BY: Andy Fusco
Weedsport, NY — Don’t let the name fool you. Everybody knows that the late,
great Catamount Stadium in Milton, Vermont was a phenomenal asphalt track. But, its
cyber survivor, www.catamountstadium.com, is one of the best modified history sites —-
dirt or blacktop —- anywhere on the world-wide web.
As such, the proprietor of the site, Bill Ladabouche, has been named as the 2011
Leonard Sammons Sr. award recipient by the DIRT Motor Sports Hall of Fame. The
honor is named for the founder of the area auto racing news and is annually awarded to
an outstanding modified media representative.
The epicenter of Ladabouche’s site is central Vermont, present home of the
Devil’s Bowl and Bear Ridge mod speedways. However, his site digs deeply not
only into Vermont racing history, but also into the lineage of tracks and surrounding
states and provinces which customarily sent “invaders” into Vermont on a regular basis.
Accordingly, Ladabouche’s website is also an electronic history lesson about pioneering
dirt tracks in New Hampshire, eastern New York, and Quebec. Rich in photography and
text, www.catamountstadium.com is a virtual museum and is undeniably one of the best
modified racing websites in the entire cyber world.
“I was blown away the first time I visited Bill’s site,” observed DIRT’s Hall of
Fame Chairman Gary Spaid. “Bill has a treasure trove collection of pictures and is a
meticulous researcher when it comes to content. I could only wish that every corner of
the dirt modified racing universe had a history caretaker like to Bill Ladabouche.”
A school teacher by profession, Ladabouche got interested in racing at a
young age courtesy of an uncle who took him to dirt ovals like Otter Creek Speedway in
Vergennes, Vermont, Pico and Fairmount speedways near Rutland, Vermont, and
Stateline speedway near Bennington, Vermont. It was the subsequent road trips to
neighboring ovals like Fonda, Lebanon Valley, and Plattsburgh which hooked him for
life. Ladabouche’s specialty is documenting long-lost formative speedways, some of
which has been closed for forty or fifty years. He also writes the historical column for
New England’s weekly short track publication, Racin’ Paper.
Ladabouche, age 64, lives in Swanton, Vt. and has taught fifth and sixth graders
in the Milton, Vermont area for 41 years. He began attending races at Pico in 1951 and at
an early age began archiving his trips to the tracks with snapshot photography.
He became inspired by the website work of retired driver Otto Graham, and
started his own www.catamount.com site in 2005. “I found almost nothing on the internet
about Catamount, and that troubled me, given the important role it had played in racing’s
history.” So he started the site and soon branched into all things impacting Vermont
racing, including other asphalt tracks and anything dirt. He dedicates his work to
Vermont racing pioneers, like 85-year-old Jackie Peterson and famed New England
photographer Cho Lee.
Ladabouche is married to wife Roxanne and they have seven children and 16
Ladabouche’s induction will take place Sunday May 29, 2011 at the DIRT Hall of
Fame in Weedsport. Otto Graham will deliver Bill’s induction speech.