THE RACE TRACKS IN COLCHESTER

Bob Mackey Photo Courtesy of C. J. Richards

This photo from a New York photographer shows how close the track was to the drive-in theater.

   The town of Colchester, Vermont has a considerable stake in the history of stock car racing in Vermont. At various times in the earlier years of racing, there were arguably up to to three race tracks operating in that large [and then rural] township: one near the Malletts Bay drive - In Theater was; one on Williams Road, about a mile away from the first, and there may have been another out on US Route 2. The first two went about their promotions in such an informal way that, on a given Sunday, if one track had more entrants than the other, they would agree to all pack up and go to that track to race that week. The track near the drive - in, run by Walter Barcomb [from a family which produced noted driver Ron Barcomb] usually won out. The Barcombs already included Ernie, Herb, and Leonard.... and Herb's son Ron would make his own mark, in years to come, at Catamount and other venues.

    According to local legend [and it may be just that], the owners of the drive - in theater hated the race track and schemed to get rid of it. According to the story I heard, they were able to buy it through some subterfuge and treachery, and had it bulldozed the very next day. Don't know how true it all is.

   We thought that the racing world lost a considerable chunk of Malletts Bay history when the thirty-plus photo collection of former driver Red Dooley was lost in a fire at his son's home in 2002. But they have apparently survived and I am working on scanning them - if I can track down the owners of the originals. As of mid - 2007, these along with photos from Bob Bushey and Gordy Owen, would have been the only photos I could find of the track.

   April 19 post script: Recent remarks made by Ron Barcomb, former ACT driver and nephew of Walter Barcomb now adds further clouding to which track in Colchester ran by which title. I thought I had finally nailed it down to : the best known track on Route 127 [Barcomb's] was named Colchester - Bayview; the Harvey Moody track near Williams Road was named Green Mountain Speedway; Ivanhoe Smith's track out on Rte 2 was Colchester Raceway; the early track on Holy Cross Road was Malletts Bay Speedway; and a really early track, named Sunset Speedway, was replaced by the present drive-in of the same name.
    Now Barcomb claims Walter's track was called Malletts Bay Speedway [the older track of the same name having been closed]. He says Moody's track was Colchester-Bayview - which leads me to wonder where Green Mountain was [unless it was another name for Moody's track].
    For now, I am going to proceed with the previously-understood names until I can get more verification from someone like Bob Bushey or Gordy Owen.

THE WALTER BARCOMB  TRACK

Malletts Bay.JPG (53601 bytes)

Vestiges of the frontstretch at the Malletts Bay track near the drive-in still remained in 1979. Now the site is overrun by a housing development. As my friend, Bob would have said, "That's too bad - that's what that is."

lloyd_gilbert_mbay.jpg (213793 bytes)

Courtesy of Lloyd and Greg Gilbert

This photo of Lloyd Gilbert's car is taken behind the stands, in the parking lot, between the road and the track.

 

Malletts_Bay_Aerial.jpg (50880 bytes)

Terraserver Satellite Photo -

The track is visible in the left-hand portion of the shot. The former Drive-in Theater and Malletts Bay Salvage were to the right. The interstate 89 is to the far left.

Malletts_Bay_Turn2Remenants.jpg (57593 bytes)

Cris DaBica Photo -

The photographer is convinced the banking in this year is part of the old track. It would have to be turn two, by my estimation.

 

  Malletts_Bay_Development.jpg (46096 bytes)

Cris DaBica Photo - 

The old backstretch would have been approximately to the left of this street. At the far end of the street would be turns one and two.

 

Bob Mackey Photo
Courtesy of  John Rock
and Bobby Castine

A mixup on the backstretch at Malletts Bay

 

REPUTED COLCHESTER TRACK LOCATIONS - Pre 1960

COLCHESTER-BAYVIEW SPEEDWAY
Malletts_Bay_Aerial.jpg (50880 bytes)

Terraserver Satellite Photo

    Colchester_Bayview Speedway, more often called the Malletts Bay track, is seen in a highlighted area, to the left of the drive-in and of the Malletts Bay Salvage Co, [far right]. The Walter Barcomb family,  ran the track. Interstate 89 would be just to the left, off the edge of the photo.

