Mark your calendars for our Annual Members meeting being held at the Danti Club in West Springfield Ma on Sunday February 26th starting at noon.
We will be having a catered hot lunch.
Due to the high cost of everything, we are asking that you RSVP by Saturday February 18th to firstname.lastname@example.org so that we can ensure we have enough for everyone, but not too much that it ends up getting wasted. We will also be asking for a minimum $10.00 per person donation to help defer the costs of the meal, and there will be a cash bar available.
We hope to see a strong count of members, it has been a while! The Board of Directors had their meeting this past Sunday, January 29th, and have a lot to report out.
So again, please RSVP by Saturday February 18th to email@example.com if you are able to attend.
As you know we are a nonprofit organization and rely on you for your annual membership to help keep our club alive, this is our forty second year and we are looking forward to the continued dedication to the preservation of the fellowship and nostalgia of automobile racing by all of you; lest we forget the efforts that went into the making of this great sport.Without your membership we would not be able to continue with our Creed. If you haven’t renewed why not do so today. If you know of someone who you think would be an added asset get them to sign up today. If you are a hall of Fame member and wish to help us continue, please consider completing the membership form with a donation. No amount is too small, and every donation is sincerely appreciated. While most of the information you can glean from the NEAR organization is available on social media, and our newsletters, without your memberships and donations we would not be able to maintain our social media presence or produce our newsletters, etc. $25.00 is a very reasonable expense in today’s economy, you would be hard pressed to bring a family of four to a track in your area for that amount! So please take a moment renew your membership, sign up someone new, and help us all to ensure that New England Antique Auto Racers continue on for another forty years! It is not too early to get in your 2023 membership renewal. The form is two sided, please complete both sides!If you can’t download the form, please reach out to me and I will send you one in the mail. Thank youApril May Preston-Elms Treasurer
The racing world and a storied family has lost a grand champion.
Gentleman Jim Martel led a storied racing career during which he won two Late Model championships during Star Speedway’s most competitive years for that class.
His time behind supermodified steering wheels produced spectacular results. He accomplished the impossible by winning a feature race at Thompson with its long straights while driving the short wheelbase Snapp Six, a car that was notoriously skittish on straightaways.
Driving Skip Matczak’s sprint car, Jim won Claremont the first time he ever raced anywhere on dirt.
He later won at Beech Ridge on dirt and earlier had successfully raced coupes and cut-downs on asphalt.
His best year was 1970 when he won 21 feature events and the track championship driving his late model at Star Speedway. Despite his record of dominating wins, fans always cheered Jim. Never did the grandstand boo even when he defeated a popular driver.
Son Scott helped Jim to wins as a crew member. Jim helped his son Scott to supermodified wins as his crew chief. Father and son were classy top racers who drove sophisticated cars to victory.
Jim earned the “Gentleman” nickname because that’s what he was. Usually. There was the day at Lakeville where he was bunted by “Wild Man” Wayne Dunham. When the race ended, Jim visited Dunham in his pit and urged him to get out to settle the score. When Dunham wisely refused, Jim hopped atop the Dunham’s hood on which he jumped up and down before the incident was broken up.
He was devoted to his wife Barbra during nearly 60 years of marriage which produced five kids: Scott and his late brother Keith, Cheri, Lori, and Marci.
For more than 50 years Jim successfully ran his garage business in the small auto racing-focused town of Ipswich, MA. He was an excellent mechanic, charged a fair price and was honest. That’s how he served customers who returned to Jim’s garage for decades in the small town where he lived and worked.
Jim was inducted into the New England Auto Racing Hall of Fame in 2014.
His most lasting contribution to New England auto racing is the fleet of race cars he restored. Jim’s hands were on several cars that have appeared on display at the New England Racing Museum.
Jim joined the board of Directors of the New England Racing Museum where he served with distinction until health issues forced his exit.
Calling hours will be on Sunday, Oct 2 at the Whittier-Porter Funeral Home, 6 High St., Ipswich, MA 4-7pm. A funeral will be held at the Our Lady of Hope, 1 Pineswamp Rd., Ipswich, MA at 10am on Monday, Oct 3.
