Remembering driver, plane crash victim Dave Berube

Well-known local driver came to racing later in life

Dave Berube collecting an award at the Monadnock Speedway banquet at the Log Cabin in Holyoke in November 2009. Image Courtesy: Matt Wiernasz

(WWLP) – If you didn’t know Dave Berube, you might not have noticed his passing last week. As hard as it was to learn of his death, the horrific circumstances did not make it any easier.  Berube, from Bristol, Connecticut, was killed while piloting the plane he owned over Syosset, Long Island on Tuesday afternoon. Investigators say the single engine Beechcraft Bonanza broke apart over a residential area, yet there was no evidence of an explosion.

According to crash investigators, a plane breaking apart in midflight is an uncommon occurrence. Debris fell over a third of a mile area.

Berube was 66 and was born in Northampton, Massachusetts.  His 49 year old girlfriend Dana Parenteau  and 32 year old Benjamin Bridges were passengers who also lost their lives. Bridges worked for 15 years at Berube’s business, New England Municipal Equipment in Bristol. The trio had been returning from Myrtle Beach, South Carolina and were headed for the airport in Plainville, Connecticut.

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Dave Berube in the pit area at Monadnock Speedway May 2010. Image Courtesy: Matt Wiernasz

Area race fans will remember Dave Berube from his success at the former Riverside Park Speedway in Agawam. Berube began his racing career at a later time in his life than most of the more youthful drivers that competed against him. Dave moved up the ladder from the strictly stocks to the pro stocks and eventually to The Park’s tour type modified division. He won the modified championship in 1996; the high point of all those nights in the driver’s seat. After Riverside closed, Berube would pick and choose his races. He competed at the Monadnock Speedway in Winchester, New Hampshire when the track had its most recent tour type modified division. He also raced in the Valenti Modified Racing Series.

One Saturday afternoon at Monadnock, a few of us were talking about a driver who had a particularly disagreeable night at a weekly track. The driver vowed never to return to that track, only to come back the following week and resume racing. This happens from time to time in the sport. The threat, however sincere at the moment, usually turns empty with the competitor happy to return and the weekly track happy to have him. I remarked that, “I wish I had a nickel for every time a driver said this only to come back the next week.” Berube shot back with a very matter of fact, “I wish I had a nickel for every time I said it myself.” We all laughed, and the conversation continued.

It’s been awhile since Dave brought his white #04 to a race. But I’ll never forget the man with the warm smile who always had a few minutes to talk about racing or talk about life. Our heartfelt condolences to his family, friends, and loved ones.

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Dave Berube (04) racing with Butch Perry (96) at Monadnock in May 2010. Image courtesy: Matt Wiernasz

 

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