Racing photos from AMEC’s past


Racing Photos From A.M.E.C.’S PastCharlton Trials track0001 Charlton Trials track0002


Here are two photos taken May 12, 2004, at the old AMEC Time Trials course in Charlton NY. It was the main place for club events from 1956 till around 1963. There was a 13 turn, one half mile dirt road course. At certain times of the year you can see some of the banked turns and slight outline of the track. Mike Kamm had his trusty video camera ready for an interview with Dick Vedder and Bob Bailey. They were interviewed for a video segment to be shown at our 50th anniversary celebration in July.



Here are some photo’s from Bill Kane’s collection that show A.M.E.C. competing on the old Charlton track that A.M.E.C. used for many years. As you can see at the bottom of each photo, these were taken in 1963. Unfortunately the current crop of A.M.E.C. officials are all youngun’s that don’t have a clue who was driving these cars that day. Do you recognize any of these? If so drop us a note and we will put your comments right here for everyone to enjoy!!!!

Bill Kane collection Charlton autocross1 Bill Kane Collection Charlton autocross2 Bill Kane Collection charlton autocross3 Bill Kane Collection Charlton autocross4

 “My name is Karl Scharl and at one time attended a number of your events, especially at “White’s Beach”, as we knew it.   In the photo section, I’m in the black Triumph—was surprising to see me without a beard and  that YOUNG!!!!    Have we really aged? “

 Karl is from Voorheesville, NY and planning on attending the 2004 50th party.


Below are some photo’s and descriptions that were sent in by Greg Rickes a long time SCCA member and early A.M.E.C. competitor at the Autocrosses that were held at the Albany-Saratoga Speedway in the 60’s and 70’s as well as the Ice Races of the same era. Interestingly enough Greg is also the current head announcer at  Lime Rock Park in Conn.

“Here are some photos that I scanned from a couple of the AMEC events I attended in the late 1960s. The first batch are from the Fall of 1968. These were time trial events run at Albany-Saratoga Speedway in the days when it was an asphalt track. As I recall the course used the oval, run counter-clockwise and a portion of the paved pit area.”

AMEC-AS-Rickes68This is me in my Renault 1093 Dauphine.This is coming down the front straight, and you can see the turn 1 area in the background. This was right after I bought the car from Thom O’Connor, and before I put my very-limited talents into “preparing” it; it never ran this good again


“Before the event all competitors were given a familiarization lap around the course. I shot this photo from the passenger seat of John Hilts’  Triumph TR4. The first car in line looks a bit like GT6, but it was actually a homebuilt constructed by IhorKasianczuk (I know I’ve got the spelling wrong here!). I have no idea who’s in the VW.”


A photo of the debonair Karl Scharl, this time in his Austin Healey 3000. This looks like he’s on the main straight running towards turn 4″


“Another shot of the Healey 3000, though driven this time by the (in)famous Lloyd Gustav “Sandy” Fisher. I think this

The next two are Lake George, winter 1969

AMEC-LG69 I don’t have any idea who’s driving these cars, but this was ice-race in the days before studded tires.


Thom O’Connor’s three-cylinder/two-stroke SAAB. And the #19 is Ken Watkins in a Fiat with who we believe to be John Weber in the yellow sweatshirt. How ’bout it John, is that you?


Here’s a submission from Craig D. Robertson;
“This is the Ford Falcon that Tony Le Boutillier and I drove for one year. It
was a real winning car but it’s front suspension disintegrated under the
pounding from bad ice conditions at Caroga Lake. This is Ballston Lake.”

Former A.M.E.C. member Bob Bailey writes to us this story;

    “I was a twelve-year-old kid growing up at FoCastle Farm in Burnt Hills when AMEC ran the Autocross thru our orchard in 1956.   I remember Sherm Haven taking my father for a ride around the course in his “Haven Special” and “scaring the Hell out of him”.   We also ran several events the following year in the “Seeley sand pit” behind our farm.  Our family was close friends with Ward Allen (who married Nichole, a French lady who was living at the farm with us), Sherm Haven, Bates Murphy (lived on Lake Hill Road and drove a Delahaye Cabriolet) Vic Ferrante, and Bob Winters.  I live today on Maple Avenue in Charlton, right next door to the Rhineflesh farm where Ward Allen was renting an apartment and AMEC ran their Autocross for many years after 1957.  I was the official flagman for AMEC at many of those events.  If you walk back in the field today, you can still see visible signs of the layout of the track, the turns were banked with a road grader.”


