NEAR CARS AND STARS ARE INVITED TO BIG E

BY Al Fini

 
In 2016 Fred Ciavola and I were invited to put on a presentation representing the history of the Big E racetrack which operated from 1917 to 1968. That exhibit was so popular that John Juliano, director of the Special Events Dept. of the Big E reached out and asked if NEAR could hold a still show on the Avenue of States on Sunday October 1, 2018.
They requested our Mobile Museum (they will pay our normal display fee of $250.00) and up to 15 racecars which will be displayed on the road across from the State buildings which is their most popular attraction meaning that over 50,000 Fair attendees will visit our display of the history of New England Auto racing.
All the NEAR members coming with the display cars will receive free admission. You must arrive before 8 AM and the cars will be on display until 4 PM at which time the Security Dept will escort us back to the parking lot where you can load and leave. If there is enough interest we will schedule an autograph session, with Hall of Fame members
PLAN ON ENJOYING A DAY AT NEW ENGLAND’S GREAT STATE FAIR
We must have a minimum of 8 cars or the event will be canceled and the Board of Directors indicated if we have that many cars it will be a points show. You must contact Al Fini, (413-896-4764, finiplants@aol.com) or Steve Zukowski, (860-6388841) by May 15. If you plan on attending.
If this is successful I believe it could be an annual event.

Horace “Mert” Adams Passes at Age 87

The New England Antique Racers (NEAR) would like to send its heartfelt sympathy to Rich Goucher, NEAR Board of Directors member and recipient of the 2016 Charlie Stebbins Award, and his entire family on the passing of his father-in-law, Horace “Mert” Adams. The following is Mr. Adams obituary posted on Rich’s Facebook page:

Horace “Mert” Adams, 87, passed into his eternal life in Heaven, surrounded by his loving family, on Monday, March 27, 2017, after a short illness.

A lifelong Southington resident, Mert was born on October 6, 1929, one of five children to the late Leslie and Evelyn (Sylvia) Adams.

Horace proudly served alongside both of his brothers in the U.S. Army during the post World War II military reconstruction mission, Occupation Germany. During that hitch, he was a member of the Heavy Mortar Company, 43rd Division, 3rd Platoon. After the war, he was a member of the National Guard, and American Legion, Post 72.

Upon his return home, Mert gave 42 loyal years to the Beaton & Corbin Manufacturing Company until its closure. He continued his career at the Pegasus Manufacturing Company in Hamden, CT until his retirement. Horace also was an accomplished horticulturist in his spare time. His hard work produced a giant garden for many years, from which he shared his harvest abundantly. Mert also adopted many stray cats and dogs throughout the years, and could be found many Saturday afternoons on his beloved basement couch sharing a nap with one or more of them.

Horace leaves behind his adoring wife, Barbara (Ridzik) Adams, to whom he was married for 61 years; his sister, Mary Derynioski and his brother, John Adams and his wife, Diane. He also leaves his pride and joy, his daughters, Lisa Wallace and her husband, Ted, and Lori Goucher and her husband, Rich. A special place in his heart was reserved for his grandchildren, Erica, Rachel, and Sarah Wallace, and Gary and Timothy Goucher. He will also be missed by many beloved nieces and nephews, including his special nieces, Suzanne DeMerchant and Nancy Mathews. Horace was predeceased by his sister, Marjorie and his brother, Leslie Adams.

Mert’s love for animals may be remembered with contributions to the:
          Connecticut Humane Society
          701 Russell Rd
          Newington, CT 06111

Funeral services in celebration of Mert’s life will be held on Saturday, April 1st, at 10 am at:
          First Baptist Church
          581 Meriden Avenue
          Southington, CT

Interment with military honors will follow at South End Cemetery. Family and friends may gather on Friday evening, from 4-7 p.m. at Plantsville Funeral Home, 975 S. Main St, Plantsville.

