Ultimate Racing

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.

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.

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.

Riverside Speedway

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.

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.

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.

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.