In lieu of flowers, please donate to the New England Racing Museum, 922 Rt 106, Loudon, NH 03307
It is with great sorrow that we announce the passing of Mike Rivard. For many years, Mike has been a great friend and Sponsor of NEAR. We offer our deepest condolences to Mike’s family and friends upon his passing, at much too early an age. God Bless and Godspeed, Mike, and thank you.
Michael “Mike” Rivard
Michael Rivard, 56, passed away December 29, 2020 of severe Covid-19 pneumonia; he fought so hard for 14 days in the ICU.He was the loving husband, best friend and soulmate of his wife of 25 years Tina Rivard.
He also leaves behind 5 amazing children Christopher Rivard and his wife Rebecca, Matthew Rivard and his fiancée Sabrina Ricci, Jacob Auger, Tyler Rivard and his daughter Kathryn Rivard. He leaves behind 4 grandchildren Madison, Nicholas, Abagail and Blake, who will miss their Papa greatly. They will miss his infectious personality, belly laugh, and edge of your seat storytelling (and he had plenty).He also will be missed by his loving parents, Armand and Nancy Rivard, his siblings Suzanne Cote and her husband Ronald, Roger Rivard and his wife Brenda, and David Rivard and his wife Francis. He also leaves behind his brother in-laws, Thomas Galipeau and Timothy Pernini and his wife Barbara.he is predeceased by his younger brother Richard.He loved his nieces Jessica, Julie, Brittany, Francesca, Rosalie and his nephews Eric, Jonathan, Devon, Jared, Thomas, and many great nieces and nephews. They will forever miss their Uncle Coco.
Mike had such a big heart he often was a father-figure to those that weren’t his own. Family was his first and foremost, He was always there to help, listen however he could or just laugh with you. He was a devoted husband and father. A woman could never ask for a better man, and our children could not ask for a better father. His family was his world. He loved his many friends and all of the great times they had. I was proud to be his wife.
He also had a love and passion for his company Tire Doctor and all of their customers. He started the company with his partner, Michael Hosney, with just a white van and a customer’s list. Over the years it grew into 4 locations. When he was younger he owned Moto Center in Woonsocket. He loved riding motorcycles and racing what people call hair scrambles. He was an avid racing fan and loved to watch his sons race or jump in his truck and go anywhere to watch a race. He was so proud of his daughter for growing into the young woman she is today.
He wanted to see the world, his spontaneous sense for adventure and willingness to travel, even on a surprise 50th birthday adventure to Graceland for his wife. One thing on his bucket list was to go to the Tulsa Shootout, which he was able to do. The racing community will miss him. He also loved to go shooting at the range with his boys, loved of all kinds of genres of music and loved going to all kinds of concerts, and working in the garage.
Recently his new passions as the children have grown older were vacationing with his loving wife. New Hampshire was the first condo we ever had; we enjoyed it for 10 years. it was a place he could absolutely relax. I’m glad to have had the immense gratitude to be with him for 25 years. they were the best years of my life. Anyone who bumped into him, talked to him on the phone, did business with, or even just exchanged a smile, all liked him immediately, and he was a man that could put someone at ease immediately. He had everyone at Hello. He never waned in any responsibility and taught us all the true definition of hard hard work and the true meaning of family. He was an old fashioned gentleman, a savvy businessman and all around great guy. He had so many plans in his head for business and future endeavors and more vacations. He was taken much too soon and had so much living still to do. He will be missed by so many versatile people of all stages of life. They are allowing us to decorate with Mikes many hobbies and interests. People say that God needed an angel….well he got a superhero.
