program around 1963. The 1937 Ford coould be arguably called one of those cutdowns that were popular at southern New England tracks in the '50's. In fact, it rivaled the Frank “Stroker” Smith #311 cutdown for dominance at Fairmont for at least three seasons.

Courtesy of James Howard
The George Ingalls 888 of Cecil Bosworth sits at the payoff shack at
Fairmont Speedway around 1963. Below – Sonny Rabideau's Frank
Smith – prepared 311, another cutdown, sits in the same payoff line.
Seen above Rabideau's hood are the bullhorns on Buddy Bardwell's
13, another dominant NH car.

Courtesy of James Howard

        Ingall's driver, Cecil Bosworth of Athol, Massachusetts, had been driving for a long time by the this photo. Bosworth was known to have been a star at the old track in Hinsdale, NH, which I think ran in 1949. He had also run #26's for the well – known Snape family out of Northampton, MA for a time. Now, in his 14th season, the stocky Bosworth would drive for Ingalls then and up to 1964. The following year, when the track went to the overhead V-8 sportsman cars, the Castleton, VT – based Taggart team would build him a Chevy coupe [the beloved Beanie and Cecil 0] which he would drive for a while before being replaced by Nelson Moore.

        The Keene, NH native Ingalls would not be seen around Vermont for a while, either parking the 888 or maybe running it at Claremont Speedway. He and Bosworth resurfaced in 1967, when George Barber built Bear Ridge Speedway in Bradford, VT as a haven for all of the flathead race cars that had been displaced, 2 years before, when Fairmont and Thunder Road allowed in the overhead V-8 and the latter track actually grandfathered the flatheads for one more year.

This rare and very early shot shows the Flaming Deuce being unloaded
at the short – lived Hinsdale, NH track around 1950. This was said
to be an early Cecil Bosworth ride. Below – Cecil, around 1968, at
Bear Ridge Speedway – back with George in a flathead. The two would
try a brief go with an overhead V8 sportsman at Devil's Bowl before
or after this Ridge run.

Courtesy of Cho Lee

        A different version of the 888, seen with Bosworth, showed up in early Ridge photos for a few years. The Bosworth / Ingalls combo won more than their fair share of races – particularly at Fairmont, which ended in 1966 to become Devil's Bowl at a different location the following year. A few of the old cars, including the Rabideau / Smith 311 and Ted Brown's 92 did try the Bowl; but, its field of sportsman from all over was now too much for the flathead motors to compete with.

        The next subject is twenty years more recent. I found a nice color shot of Plattsburgh, NY's Wild Bill Fountain, taking the checkers from starter Don Thomas, at Airborne Speedway in 1984. Driving a 1970 Chevelle, the tough as nails Fountain was a strong presence in the late model class that year at the track [then dirt] in the only year of Wes Moody's promotion. Coming from the tough “Wiggletown” section of Plattsburgh, Fountain and young rookie Brian “Bucko” Branham were embarking on what would be very long careers in local racing.

Richard Pratt Photo
Wild Bill Fountain picks up checkers from Don Thomas at
Airborne in 1985. Below – The Chevelle of a very young
Bucko Branham sits in the Airborne pits during that same

Courtesy of Jim LeClaire

        Bill would race in various divisions over the years, as Airborne would suffer through decades of switching back and forth from one track to another; to one promoter to another; and through periods of boom and bust. Around 2014 or 15, he re – appeared at Airborne when the track was paved and the lead class was the dirt bodied modified on asphalt. Fountain came out with a limited late model sportsman for the second division at the track and received a fairly serious neck injury that year.

        Since that time, I saw him try one enduro, but he certainly is smart enough not to tempt fate too much with that neck. Bill had up and down success, depemnding on his circumstances and the track surface. Bucko is still going strong, back in a modified sportsman on the newly – returned dirt surface at Airborne. The Fountain 1984 photo reminds me of the hope we felt that year as the track, reborn for about the third time, looked hopefully for a return to the good old days of the 1960s'. We had a pretty good year, too.

Bob Mackey Photo via John Rock
The Ormsby boys line up on dad's trailer in full regalia some time
in the 1960's. The other kids must have been jealous. Below -
Craig Ormsby at speed with his 1985 modified on Airborne dirt.
He leads Ed Champagne in a former McCreadie modified.

Richard Pratt Photo

        Three more shots from that Fountain era involve Craig Ormsby. The name Ormsby and Airborne go hand in hand, as Harold Ormsby had run there almost from the time the track opened until a few years before Craigs photos came into play. The leather – tough well driller had gone on to include successful real estate into his portfolio, and one of the favorite photos he ever was connected with was of his three sons – all little boys at the time – dressed identically in the same racing attire as Harold would wear [boots, jackets, the whole look].

        Craig was the eldest of these little boys in that photo. He had taken up racing by the time I worked for Airborne in 1985. That year, he had taken an older dirt modified, lettered it up with his trademark X [in honor of Harold's ten], and was giving it his best. In the previous blog on these lost photos, I showed one shot of Craig with that older car vainly chasing Doug Hoffman in a special race held that year.

Courtesy of Craig Ormsby
The newer Mud Buss, in the Ormsby shop, under refurbishment
by Craig and Steve Frennier. Below – That same car in action
on the Airborne track.

Richard Pratt Photo

        The following winter, with me now relegated back to just doing my columns in Speedway Scene, Ormsby had sent me a letter with a photo of work proggresssing on his newly – acquired Troyer Mud Buss he had bought from some big New York DIRT team out west further. I also found a photo of that car, lettered up, in action in 1986. I don't know much about what kind of year he had as I was not working for the track any more.