“I had a 1949 Ford race car, with the body chopped off, chassis cut down to 88”, roll bar installed which Kenny Watkins from Burnt Hills raced at the Charlton AMEC event to a class win (I still have a photo of this car which I will send you).  These early experiences is certainly were I was bitten with the car and racing bug.  I started Racemark International in the barns at FoCastle Farm and started my racing career at the age of 19 racing Porsche’s.  I raced for over ten years and was a member of the Porsche of America Racing Team, raced in the early Trans-Am series, 1st overall in the IMSA Camel GT race at Lime Rock.  Proudest moment came in 1971 when with co-driver Jacques Duval from Canada finished the 24 hours of Daytona first in GT and 7th overall in a Porsche 914-6GT.”

Bobs Sand Pit 2 Bobs sand pit 1

 Bob Bailey in 1949 Ford “sand pit” racer. Chassis shortened to 88” wheelbase. Hill in background was the Start/Finish of the AMEC time trails held at Focastle Farms in Burnt Hills in 1956. Ken Watkins, Lake Hill Road, Burnt Hills drove this car to a class win at the AMEC time trials in Charlton in 1960.

Ward allen 1 Ward allen 2

Ward Allen, President of AMEC in 1955 shown at Thompson Raceway, Connecticut, October 9, 1955. This was Ward’s first SCCA race in his brand new Siata Spyder–this was a very rare and exotic sports car at the time. Ward was a General Electric engineer and one of the founders of AMEC and lived at the Rhineflesh Farm, Maple Avenue, Charlton (now the home of John Simoni). The Rhineflesh Farm was the site of the AMEC time trial course.


Below is a short history of AMEC as it appeared in the February 1966 issue of the Mohawk Hudson Region SCCA Knock Off Newsletter, written by Robert Winter longtime AMEC member and officer. This was written in a time when inter club participation was normal. Members of SCCA, AMEC, Empire, BMSC, and many other local clubs would get together and set a yearly schedule, you could do something with your car every weekend

1966 history pg1

1966 history pg2


Here are some more submissions from Greg Rickes of racing up at Lake George in 1969. A.M.E.C. would like to thank Greg who has been invaluable in assembling this page;


This is the start of what looks like the split-drive/rear-engine class race. Dick Vedder, Bruce Carlton and others will remember standing starts with a 3-2-3 etc grid.  Karl Scharl was the flagman. The blue car barely visible in the middle of the front row is Peter Callaghan in the B&B Motors Porsche. The car on the pole seems to be a Sunbeam Alpine (KimGraff ?).  Car nearest the camera on the front row seems to be an MGB. On row 2 the Karman Ghia might be Bob Rodgers.


Sunbeam Alpine leading a group of SAABs and Pete Callaghan’s B&B Porsche in the middle of the group.


Former ice racer who later went on to S.C.C.A. club racing, Eddie Holeva


Former ice racer who later went on to S.C.C.A. club racing, Eddie Holeva


King of the Ice Racers Huck Spaulding. Was this one of the first V4 SAABs ???


Joe Corbett (l) and Bill Morris discuss some strategy (or perhaps where to go for a drink after the races)   —- perhaps others can identify some of the other folks in the background


The O’Connor family race car gots lots of use — this in Thom’s wife Linda taking a turn behind the wheel.

Must have been a cold ride in this Bugeye —- I think this might be Phil Austin from Glens Falls


Sometimes you had to dig yourself out of the snowbanks !

These sketches were last seen in the November 1956 AMEC NEWS. They were drawn by Jack Paul at the “All Night Rally” which was held August 18, 1956. It started at 11PM and rained all night. All the participants enjoyed the rally. The rally was designed by the “terrible trio” Dick Vedder, Bill LaVoie, and Dick Cobb. 

