It was back in May of 2005, when I first went to the Vintage Race Car Meet up in New Hampshire, at the track in Loudon. That was, up until now, the only time I attended the event. I went up with the late Keith Herbst who wanted to stop over at Coastal 181, the book publishers, to discuss a book he was writing, “Daredevil’s of the Frontier”, about the racing that took place in the Buffalo, New York area.
It wasn’t until I received my copy of that book when I first knew that it was my series of “Ah Yes, I Remember it Well” articles that had inspired Keith to start to think about his book. I don’t know if Keith knew he was sick at that time, and if so, he did an excellent job of keeping it to himself, but he did pass away back on June 16, 2009. He was born almost exactly a month before me, on August 23, 1937. He was 72 years old.
Last November, when my daughter Judy and I attended the Lobitz Movie Party and Auction to benefit the Eastern Museum of Motor Racing (EMMR), there was a flyer already out about the Vintage Race Car Meet to be held at Loudon on May 10th, 11th and 12th, for the Oval Track cars. I told my daughter that I thought she might get a kick out of it, since she’s into wanting to know more of what it was like when I first started going to the races, way back in the mid 1940’s. So, we decided that we’d go for those few days.
Late last November; I attempted to reserve a room at the Red Roof Inn, a few miles south of the track. No luck. They were full for both Tuesday and Wednesday nights. It’s good to have “connections”, believe me. We were able to get a room from a block of rooms that had previously been reserved.
The forecast for the days that we were going to be attending, wasn’t all that great – with rain being forecast – mostly for all day, every day. Still, we left for the five-hour ride, around 9:30 on Tuesday morning. On our way we did run into a few showers, nothing really big. As we neared the track, the roads were fairly dry. Once we got signed in and paid the $25.00 to cover all three days, we drove under the track and into the infield. Some “Emergency” vehicles were on the track, along with a jet dryer. They were just finishing up making laps around the speedway. For the rest of the day, from a little after 2:30 on maybe, until after closing time, there was action on the track.
After leaving the track, we signed into the Red Roof Inn, got cleaned up a bit, and then headed out to a BBQ that we had been invited to – one that was hosted by Ray Boissoneau, at a place where he has a ton of restored race cars. While eating, I was fortunate to sit opposite Carl VanHorn, a noted race driver from “Back in the Day”. Later, we made the rounds checking out mainly the open wheel racecars that Ray had on display. We were the last to leave.
Returning to the Motel, we sat in the foyer with some other vintage race people and had a good time re-hashing things that had happened in the past. Just prior to us retiring for the night, another guest arrived. My God, was he tall! He stayed with us for a few minutes, after checking in, then, since he had been on the road for some time (came up from New Jersey), he headed to his room. One of those in the group happened to mention that that person was at the Vintage Race Car Meet, down in Darlington, SC, and he had his asphalt modified with him down there. “Damn near broke the track record”, he told us.
The local forecast for the Loudon area, for Wednesday, was for showers and rain all day. We stopped at a place called the “Egg Shell” for breakfast, maybe around 9:30 – 10:00 in the morning. As we were there, we did notice some cars already leaving the track and heading home – to the south. Well, sad to say for those people, they missed out on an almost full day of on track activities. True, it was overcast, but the forecasted rains never came. On track activities, like on Tuesday, did go a little past the 6:00 ending time. After that it was time to attend the Grand Marshall’s BBQ – with Ken Schrader coming up to Loudon to act as the Grand Marshall.
The Thursday forecast was similar to the one for Wednesday. Again, while we were at the track, until about 1:30 in the afternoon, when we started to head home, no rain! And, no rain on the five hour trip home, too. Gas wise, I had almost a full tank when we left for Loudon on Tuesday, and when we got there, some five hours later, it was a tick under a half. With some riding around while up there, we filled up at a station right next to the Red Roof Inn, just before going to the track on Thursday. When we got home, it was a little under a half tank, again.
The weather and, from what I’ve been told, the higher cost for registering a car this year, kept some of those that have been regulars, away for this years meet. Also, there was an attempt to have some rules enforced that would have eliminated most of the open wheel cars – those that have been restored to their ORIGINAL condition, when they race. Those new rules had been rescinded, still I feel that it had already done some damage and kept some away. Still there was an Indy car that was towed all the way to Loudon from down by Phoenix, Arizona!
The remaining few days of the meet are for cars and bikes that run on the road course at Loudon. My daughter had such a good time that she thought that maybe next year, we should stay a few days more. We’ll have to see, next year.
Following are mostly photos that I took, or were taken, while up at Loudon, with little in the way of descriptions. Hope you enjoy the photos!
|An Offy powered midget|
|Here's a Pontiac engine in a restored "Badger" midget. This car could win a feature with the NEMA, today, if it hadn't been outlawed.|
|Here's a front view of the Badger midget. Kinda like a shrunk down Super Modified!|
|Here is a photo of the left rear of the Badget midget. Some short left rear axle, huh?|
|This is Ray Boissoneau next to the Badger midget. Ray had a BBQ on Tuesday evening for anyone that wanted to come. It was held, inside, where he keeps his 30 restored race cars.|