As though 2020 was not cruel enough, the racing fraternity said their goodbyes to some of their own. One such individual that we lost on December 7th at the age of 95 was New England Hall of Fame driver, Dave Humphrey. No driver ever made a greater impact on Bedford’s racing lore in a 2 race span than the driver from Seekonk MA. Dave was a 6 time New England Midget Association point champion while picking up 72 feature wins. He was a United Racing Club semi-regular, earning 10 feature victories and 4 top ten in season points, including a personal best 3rd in 1959.
But it was 2 consecutive URC Bedford races that are most memorable. Dave earned a popular victory in the 1959 race and was considered one of the favorites the following year. But fate intervened in the form of a stuck throttle shortly after taking the green flag in warmups. His #66 sprint smashed through the first turn plank and cyclone fences with ease, catapulting his missile through one side of a wood framed Exhibit Hall and out the other side. He came to rest upside down just yards from the Lincoln Highway. He was temporarily knocked unconscious, while most of the grandstand spectators were horrified by what appeared to be a death defying ride. But other than a gash on his left arm and some bruises he suffered no serious injuries.
Dave would survive and go on to race another 28 years, and enjoy life another 60 years beyond that day when he lay slumped under his crippled sprinter at Bedford. I can only imagine the apprehension the first responders had as they raced to the scene. We honor the full life and accomplishments of Dave Humphrey and acknowledge that guardian angels really do exist. They most definitely intervened that day at Bedford preventing a tragedy.
The MoS photos below, courtesy of Laurel Highland’s Bill Horner, show the building’s entry & exit points of the #66. In a time when fireman extricated most car entrapments, the Bedford volunteers & some URC Officials are tending to the unconscious driver.