Top 3 finishers were:

1st) Sherwood Smith in a 2.4 Jag

2nd) Jack Paul driving an Austin Healy

3rd) Gordie Morris in a Jag

all night rally page 1 all night rally page 2 all night rally page 3

Two great submissions from Dick Vedder, first is his Goliath which he writes about below. The photo was taken on his way to the Lake George ice races in 1968. It sounds like a cool car (is this where Subaru got its ideas?)
Second Photo is of Dick and his Saab from July 1973 at the Ellenville Hillclimb. In the photo note the left front fender “1972 AMEC Autocross Champion.”
Dick writes,
The Goliath was made by Borgward in Germany, also known as Goliath Hansa in later models. It was front wheel drive with an all aluminum water cooled horizontally opposed 1100 cc engine, think of a water cooled VW. For cars in the 1100cc category it was very competitive against VW’s, SAAB’s,  Renaults etc. This is the same car that I ran in the 10 Hour Little Lemans at Lime Rock. The car got mentioned on Road & Track in their report on the race. Unfortunately my copy has gotten lost. I ran the car in the Keene hillclimb three times, taking third, second & first and a lot of laps at Charlton. Also won a trophy in drag racing at Fonda. This was NASCAR sanctioned.  The last race was at Lake George in 1968. It dropped a valve and destroyed the engine. 
     I did rebuild the engine after Lime Rock, started to smoke, did some minor mods, milled heads, 3 angle valve job, port matching etc.
                                                                                                                                                     Dick Vedder



Below is a photo of a perpetual trophy that A.M.E.C. once used for the autocross series that it ran during the ’70s and early ’80s that was given to the person that accumulated the most points driving a convertible. It was called the Bill Smith Soft Top Award and as you can see in the photo it was won by current member Joe Strykiswicz and the late A.J. Duval. It was recently donated back to A.M.E.C. by former winner Joe Strykiewicz along with the A.M.E.C. accounting book from 1963 to 1989 which combined with the current treasury books now gives us a complete treasury account for the past 40 years. The engraving read’s; Best Soft Top Sports Car Finish In AMEC Points Championship Season, Donated By William S. Smith Corp. Amsterdam, NY – 1973 Tom Pelkey Datsun 2000, 1974 Tom Pelkey Datsun 2000, 1975 Al Duval Sunbeam Alpine, 1976 Tom Pelkey Datsun 2000, 1977 Joe Strykiewicz Corvette 427, 1981 Joe Strykiewicz Corvette 427.



Here are some submissions from former member Paul Dornburg who now calls Kentucky home;

This is of my first ice racer, a 1966 VW Squareback. (very rusty, I might add)  I ran it in split drive and modified.  Many weekends it would run in 5 races on both days.  It was also my daily driver.  A friend of mine gave me some new snow tires hence the big Firestone decal. If you look close you can see the main wiring harness hanging out of the rusted rocker panel under the door.  The hood was bent from a time where we were racing on rough ice and the hood flew open.  A bungee cord kept it closed after that.


This is me standing next to it with the trophies I won that first year.  I think I had a first, a second and a couple of thirds.  Not too bad for my first year


This is of the car at Caroga Lake in 1977.  I went with a bigger engine, dual Holley carbs, a cam and a header and I ran in Modified against Bruce Carlton’s V-6 Saab.  I didn’t win very much but I did go faster


This is the car after a wreck at Ballston Lake.  I hit the front fender of the Falcon that Tony Le Boutillier and Craig Robertson were driving.  The Falcon spun into the snow bank at the end of the backstretch at Ballston Lake.  I couldn’t see what was causing the snow storm in front of me and I couldn’t slow or turn enough to avoid a collision.  The front fender of the Falcon tore into the drivers side of my car just inches behind the door.  The front tire of the Falcon hit the rear tire of my car and literally ripped the frame in half.  The car was a total loss.  Even the engine sustained damage.  I thought I had broken my teeth when I got some glass in my mouth when all the glass shattered but it turns out I didn’t have a scratch on me.  I was very lucky.