GRAND AMERICAN ERA COMPETITORS

 


                                                                

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    The huge, roaring automatic transmission Hurricanes had been refined and held sway as Catamount's support division for a few years before Northern NASCAR officials decided that smaller six cylinder cars might be an idea to explore. Besides the fact the nation had just gone through the energy crisis of 1973 - 74, the emergence of the smaller "Pony Cars" in NASCAR's Grand Touring division Down South had really thrust the smaller cars into the national spotlight. Catamount had even hosted this division, one year, and the crowd was treated to performances by names like Tiny Lund, Richard Childress, Bobby Allison, and Ken Rush.

    So, in 1977, the Hurricanes were to phase out and the new Grand Americans came in. Many of the Hurricane drivers, like Perry Poquette and Darrell Owen resisted this downsizing and either retired or went up to the late models. But many of the Hurricane teams embraced the new cars. Milton, Vermont driver Jim Barton was one of the first to field a six cylinder Camaro. George McRae blossomed out with an innovative AMC, and Dave Gibbs fielded a Ford. Richard Buzzi and Larry Caron, became powerhouses in the division. New stars also came up and started new in the Grand Americans, such as Paul Donahue, Bruce Jaycox, and Henry Van Acker.


Courtesy of Andy Boright

George Boudreau leads Grand American rivals Larry Caron [Z28], Carl Nelson [0], and Henry Van Acker.

   Expenses of running in the Grand Americans started to get out of hand, when teams started buying the Ed Howe chassis and expensive motors. The class became a showdown between a few cars like Buzzi, Caron, and Ervine "Brother" Eastman, a transplanted Bear Ridge star with a car more expensive than many of the late model sportsman cars. By 1980, the GA's were gone, although many would resurface as the new Flying Tigers by 1983.

 

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Ladabouche Collection
Jim Barton,
Milton, VT
If not THE first six, he was among the first
barton_newer_camaro.jpg (149213 bytes)
ACT Archives
Later version

 

 
Ladabouche Collection
Mallory Hutchins,
Hudson, QU

 


Catamount Yearbook
B.J. WIllard,
Charlotte, VT
Catamount's best ever 
female driver


Courtesy of Andy Boright

 
Courtesy of Johnny Racer
Dave Gibbs,
Westford
, VT
Dave began in Hurricanes and went thru GA's, late models, and New Tigers. 

 
George McRae Photo
Barney McRae,
St. Albans, VT
I think this is
George McRae's
first Hornet.
COUPES ERA

 
Ladabouche Collection
Ervine "Brother" Eastman,
Post Mills, VT
Big $$ Howe chassis entry


Mark Austin Photo
Winning GA Milk Bowl

 

 
Ladabouche Photo
George Boudreau,
Colchester, VT
1st lettering of
this car.
 
 
Ladabouche Photo
2nd lettering of
this car.
 


Courtesy of Mark Austin
Guy Brown
Hardwick, VT

 
Ladabouche Collection
Larry Garen,
Charlotte, VT
The former Larry Caron
Nova.


Chris Humphrey Photo

 
Courtesy of Walter Newell
Charlie Ladd,
Chelsea, VT
 
EARLY FLYING TIGERS


A & A Ward Photo
Red Meade
N. Hyde Park, VT


Lonnie Terry
Bob Wood,
Plattsburgh, NY


Mark Austin Photo

Courtesy of Cho Lee
Wes Cota,
Essex Jct., VT
GA car said to once have been Tom Tiller's Dart.

Mark Austin Photo
Three of the best the division ever saw: Jay Yantz [foreground], Richard Buzzi [partially hidden], and Henry Van Acker [right]

 

 

 

 
Courtesy of Mark Austin
Henry VanAcker,
Champlain, NY
Pre
paring the future
Owen Wimble car here.
 
LIMITED SPORTSMAN

 
Courtesy of Andy Boright
Larry Caron,
So. Burlington
, VT
This Nova was his first 6 cyl motor.
 
Ladabouche Photo
 Larry Caron,
So. Burlington, VT
Later entry. This Camaro was a rocket, as were the
Camaros of Buzzi and Waters.

 

 
Courtesy of Andy Boright
Alvin Gover,
Williston, VT
One of the former
Harry Rathburn Camaros
 


Mark Austin Photo
Richard Buzzi,
Burlington, VT
Confers with friend , Deb
Armstrong  in the Catamount pits. 
Tom [TR] Waters'
green  Camaro #28 in the 
background




Courtesy of Mark Austin
Bruce Jaycox,
Woodstock, VT
A rare full - sized
6 cyl. entry
 
Ladabouche Collection
Richard Buzzi,
Burlington, VT 
HURRICANES


Mark Austin Photo
Chuck Perkins,
St. Johnsbury, VT

 

 


Ladabouche Collection
George McRae,
St. Albans, VT
The 2nd of the famed
AMC Hornets
 


Ladabouche Photo
Ray Lasnier,
Colchester, VT
Built this Firebird. Didn't drive it long. It went through four owners.


