Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Plattsburgh, NY next stop for East Coast Snocross Series

 After all of the presents have been unwrapped, some delicious meals enjoyed and laughter shared by families of all sizes, the focus will return to snowmobile racing for powersports enthusiasts throughout the region.
Race teams from around New York and New England are anxious to get back on the snow and fire the engines, as officials at East Coast Snocross (ECS) get set for Round 2 on the nine-race 2010-2011 campaign on Saturday and Sunday, January 8-9, at the Crete Civic Center in beautiful downtown Plattsburgh, New York.
Spectator gates will open at 10 a.m. each day, with racing getting under way at 11 a.m. Admission is $15 per day for adults, while children age seven and under will be admitted free with a paying adult. Pit passes valid through the weekend will be available for an extra $10.
Along with riders from the ECS circuit, Plattsburgh will also feature teams from the Quebec-based SCM series in a combination race weekend. The addition of these teams will produce some of the most competitive racing witnessed in the northeast all season.
This exciting weekend of snocross is brought to you in part by the Airborne Speedway, Mohawk Casino, Camoplast tracks and Choko Design apparel. ECS and SCM officials ask fans to support these fine companies as they help make Round 2 an event to remember.
In addition to plenty of competitive snocross racing in the Pro, Semi-Pro, Sport, Women and Junior divisions, fans at Plattsburgh will also witness the biggest freestyle show of the season. The Maine-based Rave-X Outer Limits Tour is bringing in former X Games medalist Sam Rogers to attempt the jaw-dropping back-flip if wind conditions are favorable. The tricks and stunts thrown down by the folks from Rave-X will have New York fans talking all winter.
Leading the charge into Plattsburgh are Pro riders Mathieu Morin and Danny Poirier. The two highly-skilled veterans split the Pro finals at the season opener in East Burke, Vermont, and are expected to battle side-by-side all season for the coveted ECS championships.
Some of the other Pro division riders fans can expect to see compete in Plattsburgh include New York natives Jason Stone (Central Square), Corin Todd (Otego), Michael George (Pine Plains) and Jason Rudd (Rodman); former champion Jason Boron; factory-supported Minnesota natives Matt Piche (Polaris) and Matt Pichner (Arctic Cat); and Swedish rider Emil Ottosson (Arctic Cat).
In the talent-laden Semi-Pro division, fans should keep their eyes on athletes like Lucas Brunelle, Jacob Muller and Ash Woskob. Muller and Brunelle split the Stock finals at Burke, while Woskob posted second and third place finishes to start his sophomore season of snocross in impressive fashion.
The City of Plattsburgh is located on Lake Champlain in the northeast part of New York State roughly 20 miles south of the Canadian border. To the west of the city is a 6.1 million-acre tract of land called the Adirondack Park, which contains the famous Adirondack Mountains. With over 100 summits ranging from 1,200 to 5,000 feet in elevation, it is truly one of the most beautiful areas in the country.
With its warm charm and beautiful location, the city offers plenty to see and do during all four seasons. Thanks to strong support from the North Country Chamber of Commerce, Mayor Kasprzak and several local businesses, this event promises to bring loads of fun and excitement to all who attend.
East Coast Snocross, presented by Woody’s Traction and AMSOIL, is the new sanctioning body for snowmobile racing in the northeastern United States. ECS maintains a regional circuit intended to keep grass-roots snocross racing healthy in this part of the snowbelt, while also cultivating new talent for tomorrow’s factory-backed Pro teams.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

COUNTDOWN: 1 Week to ECS opener at Burke Mountain!

        After all the hype, speculation and brand-changing, the time has come to fire the engines and wave that familiar green flag.
Snowmobile race teams from around New York and New England are packing their bags and loading the trailers, as officials at East Coast Snocross (ECS) prepare to kick off their inaugural season of competition on Saturday and Sunday, December 11-12, at the beautiful Burke Mountain Ski Resort in East Burke, Vermont.
Spectator gates will open at 10 a.m. each day, with racing getting under way at 11 a.m. Admission is $15 per day for adults, while children age seven and under will be admitted free with a paying adult. Pit passes valid through the weekend will be available for an extra $10.
With 2010 regional champion Bobby LePage returning to ISOC, several athletes have their sights set squarely on the 2011 ECS titles. Led by pre-season favorite Mathieu Morin, of Val-D’Or, Quebec, these riders on all three major brands have trained for months and are on new sleds. Fans of Ski-doo, Arctic Cat and Polaris will have stars to support as a new seasons revs up.
Those same fans will witness the start of a new era in northeastern snocross, as ECS unveils their own style of racing and freestyle entertainment. Each day will feature the top Pro and amateur riders competing for points and purse, along with two shows by the high-flying Rave-X Outer Limits Freestyle Tour.
New this season are the Saturday and Sunday Featured Events, showcasing various classes throughout the season. The Saturday Featured event at Burke (Sport Super Stock) will be sponsored by our friends at Woody's Traction & Control, while Sunday's feature (Jr. 10-13 380 Fan) will be sponsored by the great folks at AMSOIL.  
Some of the other Pro division riders fans can expect to see compete at Burke include St.. Johnsbury native Lincoln Lemieux, former champions Jason Boron and Danny Poirier, factory-supported Minnesota natives Matt Piche (Polaris) and Matt Pichner (Arctic Cat), and New York natives Jason Stone, Corin Todd and Michael George.
In the talent-laden Semi-Pro division, fans should keep their eyes on athletes like Lucas Brunelle, Cody Flach and Joey Stock as they battle the competition all weekend long. Add some great racing from the Sport, Women, Junior and 120cc (kids ages 4-10 on a separate small track) divisions, and Burke promises to deliver one fabulous weekend full of fun and excitement.
With 45 trails serviced by four lifts (two Quads) on 250 ski-able acres, Burke Mountain offers a variety of terrain for all ages and ability levels. Average annual snowfall exceeds 200 inches, providing plenty of powder days from mid-December through early April.
Ski racers know East Burke as home to Burke Mountain Academy (BMA), one of the nation’s premier ski racing schools. Founded by Warren Witherell in1970, BMA has an unparalleled record of success in producing National Team and top performing college ski racers.
To learn more about all Burke Mountain has to offer, visit www.skiburke.com.
East Coast Snocross, presented by Woody’s Traction & AMSOIL, is the new sanctioning body for snowmobile racing in the northeastern United States. As the eastern affiliate of the International Series of Champions (ISOC), ECS runs a regional circuit intended to keep grass-roots snocross racing healthy in this part of the snowbelt, while also cultivating new talent for tomorrow’s factory-backed Pro teams.

