A great and beloved New England auto racing icon has died.
Ralph Cusack passed at age 87 on February 9, 2021. He was an early star at
Beech Ridge Speedway, and became a twelve-time champion. His first championship
was earned in 1953, the last in 1980. He won championships driving underpowered
coupes with flathead engines all the way up to insanely powerful supermodifieds.
He purchased the track from Cowboy Cal Reynolds in 1981, the year after he
won his final driving championship. He paved the track, brought in NASCAR and
made the place family friendly while filling all the seats on many Saturday nights. In
his senior years, Ralph sold the track to his sons Andy and Glenn who have run it
admirably ever since.
Although best known for his success as a Beech Ridge driver, he raced at a
variety of other tracks. In his youth, Ralph was on Scarborough High’s swim team. He
was a rifle marksman, hunter, fisherman, motorcycle and snowmobile enthusiast. As
a heavy equipment operator, he helped create the Maine Turnpike.
Much more than a track owner, Ralph was a strong family man who
with his wife Jane raised two fine sons. He was a man people admired and looked up
Ralph was inducted into the NEAR Hall of Fame in 2004, Maine Sports Hall of
Fame in 2006 and Maine Motorsports Hall of Fame. In addition to his driving
championships, he received many awards for his operation of the track.
Article thanks to Dick Berggren
The northeast racing community mourns the passing of Mary Lima of STAR. On behalf of the officers and members of NEAR, we offer our deepest condolences to Charlie, Tammy, and Mary’s family and friends. She was a wonderful, hard working woman who was integral in the preservation of vintage racing history in New England. Early on, Mary was also a dedicated professional within our organization. Thank you, Mary, you will be sorely missed. Godspeed.
Weymouth – Mary I. (Conard) Lima, age 74, of Dartmouth, passed away on Friday, January 8, 2021 at South Shore Hospital surrounded by her loving family. She was the beloved wife of Charles Lima.
Mary was born in Gloucester, to the late Owen and Frances Conard. She grew up in Gloucester and loved the beach as well as gardening and painting . Mary was a Member and Director of Senior Tour Auto Racing .She worked as a manager for Cameo Curtains and Pace Headstart for many years until her retirement.
She is survived by her daughter, Tammy Lima Barboza and her husband Michael; her 1 grandson, Matthew Lima Barboza; 1brother, Donald Conard and his wife Marie; sister in law Sharron Conrad: 1niece, Kandi Lee Conrad and1 nephew Eric Conrad.
Maria’s visiting hours will be held on Tuesday evening, January 12, 2021 from 5:00 P.M. – 8:00 P.M. at Perry Funeral Home. Her funeral will be Wednesday morning, beginning in the funeral home at 9:00 A.M. and followed by a Mass of Christian Burial at St. Mary’s Church in Dartmouth at 9:00 A.M. Burial will immediately follow in Pine Grove Cemetery.
All attendees are required by current mandated restrictions to wear a face covering at all times, to social distance 6 feet and to please refrain from any close physical contact. Attendance in the funeral home will be limited in order to meet the mandated capacity restrictions and could result with a wait time outside of the funeral home. Attendance in church and at the cemetery will also be limited to meet capacity restrictions. Thank you in advance for your patience and cooperation during this time.
Arrangements are placed in the care of Perry Funeral Home 111 Dartmouth St. New Bedford, MA 02740. Please see our website: www.perryfuneral.com for condolences.
NEAR Vice President Skip Matczak Has graciously offered to host a Directors Meeting on Sunday, January 17, 2021 at 12 noon. This will be held at Seals It, 164 Maple Street, Ellington, CT 06029. We ask, due to Covid concerns, that only officers and committee chairs attend. Please remember to bring a mask!
Preparations for 2021 event season, HOF discussion, and any other Club business will be discussed. Pizza and liquid refreshments will be provided.
Thank you, Skip!
The officers of NEAR have been patient and we have been closely monitoring the pandemic provisions throughout New England. That said, it is in everyone’s best interests that we postpone our Annual Meeting usually held in mid January. Should the effects of Covid 19, the vaccine rollout, and state parameters allow us to meet, we will re-schedule. We absolutely hope that all of our members understand our decisions and support them.
We will very soon share the results of our 2020 driving events season as well as sending out the first Newsletter of 2021. We will include a 2021 Membership Form with that mailing.
Our new address for membership forms and any correspondence is NEAR, P.O.Box #492, Bradford, Vt. 05033. Our Treasurer/Membership Chair is April May Preston, co-owner of Bear Ridge Speedway.Any questions, concerns, please contact Rich Goucher here or at firstname.lastname@example.org, or (860) 209-7343 (leave message, still work)
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
Article courtesy of North East Motorsports Museum
DAVE HUMPHREY A WINNER FOR 45 YEARS
On December 7th, 2020 one of the greatest New England race car drivers, Dave Humphrey, died at age 95. Dave lived a full life, serving in WWII where he received the purple heart after having been hit by enemy machine gun fire. Best known as a midget champion, he won the NEMA title six times, 1967, 1968, 1969, 1970 (tied with Lou Fray), 1971 and 1978. He won 72 NEMA feature events.
He was every bit as successful as a stock car driver winning championships at New London, West Peabody, Seekonk, and Norwood. He was also a winning URC sprint car driver. Dave was inducted into the NEAR Hall of Fame in 2012 and is a member of the Midget Auto Racing Hall of Fame. His first feature win took place in 1941 when Dave was 21. His final feature win was in 1986 at age 61. He drove the first Badger midget (owned by John McCarthy) to NEMA Championships. That car is on display at the North East Motor Sports Museum.
The next Director’s meeting of the New England Antique Racers will be at the Thompson Speedway Lounge on Tuesday, October 20, 2020 at 7:00 p.m. Topics will include the Modified Model Raffle winner, planning for the next Newsletter and the Annual Member’s Meeting in early 2021. Attendees are reminded to bring/wear a mask for indoor protection/social distancing.
The Monthly meeting has been postponed from Tuesday 9/15/20. A new date will be announced as preparations were incomplete due to our active running schedule. When this President can catch up with things we can reconvene. Thanks for your patience.