BEAR RIDGE SPEEDWAY
                 

It is hard to find this track  on satellite, but we did it.

     According to area racing historian Cho Lee, Northeast Speedway, in Lower Waterford was one of the last bastions of the flathead coupes. But, by 1966, the track was not running the coupes any longer. What's more, Thunder Road - the other last bastion - had gone NASCAR and had also eliminated the flatheads. This made for a hiatus of almost three years, in which those who had the coupes were forced to mothball them and hope for another day.
    That other day came when legendary car owner George Barber, of Bradford, Vermont, bought some remote land in his community and planned to build a temporary race track so coupes could still have somewhere to race. According to legend, when Barber and others were first on the land, trying to determine how they would lay out the facility, a bear was seen slipping away from its nearby hiding place and away from the men. Hence, the name Bear Ridge Speedway.


Courtesy of Cho Lee

C.V. Elms, Sr, or Chuck [center], poses with Devils Bowl promoter C.J. Richards
[left] and Bob Doyle


     Barber recently told Lee he had only envisioned a lifespan of two or three years for the little dirt fifth mile oval, but it took on a life of its own and even rated an article in STOCK CAR RACING magazine. As we all know, the track is still there today, having been enlarged and improved gradually. Barber soon sold out to a group including C.V. Elms, Sr., and the Elm family still runs it today.
  This set of photos is from the late 1970's and early 1980's. I have recently learned that the first announcer at the track was Sam Hayward, whose family ran a local trucking firm called Hayward Transportation.


Bill Ladabouche Photo
With apologies to Cho Lee, this poor photo shows a poster from the first show at Bear Ridge.
It was dated and collected by George Barber, given to Cho Lee, and finally donated to
Butch Elms on the 40th anniversary of the track in July of 2007.


Courtesy of Cho Lee
First Bear Ridge starter Ted Wynot and other Bear Ridge Officials.


Courtesy of Cho Lee
George Barber, father of Bear Ridge Speedway.
 

THE EARLY YEARS


Courtesy Cho Lee
Skip Elliott

Courtesy Cho Lee
"Happy" Harold Derosia
with Emilio Girelli
 

Courtesy Cho Lee
Fred Kidder
ex-Bud Messier 50

Courtesy Cho Lee
Rabbit Chaffee

Courtesy Cho Lee
Unknown heat winner.


Courtesy Cho Lee
Kenny St. John
 


Courtesy Cho Lee
Roger Rouleau

Courtesy Cho Lee
Allen Whipple
Claremont, NH

Courtesy Neal Davis

 

Courtesy P Zampieri
More Whipple

Courtesy Cho Lee
The Sonny Moses Team
Tunbridge, VT

Courtesy Cho Lee
Cecil Bosworth,
Athol, MA
The
Geo. Ingalls 888

Courtesy Neal Davis
More Bosworth

Courtesy Cho Lee
Bob Rushford,
Bradford, VT
with Bob Doyle

 

Courtesy Cho Lee
Ed Jennings,
with Merlin Bean

Courtesy Cho Lee
Herb Gray,
Thetford, VT
 
 
Courtesy of Cho Lee
Jim Currier
 
Courtesy of Cho Lee
Dale "Tubby" Hatch,
Groton, VT

Courtesy of George Hill
A very blurry action shot.
 
Courtesy of Cho Lee
Ronnie St. John
 
Courtesy of Phil Whipple
Via Cho Lee

Ralph Stygles is congratulated
by starter Ted Wynot.
 
Courtesy of Davis Family
Another Bosworth shot.

Courtesy of Davis Family
Another Ralphie S. shot.
 
Courtesy of Davis Family
Another Ralph shot.
 
Courtesy of Davis Family
One more time.
 
Courtesy of Alexander Family
Steve Ladd's
Hudson.

Elms Family Photo
Ted Wynot hustles during
a re - start lineup.

Elms Family Photo
Bob Rushlow gets a win.

Pete Fournier Photo
The Bob Moore frantically works
on a broken rear end.

Fred Carpenter Photo
The pits are full of coupes.

 Photo Courtesy of Buzz Fisher
A later George Barber
coupe for Bear Ridge.
         


Courtesy of Butch Elms
An aerial shot of the track - likely early into the quarter mile era.

THE 1970's AND 1980's


Evelyn Elms  Photo
Two unidentified Coupe Division
cars at speed. The second is #96, Robert "Rabbit" Chaffee.

Evelyn Elms  Photo
Chuck Beede [orange shirt]
looks on as Frank Keene
receives his trophy
.