Monday, November 15, 2010

East Coast Snocross 2010-11 Competition Preview

        There’s room for a new face at the top on the northeastern regional snocross scene.
When it was announced earlier this fall that 2010 RMR Pro champion Bobby LePage had signed with Team Lavallee for an assault on the ISOC national title, racers across New York and New England let out a collective sigh of relief.
LePage’s move back to the national stage swings the door wide open for a new star atop the podium, and there’s a fine mix of talented veterans and fresh faces ready to take command.
Last season, Quebec native Mathieu Morin battled LePage every week and brought the title fight right down to the wire.
Morin returns to competition for 2010-11 with the powerhouse Ingles Performance Ski-doo team based in Phoenix, New York. With his national experience, great skills and top-notch equipment, Morin is the odds-on favorite to earn the 2011 ECS Pro titles.
Joining Morin this season on the Ingles squad will be Jason Stone (Pro); Michael George (first-year Pro); Lucas Brunelle and Chris Coleman (Semi-Pro); Whitney Coville (Sport) and Chris Ingles (Sport). This is Ski-doo’s flagship team in the east, with no shortage of talent.
There are several other young athletes anxious to battle Morin for that top spot. For the first time in several years, the folks at Arctic Cat are loaded for bear here in the east. Leading the green contingent from Thief River Falls, MN, is the new Green Mountain Racing (GMR) squad headed up by Nate Tatro. Headlining the team is Minnesota native Matt Pichner, a gifted rider with national experience at the Semi-Pro level. Pichner will advance to the Pro division here in the east, and will be joined by Swedish rider Emil Ottosson on the green machines. Veterans Chris Ackerman and Cody Flach will represent GMR in the Semi-Pro division.
Along with Pichner, one of the northeast’s most accomplished veterans has also joined Tatro’s new team. Nine-time champion (Pro and Semi-Pro) Jason Boron makes a return to Arctic Cat for 2010-11 after spending the better part of a decade on Ski-doo. Boron is a threat to win every time out, and those close to the sport know he’ll be fast on the new Cats.
As Morin and Pichner prepare to do battle, there is another new face looking to make his mark here in New England. Over at Hulten Speed Sports (the folks who won 10 class titles last year), a young man they call ‘the Bull-rider’ is training hard and ready to race. Matt Piche is now part of the HSS organization (fielding teams in ISOC and ECS this season) and brings a ton of national experience to the table. Former champion Danny Poirier will also return to action with the Hulten Speed Sports/Polaris squad and will be a threat to win each and every week.
While the three professional athletes with national experience (Morin, Pichner, Piche) may think the ECS sandbox is exclusively theirs, a handful of eastern natives have other plans.
Two graduates of the hotly-contested Semi-Pro division are making the move to Pro for 2011, and both have strong skills. On the Ski-doo side of the equation, Lincoln Lemieux has a new deal that will see him running as a full-time Pro on the ECS circuit and part-time as a Semi-Pro in ISOC. Lemieux won the RMR Semi-Pro Open title in 2010 and has matured a great deal in recent seasons. With fellow Vermont native Brennan Berardo stepping aside this season to focus on college, Lemieux is Ski-doo’s hot ticket (along with Morin and Stone) here in the east.
Another fine young athlete that battled with Lemieux in Semi-Pro last year is also making the move to Pro. Corin Todd, of Otego, NY, has a new team to introduce. JAC Racing is headed up by Corin’s father Mark, and will field Arctic Cat sleds for Corin, Jesse James Bonaduce and Ash Woskob. Bonaduce will advance to Semi-Pro after a strong season in the Sport classes last year, while Woskob will remain in Semi-Pro (the motocross expert from Tyrone, PA only has one season of snocross under his belt) and continue to hone his skills at that level.
With riders like Boron, Pichner and Todd riding green sleds this year, the balance could be about to shift in a region where Ski-doo has dominated through shear numbers in recent years.
Two other teams involved in our sport for many years are getting ready to go at it once again. Ruddman Racing, based in Rodman, NY, returns to action led by veteran Jason Rudd. The talented athlete had his 2009-10 season end early due to a broken leg, but has been training constantly and is anxious to get back on the sleds. Danny Graves will also be part of the squad, looking to run up front in the Semi-Pro division this season.
Along with the Rudd family, longtime snocross supporter Team Southside is also busy preparing for the first green flag. Bruce Gaspardi Sr. has fielded a multi-rider Polaris team since 1997. The team’s 2010-11 lineup will feature three Semi-Pro riders; Joey Stock, Dale Petrus and Todd Smith. Stock swept the Sport classes in 2009 but was sidelined early in 2010 by injury, while Petrus and Smith are seasoned veterans capable of podium finishes on any given day. Rounding out the 2010-11 roster for Team Southside are veterans Bruce Gaspardi Jr. (Sport) Melanie Acker (women) and Wade Acker (Junior).    
Hulten Speed Sports, Ingles Performance, Green Mountain Racing, JAC Racing, the Lemieux, Patenaude, Rudd and Gaspardi families, along with several others are busy gearing up for what could easily be the most competitive winter of snocross northeastern fans have ever witnessed.
Along with all the talent and new faces in Pro and Semi-Pro, ECS officials are also excited about the riders planning to compete in the Sport, Women and Junior divisions.
East Coast Snocross will also continue the highly-valued 120cc program, where future stars of snocross learn how to race. This is the place where young racers compete with high intensity, while also learning the value of good sportsmanship.
With a big reduction in the number of classes and the addition of high-flying freestyle athletes from Rave-X for 2010-11, each race day and weekend will be more of a show.
East Coast Snocross kicks off the 2010-11 season on Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 11-12, at the beautiful Burke Mountain Ski Resort in East Burke, Vermont.

Monday, October 11, 2010

New venues, added value highlight 2010-11 ECS snocross schedule

CHESHIRE, Conn. — As the days grow shorter and the overnight low temperatures start to drop, power sports enthusiasts around the northeast are turning their thoughts to snowmobiling. While fall chores may come first, it won’t be long before trails are cleared and signs are put up.
For those who love snowmobiles and racing, as well, there is exciting news out of southern New England. Officials from the East Coast Snocross (ECS) have announced their 2010-11 race schedule, highlighted by some new venues in new markets.
On Dec. 11-12, the season will kick off in a big way at the beautiful Burke Mountain Ski Resort in East Burke, Vermont. Burke is legendary among the ski crowd for ample snow, first-class trails and a level of hospitality unmatched at larger resorts. Nestled in Vermont’s scenic Northeast Kingdom, Burke is surrounded by some of the finest trails in North America. Located just a short drive north on Rte. 114 from Interstate 91, Burke is a snocross fan’s dream.
Round 2 on the 2010-11 campaign will also be at a site new to snocross. On Jan. 8-9, 2011, the city of Plattsburg, New York will host the ECS teams at the Crete Civic Center. With support from the Chamber of Commerce, the Mayor of Plattsburg, assistance of Airborne Speedway promoter Mike Perrotte, the Plattsburg event has tremendous potential for success.
For Round 3, race teams will return to the friendly confines of Ossipee, New Hampshire, to compete and entertain the many snowmobile enthusiasts in that area. The former circuit ran snocross events at the old Mt. Whittier ski area, and fans turned out in big numbers. On Jan. 15-16, 2010, the sleds and stars of ECS will compete just off Rte. 16 on land behind the Fire Station. There is ample room for a quality track, and local Chamber of Commerce officials are the hosts.
A trip across our northern border is required for Round 4, as ECS will compete in conjunction with Marcel Fontaine’s SCM circuit on Jan. 22-23, in Mirabel, Quebec. Last year, the event in Mirabel drew thousands of fans both days, thanks to its location just outside Montreal and excellent promotional efforts. The track was huge, the purse was strong and lots of food vendors kept everybody full and happy. The 2011 version should be just as successful.
On Feb. 5-6, teams and officials from ECS will join the International Series of Champions (ISOC) at the Eastern Nationals in Farmington, New York. The ISOC teams will thrill fans with their factory-backed riders, while ECS teams will compete for points, as well.
For Round 6, teams will travel to historic Rockingham Park in Salem, New Hampshire (Feb. 26-27) for what officials expect to be one of the premiere events of 2011. With easy highway access, heated enclosed grandstand and fan amenities unmatched at most sites, "The Rock"  is a perfect venue for snocross racing.
The next event on the 2011 slate is set for March 26-27 at the Peak ‘N Peak Resort in Findley Lake, New York. The Peak ‘N Peek Resort has been hosting snocross events for the last few years with a great deal of success. With first-class amenities, excellent snow conditions and eager fans, Findley Lake is an ideal home for snocross in western New York.
East Coast Snocross will wrap up the 2010-11 season on April 2-3 at the historic Pico Mountain ski area in Killington, Vermont. Pico is owned by and just around the corner from the world-renowned Killington Mountain Resort. Founded by the Mead family in 1937, Pico was one of Vermont's first commercial ski resorts. Bringing snocross racing to Pico is truly an honor for everyone at ECS.
ECS snocross action at Pico will join Killington’s 15th annual Freestyle competition to rock southern Vermont unlike any other weekend. Mountain officials will be offering a special dual-event ticket and offering shuttle-bus rides from Killington to Pico. It’s an incredible opportunity for snowmobile racing and skiing to come together at one of Vermont’s most famous resorts.
While eight race dates are now set in stone, the possibility of nine events overall exists.After a busy summer of working to assemble the best possible schedule in this tough economy, ECS Director of Operations Shawn Longbook is breathing a little easier now that the schedule has been released.
“I am proud to announce this schedule for the inaugural season for ECS,” Longbook said. “When Bob Roscoe bought the old Rock Maple circuit, he made a commitment to move the sport forward. With a solid schedule now in place, news of manufacturers supporting eastern teams, and the addition of the Rave-X freestyle team to our shows, I feel we're headed in the right direction. I  hope our racers, teams and fans will be excited and come to the races.”
The Rave-X Outer Limits Freestyle Tour will be part of the excitement in Burke, VT; Plattsburgh, N.Y. (special show featuring a back-lflip by an X Games medalist); Ossipee, N.H.; Salem, N.H., and at Pico Mountain.
A great deal of work has been done behind the scenes over the summer to ensure the success of ECS. A new track builder/groomer was hired, new snow guns were ordered for when weather won’t cooperate, and a first-ever Race Advisory Board was formed to discuss issues important to the sport. It’s a thorough and professional approach to organizing regional snocross that should pay dividends.
For more information, please visit ECS online at www.eastcoastsnocross.com.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Thunder Road videos a real treat for race fans