A Mass of Christian Burial for Mike will be celebrated on Monday January 4th at 10:00 am in Holy Trinity Parish (OLQM) Church, 1409 Park Ave. Woonsocket, R.I. In lieu of flowers memorial donations may be made to Mike’s grandchildren’s college fund. Arrangements are in care of the Menard-Lacouture Funeral Home, 127 Carrington Ave. Woonsocket.www.menardfuneralhome.co
The July 2020 passing of Bob Bahre
is a sad time for everyone involved in New England motorsports. Bob’s
contributions to racing in New England were huge.
He was inducted
into the NEAR Hall of Fame in 2009. He was also inducted into the Maine
Motorsports Hall of Fame.
Along with others
including Vic Yerardi and Al Novotnik, Bob developed and promoted the Vintage
Celebration at his New Hampshire Motor Speedway. In its early days, the
Celebration was simply spectacular with the garage filled with period correct
Indy cars, sprints and midgets. The
noise of their Offy engines exploded into the summer air with their own brand
of music and their tart exhaust aroma. Beautifully restored race cars of every
type were welcomed and they came and were enjoyed by so many.
these divisive times in which we live, back then auto racing had Bob Bahre to
bring us together. He had time for everyone from millionaires to the kid
looking up at a driver in a white firesuit.
his magical trip to bring top level racing to New England, he bought Maine’s
Oxford Plains Speedway in 1964. He soon invented the Oxford 250 (originally the
Oxford 200) along with weekly racing that was so good that it drew crowds so
big Bob added more seats until his track had greater capacity than any other in
New England. And on many days and nights, he sold tickets for every one of
first Cup races were booked when he owned Oxford. Bobby Allison won his first
Cup (then Grand National) event there in 1966. Bob promoted two more Cup races
at Oxford before the series became too big for small tracks like Oxford.
He saw his future
in big league NASCAR which was growing rapidly, so he sold Oxford and began
preparing for his greatest adventure:
bringing big league racing to New England for the first time since 1928.
He acquired the
Bryar Motorsports Park in Loudon, NH along with other adjacent properties with
which he created New Hampshire International Speedway. The obstacles he overcame
to build the track were monumental. Unable to obtain a permit for suites, when
he learned the denial came because the town didn’t have a ladder fire truck
that could reach that high, Bob solved the problem. He bought a ladder truck
and gave it to the town. In turn, he got the permit to build the suites. He
blasted ledge, built a tunnel under the track big enough for trailer trucks and
did everything he could think of to ensure the comfort and safety of racing’s
opened in 1990 with a Busch race. Bob knew from the beginning that he had to
have NASCAR’s top division if his new track would be successful. He petitioned Bill
France Jr. for a date who first told Bob his chances “…were somewhere between
slim and none.” But, Bob persevered and finally, NASCAR awarded him the track’s
first Cup date in 1993. Then, he pulled a brilliant maneuver to bring a second
Cup date to his track. New England watched the biggest motorsports series in
the country twice each year and we bought every ticket for every Cup seat Bob
Bahre ever had at his new track. He achieved sold-out attendance for every top
division NASCAR race he ran at NHIS.
always loved vintage cars, especially Packard’s. He built a massive two story
garage on his property in South Paris, Maine where he lived with his wife
Sandra and son Gary. He filled that garage with priceless cars of the past. As
such, with a love of old cars, he was one of us. A barn at the upper level
included a library, vintage cars and even a horse-drawn carriage. Like NEAR’s
membership, Bob appreciated the beauty of the past.
year he opened the collection to all who wanted to see it and donated the money
that came from the event to the local library.
started in business when his mother bought a Sears welder on time so he could
learn a trade. With it, Bob built trailers. But, as a young man he moved on to
ultimately earn a fortune developing real estate. First there were single
family houses, then apartment buildings and then strip malls. What began as a
single spec house became a real estate empire. Bob’s hard work and smart
decisions resulted in the millions of dollars he used to build New Hampshire
bought and sold a local bank located near his office several times. He always
bought for less and sold for more. He explained his business success to
Speedway employee Cheryl LaPrade saying, “I just got lucky, kid.”
success was the result of so much more than luck. Involving his family in the
business was part of the story. His had an extraordinary level of common sense.