        I did see Craig again in 2011, when he fielded a modified on the then repaved Airborne. Driver and then – promoter Mike Perrotte had put together a successful program of running at least what appeared to be DIRT mods on pavement. By then, Craig was battling cancer. He often looked ragged, but he always managed to compete. He had a sad example to follow: Wes Moody's son, Dick had done the same thing a few seasons before. We lost Craig about a year later. He was one of the good guys.

Courtesy of James Hayne
Gaston Desmarais is showing a little tightness in this
shot probably at Saranac Lake Speedway. Below – A
good color pose of Desmarais and the familiar coupe.

Slot Car Site Photo

        To depart from the 1980's Airborne theme, I found a good action shot of Gaston Desmarais and his legendary 6-50 – probably at Saranac Lake Speedway. The track is a story in itself, but we'll think about Gaston. Coming from Tupper Lake, way up in the Adirondacks, Desmarais was often touted as a racing logger. He actually told a number of people I spoke to that he never logged a day in his life. Who knows ? Those same sources tell me that he took the unusual number for his cars because he had started out racing and had acquired good, used race cars from Dick Nephew [#6] and from Bud Besor [who had a Vic Wolfe – built #50 owned then by Harold Healey].

        Desmarais is perhaps best known for this green light he had on a stick on top of his cars. The legend goes that, if he got into the lead and felt that he had the race won, he would flip a switch and light the green stick light on the roof. I also know that Gaston was another driver [besides Moody, Perrotte, and a few others] to try promoting that ultimate foster child among speedways – Airborne. I believe Gaston did it in 1964, and he did rename the track as Adirondack Raceway. Little can be found about the brief Desmarais regime at the track.

Bob Mackey Photo via Mike Watts, Sr.
Gaston, with the Adirondack Raceway pace car at
the track in 1964. Sorry about the computer - related crap in the middle of the photo.
Can you imagine trying to expalin that to anyone back in 1964 ?Below – Desmarais
talks with one ofhis big name drivers – Lou Lazzaro. Johnny Telleni, brought
up from Malta to flag in 1964, listens in.

Bob Mackey Photo via John Rock

        Desmarais' track [however it was named] continued to attract some high quality competitors do to its Friday night niche in the schedule. Although still competing with nearby Saranac Lake, the South Plattsburgh oval seemed to winning out, as the smaller more rustic track was on the decline by then. One photo proves that Gaston was getting teams like the amazing Lou Lazzaro who could run well on any surface. He returned to just racing after that one season of promotion – it ain't as much fun as it looks.

        The last subject returns to my previous blog on this discovered body of racing history unearthed in the attic cleanout. I had opened with a photo of 1985 Airborne competitor, Dominic Rascoe, whom I had described as a “tough as nail Dannemora prison guard”. All true. Dominic was a huge guy, and all the Dannemora guards running at the track were a unique bunch, as would be required to deal on a daily basis with the kind of beauties Dannemora gets. The great jail break story from 2015 or 16, once televised, I think will end up trivializing that unpleasant job.

Probably a Richard Pratt Photo
Dominic Rascoe, with the former Jack Cottrell modified.
Below - The Cottrell crew works on that same
modified at Devil's Bowl around 1983.

Ladabouche Photo

        At any rate, the Dannemora guys could take up an entire blog by themselves. This one is about the car. Rascoe is seen sitting in an appropriately – black dirt modified, slightly outdated body; festooned with flames and numbered 71. The only thing Rascoe could be credited for was buying the car and driving it. The number, the décor, the body, and everything else came from previous circumstances.

        Originally, Dominic's car was the first dirt modified for the somewhat flamboyant Jack Cottrell, of the Cottrell paper – producing family from Rock City Falls, NY. Having already made a mark campaigning a Howe – built Mopar late model at places like Malta and other regional tracks, Jack this modified built earlier in the 1980's. When Cottrell had it, it had his trademark #8, the red and blue color scheme, and the characteristic graduated rectagular designs on the sides.

Courtesy of Arnie Ainsworth
Jack Cottrell, running against another popular figure – Jay Bleser
at Fonda around the early 1980's. Below- Easy going Larry Delong
was another Dannemora guard running at Airborne in the mid '80's.

Richard Pratt Photo

        Around 1984, a Vermont salvage yard operator named Don Richards bought the Cottrell car with thoughts of running it at Devil's Bowl. Not particularly young by that time and certainly not used to the technology of dirt cars by the mid '80's p- Richards [no relation to C.J. Richards] did not campaign the car for very long. But he did paint it all black, added the flames, and gave it the number 71. I would guess the 71 was in recognition either of Bob Dragon or of Ernie Barcomb, from the Barcomb clan that owned the Malletts Bay Salvage yard before Richards.

        Rascoe did OK with a car equally unfamiliar to him. I lose track of whether he raced beyond 1985, as I did not work for Airborne after that and was working on making a new marriage work instead. The dirt racing world was working its way more towards the newer cars – like Troyer Mud Busses, Olsen Eagles, and the Conkey Show Cars, to name a few. Rascoe, Mike Perrotte, and Larry Delong with among the Airborne drivers who were or used to be Dannemora guards. Perrotte's and my close friend Jack Rugar, a big part of the Vic Wolfe racing operation, was another.

Dick Britain Photo
Mike Perrotte, modified champion, race track promoter, and
DIRT official is easily the most famous racing prison guard

        The pile of stuff I carried down from that hot, dusty attic was thick as the dust that was on it. I imagine it will yield more writing down the road.

Please email me if you have any photos to lend me or information and corrections I could benefit from. Please do not submit anything you are not willing to allow me to use on my website - and thanks. Email is: . For those who still don’t like computers - my regular address is: Bill Ladabouche, 23 York Street, Swanton, Vermont 05488.


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