When I first got involved in this wonderful sport of stock car racing back in 1992, I met a man from southern New Hampshire named Bill Channel. As owner of Channel 1 Video, Bill was on a quest to record New England’s rich short track stock car racing history for all to enjoy.
Channel’s work not only produced several award-winning pieces, but got me hooked on videos of my favorite sport. I quickly realized how important this was to preserve memories of special moments in our region’s racing history.
Since those days, I’ve met several others who’ve carried camera equipment to the track each week. Mr. Channel has more or less retired from weekly recording, but there are several others who carry on his legacy. Thanks to one of them, I’ve even had the chance to design a track history DVD and played a big role in its production (Northeastern Speedway 50th Anniversary Celebration). My involvement in that project and the way it turned out is a source of great pride for me.
One skilled individual very active in the field of racing videography today is Carl Parton, of Montpelier, Vermont. Carl owns Central Sports Net (www.cvtsport.net), and is the man who records racing every week at the famed Thunder Road International Speedbowl.  
I recently had a chance (finally) to sit down and watch some of his work. Since I’m a native Vermonter, I love the “down-home” feel of his videos. Having a picture of his adorable children in the intro with audio of them saying  “my Daddy made this,” is absolutely precious.
Once the racing begins, Parton’s skills become evident. A high-quality camera on a solid tripod keeps everything steady and crisp, while Parton’s pan and zoom skills are excellent. As I’ve learned from professionals, a cameraman who has mastered the art of pan and zoom as he follows the action makes a huge difference in what we see on our screens.
Like other professionals in his field, Parton taps directly into the track’s PA system to ensure a quality audio signal is obtained. While you do hear the cars roar some (it wouldn’t seem right without it) it never overwhelms the announcer in any way. Clear audio and sharp video is what makes Parton’s work such a treat.
The two nights of racing at the “Nation’s Site of Excitement” I’ve had the pleasure of watching were from June 19 and June 25 of 2009. Both DVDs are well-produced, and despite Thunder Road’s notoriously dim lighting — you can still see the cars clearly during the evening’s features. Parton has been recording races at the Barre, Vermont oval since 2008.
If you are a fan of that historic (opened in 1960) high-banked track atop Quarry Hill, or even if you just love to watch side-by-side short track stock car racing on your own TV, visit Parton’s Web site today and order a DVD from Thunder Road. It will be something to treasure and watch with friends for years to come.
As a longtime fan of Thunder Road (first race there: Firecracker 100 in 1976), I simply love to own video of races there. The two pieces from Mr. Parton join a DVD with footage of the pre-war Coupes (early 1960s) in my collection. Perhaps a joint venture between Vermont racing archivist Cho Lee, Carl Parton and myself to produce a two-hour, multi-chapter DVD of Thunder Road’s rich history is in order.
Of course we would need permission from and the blessing of Ken Squier, but I believe he would see the value of such a project. In 2009, he kindly participated in our Northeastern DVD project since he announced there early in his illustrious career. I am extremely grateful for his contribution.
Anybody in support of the Thunder Road history DVD idea can reach me via e-mail at philw61@yahoo.com.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Brackett closing in on second title at Oxford

Veteran short track racer Tim Brackett knows the quick way around Oxford Plains Speedway as well as anybody in the northeast. He won the track title back in 2005 when Pro Stocks were still the premiere division.

Now, he's getting a firm handle on Late Model cars and is leading the points standings with just two races left on the 2010 schedule. For the second straight week (Aug. 21), the margin between Brackett and 2004 Late Model champion Shawn Martin is a scant 12 markers.

Both Brackett and Martin got off to slow starts this year, but both turned the corner in a big way in late July. Martin has reeled off three podium finishes since his team was forced to dig out their old car. Martin's 2010 piece (built by Mitch Green) was destroyed on June 24 in ACT competition at Beech Ridge.

"The old car is serving us very well," Martin said in the pit area two weeks ago. "We took some items off the new chassis and converted this one over to race-ready, and it has been handling like a dream. In the first half of the season, we struggled trying to get the new car to stay fast on long runs. It fell off significantly after 25 or 30 laps, and our features are 40 laps. At least we had the old car to utilize, and to pull back up to second in points has been very gratifying.  Now we'll just have to dig in these last few races and see if we can overtake Tim."

Brackett, of Buckfield, has had an extremely busy summer of 2010. Not only is he working to maintain his own No. 60 machine and secure a title, he also fields the equally-potent No. 61 entry driven by his talented son, TJ. And let us not forget his foxy daughter, Vannah, who is leading the points in Oxford's Ladies division. If the family manages to record three titles this year (Sat. Showdown & Wed. Acceleration Series points are separate for Ladies), it will be remarkable.

"We've had quite a season so far," Brackett said while working on TJ's car last week. "It took me a while to get up to speed this year, but the car has been consistent week-to-week. Shawn is a good racer, he will be right there these last two weeks and if I fall out early - he'll be right there to capitalize. The idea of a winning a second championship is pretty neat, so we'll give it our best and see how it all shakes out."

I must say, Oxford's Late Model division has been pretty entertaining in 2010. We started out with Tommy Ricker making the headlines, winning two straight features and vaulting into the points lead for several weeks. And when his on-track performance started to fade,  we watched in awe as Lewiston's Corey Morgan began to shine. Morgan drew some attention with impressive runs in the ACT events on May 16 and June 19, then blew all of us away when he finished third in the 37th annual TD Bank 250 on July 18.

And as if Morgan's impressive runs weren't exciting enough, along comes nine-time Oxford track champion Jeff Taylor into the mix (late summer) with a sparkling new No. 88 Late Model to join the ranks. Taylor was the absolute King of the Pro Stocks for over a decade, but has been reluctant to make the switch. As owner of Distance Racing Products, his goal was to learn the Late Model's dynamics (chassis setup, handling characteristics, etc.) from a seat-of-the-pants perspective. On July 31, he won his first Late Model feature. Just three weeks later, he won again. If I was about to order a new car for 2011, it would be from DRP in Fairfield.

Regardless of who wins the 2010 Late Model championship, we've had a fantastic season at Oxford. Don't let those ego-driven clowns still clinging to their outdated, overpriced Pro Stocks fool you. Late Model racing is exciting, there are a lot more teams with a chance to win,. and the amount of side-by-side racing is about 10-to-1 over "Super Late Models."  So boys, what makes them so "SUPER" anyway?

Don't miss the final two points shows at Oxford on August 28 and September 11. We're talking drama, action and a great story no matter who comes out on top. I'm just thrilled I've had the pleasure of watching these guys all season long. I hope to do it all again in 2011.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Folsom claims Late Model feature at Thunder Road

BARRE, Vermont – Grant Folsom led from green to checkered to notch his second career Late Model feature victory, dominating the Safelite Autoglass Trophy Dash Thursday night (aug. 5) at Thunder Road International Speedbowl.

