Dave Zych from 1963 BARC Home

At the age of 16, most young people occupy themselves by going to record hops or dreaming of owning their own Chevy.  Not so with Dave Nicholas and a group of four other young guys.  Admittedly, they did hold a lot of interests in common with their ?normal? 16-year-old friends, but there was one big difference:  an urge to race sports cars, to drive sports cars, to watch sports car races, and to own sports cars.  Names like Fangio and Collins were heroes, and these guys craved every bit of sports car lore they could find.

These young enthusiasts had the same passions and the same outlook on life: to live it to the fullest and have a blast while doing it.  Dave Nicholas was known during his days at Binghamton Central High School for imitating the sound of a Ferrari and downshifting when approaching a turn in the hallway.  Joe Tierno, who picked his BARC number to be 5 after Gentleman Jim Kimberly, was the youngest member ever in the history of the Sports Car Club of America and saw his first race at Watkins Glen in 1952,  Steve Vail was a wild man on the subject of racing and sports cars and added a level of passion to BARC that has not been equaled.  Dave Zych was a budding MG addict who got his first car, an MGTD, while still in high school, and there was Bill Mihal, who had a short association with us at that time.  All of this passion and the strong bond of friendship led to the formation of a club: these five people were the instruments who led to the formation of the Binghamton Automobile Racing Club  - BARC.

The club was formed in the kitchen of the Nicholas home in 1957.  BARC had five members, and it was destined to grow into a storied organization of true road racing insiders. Dave Nicholas is recorded as the first president and founder of the BARC.

A few months after the club was formed, Joe Tierno introduced us to Spankey Smith, and it was obvious that Spankey belonged in BARC. He was assigned #029, the number he used on his all-conquering MGA driven by Bob Bucher. He, along with other members during this 1958 and early 1959 period are charter members. After meeting Spankey, and being introduced into his world of sports car racing, we met John Kelley at the 1959 Glen Classic. Then Ted Rounds in early 1960, Ron Hadlock, and Karl Stickley.  BARC was on the move with 12 members. 

In October 1960, BARC added one of its favorite members, Bob Poupard, #66 who began making a name for himself in MG racing. We also added Gordon Ruston, #15, a man who was created for BARC membership.  At the Annual Meeting in 1960, Tom James, a Jaguar-driving high school principal was brought in (and made available his school's duplicating equipment to produce the BARC Gazettes.).

The next year was golden for BARC.  We added Bob Bucher and Sherm Decker, and the club paper, the BARC Gazette was well into its second year of publication and enjoying success. The Gazette was published every month, uninterrupted, for 14 years.  Membership was up to 18.  A BARC Constitution was devised in 1961 and it limited membership to 20. Because of this, we devised "associate members" to get around the rule.  The last two regular members added were Roy Bishara and Jerry Kenyon.  The next chapter of BARC may be called the "Age of the Associates," or We've got 42 new members.

In 1962, we added Bruce Peckham, Gordon Morris, Charlie Kurtz, Millard Ripley, D. Charles and Francine Stell. In 1963, our original younger members began to race.  Dave Nicholas raced at Keene, Gordie Ruston got his competition license and raced at Keene, Giant's Despair, and Mt. Utsayantha.  We acquired George Valashinas, another old school BARC person, and also a queen, Pat Pulver.


Later, the club branched out to the Philadelphia area, and acquired Buzz Marcus, Judy Beattie, Bud Hofer, Steve Elfenbein, Harry Reynolds, and, with a move to the west, Sprite driving Donna Mae Mims, SCCA's first female national champ. From Lotus East in Millerton, BARC acquired the great Fred Stevenson and equally great Bruce Cargill.  Other grand names included Chuck Deitrich, and Graham Hill.