THE RIDGE RUNNER RACING TEAM 
The Legacy of Fred Searing, Oak Hill, NY


          The history of the Ridge Runner Racing Team is synonymous with the history of Lebanon Valley Speedway. Fred Searing was not a particularly large man, but his legacy and effect on the New Lebanon, NY speedway is very significant. Today, there are probably still descendants of his family and of the drivers he helped bring along in the sport.
 


Cavalcade of Auto Racing Photo

Fred, during the Valley period when everyone was going to the late model body.


          It started out, in Oak Hill, NY, most likely with just Fred, himself. The team made a trademark for itself with the solid white cars with a distinctive style of red numerals on the sides. I first saw Fred [and his first hired driver Johnny Flach] at the Rutland Fairgrounds show of 1`960, staged by the Lebanon Valley organization. I clearly recall Flach because the announcer, Uncle Art Stuart, had made particular reference to the light on a stick, mounted on Flach's roof. Flach was later announced in the Rutland Herald as preapring to attend the first show at Fairmont Speedway in 1962; but, much to my disappointment, he never showed.


Photo Source Unknown
Johnny Flach [center] with Fred's son, Louie [right] and probably a young Stan Wetmore.


Rutland Herald Photo
Johnny Flach poses with fledgling promoter C.J. Richards in 1962.

       The Ridge Runner Racing Team did make it to Fairmont - in the persons of Fred's son. Louie Searing and with Stan Wetmore, who had apparently taken over the 77 from Flach. Searing became a semi-regular at the Fair Haven, Vt. track for a couple of years - even making the cover of C. J.'s CVRA calendar in 1964. Searing probably had many more drivers under his tutelage before he bowed out; but I only recall Fred, Louie, Flach, Wetmore, Mert Hulbert, and Barry Reynolds. Harold Montayne had a stint, as well.

FRED SEARING

From an Early Valley Program


Bob McDowell Photo
via Phil Miller
Fred Searing,
Oak Hill, NY
At Pine Bowl Speedway
 
 
Photo via Dan Ody
Fred Searing,

At Route 66 Speedway

Irv Conron Photo
via Ken Gypson

Fred Searing,
Oak Hill, NY
At Route 66 Speedway

  
Columbia Green Media News
Fred Searing,
in the lead.

At Coxsackie Speedway
 
Walter Mateer Photo
via Joe Grossetti
Fred Searing,

At Leb. Valley Speedway
 
   
Henry Ahlfs Photo
Courtesy of Chas Hertica
or Joe Grossetti

Fred Searing,

At Onteora Speedway
  
George Taylor Photo
Courtesy of Donna K Mateer
via Joe Grossetti

Fred Searing,
winning inaugural race
At Coxsackie Speedway
 
From Dan Ody's 8MM
Old Speedways DVD's
Fred, out of shape at
Route 66 Speedway.
 

______________________________________________________

JOHNNY FLACH

Courtesy of the LaFond Family
Johnny Flach apparently ran at least one CVRA program for C.J. Richards.


Ladabouche Collection
Rutland Herald Photo
Flach, with Fairmont promoter
C.J. Richards.


Cavalcade Photos
Johnny Flach,
E. Westerlo, NY
1962 Valley Champ

Virginia Winne Decker Collection
via Chas Hertica

Johnny Flach,

1962 Valley
WIn

Photo Source Unknown
Johnny Flach [center] with Fred's son, Louie [right] and probably a young Stan Wetmore.
 

Ladabouche Photo
Flach [ctr] at the
NESCOT breakfast
in Watervliet around
2007.

 
 

   
   
   


______________________________________________________

LOUIE SEARING


Dick Britain Photo


Val Blicarcz Photo
Louie Searing,
Oak Hill, NY
 
 
Mel Ogden Photo
via Midstate Club
Lou Searing,
Oak Hill, NY
At Midstate Spdwy, Morris, NY
 

Bob Frazier Photo
Louie leads the way at Fairmont
around 1965.

From Dan Ody's 8MM
Old Speedways DVD's
Car 431 is said to be Lou,
At Devil's Bowl, 1967. In the bottom
shot he leads old team mate
Mert Hulbert.

Photo Courtesy of Chris Companion
Louie Searing,
later car - Valley

Photo Courtesy of Chris Companion
Louie Searing,
later car - Valley
         

______________________________________________________

THE WETMORES


Chas Hertica Photo via Lebanon Valley Classics


Ladabouche Photo
Stan Wetmore,
Oak Hill, NY
  
  
Dick Britain Photo
Stan Wetmore
is near the
front and Lou Seating in the
middle of this loaded heat
at Fairmont in 1964.
 
A. Ainsworth Photo
Stan Wetmore,
Oak Hill, NY
  
 
A. Ainsworth Photo
Stan Wetmore,
Oak Hill, NY
 
Bernie Darling 70 

Arnie Ainsworth Photo
Donnie Wetmore,
Oak Hill, NY

Note the Number  
     


______________________________________________________
MERT HULBERT


Mike Shaub Photo Chas Hertica Photo


Arnie Ainsworth Photo
Mert Hulbert,
Oak Hill, NY
 

LadabouchePhoto
Mert Hulbert,
Fairmont, 1965
 
Cavalcade of Racing Photo
via Chas Hertica
Mert Hulbert
Oak Hill, NY
  
With the 55 Chevy Fred used to run.
 
Courtesy of Mike Bruno
Mert Hulbert,
Oak Hill, NY
 
His own 78 late model
that would become the
Joe Lawrence 16.

Courtesy of Mike Bruno
Mert Hulbert,
Oak Hill, NY
 
Devil's Bowl fan club.
 
Courtesy of Bob Ely
Mert Hulbert,
Oak Hill, NY
 
This former Dexter Dorr car
would propel him to the 1967
Devil's Bowl title, with a little
help.
 
 
Bob Frazier Photo
Courtesy of Bob Kilburn
Mert Hulbert,
The former Dexter Dorr car
is in primer because irt
burned. He seemed to be
faster after the fire.
 
Ladabouche Collection

Bob Frazier Photo
Mert Hulbert,

The car right before the fire.
 
Otto Graham Collection
Mert Hulbert,

Middelebury, VT's John Danyow
picked up Mert for sponsoirship
after the fire. The team became
doninant at Devil's Bowl.
 
John Grady Photo
Mert Hulbert,

The well - heeled team even
experimemted with this Studebaker
but it ended up being very cranky
and was soon abandoned.
     

______________________________________________________
OTHERS


Arnie Ainsworth Photo
Barry Reynolds
Also had a stint in the
Bo Green Square Zero.
 
 

Arnie Ainsworth Photo
Harold Montayne,
Accord, NY


   

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