GROVELAND — This weekend, the town will turn back the clock to a time when the Pines Speedway pulsed to the roaring sound of race cars battling their way to victory.
Tomorrow from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., the Groveland Historical Society will return to those glory days when it hosts the ninth annual Pines Speedway Reunion. The event will be held rain or shine at the site of the original quarter-mile track: The Pines Recreation Area on Route 113, next to Groveland Town Hall.
Each year the Historical Society honors drivers who raced at the Pines, which closed in 1973.
This years honorees are Billy Murphy, Red LaRoache, Buzzy Besanson, the late Bob Devaney (whose family will attend) and Bob Cloutier. Since 2003, this walk down memory lane has been enjoyed by thousands of fans and racing enthusiasts, said Claire Walsh, president of the Historical Society.
Admission is free, but donations will be accepted.
More than 30 restored midget race cars, jalopies, stock cars, class A cut-downs and supermodified race cars will be on display. The annual ceremonial starting of the engines is at noon.
"When they rev their engines, you can hear them clear across the Merrimack River," said Dwight Lowes, who raced at the Pines from 1967 to 1972.
Billy Murphy, originally from Dover, N.H., was among the best drivers and one of the few New England drivers who drove flathead coupes, small block cut-downs and winged big-block supermodifieds, according to the Pines Reunion committee.
Murphy's No. 8 winged-block super-modified won races at many of New England's small oval tracks.
Red LaRoache, now of Salem, was a successful driver who won many races at both the Pines and Hudson speedways. His No. 00 five-window flathead coupe was feared throughout the northeast as a threat to win on any given summer weekend. Along with all of LaRoache's wins in the 1950s and 1960s, he will always be remembered for his dedication and care of his long-time friend, Ollie Silva.
Buzzy Bezanson, who started racing in the 1950s at the Pines, went on to win at the Hudson Speedway in the 1960s, including championships at both the Pines in 1960 and Hudson in 1962. He moved to Lee Speedway in the mid-1960s and then onto Star Speedway in Epping, where he raced under the NESMRA banner for the rest of his career, winning many feature races. Bezanson is still active as a car owner today in Arizona with his son Rick as his driver, and plans to attend the reunion.
Bob "the Barn Rat" Devaney, also known as the class clown, was loved by many because of his antics in the stands. Devaney had many wins with his No. 222 car in the bomber and cut-down divisions. In recent years, he gained respect from the racing community with his yearly trips to Worcester to pick up his former rival Carl Tiberio and bring him to the Pines reunions.
Bob Cloutier of Auburn, N.H., was a quick contender in the class A division beginning in 1960. Cloutier was a driver in demand by many car owners. He drove the number 70, 84, 1/3 and Flying 5 cars and was a major player in the development of what was known as the Supermodified Club, winning its first big race at Lee in the fall of 1965.
Tables for collectors, novelty and swap items will be available for rent for $25 on the morning of the reunion.
Fans are invited to bring scrapbooks, souvenirs, photos and jackets.
The Groveland Congregational church is in charge of refreshments. More information is available by calling 978-420-5030 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
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