Two rising stars in northeastern snowmobile racing showcased their skills over the weekend, as East Coast Snocross (ECS) joined forces with Quebec-based Super Competition Motorsport (SCM) at the famed Airborne Speedway.
New York native Corin Todd powered to victory in Saturday’s Pro Open final, then capped a big day by winning the first qualifying heat in the 2013 Triple Crown Series. Third-generation Vermont racer Lincoln Lemieux dominated Sunday’s Pro Open final to prevent a second straight sweep for Polaris.
Todd (Bailey-Hulten/Utica National Ins. Polaris) carried double-barrel momentum into Plattsburgh, hot off a podium finish the previous weekend at Canterbury Park in Shakopee, MN. Todd also won a final during the ECS season opener at Burke Mountain. The veteran athlete from Otego is having a breakthrough season in 2013.
"My sled has been getting off the line strong all day, which is very important in this class," said Todd. "The track stayed consistent during the final, and Danny (Poirier) kept me honest the whole way. I’ve got a great team that works hard behind me right now, and I’m putting everything I can into it. This feels awesome to win again for Polaris and Steve Bailey."
Poirier gave chase throughout but settled for second, while Quebec veteran Dave Allard finished third. Lemieux and SCM regular Maxime Taillefer completed the top five.
Lemieux (Lemieux Racing/Ski-doo), of St. Johnsbury, held off a hard-charging Todd in a grueling 16-lap final on a big track filled with challenges around every corner. Yet much like his multi-time Pro Vet champion father Joseph, Lincoln was humble atop the podium and thankful for the opportunity.
"After Corin got the jump, he hit quite a hole through the whoops and I was able to slip on by," Lemieux said. "Once you’re out front, it gets a little easier. When you’re behind and start getting roosted, you’ve got to take time to clean your goggles which is distracting. My new Ski-doo handled like a dream all day, even on a rough challenging track like this one. It feels great to win here."
Todd settled for second, while Idaho native and North Dakota resident Derek Ellis (Jess Racing/Arctic Cat) amazingly salvaged a solid third aboard a machine with mechanical issues.
In Pro Lite action at Airborne, Montana Jess had a career-best performance on Saturday. The young athlete from Westminster, Mass., powered his Arctic Cat to victory like a veteran, holding off some top talent in the process. Michigan standout Kevin Wallenstein (Ingles Performance/Ski-doo) settled for second, while Eddie Bandel filled out the podium.
Jess has paid his dues in snocross, coming steadily up through the ranks to a day like this past Saturday. While you might expect some big celebration, the focused young rider simply praised those who make his first win possible.
"I was able to get the holeshot, and felt pretty good the whole race," Jess said. "It got a little sketchy in the whoops a couple of times, but the sled stayed under me the whole race. This new Arctic Cat is a great sled; my team worked hard to prepare and it showed here this afternoon."
Sunday’s Pro Lite final brought redemption for Wallenstein as he notched his first eastern regional win. It came at the expense of Andrew Bailey, however, who led the first 11 laps before a slight bobble on the final circuit.
"I was running third for most of the race," Wallenstein said. "I was just waiting for somebody to make a mistake, and when Eddie overshot the final corner coming to the white flag I moved into second. On the final lap, Andrew got a little sideways in the whoops so I dove underneath him and snagged a win. These guys race hard out here; I’m happy for Ingles and Ski-doo to win here in New York."
Competition in the Sport division was intense at Airborne, as well. Vermont standout Hunter Patenaude (Patenaude Racing/Ski-doo) outgunned Connor "The Rocket" Roscoe to claim Saturday’s Super Stock final, with Tyler Brancifort third. Roscoe (daSilva Racing/Ski-doo) bounced back to prevail on Sunday and added a win in Sport 600 to a successful outing in New York.
Other final round winners over the weekend in Plattsburgh include Joe Lemieux (Plus 35 Pro Am, Plus 25/35 Sunday); Melanie Acker (Pro Women Saturday); Steffanie Bell (Pro Women Sunday); Cody Paolella (Jr. 16-17 Saturday); and Zac Roberts (Jr. 16-17 Sunday).
East Coast Snocross would like to thank Mike Perrotte and his staff at Airborne for hosting the second stop on our schedule. It was clear from the moment we arrived that this was an ideal facility for snocross racing. ECS officials would also like to extend a sincere thanks to SCM teams for supporting this event in big numbers. It made for a great show for fans from both sides of the border.
Round 3 on the eight-race ECS tour is set for Jan. 26-27 in beautiful Lake George, New York.