THUNDER ROAD
International Speed Bowl

The Nation's Site of Excitement

Not Intended to Take The Track History Beyond Catamount's Life Span

 

ALWAYS - UNDER   CONSTRUCTION 

CLICK HERE TO GO TO THE
THUNDER ROAD MOMENTS PAGE

       Things were going very smoothly at Thunder Road by the mid - '60's. The huge fields included a healthy contingent of New Hampshire drivers, many of whom had come from the Elms Family - operated Northeastern Speedway in Waterford: the wild Ingerson brothers, Roy "Pappy" Forsythe, Ronnie Marvin, Stanley "Stub" Fadden, Hank Montandon, and more crossed the Eastern border to run against Vermonters like Chester T. Wood, John Gammell, Tony Colicchio, etc.


Photo by Cho Lee
Roy "Pappy" Forsythe, with the legendary George Barber 46, was one of Thunder Road's first superstars.

         Somebody decided that was time for expansion .... expansion into the state's most highly - populated county, Chittenden County. And they did - in the northern Chittenden County town of Milton. Catamount Stadium was born.

        However, for many years to come, Thunder Road remained the more stable and better- attended track in the family. While Catamount struggled with small fields and inconsistent attendance, T-Road was the anchor. Eventually. Thunder Road began mixing its familiar flathead cars with the NASCAR overhead V-8's. It wasn't popular with the Barre fans. Finally, the flatheads winning became a rarity.


Courtesy of Cho Lee
Beloeil, Quebec's Jean-Paul Cabana was the first successful V-8 competitor at the Barre oval.

       Here is a look at a few aspects of Catamount's parent track:

  • Thunder Road was a steeply - banked quarter mile paved speedbowl

  • Thunder Road could draw more fans on a Thursday night than Catamount could on Saturday night, in the mid-1960's

  • Many of the Chittenden County drivers, especially Flying Tiger drivers, began to associate themselves more with Catamount; this fostered a sometimes fairly dicey rivalry with the older, more established T-Road stars like Marvin, the Ingersons, and Fadden.


Courtesy of Cho Lee
Winooski High School athletic star Ron "Red Dog" Barcomb became one of the Flying Tigers' stars.

     Eventually, management tried switching the evenings that the two tracks operated. but Catamount did not really catch on until it dropped the sportsman and modifieds and worked only with local late model drivers. Thunder Road followed suit. By then, the traditional flat-topped coupes were gone, and many of the older drivers had grabbed themselves a Flying Tiger car and joined the fray.

    Sometimes, the T-Road drivers and the Catamount regulars would be bonded together in a mutual dislike of the big dollar Canadians who began to filter back - especially to Catamount : Jean-Paul Cabana, Andre Manny, and Claude Aubin - to name a few.


Bob Doyle Photo
Andre Manny, in the immaculate Gaston Ethier 27A was typical of the well-financed Canadian invasion of the early 1970's.

     T-Road would go on to work in perfect concert with Catamount - and with a host of other tracks which whom the management of the two tracks would form temporary arrangements over the course of the next decades: Devil's Bowl, Airborne, Sanair, Oxford, and others. By 1972 and 3, the teams found themselves racing several nights a week - strangely reminiscent of the very early days of stock car racing. 


Photo by Bob Doyle
Fairfax, Vermont's Hector LeClair, though well sponsored, shows the strain of the intense schedule almost as much as his Chevelle.

    The NASCAR North teams would soon tire of the exhausting five-track schedule. The toll wore heavily on the equipment and on attendance at certain tracks. Some teams said to heck with the points title, and cut their travel. But, very few teams skipped Thunder Road. The newcoming CVRA track, Devil's Bowl, and Sanair lost the most competitors to the grind that year.

   The track management had the foresight to install a support division to replace when the Flying Tigers had become the whole show in 1968. By 1970, they had the automatic transmission, totally - stock Hurricane Division which developed future stars like Jamie Aube, Richard Buzzi, and Darrell Owens. 


Photo Courtesy of Cho Lee
Dennis Tucker, Washington, VT was one of the local boys who started in the Hurricane Division at Thunder Road. 

    The Hurricanes were evolved into six cylinder pony cars like Camaros and Mustangs - probably because they had more appeal. The new division was called The Grand Americans. Within a year, those cars could corner as effortlessly as the late models. Several of the competitors from this short-lived division would go on to participate in the late models - or the next version of the Flying Tigers, which came about in the 1980's.

