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.