Snowmobile Drag Racing and Sno Cross Coming to the County Soon

Episode 193

January 1, 2017

Caribou Snowmobile Club Third Annual Drag Races January 22, 2017

Caribou Snowmobile Club Drag Races 2016. HTF Motorsports Photo

Caribou Snowmobile Club Drag Races 2016. HTF Motorsports Photo

Joe Pelletier from Fort Kent in the near lane pairs up against Mallory Thompson, Caribou in the far lane. HTF Motorsports photo

Joe Pelletier from Fort Kent in the near lane pairs up against Mallory Thompson, Caribou in the far lane in January 2016. HTF Motorsports photo

Caribou Snowmobile Club Drag Race Co-Chairman Dennis Orthouse announced that the snowmobile drag racing season in the County is kicking off January 22 at the  Lodge site on the Van Buren Road in Caribou with registration and tech beginning at  7:00 am until 10:30 am sharp. Races will begin shortly after that time.

According to Orthouse, “There will be a Junior Class for 13-17 year olds who may race 500cc stock or improved and a 600cc stock class. The Junior Class will be racing in memory of Caribou Middle School’s  Zach Gagnon, who passed away October 22, 2016 from Ewings Sarcoma. In concordance with the wishes of Zach’s mother Peggy, the proceeds from entrants and a 50/50 drawing will go to the Make-A-Wish Foundation.”

“The International Snowmobilers Festival Weekend is January 20-22nd. Anyone who buys a pass for that event may use their pass to get into the drag race which is the final event of the weekend.”

A summary of information from the Caribou Snowmobile Racing Facebook page is listed with classes and entry information below:

660 Ft Snow Drags
2 Lanes Porta Tree Drag Lights.
$ 20 per class to register
$5 for Tech Fee per Sled one time only
$10 Admin Fee per Driver one time only
100% pay back. Top 2. 70%1st 30% 2nd
Tethers are Mandatory on all sleds.
Registration starts at 7 am to 10:30. Closes at 10:30 sharp. So make plans to have all your sleds registered and inspected. No exceptions.. Racing at 11am.
Classes
Stock 500 600 700 800 1000
Imp 500 600 700 800 1000 Stock Turbo
Promod/Stk. 600 700 800 1000

ZACH’S Class
Stk 500, stk 600, as one class
All proceeds for ZACH’S class will be going towards Make A Wish foundation.

MINI SLEDS
VINTAGE Single and Multi Cyl.

“Tame the Track” Sno X Snowmobile Races Part of Moosestomper’s in Houlton

Sno X start at Lincoln, Maine. Some of what one can expect at Tame the Track 2017 in Houlton. Last Chance Motorsports photo

Sno X start at Lincoln Snowhounds Snocross in central Maine. Some of what one can expect at “Tame the Track” 2017 in Houlton. Last Chance Motorsports photo

According to Racing Director Jere Humphrey,”Tame the Track SnoX Snowmobile Race is a snowmobile snocross race that will offer 15 various divisions, with a total guaranteed payout purse of $4400.00. The race will be held on February 5th, starting at 11am.”

“Snocross is a racecourse designed of moguls, corners, jumps, etc. (It is) cousin to motocross, just on sleds”

“On Saturday the 4th, Last Chance Motorsports has negotiated a Demo show with Moto Trax, to offer the opportunity for racers, sponsors and fans to “try out” the (5) 2017 KTM 450 Snowbikes. This will be the first time ever that Snowbikes have been introduced to the County. Moto Trax will also be available on race day for viewing, brochures and more.”

Snowbikes in action. Five 2017 KTM Snowbikes will be on hand for demonstrations Saturday February 4th at the race venue in Houlton. Photo courtesy Last Chance Motorsports

Snowbikes in action. Five 2017 KTM Snowbikes will be on hand for demonstrations Saturday February 4th at the race venue in Houlton. Photo courtesy Last Chance Motorsports

Fort Kent's Joe pelletier pictured on his SkiDoo at the Lincoln Snowhounds Snowcross a few years back. The local favorite plans to be at the Houlton SnowX. Photo by Allie Pelletier

Fort Kent’s Joe Pelletier pictured on his SkiDoo at the Lincoln Snowhounds Snocross a few years back. The local favorite plans to be at the Houlton SnoX. Photo by Allie Pelletier

For more information go to  “Tame the Track SnoX Snowmobile Races” Facebook page for updates, sponsors, classes, rules and much more.” According to Humphrey this will be the largest winter event promoted in Aroostook County in 2017.

Back To Daytona For the 24 Hour Endurance Race in January

Wayne Taylor Racing's Cadillac Dpi which will be at the 24 Hours of Daytona January 28 & 29. Marshall Pruett photo

Wayne Taylor Racing’s Cadillac Dpi-V.R  which will debut at the 24 Hours of Daytona January 28 & 29. Marshall Pruett photo

Once again I will make the trip to cover the Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona January 28 & 29. You may recall that I was privileged to cover last year’s race with my helper Phil Miller. I am not sure yet if Phil will be making the trip this year, will know soon.

This year’s race is going to feature the debut of the new Daytona Prototypes International (Dpi). New cars have been built and will make their debut at the 24 Hour race at Daytona.

The #10 Cadillac Dpi pictured above will be driven by “Mad Max” Angelelli, brothers Ricky and Jordan Taylor, and Jeff Gordon. The addition of Gordon has put much of the pre-race spotlight on this team, however, the Cadillac will also be raced by Action Express’s two car team.