Photo Courtesy of  Lonnie Terry
The Hurricane support division evolved into the nifty, well-handling six cylinder Grand American Division by 1980. Those cars especially loved the T-Road quarter mile. This is Milton, Vermont's Jim Barton.

     As the fortunes of the late models and their touring system seemed to hit an all-time high, a major disaster struck Thunder Road, and - therefore - the whole city of Barre. For some reason, the management inexplicably decided to sell the track to a man from Long Island, New York named Tommy Kalimiris. Kalimiris, an avowed lover of the track and its activities had big plans to make great improvements to the facility.


Photographer Unknown
Stub Fadden receives checkers from the short - lived track owner Tommy Kalimiris.

    All of this started to fall apart in his first season of operation, and, before long, financial problems were piling up. The track was padlocked and Kalimiris went back to the New York area - apparently making calls to Vermont from a pay phone at times. He refused to release the track so that it could be re-opened. 

     Furious locals began to vent their frustrations with Kalimiris on the property itself. The once-famous lights were destroyed, building were knocked down, and various other forms of vandalism erupted on the track. Eventually, Tom Curley, Ken Squier, and others regained control and it took months of work and legions of volunteer help to put the facility back in usable shape. Bear Ridge Speedway had to lend their lighting system, at one point. No one is too sure what happened to Kalimiris - his life would have been in danger in Vermont.


Courtesy of L.A.West
Thunder Road was now fielding very sophisticated, state - of - the - art late model sportsman cars - until the split with NASCAR in the 1980's. By now, the new Tigers were established and a new street stock was starting up. 

    Mr. Puffer, then the owner of a tiny radio station in Wells River, Vermont, put it best for everyone. He said 'If ya heeyah from that Kalameerus fella, tell him he's uh faht flatlandah !" Translated - a fart flatlander. Races began again and the old track breathed a sigh of relief. Kalimiris hasn't been heard from much - he might be involved in a bible outfit out of New Jersey. 


Cavalcade of Auto Racing Photo
Thunder Road, 1962. Bill White is struck from behind by NEAR Hall of Famer Stub  Fadden - as George Horne goes by.

White is still an official at Bear Ridge

Ronnie Marvin,
Bethlehem NH

A driver who embodies the spirit of T-Road


THE FLATHEAD & COUPE ERA
32_Johnny_Gammell.JPG (51916 bytes)
Doug Farrow
Johnny Gammell,
St. Johnsbury, VT
Charlands_TRoad_Car.JPG (75089 bytes)
Ladabouche Photo
Rene Charland 
Agawam, Mass.
In Vt. running for NASCAR points in 1965
Denny_Dearborn_Rear.JPG (65342 bytes)
Ladabouche Photo
Denny Dearborn,
Plymouth, NH
Future Jack Kochman Hell Driver
Forsythe_Coupe.JPG (95925 bytes)
Ladabouche Photo
Pappy_Forsythe.JPG (14584 bytes)
McIver Photo
Roy "Pappy" Forsythe
One of the George Barber team cars
Hannfords_Coupe_side.JPG (93843 bytes)
Ladabouche Photo
Harold "Hard Luck" Hannaford
Plymouth, NH
Jack_DuBrul_11.JPG (68064 bytes)
Courtesy of Cho Lee
Jack DuBrul
Shelburne, VT

dubrul_11_closeup.jpg (355604 bytes)
Photos from Cho Lee Collection

Courtesy of Cho Lee
Mike Cody,
Keene, NH
Bud Messier 50
Hanna_and_Gammell.JPG (50477 bytes)
Gammel Collection
Gammell and Gordon Fitzgerald - either at T-Road or Northeastern
Bucky_Dragon_atTRoad.JPG (53852 bytes)
Photo from Cho Lee Collection
Wayne Vincent right] and Ripton, VT's  Bucky Dragon [6]  

 

rex_shattuck_19.jpg (400341 bytes)
Photo from Cho Lee Collection
Rex Shattuck
Burlington, VT  

 