And courage. He built NHIS without a NASCAR promise of Cup series races. He
made consistently good decisions and had the tenacity to achieve lofty goals.
The reputation he earned as a fair and honest man helped more than this humble
man would have ever admitted.
was a generous man in many ways, sending annual donations to local churches and
other charities. He made sure everyone who came to his track to race went home
with money in their pocket, even if they failed to qualify. He was a mentor to
many but especially to Cup winner turned TV personality, Ricky Craven.
multi-millionaires learned business at Wharton or Harvard Business School. Bob
never finished high school.. From the first shovel that moved dirt on the
property, he believed the track in which he was so heavily invested would fail
without at least on top level NASCAR date. He built NHIS almost entirely using
his own money so the risk was high.
loved auto racing and old cars but his first love was his family, his wife
Sandra and his son Gary. Both played active roles in Bob’s business life. They
built a mansion on Lake Winnipesaukee for he and Sandy and another right next
door for Gary. Bob never truly liked the big house and spent his final days in
South Paris, Maine in the former home of Governor Hannibal Hamlin, a home built
in 1848, where he lived before the lake property was built. Bob was more
comfortable in that old house with his car collection just steps away than in
the shiny newness of Longview on the lake.
man in the kaki pants with the white shirt and yellow sweater was a certified
New England treasure. We’ll never see another like him again.
The NEAR Board Members and Hall of Fame Executive Committee Representatives met at the ProNyne Motorsports Museum this past Sunday. After much discussion and after holding off as long as possible, we gave in to common sense. The decision was unanimously made to cancel the 2020 NEAR Hall of Fame Banquet. As hard as this decision was to make, it was the right one. The Covid 19 pandemic has not moved on. Our facility for the event is still not open in Ct. A great number of our membership and honorees are in the highest risk group for infection. In the interest of being as safe as possible, we will regroup and try to have a stellar event in 2021! Please note that all nominations for the 2020 Hall will be retained for consideration in 2021. We will continue to accept additional nominations until April of 2021. We thank any and all that have had a hand in the planning, sponsoring, and putting on of this event. Please continue to be safe and God Bless.
The Annual Member’s Meeting held on Sunday, Feb. 9th, 2020 was a well attended event. A great showing of members from all corners of New England were on hand to usher in a new season. Spirits were high as we got down to the business of the 2019 season ending awards, HOF Truck Committee news, 2020 schedule, Officer Elections, and Special Awards.
Members were greeted at the door and memberships were available from Steve Masse and Valarie and Steve Tucker. Paul Masse had his modified model collection on hand, and he also helped Ric Mariscal man the NEAR t -shirt table. Ric and Pete Newsham teamed up to run the merchandise/memorabilia raffle that raised a little over $200 for the club. The man behind the camera that you never see is NEAR member Brad Cowan, thanks to him for all of our photos.
After a delicious luncheon served by Jim and the Thompson Staff, the business side of the meeting began. Current Board officers Rich Goucher,President, Skip Matczak,Vice President, Rob Quinn, Recording Secretary, Paul Masse, Bruce Nichols,and Dick Berggren were elected by popular vote. These officers ran un-opposed. Our open chair for Treasurer/Membership was nominated from the floor, as was another Board member. Elected by the membership by popular vote was April May Preston for Treasurer and Oscar Hancock for Board Member. Many thanks to these two for stepping up and helping our club!!
After being elected as a new Board Member Oscar Hancock, along with Rob Quinn, introduced their vision for the HOF Truck. They proposed that NEAR should authorize a new Hall of Fame Truck Committee. This group will take over fundraising, upkeep, everyday operations and responsibility for events. The truck will remain owned by NEAR and used for NEAR activities. The group displayed a new layout for the graphics on the truck that was very impressive! They also have a great many sponsors lined up to share the costs involved. A motion was made, seconded, and approved to establish the Hall of Fame Truck Committee. All sponsor, donor, gift monies and expenses will be run through the NEAR Treasurer’s office for proper book keeping and reporting. Fantastic job, guys!