Riverside Speedway experienced...
Riverside Speedway experienced a flood caused by the overflow of the Connecticut River in the spring of 2011. This puddle might be all that remains of that flood. The track workers busted their humps to pump out the infield which was under several feet of water, clean up the debris left behind, and get ready for the season. It all worked out and the season was a success.
Due to our limited time schedule, we were only able to visit one track in New Hampshire--Riverside Speedway--before relocating to Maine. There we took in the interior of the most northern of the lower 48 states where Unity Raceway is located, just southwest of Bangor.
The whole of the landscape is changing for us as we leave Vermont. We see more and more indication of being way far north from our home in Florida. The nights are getting colder, the vegetation is looking more rugged and in a few more weeks the leaves are going to start changing.
Bond Auto Parts has a huge...
Bond Auto Parts has a huge presence in Vermont and New Hampshire racing, sponsoring several events. They were there in big numbers at the event we covered at Thunder Road and on this night at Riverside. It somewhat resembles a symbiotic relationship where they support the racing and the racers and fans support the business. In mostly rural areas like these in upper Vermont and New Hampshire, one of the few things that bring people together is the racing.
Fall is in the air and these tracks up here are starting to wind down from a summer of hot action. The timing couldn't be better for the Tour this year because we will begin to see end of the year racing events that draw huge numbers and race teams, even from way south, coming up to compete.
In the spring, we were fortunate to be able to attend many "first race of the year" events where the teams had been looking forward to those races for months over the past winter. It's equally cool to see gala end of the year events where competitors know this is the last chance to experience racing before the hard winter sets in.
Riverside supports many classes...
Riverside supports many classes of compact race cars. The racing is very competitive and we saw a unique way to run a race in the Cyclone Enduro race. And the special division for girls was big and very exciting to watch.
And after doing four and a half months on the road this year, it's fitting for us to wrap this trip up and head south for the winter, like so many others here do. But before we coast downhill to Florida, we've still got lots of great racing to tell you about.
Here is the obligatory HANS...
Here is the obligatory HANS shot. I'm not a bit shy or embarrassed by my insistence on racers being safe. I like to show that everywhere I go I see head-and-neck restraints being used in all divisions, even the compacts and scaled car divisions. I smile every time I see Dad helping his kid put on the device, or seeing the helmet/H&N device laying on the roof of the car. Maybe next I'll show photos of those who don't wear these life saving devices. Those that don't are now in the minority.
This asphalt racetrack is tucked away back beside a pasture near Groveton, New Hampshire, and alongside the Connecticut River. It was just last spring when the waters of that river overflowed and flooded Riverside. It took a lot of work and a combined effort to clear away the debris, pump out the track that had become a lake of sorts, and clean the facilities so that racing could resume.
The manager, Jean LeBlanc, told me how difficult that was and with the tropical storm that passed through only weeks before we arrived, the fear was that the trouble they had been through would be coming again. But as luck would have it, the rains that Torpical Storm Irene produced were not sufficient to cause the flooding in northern New Hampshire that areas south of the track saw.
The Legends cars put on quite...
The Legends cars put on quite a show at Riverside with numerous lead changes and a winner who flat out earned it. Several of these cars had drivers who also ran Late Model cars at several tracks we visited. This guy wears a neck collar which is a nice start, but inadequate, for the speeds these cars reach and the impact g's they might experience, in reducing injury from basilar skull fracture.
As we arrived at Riverside, it was immediately apparent that this was a well maintained and organized track. It's a quarter-mile in length, medium banked, and had race sponsorship from Bond Auto Parts, the same company that supported the races at Thunder Road.
There was VIP seating for the race sponsors and their friends where they were provided with free food and drinks. And a good number of fans were in attendance. There was also a police presence that was ultimately needed for a pit altercation. As we have stated in the past, police presence is a good thing. As for the racing, we saw several interesting things, some that were familiar and some that were new to us.
Our friends at AMSOIL send...
Our friends at AMSOIL send a representative to the races to show off products that are available for race cars as well as street cars. Lee Mortenson, a dealer in Maine, explains the benefits of synthetic oils and lubricants to one of the guys in the pits. Did you know that AMSOIL was the very first company to offer synthetic oil to the public and leads the industry in development and quality? I know because I visited its facility before I ever started this U.S. Tour.
The track, like some we'd seen before, had no guardrails or walls except along the front and back stretch. Several cars went off of Turns 1-2 and 3-4, gathered it back up and returned to action none the worse for wear. There were a few damaging wrecks coming off of Turn 2 where cars ended up in the backstretch wall, but all in all, the lack of walls in the turns was a blessing for many.
The makeup of the classes included all stocker type of cars. There were no purpose-built race cars running on this weekend. The "upper" class were highly modified stock cars, but retained the stock frames and bodies.
This is what I like to see....
This is what I like to see. Grandpa, Dad, and Son all gathered around the race car at Unity. One of the real benefits of racing for the families is that it can, and often does, strengthen the bonds between the generations. This Tour proved that out time and time again.
One interesting feature of the 100-lap Cyclone Enduro race was the way they handled cautions. Instead of waving a yellow flag and allowing cars to continue to drive around the track, a red flag was waved by not only by the flagman, but by corner workers in Turns 1-2, and 3-4.