Folsom, of Waitsfield, started from the pole and held off a hard-charging Reno Gervais for top honors. After a caution-plagued performance the previous week, this 50-lap feature was completed with just one delay. Gervais, of Island Pond, settled for second, while Jamie Fisher edged out John Donahue for third. Phil Scott followed Donahue to the line to complete the top five.

Current Thunder Road Late Model point leader Dave Pembroke took sixth, followed by Nick Sweet, Rich Lowrey, Cris Michaud and last week’s winner Joey Becker in 10th.

Folsom's win makes eleven different winners in 11 Late Model races held this year at Thunder Road.  The only repeat winners this season are Dave Pembroke, who won the point counting season opener at Devils Bowl Speedway along with a regular feature event; and Barre's own Nick Sweet, who won the ACT Late Model Tour Merchants Bank 150 and the Carquest Governor’s Cup.

Peacham’s Tony Rossi earned his first career Bond Auto Tiger Sportsmen feature win. He worked his way from the 8th starting position and held off 2009 Tiger Champion Jimmy Hebert, Mike Ziter, Derrick O’Donnell and Eric Badore. Bobby Therrien, last week’s feature winner Matt Potter, Tom Therrien, Pete Ainsworth and current point leader David Finck completed the top ten.

Elmore’s Dave Whitcomb earned his second career Allen Lumber Street Stock feature win and his first of 2010. He outran Mike MacAskill who was looking for his third straight win. Gary Bashaw, Scott Weston and point leader Tim Campbell rounded out the top five. Ron Gabaree, Gary Mullen, Thomas Placey, Dave LaFleche and Sid Sweet all earned top tens.

The Junkyard Warriors saw Cabot’s Ken Christman take his eighth win of the 2010 season. He was followed by Kevin Wheatley and Tommy Elwood.

(NOTE: The NEAR cars and Bob Doyle Museum truck were also on hand at Thunder Road last night. More to follow (with photos) this weekend).

The Allen Lumber Street Stocks and the Junkyard Warriors will be back in action this Sunday, August 8 with a special 50 lap race as part of the M&M Beverage Enduro event. Post time is 6:00pm.

All four Thunder Road divisions will be back next Thursday, August 12 for Aaron’s Sales and Lease Night. The event will feature the Run-What-U-Brung. Post time is 6:30pm.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

ACT New England Transmission 150 at Beech Ridge Notebook

When I first learned the American-Canadian Tour (ACT) would be returning to historic Beech Ridge Motor Speedway after a 16-ear absence in 2009, I was thrilled.
Not only is the seacoast oval just 45 minutes from my home, I had many great memories of trips to Beech Ridge starting way back in 1988. I was there when Buzzy Bezanson won the New England 300 on one set of tires, and was fortunate enough to be present for every modern-day NASCAR Busch North Series race the place hosted,
as well.
Last year’s ACT return was exciting, with low-buck Thunder Road veteran Eric Williams almost stealing the victory from multi-time champion Brian Hoar. And when the Vermont-based tour rolled back into Scarborough last weekend for another show, fans got their money’s worth, and them some.
Having covered weekly racing activities at Oxford Plains Speedway for the Sun Journal since 2005, I’ve developed a deep respect for several Late Model teams who compete there.
When I arrived at “The Ridge” last Saturday evening, I was elated to see Ricky Rolfe, Tim and son TJ Brackett, Shawn Martin, Corey Morgan and young Ben Ashline on the entry list. Five-time Oxford champion Travis Adams, running a part-time ACT schedule for 2010, and nine-time Oxford Pro Stock champion Jeff Taylor were also among the entrants. Talk about supporting a local ACT race on an off-weekend for Oxford, those boys were out in force.
As most of you will have read by now, Ashline ran second for at least 70 laps before getting put to the rear for spinning somebody out. The young athlete from Pittston limped to a disappointing 15th-place finish, two laps off the pace.
Taylor absolutely blew me away when he took the lead from Polewarczyk on lap 83. The one-time King of the Pro Stocks is finally (and reluctantly, I think) making the transition to a Late Model way of thinking at Distance Racing Products.
To get a handle on what it takes to build Late Models that win, Mr. Taylor has wisely built himself an immaculate version and is learning the car from a hands-on, seat-of-the-pants perspective. He led 13 laps and unfortunately fell victim to a cut tire on lap 131. His position at 22nd in the final rundown fails to show his most impressive Late Model effort to date.
Along with my praise for the ACT race last Saturday, I’d also like to express a few thoughts on Beech Ridge itself. The place has a special feel when the lights come on, and that fog is the wildest thing I’ve ever seen at any track. Only once before had I seen it get so thick that cars looked blurry on the backstretch. How we ever got that entire 150 laps in is beyond me.
I am always amazed at the depth of Andy Cusack’s support divisions. And I must say, his NASCAR Pro Series machines (the last Pro Stock holdouts) put on a whale of a show. They went 40 laps green-to-checkered without a caution at blistering speed. A very impressive feature, for sure. The car count and caliber of racing in the Sport Series is strong, as well.
Overall, the place is clean, the food is tasty, and the racing is pretty tough to beat. Hats off to second generation owner Andy Cusack and staff for maintaining a tradition of excellence fans have come to expect for decades. And speaking of race fans...
For the second straight year, I had a verbal confrontation with one at Beech Ridge. Last year, I was insulted and asked to leave by fans when I sat in the wrong place in the pits. This year, the insults flew when I described the previous week’s 250 as an excellent race.
I realize the mental capacity and unwillingness to accept outsiders of fans who attend Beech Ridge is outside the promoter’s control. I guess all I ask is that folks respect the opinion of somebody who looks at racing from a different angle than they do. We all love the same sport.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

ACT returns to Oxford: Final tuneup before the 250

Can you believe the 37th annual TD Bank 250 is just four weeks from tomorrow?

Neither can I, but it's true my friends. And as Late Model teams from around the northeast start to think about what it will take to have a shot at "the big dance," a perfect opportunity to get 'dialed in for long distance' at Oxford is here.

Teams and officials from the Vermont-based American-Canadian Tour (ACT) are on their way to western Maine this morning. Pit gates open at 2 p.m. as teams file in to prepare for tonight's ACT 150 at the historic 3/8-mile oval. An amazing 53 cars showed up back on May 16 for the first ACT show (Oxford's season opener), and I'll bet the number will be pretty close to that today.

Almost two years ago to the day (June 21), ACT ran the Dunkin' Donuts 150 at Oxford and young Joey Polewarczyk Jr. drove to victory. Yet in 2010, the rising star from Hudson, N.H., is a bit off the pace. Polewarczyk failed to qualify for the feature on May 16, something I surely didn't expect to see. He was on hand last Saturday night to get a jump on tonight's race, but got stuck in traffic for much of the 40-lap feature and finished 11th.

As for a list of favorites to take down the win in tonight's 150-lap tussle, I'd have to start with the man everybody is watching after last year's 250 and another win in the May 16 ACT event. Eddie MacDonald has become "the man" at Oxford these days, with finely honed skills and veteran crew chief Rollie Lachance in his corner. I don't believe the K&N Pro Series East (E-Mac's regular gig for Grimm Racing) runs again until Loudon, so expect the rocket-fast No. 17 NEMO Pontiac (not many teams still running the Grand Prix body) to be in the pits this afternoon and near the front this evening.

Any sensible list of possible winners would have to include "Two Lap" Tommy Ricker, the 54-year-old veteran from Poland, Maine. Ricker has been on a tear all season, starting with an incredible second-place finish behind MacDonald on May 16. Since then, old Two Lap (Oakes isn't sure if it was Bob Walker or Dave Moody that first called him that for his habit of having trouble two laps into the race) has two wins and a third place finish in three starts.

The exciting charges up through the field Ricker has been making using the often-tricky outside groove have brought back memories of watching Jeff Taylor do the same thing.  It has really been fun to watch, except perhaps for the rest of Oxford's regulars. I'd have to include Tim and his son TJ Brackett, Ricky Rolfe and Jeff White on my list of Oxford weekly warriors who could challenge the ACT touring teams tonight.