Ladabouche Photo
Joe Myers,
Essex Jct., VT
 2
nd owner; my
2nd lettering job on it.
 

 
Courtesy of Andy Boright
Norm Andrews [4],
Warren
, VT
3rd owner. Only shot I have of it. 
LATE MODEL SPORTSMAN

Early

Later


Courtesy of Andy Boright
Joey LaQuerre,
East Montpelier, VT
4th and final owner. Car actually a "New Tiger" by  now. Joey changed body to a Camaro
 

 
Courtesy of Andy Boright
Tom "TR" Waters,
Washington, VT
 

Ladabouche Collection

 
Courtesy of Andy Boright
Larry Caron Z28 - driving
for T R Waters
- inside Carl Nelson
   
Courtesy of Mike Gilbert
Ralph Baldwin,
West  Topsham, VT
Rapid Ralph came in
at the end of the GA era.
 
Ladabouche Collection
Milt Wright,
Hardwick, VT
I think Milt had a 6
in this one.
 
MINI STOCKS

 
Ladabouche Photo
Harry Rathburn,
No. Ferrisburgh, VT
Harry Rathburn's lead Camaro, with one of his drivers, Greg Lyman in the backgound [white shirt - afro]. Quite a bunch there: Joe Myers, Randy Chapin, and more.

 

 
Ladabouche Photo
Harry Rathburn,
No. Ferrisburgh, VT
Harry Rathburn's other Camaro,
sometimes driven by such as Kevin Boutin, Sr., Lyman, and
others.

Ladabouche Photo
The Harry Rathburn hauler

 

   
Courtesy of Alex Alexander
Linda Alexander,
Chelsea, VT

CLICK HERE to see more photos of
Linda Alexander's cars.
 
Ladabouche Photo
Bob Thompson,
Essex Jct, VT
Converted Lasnier's LMS to a GA 
GRAND AMERICANS

   
Courtesy of Walter Newell
Charlie Ladd,
Chelsea, VT
 
Courtesy of Cho Lee
Carl Nelson,
Moretown, VT

Denis LaChance Photo
Pete Quintin,
Georgia, VT
One of the few Mopars 
 
Courtesy of Cho Lee
Drew Nolin,
Colchester, VT
His first car 

Courtesy of Andy Boright
Drew Nolin,
Colchester
, VT
2nd, less well - known
Chevelle with a 6 cyl motor.
 

STREET STOCKS

al_theanimal_simoneau.jpg (82785 bytes)

 
Ladabouche Collection
Luc LaFrance,
Iberville, QU
Not sure if this was
an 8 or a 6.
 
 
Ladabouche Photo
Paul Donahue,
Graniteville, VT
1st of several Mopar
entries he had.
 
Ladabouche Photo
Paul Donahue,
Graniteville, VT
2nd of several Mopar
entries he had.
   
Courtesy of Andy Boright
Jamie Aube,
No. Ferrisburg, VT
One of the former
Harry Rathburn Camaros

Courtesy of Andy Boright
Sonny Gover,
Milton, VT
 
ACT CARS

Beaver_SCarConn_91_Pepsi_Milwaukee_DonTheis.jpg (126264 bytes)

   
Courtesy of Paula Barry
Jay Yantz outside
of Joe Myers
Might be the only shot I have of Yantz's remarkable Mustang.
 
Courtesy of Andy Boright
Monty Jarvis,
Swanton, VT
Former Jay Yantz Mustang.
 
Courtesy of Andy Boright
Monty Jarvis,
Swanton, VT
His first Mustang.
 
Courtesy of Andy Boright
Jay Yantz,
Monkton, VT
Pretty much the Ford standard bearer for a while.
 
 
NEW TIGERS

         
           


Van Acker Photo

Champlain, New York's Henry Van Acker had just won the car show with this car and now look at it. His crew
scrambled around and fixed it enough for him to go out and set fastest time in trials. As Henry puts it, the
competitors [most of whom were running too large engines] bitched about his "lightened" car.

 


Van Acker Collection

 


Mark Austin Photo

Grand American cars at Catamount in mixup going into Turn Four: Guy Brown [49] hits unidentified Camaro, with 03 Milt Wright getting a closeup view and Barbie Jean Willard taking evasive action.

Mark Austin Photo

An unidentified Canadian Grand American car [44] stays ahead of an out-of-shape George Boudreau [20] and 50, Drew Nolin - uncle of Ryan Nolin and present day fabricator for DEI in the Nextel Cup.

 

Do you have pictures of other drivers from this era at Catamount ? If you would like to make them available for me to place on this site contact me at: wladabou@comcast.net

or

Bill Ladabouche
23 York Street
Swanton, VT 05488
802-868-4339

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