The Multimatic, Riley Mazda will feature two new cars and Extreme Speed Motorsports team will debut their Nissan Onroak Dpi. Should be exciting class to watch.

The GTLM class will feature four Chip Ganassi Ford GT’s this year. I think they really want to win the coveted Rolex race. They will be contested by three Ferrari 488GTE and last year’s winning two car team from Chevrolet Corvette Racing. This class promises close racing as well.

We will have a sneak preview of the 24 Hour Race with most of the teams getting in serious practice during the “Roar Before the 24” next weekend at the speedway.

Of course a trip to Daytona would not be complete with out an update from the County’s own Jason Griffeth, Director of Grounds at the Speedway. Jason’s most prominent work will be the large Daytona emblazoned on the tri-oval grass at the start/finish area. I am looking forward to hearing and seeing how he is doing after a year on-the-job.

Then it is off to Indianapolis to do some work with the National FFA Organization and also visit some racing folks in the area. More about who will be featured from the Indy portion of the adventure in a future UpNorth Motorsports episode

Crazy “Ice Racing” Adventure in Vermont.

Upon arriving in Vermont last Monday to visit with my daughter Jessica Courtemanche and her family, all of us were presented with a wild adventure by Jess’s husband Christian. “Let’s go sliding down the 3/4 mile ice-covered access road at Mount Philo State Park in Charlotte, Vermont.”

First some important details:

1) It was late at night thus very dark.

2) It was windy with freezing rain

3) The plastic sleds had zero steering capability on ice

So…why not!

All six of us, plus sleds, piled into the Toyota Sienna van I featured in a previous episode from last year and made our way to the state park about 30 minutes north of their home.

Mount Philo is 968 feet tall and features a loop access road built by the Civilian Conservation Corp in the 1930’s. To access the summit we had to trudge up a trail, which in the summer is an easy hike in the daylight.

The mountain adventure crew with their "racing sleds" on the trek up to the summit of Mount Philo. l to r Christian Courtemanche, Marc Cole, Jessica Courtemanche, Mike Hale, and Me. Photo by Erika Cole

The mountain adventure crew with their “racing sleds” on the trek up to the summit of Mount Philo. l to r Christian Courtemanche, Marc Cole, Jessica Courtemanche, Mike Hale, and Me. Photo by Erika Cole

At night with only a limited number of  headlamps the 1.6 mile trail was treacherous. It was ice-covered and slick most of the way up.

Once arriving at the summit, we looked at the view of a very dark Lake Champlain to our northeast. A now howling wind rapidly cooled our sweating bodies thus making the incentive to slide down the access road paramount.

When Christian described the decent down the access road he was basing that description on a snow-covered road with some turning capabilities. The ice-covered road possessed none of those characteristics.

With his wife Jess in the back of their two person plastic sled the Courtemanche’s were off first. We could see their headlamp disappearing down the steep road. It appeared it was going to be okay, so the rest of the crew followed them with our sleds.

The road was so icy not one of us could control the sled as they were intended. No amount of dragging ones feet or dragging a hand on the side to turn would work.

I piled into Jessica and Christian on the inside of the turn where they had stopped. The road was, lucky for us, sloped inward to a ditch. The other side featured a drop off that no one wanted to try.

We descended the hill with a series of short jaunts which typically landed us in the ditch. I brought up the rear and decided the layback and let ‘er rip method might  work thus allowing me to catch up with the others.

Wrong move! As I lay back in the sled it took off at what felt like breakneck speed. Every ice-covered bump on that road pounded my rear end without mercy. I was speeding toward my son-in-law spinning like a top. All he and the others saw was a circle of light coming at them at speed.

Fortunately Marc got out-of-the-way as I ripped by him on my way into the ditch. The snow in the ditch slowed me somewhat with the final stop provided by a log which I hit head first as I jolted to a stop. That was enough for me, I walked the short distance to the bottom where we had parked the van.

By then we were all soaked from sliding on ice and water covered access road. We jumped into the van seeking shelter and heat and headed home. We got to the opposite end of Texas Hill Road where a steep climb was before us.

We made it up the first of two small hills and could go no further. In the headlights the road glinted of pure ice on the next hill. No way were we going to make that hill even with studded snow tires.

The detour added another 20 minutes to the return trip. The glare ice-covered roads only added more excitement to the story we told my wife when we finally got home.

That same Mount Philo may sound familiar to some of the readers who read about  Sam and Luke Moultroup from Richmond, Vermont who raced their cars up the access road with the Vermont Hillclimb Association as described in an earlier episode. I think I would much rather race up the hill than attempt to slide down the ice-covered road in the dead of night.

A younger Dan Gurney at play in his All American Racers shop in California. It is nice to know he has a sense of humor. Photo courtesy Dan Gurney and the All American Racer Fan Group

A younger Dan Gurney at play in his All American Racers shop in California. It is nice to know he has a sense of humor. Photo courtesy Dan Gurney and the All American Racer Fan Group

I could not end this episode without including this photo of one of my racing hero’s Dan Gurney from the Facebook page entitled Dan Gurney and the All American Racers Fan Group.

Let’s Go Prepare to Go Racing,

Tom Hale

Soli Deo Gloria

 

Tom Hale

About Tom Hale

Tom wrote 14 years as freelancer for the Bangor Daily Sports covering motorsports in Maine. Now blogging and concentrating on human interest stories about people and places in racing.