As for a few ACT mainstays I expect to be strong tonight, look for Brian Hoar, Randy Potter, Brent Dragon and Scott Payea to run up front. All have excellent equipment and know there way around Bill Ryan's famed oval alongside Route 26. I know it's going to anybody's game - especially with today's blistering hot temps.

One last tidbit as we prepare for another great ACT race at Oxford. This evening I'll have the pleasure of hosting a VIP guest. Legendary Maine short track pioneer Glenn Andrews will be on hand this evening to help kick off Oxford's 60th Anniversary celebration. Andrews competed at Oxford during the inaugural season of 1950, although he was only 15 when he ran his first race. The Oxford native raced there until 1970, and also won the 1960 track championship at Northeastern Speedway in Waterford, Vermont.

Mr. Andrews will serve as Grand Marshall this evening, speaking to the crowd before driver introductions and giving the command to fire engines. With the contribution this man and his family (two of his brothers, Rodney and Clyde Jr., as well as his father also raced) made to the sport, it's time to give a little back in the way of recognition and a good time. What a honor it will be to host this true gentleman of Maine racing history.    

Friday, May 14, 2010

ACT opens 60th season at Oxford Plains Speedway

OXFORD — I can almost smell the fumes and hear the engines roar.

This Sunday, May 16, is opening day for Oxford Plains Speedway - with a very full card of racing on tap.

Headlining the show is the Vermont-based American-Canadian Tour (ACT), the northeast's most competitive and talent-filled series. Oxford's Strictly Stock, Mini Stock and some Wed. night classes will also compete.

Each time the touring veterans come to Oxford, guys like five-time champion Travis Adams, 2004 title winner Shawn Martin, ageless Timmy Brackett, Shawn Knight, Travis Stearns and Tommy Ricker put up a fight.
We're blessed with a ton of rock-solid Late Model teams at OPS, which means this rivalry produces plenty of entertainment.

Led by second-generation star Brent Dragon (Beaver's son, Bobby's nephew) of Milton, Vermont, the ACT teams mean business. In the 20 previous ACT races at Oxford, Dragon has 11 top-10s in 18 starts. The defending race winner is Joey Polewarczyk Jr., a tremendously talented young man from Hudson, New Hampshire.

Add in defending series champion and six-time title holder Brian Hoar, seven-time champion Jean-Paul Cyr, Randy Potter, Scott Payea and recent Thunder Road winner (May 2 - ACT Round 1) Nick Sweet, and you've got the ingredients for an exciting battle. It'll be Maine vs. Vermont vs. NH vs. Quebec vs. Mass., vs, well, you get the idea. Talk about a mix of talent from a broad geographic area, ACT has that and more.

Hope to see tons of folks at the track this weekend. Looks like the weather is going to cooperate with us BIG-time on Sunday, with wall-to-wall sunshine and temps in the low 70s.  Practice tomorrow (Sat. May 15) might be delayed slightly depending on any passing showers, but it appears s though all cars should have adequate on-track opportunities.

Travel safe - and I hope to see you at Oxford Plains Speedway this weekend. Let's wave that green flag!

Monday, May 3, 2010

Nick Sweet wins Merchants Bank 150 at Thunder Road

BARRE, VT — Hometown favorite Nick Sweet is starting to make a name for himself on the American Canadian Tour.
The Barre native recorded his first career ACT win Sunday, taking the lead from David Pembroke on lap 116 and successfully holding off defending ACT champion Brian Hoar for top honors. Patrick Laperle was the event’s only other leader, holding the top spot for 15 laps before settling for third at the finish. Pembroke and Mark Lamberton rounded out the top five.
“This car was awesome today,” Sweet said in Victory Lane.  “All these guys race with such respect for one another, I have to thank David (Pembroke) for running me so clean. I knew Brian was coming up fast in the closing laps, I’m just thrilled to be able to hold him off and win one of these things. It feels great, now we need to carry this on to Airborne and Oxford.”
Hoar started 13th on the 30-car grid, worked his way to seventh at halfway then made a terrific late-race charge to the front but simply ran out of time. Back with Rick Paya’s RPM Racing Engines/Gosscars.com squad, Hoar looks as strong as ever in 2010.
“I was just riding out there for the first half,” said Hoar. “I was trying to save the car for a big push in the late stages, and it was pretty fast at the end, just not quite fast enough. Nick (Sweet) is a great racer, I’m happy to see him get that first win. We’re happy with this run today and will get ready for the Spring Green at Airborne.”
Laperle, of St. Denis, Quebec, started sixth and kept the huge opening-day crowd cheering as he worked the outside groove. On a mid-race restart, Laperle used that high line to his advantage to wrestle the lead away from Pembroke. He led from lap 81 to the 96th circuit when Pembroke drove back by on the inside. This battle was one of the best witnessed at T-Road in quite some time.
“I jumped at the chance to lead when I realized the car was so fast on the outside,” Laperle explained. “David was hooked up on the bottom, but my car got great forward bite on the outside. I wish we could have stayed up front and won this thing, but David and Brian were very fast today. We’ll take a solid third place run and move on from here.”
Finishing sixth through 10th in the 12th annual Merchants Bank 150 was Craig Bushey, Joey Laquerre (he’s 67 years old), Chip Grenier, Scott Payea and Mark Hayward. Eight cautions slowed the pace, two of which came out at lap 73. Only one incident involved multiple cars, most were for single-car spins.
Forty-four cars attempted to make the show, a strong sign despite the struggling economy. Other notable drivers in Sunday’s ACT opener include Senator Phil Scott (11th); young Joey Pole, who wound up 12th; defending track champion Jean-Paul Cyr, who is driving the No. 22 machine for Gary Caron this year (13th); second-generation driver Brent Dragon, who came home a disappointing 14th; Groveton, New Hampshire’s Randy Potter (15th); and Tracie Bellerose, the 2000 Thunder Road track champion, who finished 16th in her return to ACT competition.
Weather conditions were more like summer than early May, ironic given the fact that Thunder Road was buried under 10 inches of snow the previous Wednesday. With temperatures hovering in the mid-to-upper 70s and high humidity, drivers and crew members weren’t the only ones sweating atop Quarry Hill on Sunday afternoon.
A handful of Maine-based teams made the haul to Vermont last weekend. Multi-time Oxford Plains Speedway Late Model champion Travis Adams took his bright green No. 03 entry to Barre, but failed to qualify. Windham’s Bradley Babb was also on hand, as was Glen Luce of Turner and TJ Watson of Cundy’s Harbor. Watson qualified 15th and came home 24th after getting involved in an altercation. Luce was the only other Mainer to qualify, working his way from 17th on the grid to 20th at the finish.

Unofficial Finish:
ACT Merchants Bank 150
Thunder Road Int’l. Speedbowl
May 2, 2010

1. Nick Sweet, Barre, VT
2. Brian Hoar, Williston, VT
3. Patrick Laperle, St-Denis, QC
4. Dave Pembroke, Montpelier, VT
5. Mark Lamberton, Mooers Forks, NH
6. Craig Bushey, Cambridge, VT
7. Joey Laquerre, E. Montpelier, VT
8. Chip Grenier, Graniteville, VT
9. Scott Payea,  Milton, VT
10. Mark Hayward, Newport, NH
11. Phil Scott, Montpelier, VT
12. Joey Polewarczyk Jr., Hudson, NH
13. Jean-Paul Cyr, Milton, VT
14. Brent Dragon, Milton, VT
15. Randy Potter, Groveton, NH
16. Tracie Bellerose, Gorham, NH
17. Jamie Fisher, Shelburne, VT
18. Michael Kenison, Groveton, NH
19. Derek Lynch, Warkworth, ON
20. Glen Luce, Turner, ME
21. Pete Potvin III, Graniteville, VT
22. Reno Gervais, Island Pond, VT
23. Joey Becker, Jeffersonville, VT
24. TJ Watson, Cundy's Harbor, ME
25. Jeff Zuidema, No..Brookfield, Mass.
26. Eric Chase, Milton, VT
27. Tony Andrews, Northfield, VT
28. Matt White, Northfield, VT
29. Tyler Cahoon,  St.Johnsbury, VT
30. Cris Michaud,  E. Montpelier, VT