  ChesterT_and_youngSquier.jpg (236919 bytes)
Photo from Cho Lee Collection
Chester T. Wood and a very young Ken Squier at a Thunder Road awards banquet.  
Dale_Gilbert_Hits_TRoad_Wall.jpg (233472 bytes)
Photo from Cavalcade of Auto Racing
Dale Gilbert,
Northfield, VT
Dale_Gilbert_ThunderRd_Flag.jpg (514072 bytes)
Photo Courtesy of Mike Gilbert
doug_ingerson_58.jpg (444913 bytes)
Photo from Cho Lee Collection
Doug Ingerson, Littleton, NH
forsythe_granger_pierson.jpg (290267 bytes)
Photo from Cho Lee Collection
Left - Pappy Forsythe, Larry Granger, Bruce Pierson
Larry_Davis_404_BarreCar.JPG (54365 bytes)
Photo Courtesy of Neal Davis
Larry Davis, Hartland, VT
leon_hayford_5a.jpg (385275 bytes)
Photo Courtesy of Cho Lee Collection
Leon Hayford, Graniteville, VT
The REAL first 5A
Larry_Granger_Northfield_1961_93.jpg (143097 bytes)
Photo Courtesy of Mike Gilbert
The Libero Buzzi - wrenched 93 featured many successful drivers.
Marvin_Blasts_Off_TRoad.JPG (366192 bytes)
Photo from Cavalcade of Auto Racing
Action with Ronnie Marvin [13]. Chet Wood [X1] and the George Barber cars Lee Ingerson [46] and Larry Granger [47]
Pappy_Forsythe_Northfield_46.jpg (165685 bytes)
Photo Courtesy of Mike Gilbert
Pappy Forsythe, Athol. MA. The George Barber 46
Barber_46.JPG (54845 bytes)
Photo Courtesy of Neal Davis
r1_remick_and_archie.jpg (286635 bytes)
Photo Courtesy of Cho Lee Collection
Dwayne Remick,
St. Johnsbury, VT
  Ronnie_Marvin_Portrait.JPG (142057 bytes)
Photo from Cavalcade of Auto Racing
Ronnie Marvin Bethlehem, NH
The Bethlehem Bombshell
12_Norm_Chaloux.jpg (57499 bytes)
Photo Courtesy of Neal Davis
Norm Chaloux, Barre, VT
76_Montandon.JPG (53294 bytes)
Photo Courtesy of Neal Davis
The Frozen Logger - Hank Montandon,
East Topsham, VT

Photo Courtesy of Cho Lee
The coupes start a heat in the early years.

Photo Courtesy of Cho Lee
Big tangle on Turn 1. ?, Dale Hatch; 28 9/10 Marty Harty's car; R1 Dwayne Remick

Photo Courtesy of Cho Lee
Mike Osborne, Ron Marvin, and Johnny Gammell
 


Photo Courtesy of Mike Gilbert
Ed Ryan,
Northfield, VT

MORE PHOTOS FROM THE COUPE ERA
Click Here

EARLY DRIVERS IN THE NEXT ERA

PRIMARILY FLYING TIGERS

Courtesy of Cho Lee
Larry Demar,
Hardwick, VT

Courtesy of Rich Palmer
Ron Barcomb,
Winooski, VT

Courtesy of Cho Lee
Art Taylor,
Swanton, VT

Photo Source Unknown
Mo DuBois,
Hinesburg, VT

Courtesy of Gilbert Family
Russ Ingerson,
Littleton, NH

Dragon Family Photo
Beaver Dragon,
Milton, VT

Courtesy of Cho Lee
Richard Buzzi,
Barre, VT

Courtesy of Rich Palmer
Bob Dragon,
Milton, VT

Courtesy of Gilbert Family
Ron Lamell, Sr.,
Essex, VT

Courtesy of Lonnie Terry
Red Fisk,
Northfield, VT

Courtesy of Rich Palmer
Larry Parsons,
Fairfax, VT

Courtesy of Cho Lee
Cuffy Cuthbertson,
West Rutland, VT
 
Photo Courtesy of Cho Lee
George Horne,
St. Johnsbury, VT


Photo Courtesy of Rich Palmer
Doug Ingerson,
Littleton, NH


Photo off ebay
Henry Montandon,
Littleton, NH


Photo Courtesy of Andy Boright
Fresh back from Devils Bowl, Beaver catches a ride in Bobby Giroux's backup car.
   

