Snowmobile grass drags provide lots of action

Episode 282

September 22, 2019

My first snowmobile grass drags

Ya I know, you live in snowmobile country and you have never been to an actual grass drag race?! That was correct until Saturday when I was able to attend the Big Woods Grass Drags in Ashland, Maine for three hours.

Host Lendell Buckingham and crew made me feel welcome and provided as much information as they could in the midst of racing finals. Warm 60 plus degree weather made those times I have covered snow drag races look and feel very cold. I prefered the warmth of this day.

I was impressed with the pre-race set up where the on deck sleds were in what I called the “bullpen”, a gated area about 50 feet from the start line that reminded of a gate at a rodeo where the rider on the bull await their contest which pits one against the one other.  Once the wooden gates were open, the two sleds would proceed to the hot deck for warm up then to the start line in preparation for the race.

Team OCD,Caribou, has just come out of the “bullpen” in the background behind the wooden doors. They warm up their Arctic Cat in preparation for the run. Team owner/organizer John Holmquist in foreground in orange shirt with his head mechanic Kurt Dumond on the right. Not the best photo of the bullpen, yet you get the idea. (HTF Motorsports photo)

Another great idea was the race status board which allowed racers to determine when they would be racing and allows them to get in line thus speeding up the racing to help reduce lag time.

Race status board in the pits at the Big Woods II race. Green pins signify starting line, red pin indicate hot deck (which is where Team OCD is in the top photo), and yellow pin indicates on deck which means they must be in the “bullpen” Although it is requires constant monitoring, the bord did give an idea of what is happening in regards to race order. (HTF Motorsports photo)

Track crew add water to the clay starting area at Big Woods Grass Drag venue in Ashland before the finals began. After the water was applied, a large vibratory roller flatted and compressed the entire clay segment of the start line. (HTF Motorsports photo)

Sinclair Ryan back at after Hay Days mishap

Sinclair Ryan was at the Big Woods 2019 Grass Drags after crashing his Arctic Cat Pro Stock at Hay Days September 8,2019 in North Branch, Minnesota. The crash twisted his chassis and bruised the veteran racer.

View the video clip of Ryan at Hay Days here:

https://www.facebook.com/sinclair.ryan/videos/10157523904349469/

The chassis was stripped of its components and placed on a different chassis a little over a week before making the seven hour drive from Havre Boucher, Nova Scotia. At Ashland he competed in the Pro Stock 800 and 1000. As of publishing time the results were unknown to me.

While track preparations for the finals was taking place, Sinclair Ryan from Nova Scotia pictured on the right with a helmet on and rake in hand was working the starting line to help keep his Pro Stock Arctic Cat planted on the track. (HTF Motorsports photo)

When asked how he would do, the Nova Scotia native replied, “As long as the sled stays down it should be alright. This track is pretty good,pretty good. We just came back from Hay Days in early September. You cannot get any bigger than that!”

Caribou High School Freshman wins three of three

Jesse Taggett, Woodland, Maine, a freshman at Caribou High School went three for three in racing Saturday at the Big Woods Grass Drags. Taggett the son of Tara and Rick Taggett, won the Stock 500, Improved Stock 500, and Junior Class races.

Winner of the Stock 500 class Jesse Taggett, Woodland in center. On left Trey Weymouth, Charleston and on right third place Waylon Thompson, Greenbush.(HTF Motorsports photo)

When asked about the win in the 500 race, Taggett replied,”It was fun! I just didn’t think about it while getting ready. I looked at the tach to get the engagement up so it was ready to go when it hit.”

Jesse Taggett in near lane launches his F5 Arctic Cat down the 660 foot track at Big Woods Grass Drags 2019 in Ashland, Maine. Race starter Tyler Pinto, Ashland is in center with Starting Line assistant Troy Condon, Ashland in green shirt watches the lights. Pinto does his best to not do anything different each and every time he prepares to start the race thus giving no sign that a racer might use to get a jump at the line. (HTF Motorsports photo)

“You just wait for the light, hit it when it goes. I saw that first yellow light (on the Christmas tree start signal in between the two lanes) I left. Then just try to go straight”.

Team OCD does well at Grass Drags 2019

I believe this is the start of the Stock 800 final with Ethan Rossignol, Woodland in near lane and Wayne Beauregard, Edmunston, New Brunswick in far lane. Beauregard beat Rossignol at the line yet Rossignol got to the finish line .003 second before Beauregard. That was one of the events closest contests. (HTF Motorsports photo)

Team OCD winners of the Stock 1000 Shootout and the $1000 check that went with it. L to r Head Mechanic Kurt Dumond, driver Ethan Rossignol, and Team OCD organiser John Holmquist. (Robin Holmquist photo)

Driver Ethan Rossignol remarked on Facebook, “Yesterday was such a great event, minus the fear of almost losing the ripcord down inside the recoil AGAIN! With best reaction time of the day on a .008 and 4 big 1st place wins my 700 stocker pulled through in the 700, 800, 850, and 1000 stock classes. With John Holmquist’s 600 we were able to come home with a 2nd in the 600 stock class along with Jesse Taggett bringing home the win in the stock 500.”

“With a little more homework, I think it’s safe to say we’ll be headed for Epping (Race Into Winter Grass Drags and Watercross, Epping, New Hampshire October 11-13, 2019) in October! Great job well done by all who pull together to make this event happen!”

Complete race results will be posted on the Big Woods Grass Drags Facebook page soon. The event was hosted by Portage and Ashland Snowmobile clubs. There were numerous venders on site with food and product. Day two featured Race Your Neighbor and swap meet. I was unable to attend Sunday. Race officials estimated Saturday attendance near 600.

Northern Maine Karting Association (NMKA) Season Finale

The NMKA hosted a triple header race event at Spud Speedway Saturday Presented by Machias Savings Bank and JRT Customs. The event had been postponed due to rain twice. As a result the field of racers was limited, however, the twelve races featured some close finishes and a one point championship title win.

NMKA Kids Karts class sponsored by Blacked Out Window Tint co-champions left Kayden Haines, Caribou and on right Kyle Russell, Easton. Flagman/Race Director Marcel Bosse , Caribou made the trophy presentation. (NMKA photo)

Podium finishers in the NMKA Triple Header Senior Cage Karts Season Finale sponsored by Aroostook Savings and Loan, left to right Kyle Wells, Caribou , Jason Theriault, Caribou, and Tom Hale, Westmanland. (NMKA photo)

The Senior Cage Kart Championship was won by Kyle Wells by a single point. Wells came into the event leading by eight points. He finished third in the three features and third in two of the three heat races. A second place finish in heat two combined with a third place finish by Tom Hale gave him the edge needed to win the championship by narrowest of margins.

Kyle Wells, Caribou, on left accepting the Senior Cage Kart Championship Sponsored by Aroostook Savings and Loan. Handing out the trophy is NMKA Flagman/Race Director Marcel Bosse. Wells also was Rookie of the Year. (NMKA photo)

The Championship was the closest in the six-year history of the NMKA at Spud Speedway. Wells also was the Rookie of the Year.

The NMKA will hold their annual meeting this winter for members and interested racers. Look for that announcement to come. Racing this season was sponsored by Coastal Auto NAPA and Spud Speedway.

Let’s Go Racing!

Tom Hale

Soli Deo Gloria (Matthew 5:16)

 

 

 

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. He races Champ Karts and owns HTF Motorsports in remote Westmanland, Maine