Sunday, April 4, 2010

LePage sweeps Pro finals at Rock Maple Racing snocross finale

FINDLEY LAKE, N.Y. (Mar. 29, 2010) — Veteran snowmobile racer Bobby LePage had only one option heading into last weekend’s season finale. Trailing his weekly rival Mathieu Morin by just one point in Pro Open and two in Pro Stock, his goal was to win both finals.
With determination in his eyes and well-prepared sleds in his grasp, LePage went out and swept the Pro finals as Rock Maple Racing (RMR) completed the ninth and final round on the 2009-10 snocross series Sunday afternoon at the beautiful Peek’n Peak Resort & Spa. With his impressive come from behind charge, LePage locked up the 2010 RMR Pro championships.
In Saturday’s grueling 20-lap Pro Open final, LePage (Hulten Speed Sports/Polaris), of Hermantown, MN, grabbed the holeshot and led all the way. Poirier slotted into second at the start and stayed there until Morin (Ingles Performance/Ski-doo) powered by at the end of lap five. Morin, of Val D’Or, QC, tried to reel in LePage but settled for second (by an 18-second margin), while Poirier filled out the podium. The final point tally and class champions are now official. Congrats to all of the 2010 champs!
LePage grabbed the holeshot again in Sunday's Pro Stock final (15 laps) and never looked back. Morin challenged LePage on the outside at one point, and the two sleds made contact. Morin's sled lost a side panel, which led to a disqualification after 10 laps. Danny Poirier took over the second position and hung there to the end. Multi-time champion Jason Boron (D&Z Racing/Ski-doo) capped another solid season with a strong third place finish.
Defending Pro Vet champion Joe Lemieux made it back-to-back titles as he claimed Sunday’s final. Fellow Vermonter Rene Desrochers chased Lemieux across the line in second, while Hubbard, Ohio-based rider Jason Riffle was third on an Arctic Cat. Desrochers bounced back to claim Sunday’s Plus 35 Masters final, while Riffle (second) and Scott Clauson (third) filled out the podium.
Morganne Sterl made the long haul from southern New Hampshire worthwhile Sunday, as she won the Pro Women final. New York native Paige Calderwood powered her way to second place at the finish, while Steffanie Lemieux completed the top three.
In Semi-Pro action at Findley Lake, Corin Todd and Ash Woskob both earned final round wins. Todd, of Otego, NY, led a stellar field across the line to win Saturday’s 12-lap Open final. Woskob settled for second, while Sport division standout Jake Scott made an impressive debut in Semi-Pro with a head-turning third place finish. Point leader Lincoln Lemieux took nasty tumble on the first lap, causing injury to his thumb and wrist. Yet by winning his qualifying heats earlier in the day, he still managed to clinch the title.
Woskob, of Tyrone, PA, made it a clean sweep for D&Z Racing on Sunday as he held off Todd and points contender Michael George to claim top honors in Semi-Pro Stock. Scott just missed another podium in fourth, while New York veteran Cody Flach rounded out the top five.
Once again, a young man from New Jersey stole the spotlight in Sport division action. Jesse James Bonaduce held off ‘Mongoose’ Mike Billow and Chris Ingles to win Saturday’s Super Stock final. On Sunday, Vermont-based veteran Leo Patenaude outgunned Edward Bandel (no easy task) and Chris Coleman for top honors in Super Stock, while Bonaduce claimed the Stock 600 final. With Jake ‘The Snake’ out of the picture, these young racers were anxious to showcase their talents.
Hunter Nelson was as hot as a blowtorch in Junior division action at Peek’n Peak. The gifted young athlete from Hamlin, NY, tallied an impressive five final rounds victories over two days. On Saturday, Nelson claimed three wins in 380cc and 600cc classes, then added two more on Sunday in Stock 600 classes. Connor Roscoe was impressive over the weekend, as well. The young racer from Cheshire, CT, earned a third in Saturday’s Jr. 14-15 Stock 600 final, then capped a successful outing with a solid second place run in Sunday’s battle. Roscoe started out on 120cc sleds in 2002 and is working his way up the racing ladder with determination.
Other final round winners over the weekend at Peek’n Peak include Josh Gessinger (Plus 25 Stock); Will Fletcher (Sport 500); Montana Jess (Jr. 10-13 Stock 380 & 600); David Camara III (Jr. 8-10 300 Freestyle Saturday) Bradley Tatro (Jr. 8-10 300 Freestyle Sunday); Chris Froio (Trail 600 Saturday); and Brandon Bell (Trail 600 Sunday).
Rock Maple Racing would like to thank the entire staff at the Peek’n Peak Resort & Spa for hosting the 2010 season finale. Running a race at such a first class facility is indeed a pleasure.
RMR would also like to thank each and every race team that filed an entry for any race during the last eight seasons. Without all of you grassroots racers, this sport would be doomed. There is also a long list of current and former sponsors who made it all possible, and we truly thank all of them for their support.
A special thanks must also go out to the manufacturers who provide sleds and technical assistance to several teams. Their support is vital to the sport’s future.
For complete results in all classes from Findley Lake, go to www.rockmaple.com. With last Saturday’s announcement that Connecticut businessman Robert Roscoe has taken over the helm at RMR, a new era is set to begin on the northeastern snocross scene.
The 2010-2011 race schedule will be posted online when it is completed by mid-to-late  summer. Until then, we wish you all a safe and enjoyable off-season.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Season Finale this weekend for Rock Maple Racing

As the last remnants of what turned out to be a mild and much shorter than normal winter quickly disappear, regional snocross teams are focused on the best possible conclusion to their season.

For some, a solid weekend will mean a class title, while the rest hope to pick up a win or podium finish. Athletes of all ages and ability levels will squeeze the throttle one last time, as Rock Maple Racing (RMR) puts a wrap on the 2009-10 season March 27-28 at the beautiful Peek‘n Peak Resort & Spa in Findley Lake, New York.

Spectator gates will open at 8 a.m., with racing getting under way promptly at 9 a.m. Admission is $12 per day for adults. Children age 10 and under will be admitted free with a paying adult. Pit passes valid through the entire weekend are available for an extra $10.

Leading the charge into Findley Lake are Pro riders Mathieu Morin and Bobby LePage. The two veteran racers with national experience have been dominating the circuit all winter, and will fight to the last lap for points titles in Pro Stock and Pro Open. Other hot riders to watch include multi-time champion Jason Boron, defending points champion Danny Poirier and rookie sensation Brennan Berardo as they look to steal the spotlight at Peek‘n Peak.

Riders to watch in the ultra-competitive Semi-Pro division include points contenders Corin Todd, Lincoln Lemieux and Michael George. These three have thrilled fans all season with their ski-to-ski battles and high-flying performances. Others to watch include Cody Flach, Ash Woskob, Tim Randall, Nate Leclaire, Danny Graves and Andrew Bailey.

Along with the exciting competition from Pro and Semi-Pro riders, fans at Peek ’N Peak will also enjoy plenty of great racing from RMR’s Sport, Women and Junior divisions. Children ages 6 to10 will also race their 120cc sleds on a smaller track, making for a fun-filled weekend of family entertainment.

Last year at Peek‘n Peak, Lucas Brunelle swept the Pro finals. The Quebec-based rider had been racing in Semi-Pro all season on Rock Maple’s Central circuit, but bumped up a division for what was actually the West series points finale for 2008-09.

Warren Achman prevailed in a hotly-contested Pro Vet final, holding off Joe Sickler and Clyde Peek for the win. Michelle Lemieux continued her impressive season with another win in the Pro Women final. Lemieux, of Cabot, VT, out-gunned Amanda Kirchmeyer and Janell Smith for top honors. Conveniently located just a short drive from several major interstate highways, the Peek’n Peak Resort & Spa is home to winter’s perfect playground. This multi-generational gathering place is ideal for families and groups looking to enjoy the snow on and off the slopes.