 

THE NEW SUPPORT DIVISIONS OF THE 1970's
HURRICANES, MINI STOCKS, AND GRAND AMERICANS

55_original_chrysler_hurricane.JPG (73366 bytes)
Courtesy of Cho Lee
This big old Chrysler is one of the original T-Road Hurricanes
Wayne_Corwell_1970.jpg (14322 bytes)
Courtesy of  Gilbert Family
Wayne Corwell,
Essex Jct., VT

    unknown_hurrican_60ford_99.jpg (240596 bytes)
   Courtesy of Cho Lee
     
Bruce Mason,
   East Barre, VT

bj_willard_hurricane.jpg (122757 bytes)
Courtesy of Cho Lee
B.J. Willard,
Charlotte, VT
bonnette_flag_older_car.jpg (190828 bytes)
Courtesy of Cho Lee
16 year-old Ronnie Bonnette of St. Albans, VT

Chick_Bessette_Blue.jpg (123437 bytes)
  Courtesy of Cho Lee
   Ralph Bessette,
      Milton, VT


Courtesy of Cho Lee
Don Tofani,
Barre, VT

Cyr Family Photo
Norm Cyr,
Milton, VT

Courtesy of Cho Lee
Jay Yantz,
Monkton, VT

 

   
jerry_perantoni.jpg (111825 bytes)

Photo Courtesy of Cho Lee

Jerry Perantoni Barre, VT

joey_laquerre_50.jpg (117889 bytes)

Photo Courtesy of Cho Lee

Joey LaQuerre, E.Montpelier, VT

 22_Dick_LaFayette.JPG (124578 bytes)

Photo Courtesy of Cho Lee

Dick LaFayette,
S.Barre, VT

55_original_chrysler_hurricane.JPG (73366 bytes)

Photo Courtesy of Cho Lee

This big old Chrysler is one of the original T-Road Hurricanes

Wayne_Corwell_1970.jpg (14322 bytes)

Photo Courtesy of Lloyd and Gregg Gilbert

Wayne Corwell was one of the Hurricanes' first stars. 

    unknown_hurrican_60ford_99.jpg (240596 bytes)
Photo Courtesy of Cho Lee

        A 1960 Ford
Hurricane from the
         first year. 

LATE MODEL ERA

 

    The next event to have a strong effect on the fortunes of Thunder Road International Speedbowl was the untimely demise of sister track, Catamount Stadium in Milton. Built on what was reportedly leased land, the track could no longer obtain a lease extension and it closed in the late 1980's. Now T-Road was the flagship of the American - Canadian Tour. It continues to carry this banner to this day. The track has enjoyed several wonderful modernizing improvements and considerable expansion.

By the 1990's Thunder Road would have more divisions and its usual great fan support. The track underwent several wonderful physical improvements during this period, as well.


Courtesy of Cho Lee

Jim Schaubb,
Massachusetts

 

 

 


 

Photo Courtesy of Andy Boright

Dion is crumpled as John Peoples sneaks by and Geo. Horne spins

 
Courtesy of Dan Nolin

Ed Doggett,
Plymouth, NH

One of the Very First Chevelles

 


Courtesy of Chris Companion
LMS tangle at T Road: Bettis, LeClaire, Anderson, Panch, Wood, and Horne.

 

 


 

Photo Courtesy of Lonnie

Dion is crumpled as John Peoples sneaks by and Geo. Horne spins

 


Courtesy of  Jim Ladabouche
Joe was a well - known Rutland, VT area sports personality.


Courtesy of Jim Watson

1972. A feature starting field, looking East. John Untied is on the track.


Courtesy of Jim Watson

The same field, looking West, with Barton's Jerry Young on the pole.


ACT Archives Courtesy of Cho Lee

A much younger Tom Curley, with Archie Blackadar and Lennie
Stockwell - when Lennie was an official.


Terraserver USGS Photo

Thunder Road in the 1990's - from satellite. The stands and front
stretch are to the bottom of the photo.


Courtesy of Cho Lee
A spinout in the coupe era. [Same as above]

Courtesy of Cho Lee
The aftermath of the spinout. ? is Dale Hatch and the
93 is the Libero Buzzi car driven by Tony Collicchio.
 

Bob Mackey Photo Courtesy of John Rock
A mixed lineup of flathead coupes and the newer
overhead sportsman coupes - from 1965.

 

Bob Mackey Photo Courtesy of John Rock
A mixed lineup of flathead coupes and the newer
overhead sportsman coupes get the green.

Bob Mackey Photo Courtesy of John Rock
A lineup of  the newer overhead sportsman coupes - from 1965.

Bob Mackey Photo Courtesy of John Rock
A heat of midgets mix it up on turn one.

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