For online expressions of sympathy, please visit www.plantsvillefuneralhome.com

2017 NEAR Annual Meeting Photos

Photos of the 2017 NEAR Annual Meeting and Presentation of Awards for the previous season have been posted in the “Photo Section”, click the tab at the top to view the pictures individually…

 

 

NEAR Pasta & Movie Night Thanks

Thank you is an expression of gratitude and appreciation
There are many people that deserve our thanks for their part in the success of the Pasta/ Movie Night held on March 4, 2017
First, to all our members and guests that braved the cold and wind. They arrived to enjoy an evening of good memories, good friendship and renewing or making new acquaintances.
Then, there is Don Moon who went above and beyond,selling tickets and encouraging people to support the event.
Steve and Jim who organized the prize table for the raffle.
The numerous people who donated prizes for the raffle, who, without their generosity, we would not have been financially successful.
The folks present who bought the tickets for the raffle and the 50/50 tickets.
The numerous retailers and businesses that donated a prize, or allowed NEAR to place a poster about the event on the window or counter to help publicize the event.
The members of the fundraising committee for their efforts to bring together a successful event that had not been undertaken in over 2 years.
Many thanks to the Bristol Elks #1010, who graciously donated their facility for the event.
The Chairman of the Fundraising Committee Rich Goucher who labored since January to secure a location,buy and prepare the food, and get the tickets printed.
Lastly, to all the folks who said thank you when departing the hall, asking that another event be scheduled as they enjoyed the movies, the conversation and the food. They also commented that those who did not venture out missed out on a wonderful happening.
Thank you one and all!

2017 NEAR Schedule is up!

Please click on NEAR Schedule button for the 2017 Schedule updated on 3/12/17.
Please direct any additions, deletions, pictures, or copy for the website, to
Rich Goucher at rgoucher@comcast.net

A few points of interest and importance
The schedule now posted is updated and correct and differs from the one posted in the last news letter.
Twin State asked to be called Claremont Speedway that was corrected per the request of the Speedway who is gracious to host an event for us.
The date of the Norwood reunion has been corrected
The date of the Plainville reunion has been changed
This year the event will take place in September on the 23rd

If you want to display your call at the Thompson Ice breaker Commencing March 31 Please contact Jim Williams as the space is very limited although it would be nice to see a mixture of vehicles showing the coupes and coaches as well as the Vegas and Pintos A few flatheads and six cylinder would make a nice display

Summer Knights Sunday April 30 at the Berlin Fair Grounds
If you don’t have a race car or it is not yet ready for display bring your street car or hot rod. Motorcycles are also welcome
This is a charity fundraising event come out and show your iron, shake off the dust of the winter and soak up the sunshine. Enjoy the day and help John and his crew raise money for several good causes
There will be raffles, prizes, and a swap or sale area and food.

NEAR Pasta/Movie Night Fundraiser

Update-Weather will be chilly, but no snow! Expected HOF attendees:

Bob Polverari, Billy Greco, Dave Alkas, Bob Potter, Val LeSieur, R.A.Sylvia, and more!!!!! 

Come Celebrate and Participate

NEAR Pasta and Movie night is happening on:

Saturday March 4, 2017 at the

Elks Lodge
126 South Street
Bristol, CT

Cash Bar Available
Cocktails and Appetizer hour from 5 to 6 P M

Dinner served at 6 P M

Throughout the evening there will be racing movies showing as well as a  racing Memorabilia Raffle
Before the end of the evening a 50/50 raffle drawing

As an added feature this year a NEAR Hall of Fame member autograph session

So get out of the house and SHAKE OFF your CABIN FEVER and PARTICPATE

This will be a new rite of spring where you can gather with old friends and make new ones while sharing your racing memories and your plans for this season

Tickets are a $15.00 Donation at the door, or reserve yours by calling:

Rich at     (860) 209-7343

Jim at      (860) 922-9263

Steve at  (860) 638-8841

Donations for the raffle will be accepted till 6 – So bring something for the raffle and have an enjoyable time centered on the sport of Motor Racing!

All proceeds go to support New England Antique Racers (NEAR)

NEAR Hall of Famer Leo Cleary Passes : Memorial 3/3/17 in Ma.

Courtesy of Nick Teto(Yankee Racer.com)

Word arrived from Florida that 1999 New England Auto Racing Hall of Fame inductee Leo Cleary has passed away at age-88.

Upon hearing of the news, award-winning Hall of Fame auto racing journalist Pete Zanardi stated the following; “Leo, from Massachusetts, was truly one of New England’s short track pioneers with a career stretching all the way back to the days of early tracks such as Dracut, Groveland, Topsfield, West Peabody, Medford Bowl, Norwood Arena, and Westboro. He raced and won all over the region, and was always in high-demand with the best teams. His era included some of the greatest names in the history of modified racing.”