Along with a host of restaurants, a ski school, indoor pool and playground, the mountain offers 27 perfectly-groomed trails serviced by eight lifts. Peek’n Peak also features miles of cross-country terrain for skiing and snowshoeing. To learn more, visit them online at www.pknpk.com.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Boron sweeps Pro finals in Barton for Rock Maple Racing

BARTON, VT (Mar. 8, 2010) — For more than a dozen years, Jason Boron has been racing snowmobiles all over the northeast. He’s won in just about every state that has ever hosted a race, and continues to add more victories to his region-leading statistics each winter.

Boron (D&Z Racing/Ski-doo) brought his winning reputation to northern Vermont last weekend, sweeping the Pro finals as Rock Maple Racing (RMR) completed Round 8 on the 2009-10 schedule Sunday afternoon at the Orleans County Fairgrounds.

The nine-time champion (Pro and Semi-Pro classes) from Leverett, Massachusetts, got things revved up in Saturday’s Pro Stock final. New York native Jason Rudd grabbed the holeshot and led the first two laps. Boron found a better line through the rhythm section and sailed on by, then pulled steadily away to the checkered.

In Sunday’s Pro Open final, Boron launched off the line like a rocket and led every lap. Former RMR standout Adam Sedlmeier, now riding a Polaris for Team Southside, acted like he’s never missed a race and came home second, while Rudd capped a solid weekend in third. Yes, it was a throwback to the good old days with these well-known riders on top.

Action in the Pro Vet class brought back some memories, as well. Former RMR rider Todd Smith made a triumphant return to racing in Barton. Smith, of Derry, N.H., checked out on Joe Lemieux to claim Sunday’s final, while Maine veteran Jason Soucy filled out the podium. Steffanie Lemieux closed in on another title in Pro Women, as she held off weekly rivals Paige Calderwood and KC Anderson for top honors.

In Semi-Pro action at Barton, local favorite Lincoln Lemieux was on top of his game. The rising star from nearby St. Johnsbury grabbed the holeshot in Saturday’s Open final, with points rival Corin Todd right on his bumper. Todd had a rare off-sled experience in this one, allowing Michael George a chance to hunt down Lemieux. He came up short and settled for second, while New York rider Cody Flach worked his way up to third.

Flach had the race of his season in Sunday’s Semi-Pro Stock final. The number one qualifier slotted into second behind Ash Woskob, quickly moved into the lead and stayed there until a late-race bobble cost him the win. Woskob notched his first career RMR victory, while Todd and Lemieux claimed second and third respectively.

Chris Coleman is another one of those rising stars beginning to turn heads in the Sport division. The talented racer from Albany, NY, won Sunday’s Super Stock final ahead of some pretty stiff competition.

While weekly strongmen Jake Scott, Jesse James Bonaduce and Chris Ingles all missed the podium, Coleman was happy to rule the roost. Bruce Gaspardi Jr. (second) and Aaron Adams (third) comprised a different-than-usual top three. Scott won Saturday’s Super Stock final ahead of Bonaduce and Adams, then added the Sport Stock 600 final to his successful outing.

In Junior division action over the weekend, usual suspects Montana Jess and Ed Bandel recorded multiple victories. Jess, of Westminster, Mass., held off Hunter Patenaude and Wade Acker to claim Saturday’s 10-13 Stock 380 and 600 Fan finals, then repeated the feat Sunday to make it a four-win weekend. Bandel, of Mohawk, NY, surpassed those numbers with two wins Saturday and four more Sunday, while Abigail Catlin, Mason Pierce and Tucker Olsen also posted final round wins.

Other final round winners over the weekend in Barton include Joe Bishop (Sport 500); Rene Desrochers (Plus 35 Masters); Daryl Nutting (Plus 25 Stock); Mason Pierce (Jr. 8-10 300 Freestyle Sunday); and Sam Potter (Trail 600 Saturday and Sunday).

Rock Maple Racing would like to thank the Orleans County Fair Association for hosting two back-to-back weekends of racing. Also deserving a special thanks are the Desrochers, Lemieux and Patenaude families for their efforts to make conditions more favorable last weekend. In a mild winter like this, adequate snow for racing and dry ground is tough to find.

RMR will conclude the nine-race 2009-10 snocross campaign on March 27-28, at the beautiful Peek N’ Peak ski resort in Findley Lake, New York. For complete results in all classes from Barton or to learn more, go to www.rockmaple.com.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Morin, LePage split Pro finals in Barton for RMR snocross series

BARTON, VT (Mar. 1, 2010) — All season long, they’ve battled side-by-side and nose-to-tail for championship points, wins and bragging rights.

Veteran snowmobile racers Mathieu Morin and Bobby ‘The Rage’ LePage have thrilled fans in New York, New Hampshire and the province of Quebec. Last weekend, the dynamic duo took their high-flying war to Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom for another amazing display.

Morin and LePage split the Pro finals again over the two days, as Rock Maple Racing (RMR) completed Round 7 on the 2009-10 snocross schedule Sunday afternoon at the Orleans County Fairgrounds.

Morin (Ingles Performance/Ski-doo), of Val D’Or, QC, slotted into second at the start of Sunday’s Pro Open final behind LePage, then powered by before halfway and pulled away to a convincing win. LePage hung on for second while defending champion Danny Poirier was third.

LePage (Hulten Speed Sports/Polaris), of Hermantown, MN, out-gunned Morin to win Saturday’s Pro Stock final, while multi-time champion Jason Boron filled out the podium.

Local favorites Joe and Steffanie Lemieux were successful at their home track over the weekend. The talented father/daughter team from nearby St. Johnsbury earned final round wins in Pro Vet (Joe) and Pro Women (Steffanie) on Sunday, while another local rider claimed the Plus 35 Masters final. Newport native Rene Desrochers claimed that class in front of friends and family, while Maine-based Jason Soucy and New York rider Leroy Walker filled out the podium.

In Semi-Pro action at Barton, Corin Todd and Michael George each recorded final round wins. Todd, of Otego, NY, out-gunned George and Lincoln Lemieux to claim Saturday’s Open final. George bounced back with a stellar performance Sunday, grabbing the holeshot in Semi-Pro Stock and running off to victory ahead of Lemieux and Todd. George, of Pine Plains, NY, has been on fire the last few weeks, notching his second career Semi-Pro win Sunday.

Action in the Sport division also provided some excitement in Barton. Jesse James Bonaduce looked to have Sunday’s Super Stock 600 final well in hand, until a bobble in the rhythm section with just two laps remaining allowed Jake Scott to take command and steal the win. Bonaduce, of Somerville, NJ, found redemption in the Stock 600 final, however, leading the entire race forcing Scott to settle for second.

Whether it’s “Mongoose” Mike Billow or the famed ‘Jesse James’ giving chase, it seems as if ‘The Snake’ doesn’t always get away unscathed.

In Junior division action over the weekend, Montana Jess and Edward Bandel continued their 2010 hot streaks. Jess, ( the famous Flyin’ Onion), of Westminster, Mass., held off arch-rival Hunter Patenaude in Saturday’s 10-13 380cc Fan and Stock 600 Fan finals, then won Sunday’s 600 Fan tussle over Nate Newland and Wade Acker. Bandel, of Mohawk, NY, won one final Saturday (14-15 Stock 600) and three more on Sunday (14-15 Stock 600, 16-17 Stock 600, 14-17 Stock 600 Fan) to cap a fabulous outing in northern Vermont.

Other final round winners over the weekend in Barton include Joe Bishop (Sport 500); Daryl Nutting (Plus 25 Stock); Leo Patenaude (Jr. 16-17 Stock 600 Sat.); Katelyn Olsen (Jr. Girls 10-13 Stock 600 Fan); Kassie Thibodeau (Jr. 8-10 300 Freestyle Sat.); Tucker Olsen (Jr. 8-10 300 Freestyle Sun.); Sam Potter (Trail 600 Sat.); and Jared White (Trail 600 Sunday).

