One of the most important early racing venues was the old fairgrounds track outside Keene, New Hampshire. The Monadnock Stock Car Racing Association was a fairly organized club for that era. The venue sometimes operated independently; but, in other instances, it belonged to the Triangle Racing Association, which also sanctioned Brattleboro Speedway, Rhythm Inn Speedway, and Claremont Speedway at various times. The Cheshire Fairgrounds track had more to do with the beginning of tracks in Claremont and at Winchester [Monadnock Speedway] than any other single local factor.


Norman McIver Portrait Courtesy of Cho Lee

Roy "Pappy" Forsyth was arguably the most important single figure in the history of the track. He not only excelled at racing
there, but he was president of the Mondanock Stock Car Racing Association at the height of the track's fortunes.

 


Courtesy of Cho Lee
Roy Forsyth awards George Schnyer at
one of the MSCRA banquets after the Safford Park season.

Keene Sentinel Photo by Jack Teehan
Roy Forsyth awards future NASCAR star George Janoski at one of the MSCRA banquets after the Safford Park season.

Keene Sentinel Photo by Jack Teehan
Driver Art Rousseau and future NASCAR National Modified Champion Ernie Gahan receive post race awards during the Safford Park season.
 
Keene Sentinel Photo by Jack Teehan
Driver Art Rousseau and future four time NASCAR National Sportsman Champion Rene Charland receive post race awards during the Safford Park season.


                             

 
Courtesy of Cho Lee
A field lines up in front of the stands: Ray Harris in Chet Cashman's 37; 5 Kenny Briggs; 4, John Bell; and Walt Bourassa [black car].


Courtesy of Cho Lee
Good shot at the announcer's stand. Art Rousseau with the Bob Oliver 621 and George Schnyer in the yellow Henry Merrow 33 that Art Cody would make famous later.
 Joe Ryan is ahead of Schnyer.

 
Courtesy of Dan Ody
Henry Courtemanche [964] leads the field with his Willys coupe. 640 is Ray Sanborn; two behind Sanborn may be Charlie Zipp.


From Racers Bored Website
This shot from sister track, Brattleboro Speedwaay shows car that most likely also ran at Safford Park.
I can indentify the DN3 of Lionel Arel, Roy Forsyth's 80 [beside DN3], and Dave Todd [in last].


Possibly Courtesy of Lew Boyd
Another Brattleboro shot shows Buddy Bardwell [far left], the DN3, and Joe Ryan's X. The 123 is visible in
one of the Cheshire photos, but I don't know who it is.


Possibly Courtesy of Lew Boyd
A third Brattleboro shot shows Buddy Bardwell [far left], Art Rousseau's 621, and
Ray Harris's Chet Cashman - owned 37.


Courtesy of Cho Lee
That same 123 appears at far right in this lineup. I am told one of the cars is Mike Cody. The 43 cutdown of Whitey Brainerd is seen in the infield.


Source Unknown

It was thought by one webite that this is an early Safford Park shot,. I have my doubt.


           


Found on Flckr.com
About as early race action as you're going to find.


From the Anna Tulonen Collection
As with most fairs, Cheshire would bring in open wheel racing. According to his daughter, future modified star
Reino Tulonen of Fitchburg, Massachusetts is in this field. Not much for spectator safety here.


Ladabouche Collection
Ted Brown drives by on the track and cars go by on Route 10 as the driver of the 777 scrambles out, apparently unharmed.


Courtesy of George Hill
The Stroker Smith 311 [likely before Sonny Rabideau drove it] leads a field that includes the great Buddy
Krebs [shown 3rd] in the Suffield 5 sedan.


Keene Sentinel Photo - Probably Jack Teehan
This grainy old newpaper photo shows MSCRA president Forsyth blowing by one of his
constituents in the person of big George Schnyer [909] in turn four.

MORE RACING ACTION - CLICK ON THE THUMBNAILS

 
Courtesy of Walt Ryan
Joe Ryan leads Sonny Rabideau as one car swerves clsoe to spectators on the inside rail.
 
Courtesy of Walt Ryan
Joe Ryan leads in an early
photo of horrible quality.
Check out the wonderful,
safe wood rail fencing.
 
Keene Sentinel Photo
by Jack Teehan

Lionel Arel checks out the damage to his Cazchini brothers' DN3 car known as the Beast.
 
Keene Sentinel Photo
by Jack Teehan

Buddy Bardwell, at speed
with Mt. Monadnock furnishing the backdrop.
 
Ryan Family Photo
via Walt Ryan

1957:  Buddy Bardwell, at speed with his familiar Hudson. Earlier Cheshire shots may have been with his Fords.
 
Ryan Family Photo
via Cho Lee

1957: Buddy Bardwell, at speed with his familiar Hudson. He is outside of George Schnyer's 909 and ahead of Ernie Johnson's 4.
 