Bill Ladabouche Photo
Gassing up the Chuck Beede
coupe in the pits at Bear Ridge
 
Courtesy of George Hill 
A Bunch of trophy kids -
I don't get the occasion.

Bill Ladabouche Photo
Bradford Bob Rushford,
the spirit and soul of
Bear Ridge, straps in
 

 


Courtesy of Cho Lee
Allen Whipple,
Claremont, NH
The Former George
Barber #47 coupe.
 

 


Evelyn Elms  Photo
Butch Burbank leads Ervine
"Brother" Eastman

 


Evelyn Elms  Photo
Butch Burbank leads eventual
winner Bob Shepard

 
Courtesy of Scott Haskell
The original 3J of Jim Martell.
It's been restored since.

Courtesy of Scott Haskell
The original 3J of Jim Martell
at O'Connell's Texaco.


Evelyn Elms  Photo
Late model driver David Gomo
[now running Lebanon Valley]
leads a coupe.


Evelyn Elms  Photo
The late Duncan McKay
gets a victory.

 


Neal Davis  Photo
More Duncan
 


Bill Ladabouche Photo
Some last-minute work in the
 Brother Eastman pits.
   

Courtesy of Andy Boright
Dave Simpson,
Graniteville, VT
         
         

Bill Ladabouche Photo
Preparations in the C.V.
 Elms pit area.

Evelyn Elms  Photo
The C.V. Elms Gremlin
at speed around 1982ish

 

Evelyn Elms  Photo
Frank Keene's Gremlin
pressures the Gremlin
of Butch Elms
 

Neal Davis Photo
Ralphie Stygles 

Ladabouche Photo
Special Bardahl jacket
for Bear Ridge. The
track was something

special to Bob Doyle.

Courtesy of Cho Lee
Bunky Adams

Courtesy of Alex Alexander
 
Courtesy of Cho Lee
More Hana
 
Courtesy of George Hill
Bob Shepard,
Graniteville, VT
 
Courtesy of George Hill
Ervine "Brother" Eastman,
East Thetford, VT
 
Courtesy of Andy Boright
Tom "TR" Waters,
Washington, VT

Former Catamount Grand American standout.
 
Courtesy of Cho Lee
Pete Dunn
 
Racers' Bored Sitee
Paul Parker,
New London, NH
 
Racers' Bored Site
More Parker
 
Courtesy of Andy Boright
More, newer Parker
 
Courtesy of Cho Lee
Paul Eastman

Courtesy of Davis Family
Bob Moore 

Courtesy of Davis Family
Clayton Hatch 
 
 Photo Courtesy of Buzz Fisher
A scary - looking 1970's entry.
 
 Photo by Fred Carpenter
Bill Phelps
 
 Photo Courtesy of Andy Boright
UNK coupe.
 
 Photo Courtesy of Andy Boright
Coupes out of turn 4. 
   
Photo Courtesy of Andy Boright
Frank Keene win one with the former Bob Moore sedan.
   
Photo Courtesy of Andy Boright
UNK coupe.


Courtesy of Cho Lee
The last George Barber car and the final flathead - powered car to win at Bear Ridge. Some different from his first car,
[below] which came and went long before Bear Ridge was created. George [far right in top photo] looked a
little different as well.

ERVINE "BROTHER" EASTMAN


George Hill Photo
Brother, with his most
famous coupe and lots
of trophies.
 

George Hill Photo
Brother, with his most
famous coupe at speed.

George Hill Photo
Brother, with his most
famous coupe and lots
of trophies.

Courtesy of Cho Lee
Brother Eastman

George Hill Photo
Brother, with a newer
modified.

George Hill Photo
Brother's familiar 3 window.

C. V. "Butch" Elms


George Hill Photo
Fans admire his latest
modified, around mid '80's

 

George Hill Photo
A later coupe with
a victory.

George Hill Photo
A modified, in the
Gremlin body era.
     

Ladabouche Photo
Butch Elms talking to Mike Richards at
Devil's Bowl.. The topic was cattle,
not racing.
 
Ladabouche Photo
Butch Elms' Coupe pitting
 at mid - feature. I bet
they held the field.
 


Al Ward Photo
Bear Ridge lineup in the 1980's. For some reason, both divisions are in one race. Might
 be kiddie rides. Below -  Lining them up in the pits.


 
Source Unknown - Maybe Al Ward
Vermont legend Beaver Dragon trying out one of Butch Elms' sportsman mods at the Ridge. Below - Brother Bob doing the same thing/


Source Unknown - Maybe Al Ward

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