Arrangements are incomplete at this time. The entire NEAR family extends its sincere condolences to Leo’s family & many friends.

Below is an excerpt from his New England Auto Racing Hall of Fame Biography. Accompanying photos are courtesy of the Dave Dykes’ Racing Through Time website.

Ask most retired drivers what tracks they raced at, and you might get the name of one, two or maybe a half dozen tracks. Ask Leo “The Lion” Cleary and you had better have some time to listen. Leo competed at the Medford Bowl, Lonsdale, Norwood, Catamount, and Westboro. Among active tracks, he raced at Thompson, Seekonk, Stafford, Martinsville, Oswego, Waterford, and New Smyrna, along with several others.

In his 44 years behind the wheel, Cleary took down 14 track championships, including the Norwood Arena, Seekonk, and Thompson. These championships have come behind the wheel of jalopies, cutdowns, full coupes, modifieds, pro-stocks, and mini modifieds.

At age 58, when most people are busy planning their retirement, Cleary was busy planning his season at Seekonk, where he took down the 1986 pro stock championship. The next year, the 59-year-old Cleary switched to mini modifieds, again winning the Seekonk Championship. When Aetna Insurance transferred Cleary to Florida in 1988, most people, including Leo himself, figured that was the end of his racing. That’s when Vic Kangus convinced him to hop into his Florida modified, which he drove until 1993, when, at age 63, he suffered four broken ribs, and hung up his helmet for good.

Leo Cleary’s career spanned six decades. He has progressed from the early stock jalopies to the modern mini mods, pro stocks, and modifieds.

From Louis Modestino:

Just got the word from Ed Gendreau about the Leo Cleary Memorial that will be held at the McGoun-Biggins Funeral Home on 135 Union St. in Rockland, MA 02370 next Friday, March 3 from 5-8 pm. Expect to see a lot racing folks turn out for this memorial because Leo had a lot of fans and friends.

Sources: Dave Dykes/NEAR PR

Brian “Spanky” and Lisa Bancroft, NEAR Members

The 1937 Chevy Coupe, #15, was owned originally by Lenny Bancroft and could be seen racing “back in the day” at Riverside, Eastern States and Stafford Speedway by his main driver Frank Molton (his best man at his wedding), Rene Charlin, Gene Bergin and Sperry Morway to mention a few.

Then, in the ‘70’s, Spanky’s 2 oldest sisters’ boyfriends tried their hand at racing at Riverside…which did not last. When Lenny’s days of racing were behind him, the race car was “put out to pasture” at the Bancroft homestead and Lenny focused on raising his seven kids and farming his 100 acre potato farm.

Rich Mosher, a current vintage race car owner, would visit the homestead and clear around the car hoping that Lenny would sell him the coupe…this went on for many years. Eventually, a tree grew up from the ground, through the floor and out the passenger window…I guess the potato farm was trying to naturally recycle the coupe.

Time passed with the telling of great racing stories in the Bancroft home of the “old days” and when Lenny’s 50th anniversary approached, his son Brian “Spanky”, Lisa and his late best friend, co-worker and cousin, Jim “Chub Rock” Weatherwax, decided to surprise Lenny by restoring the coupe. They worked tirelessly up to the morning of Lenny’s anniversary — they were putting the engine in and Lisa was adding the last decal literally seconds before Lenny arrived on the scene which completed the coupe restoration…Lenny was able to enjoy two more years of racing before he passed away.

As time went on, Spanky became custodian of the family Vintage race car. Spanky’s first race after the restoration was at Thompson Speedway. Spanky’s favorite race tracks to compete on include Riverside and Stafford Speedway.

Spanky and Lisa became NEAR members around 2006 and currently serve on the NEAR Board of Advisors. At club events you can always expect to see Spanky and Lisa “manning” the grills in an effortlessly coordination of feeding the masses with smiling faces.

For over 30 years, Spanky has been an equipment operator at Environmental Services – also, sharing his racing passion he secured, from his company, ad sponsorship for the NEAR Hall of Fame booklet.

In addition to vintage racing, Spanky and Lisa enjoy traveling to their second home in Aruba; and it’s always fun to hear about stories of their island experiences.

By Judy Poirier