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.
 

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
Kenny St. John
 


Courtesy Cho Lee
Roger Rouleau

Courtesy Cho Lee
Allen Whipple
Claremont, NH

Courtesy Neal Davis

Courtesy P Zampieri
 

Courtesy Cho Lee
Unknown Team

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

Courtesy Neal Davis

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
 

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
 


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

 


Evelyn Elms  Photo
Butch Burbank leads Ervine
"Brother" Eastman

 


Evelyn Elms  Photo
Butch Burbank leads eventual
winner Bob Shepard

 


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
 

 


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

     
     

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

 

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.
 
George Hill Photo
Brother, with a newer
modified.
 

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.
     


George Hill Photo
Bear Ridge lineup in the 1980's. For some reason, both divisions are in one race. Might be kiddie rides.


 

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