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Haverhill

September 30, 2011

Pines Speedway reunion is Saturday

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.

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