Ryan Family Photo
via Cho Lee
1957: Car 100 leads the way.
 
Ryan Family Photo
via Cho Lee

1957: Buddy Bardwell, in the center with the bullhorns. Ray Schnyer [29] takes the outside groove.
 
Ryan Family Photo
via Cho Lee

1957:  Lionel Arel leads the way in the Cazchini DN3 "Beast". Stroker SMith - owned 111 and
Sonny Rabidou in the family 7 are also seen.|
 
Ryan Family Photo
via Cho Lee

1957:  Lionel Arel leads
a car whose number I
can't make out.
 
Walt Perkins Photo
Courtesy of Walt Perkins

1957:  Roy Forsyth spins as a Stroker Smith 111 gets by.
 
Courtesy of Cho Lee

1954: George Shnyer, then the drover of Henry Merrow's 33 tools along at Brattleboro beside Ray Dalzell.
 
Courtesy of Lew Boyd
Freddy Crockett's 11 goes by the stands in the lead.
 
Walt Perkins Photo
Courtesy of Neal Davis

1957:  Big mixup in turn 4.
I can see Larry Davis' 404,
the Chet Cashman 37, and
maybe Dave Todd.
 
HAMB Site Photo
Likely Snape Family

1955: After vacating the DN3, Lionel Arel kept his Northhampton connections and began driving Fred Snape's 26.
 
Walt Perkins Photo
Courtesy of Walt Perkins

1957: A win for Pappy.
 
Walt Perkins Photo
Courtesy of Walt Perkins

1951:  A pertinent but very blurry shot of a race somewhere with the same cars as Cheshire would have. I see Joe Ryan's X, Forsyth [2nd from last], and Maurice Condon [3rd row inside].
 
Walt Perkins Photo
Courtesy of Neal Davis

Art Rousseau heads out of the infield.
 
Courtesy of Don Manahan

A race finishes with George Monsen as winner, followed by Charlie Zipp and Ernie Gahan.
 
Courtesy of Don Rounds Jr.
Don Rounds [101RI] and Jim Koehler [0 CT] Koehler get locked up as Ed Cormie looks for room.
 
Courtesy of Don Rounds Jr.
Rounds and Koehler
remain locked as Cormie
goes by and car 100 is
coming onto the scene.
 
 
Courtesy of Snape Family
via Chrystal Snape

Cars perform at Brattleboro. These are teams that very likely included Cheshire in their weekly schedule.
 
Courtesy of Snape Family
via Chrystal Snape

Cars perform at Brattleboro. They're from the right era for Cheshire.
 

 

  
Walt Perkins Photo
Future NASCAR National Modified Champion enjoys a wins at Safford Park in 1957.


Ladabouche Collection
Victory Lane fills up at Safford Park in the 1950's.

          

 

 
Courtesy of Ken Robertson

Tom Forcier's car, in
1959 - near the end of the track's life.
 
Courtesy of Ken Robertson
Sonny Rabideau's 7, just before Sonny moved on to the DN3 and later to
Stroker Smith's 311.

Courtesy of Davis Family
Buster Dyer and Wally
Hadlock at Claremont. They raced at a time where they'd likely have run at Cheshire .
 
Courtesy of Davis Family
An early version of the
Chet Cashman 37, which
could have run at Cheshire.
 
Courtesy of Snape Family
via Dave Dykes
Cecil Bosworth drove for Fred Snape in the early years. Ergo, the combo
probably ran Cheshire.
 
Courtesy of Snape Family
via Chrystal Snape

Sonny Rabideau [ drove for the Cazchini DN3 team out of Northhampton, MA after Lionel Arel.
 
Courtesy of Snape Family
via Chrystal Snape

Ed Cormie also drove the Fred Snape 26 in this time period.
 
Courtesy of Snape Family
via Chrystal Snape

I have seen this car in
some picture of action
at Cheshire.
 
Courtesy of Davis Family
via Neal Davis

Roy "Pappy" Forsyth.
 
Courtesy of Brad Charland
Rene Charland, with one
of the Leo Matte cars he
could have run at Cheshire.
 
Courtesy of The Davis Family
via Neal Davis
Roger Dutton's 657.
 
Courtesy of CJ Richards
Local hero Buddy Bardwell.
 
Courtesy of Norm Vadnais
Cecil Bosworth would go from his own 2, to cars for owners like Stroker Smith
and Chet Cashman.

Courtesy of James Howard
Dave Todd, brother - in - law of Ted Brown, used a graphic scheme similar to Ted's.

Courtesy of Don Rounds, Jr.
Don Rounds came out
of Rhode Island and ran
att the track in the '50's.
 
Courtesy of the Davis Family
via Neal Davis
Ted Brown and his
signature 92 was a
huge star in NH racing
for years.
 