Malletts_Bay_Development.jpg (46096 bytes)

Cris DaBica Photo

     Nothing remains of the principal Malletts Bay track, This development destroyed all traces of the track and the drive-in next door.
CLICK HERE for a page on this track.

 

GREEN MOUNTAIN SPEEDWAY [ Williams Road ]

Terraserver Satellite Photo

      The Williams Road track disappeared without a trace. The  track was apparently owned by Harvey Moody and was on land owned by Sam Brigante. A 5/8 mile, five -cornered track, it was said to be quite informal and had little seating. According to Ken Squier, Ron Cooley went through the fence during a practice session and tore down much of the bleachers.

      The Interstate 89 was not present at the time of the Williams Road track. It could have been partly located in land now occupied by I-89; but, most old hands think it was located on what now is some sort of sandpit.

      CLICK HERE for a few photos of what might have been the Moody track.

COLCHESTER RACEWAY Route 2A
Canyon_Eastates_Terraserver_Photo.jpg (78354 bytes)

Terraserver Satellite Photo

       The Canyon Estates housing development, on Route 2A between Colchester and Essex Junction, is the alleged site of another former track. Little is known about it. Possibly, the circular street arrangement near the middle of this photo could have used some of the layout from the old track.

        According to Ken Squier, this track was operated by a small-time Winooski used car dealer named Ivanhoe Smith and was usually referred to as "Smitty's Race Track".


Courtesy of Jack Anderson
The only known photo of Smitty's race track. Too bad it wasn't clearer.


Courtesy of John Nelson

CLICK HERE for some photos, etc.  believed to be at Colchester Raceway.

SUNSET SPEEDWAY Route 27
 
Terraserver Satellite Photo

      I am now hearing that there was another race track near the site of the present day Sunset Drive - In, in the "downtown Malletts Bay" section of Colchester. I know positively nothing else about it, at present.

                The location shown in the Terraserver Satellite photo is the site of the Sunset Drive-In Theater. I suspect the track both where the drive-in is and to the right [east] of the theater. I can make out now traces of the old track, however. Maybe someone looking in on the site can shed some light on the track's location.

MALLETTS BAY RACEWAY Holy Cross Road

      Several times at Thunder Road, members of Jerry Lesage's crew had been telling me about a track they thought existed near the Belair Drive development in the Malletts Bay section of Colchester. Now, with a Burlington Free Press ad as proof, I am led to believe their suspicions are true. The ad describes the track as being at the rear of Holy Cross Chapel - Shore Road - across from the Clover House Restaurant.


Terraserver Satellite Photo
The Malletts Bay Raceway may have been where you see the development in the upper center of the photo.


Courtesy of John Nelson

GREEN MOUNTAIN SPEEDWAY


Bushey Family Photo
Ralph Bushey and Gordy Owen
work on the original Bushey car
probably at Green Mountain.

Bushey Family Photo
Action out of Turn 4
likely at Green Mountain

Bushey Family Photo
Same track, same turn.

COLCHESTER RACEWAY


Courtesy of Mark LeFrancois
One of Smitty's cars -
co-owned by Willard Rock and
driven by Clarence Rock.


Anderson Family Photo
A 15 yr-old Jack
Anderson posing at Smitty's.


Anderson Family Photo
A blurry race lineup
 at Smitty's.
     

Owen Family Photo
Gordy Owen takes the 31
out for a race as we can see
the judges' stand and the
front stretch fencing.
 

Owen Family Photo
Pushing the 31
into the pits at
Smitty's

Owen Family Photo
Gordy Owen run the 31
in a heat race at
Colchester Raceway
Photo won't open

Bushey Family Photo
Rex Shattuck pushes
the Ralph Bushey 31
in the pits.

Bushey Family Photo
Bob Bushey at speed with
the Spud 19 - presumably
at Smitty's [although the front
stretch fence doesn't look right].

Owen Family Photo
Gordy Owen on the pole at
Colchester Raceway. A
good view of turns 3 & 4

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