Rock Maple Racing would like to thank the Orleans County Fair Association for hosting last weekend’s event. Local support from good folks like Desrochers Construction of Newport who helped moved snow for the track is greatly appreciated. Without those efforts, the races would not have been a reality.

For full results in all classes from Barton or to learn more, go to www.rockmaple.com.

With a little cooperation from the weather, teams will return to Barton again this coming weekend, March 6-7, for the next to last points race of the season.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Inaugural ISOC New England Nationals this weekend at 'The Rock'

DERRY, N.H. — For the last several years, snowmobile racing fans have had to travel north to Canada or out to the Great Lakes states to see factory-backed teams compete at the sport’s highest level.

Thanks to the growing popularity of snocross, an open-minded venue manager and the hard work of many individuals, all that is about to change.

Just two weeks after the sport took center stage at the prestigious ESPN Winter X Games in Aspen, the top snocross riders from across the globe will converge on New England, as Rock Maple Racing (RMR) plays host to the inaugural HK Powersports New England Nationals Feb. 12-14 at historic Rockingham Park in Salem, New Hampshire.

This event is sanctioned by the International Series of Champions (ISOC), and is the sixth of nine stops on the 2009-10 Amsoil Championship Snocross Series (ACSS).

Spectator gates open at 2:30 p.m. Friday, with National Pro and Semi-Pro qualifying races scheduled for the afternoon. At 7 p.m. ISOC will present their Main Event featuring finals for the world’s top snocross racers, along with a jaw-dropping show of back-flips and wild tricks by the freestyle riders of Slednecks.

Gates swing open at 8 a.m. on Saturday, with racing getting under way promptly at 9 a.m. After a full day of qualifying races, the Main Event will begin around 7 p.m. with National finals and another high-flying freestyle display. On Sunday the gates open at 8 a.m., while the top regional riders from RMR will take the green flag at 9 a.m.

Admission is $25 for adults on Friday; $25 on Saturday and $10 on Sunday. Weekend passes are available for $40, while children ages 7-12 are just $10 per day or $15 for a weekend pass. Children age 6 and under will be admitted free with a paying adult.

This will be a points race for National Pro and Semi-Pro teams, while RMR will also run separate points races for its own divisions on Saturday and Sunday. This unique combination event gives fans a chance to see the best regional and national riders hone their skills.

On the national tour, leading the charge into Rockingham are Pro riders Ross Martin, Cory Davis, Robbie Malinoski, Tim Tremblay and Brett Bender. Martin and Malinoski have won Pro titles before, while the other three are rising stars with tremendous talent. With the absence of Tucker Hibbert (his final snocross race of the season was Feb. 5-6), everybody will be striving to take his place atop the Pro podium.

In national Semi-Pro action, riders to watch include Logan Christian, Justin Broberg, Dylan Martin, Cody Thomsen and Matt Pichner. All five are silky-smooth and rocket-fast, looking to make their mark on the sport as they ascend the snowmobile racing ladder.

On the RMR circuit, riders to watch include Bobby LePage, Mathieu Morin, Danny Poirier, Jason Boron and Brennan Berardo. LePage and Morin have national experience and have been dominating the series in 2010. Poirier is the defending champion, Boron is the tour’s Iron Man with numerous titles, while Berardo is a rookie Pro with veteran-like talent and skills.

For more information on ISOC or the ACSS, go to www.isocracing.com. To learn more about the New Hampshire-based RMR regional circuit, please go to www.rockmaple.com.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

LePage, Morin split Pro finals in Belmont for Rock Maple Racing snocross series

BELMONT, N.H. (Jan. 25, 2010) — Ever since it was announced that Mathieu Morin and Bobby “The Rage” LePage were coming to New England to compete this winter, everyone who follows the sport of snocross figured they would steal the headlines on a regular basis.

Seeing these two well-trained athletes on top of the podium has become a familiar site, as they continue to dominate here in the East. Morin and LePage put on another exciting show Sunday afternoon in southern New Hampshire, splitting the Pro finals as Rock Maple Racing (RMR) completed Round 4 of its 2009-2010 schedule at The Lodge at Belmont.

LePage (Hulten Speed Sports/Polaris), of Duluth, MN, grabbed the holeshot in Sunday’s Pro Stock final and led the first five laps. Morin (Ingles Performance/Ski-doo) powered his way into the lead on lap six and appeared to be headed for his fifth victory of the season. Yet as the two leaders entered turn 4 with just three of 24 laps remaining, Morin got caught behind Chris Chico on the outside, LePage blasted by on the inside and sprinted to the finish. Morin settled for second while multi-time champion Jason Boron claimed third.

In the Pro Open final, it was all Morin from start to finish. After the disappointment of losing in Pro Stock, he was determined to seal the deal on the mighty Mod sled. LePage slotted into second at the start, but came off his sled in turn 4 on lap six and had to fight his way back to fourth. Defending champion Danny Poirier was smooth all afternoon, piloting his Polaris to second while Boron once again filled out the podium in third.

Pro division rookie Brennan Berardo (DooTalk.com/Ski-doo) raced like a veteran on Sunday. The 17-year-old from Essex, VT, ran near the front for 18 laps in Pro Stock and came home with a solid top-five run. He got off to a strong start in Pro Open, as well and managed to secure another top five after completing 23 of 24 grueling laps on the tight and challenging track.

Joseph Lemieux (Pro Vet) and Paige Calderwood (Pro Women) earned final round wins in their respective divisions Sunday. Lemieux, of St. Johnsbury, VT, held off Maine-based Jason Soucy and fellow Vermonter Rene Desrochers for top honors, while Calderwood, of Phoenix, NY, outgunned Melanie Acker and KC Anderson to notch her victory.

Corin Todd and Lucas Brunelle also thrilled the fans in Belmont with their victories in the Semi-Pro division. Todd (D&Z Racing/Ski-doo), of Otego, NY, powered by early leader Ash Woskob on lap eight and went on to record his fourth win of the season in the Open final. Lincoln Lemieux finished three seconds back in second, while Michael George came home third.

Brunelle (Ingles Performance/Ski-doo), of Boucherville, QC, capped a full day of racing as he held off Todd in Semi-Pro Stock. George made it an all-Ski-doo podium as he claimed third. All but nine of the 14 starters completed all 12 laps, while Brunelle’s margin of victory was just a tick over two seconds.

Jake Scott was the man to beat in Sport division action over the weekend. The young athlete from Port Jefferson, NY, claimed Saturday’s Sport Super Stock final over Chris Ingles and Mike Billow, then repeated the performance Sunday as Billow and Jesse James Bonaduce filled out the podium. Joe Bishop piloted his Ski-doo to victory in the Sport Stock 600 final, while Scott settled for second and Billow snagged another third.

In Junior division action over the weekend, Montana Jess registered a hat trick while Edward Bandel, Hunter Patenaude, Leo Patenaude, Wade McPherson, Jayme Lynch and Mason Pierce also earned final round wins. Jess, known in snocross circles as “The Flyin’ Onion,” piloted his Ski-doo to victories on both Saturday and Sunday.

Other final round winners over the weekend in Belmont include Rene Desrochers (Plus 35 Masters); Glynn Desilva (Plus 25 Stock); Steffanie Lemieux (Women Stock 600 Saturday and Sun.); and Jared White (Trail Stock 600 Sunday).

Rock Maple Racing would like to thank event promoter Craig Harmon, Lodge at Belmont general manager Rick Newman, the Belmont Bogie Busters, Bobcat of New Hampshire and everybody who worked so hard to make last weekend’s event such a success. With perfect weather conditions on Saturday and sunshine for most of Sunday, fans turned out in big numbers to enjoy the high-flying excitement of snocross.

Teams and officials from RMR will now enjoy a weekend off before a trip to Farmington, NY, on Feb. 5-6, for the ISOC Eastern Nationals. For full results in all classes from Belmont or to learn more about RMR, visit them online at www.rockmaple.com.