Courtesy of dt Collection
Dick Stone was a 1954
competitor at Brattleboro. So, he likely tried Cheshire at least some.
 
Courtesy of dt Collection
West Brattleboro's Flash Gordon was a 1954
competitor at Brattleboro. So, he likely tried Cheshire at least some also.
 
Courtesy of Racers Bored Site
Dick Stone was a
competitor at Rhytm Inn. So, he likely tried Cheshire at least some.
 
Courtesy of Walt Ryan
Joe Ryan.
 
Courtesy of dt Collection
#51 Kison was a 1954
competitor at Brattleboro. Not sure if it is the same 51 team as the Snape photo shows.
 
Courtesy of P. Chastenay
West Bridgewater, VT's fur trapper Lloyd Severance was a regular at tracks in that area at that time.
 
Courtesy of P. Chastenay
Mike Cody.
 
Ladabouche photo
NH's Ray Harris drove his U2's and cars for Chet Cashman. Actually, this one is a former Cashman 37.
 
Ladabouche Collection
Sometimes. Charland drove this car during this time.
 
Courtesy of Racers Bored
Big Ed Patnode took over this Leo Matte ride after Charland left.
 
Courtesy of Walt Renner
Tom Cook, shown here at
Rhythmn Inn, was likely
a Cheshire runner, as well.
 
Daily Eagle Photo
Larry Eaton.

From HAMB Site
Keene's Leo Howland
and one of his earlier cars.

Courtesy of Walt Perkins
Lionel Arel [all white with cigar] and the DN3 car
The Beast.
 
Claremont Daily Eagle Photo
Gene Pysz,
Goshen, NH
 
Courtesy of Checkered Review
Reggie Brown
 
Courtesy of Dave Dykes
Whitey Brainerd with
his cutdown.
 
Courtesy of Cho Lrr
Ray "Zero" Brown, one of the Northeast's most accomplished early era drivers, did make some appearances at Chehsire.
 
Courtesy of Ernie Bodreau
Car Owner Stroker Smith [1st in line] and owner/driver Henry Courtemanche prepare to tow to Cheshire.
 
Source Unknown
Sonny Rabideau with his brother's 7 - said to be his 1st ride.
 
Courtesy of P. Chastenay
If Shorty Collins ran Brattleboro and Claremont - he probably did Cheshire
too.
 
Courtesy of Kevin Brown
Connecticut's Hoppy Jensen raced all over in this era. He likely landed at Cheshire a few times.
       

                  

 
Ladabouche Collection
This series of four shots was labeled as "98 Wreck" at Cheshire but I think it is
just an old stock car.
 
Ladabouche Collection
This series of four shots was labeled as "98 Wreck" at Cheshire but I think it is
just an old stock car.
 
Ladabouche Collection
This series of four shots was labeled as "98 Wreck" at Cheshire but I think it is
just an old stock car.
 
Ladabouche Collection
This series of four shots was labeled as "98 Wreck" at Cheshire but I think it is
just an old stock car.
 
Courtesy of Cho Lee
A crowd around Victory Lane at Cheshire.
 
Ladabouche Collection
A driver or mechanic makes his way up into the stands.
 
Ladabouche Photo
The backstretch today at Cheshire with Rte 1o in
the background.
 
Ladabouche Photo
Coming out of turn 2 at Cheshire today
 
Ladabouche Photo
The frontstretch today at Cheshire with the newer stands set back from their original positions.
 
Ladabouche Photo
The frontstretch today at Cheshire heading into the first turn.
 
Ladabouche Photo
Looking back down the front straightaway.
 
Terraserver Photo
Aerial view today of Safford Park Speedways at the Cheshire Couty fairgrounds near Keene, NH.
 
Courtesy of James Howard
via Cho Lee
Safford Park Pit Steward Ben Creamer awards Hattie Todd, who would also marry driver Ted Brown in this time period.
 
Source Unknown
The Bob Oliver team
with their
621 cutdown. This is said to be at Cheshire. Art Rousseau, driver, is at left.
 
Courtesy of Ken Robertson
The Frank Smith team
works on their 311 cutdown on the frontstretch. This is before Sonny Rabideau drove it.
 
Courtesy of James Howard
via Cho Lee
A young Ken Squier,
sometimes the announcer at Safford Park, awards
a man a plaque.
 
Courtesy of James Howard
via Cho Lee
A very young rRene Charland, sporting an award and a T Shirt that must indicate what ar he was driving there at the time.
 
Courtesy of James Howard
via Cho Lee
Someone in a wheelchair is being awarded a trophy on th platform off the announcer's tower at Cheshire.

 

 
Jeff Adams Collection
The Flying Finn, Reino Tulonen of Fitchburg, MA plies the Billington Hisso Big Car at Safford Park in the 1940's.

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