With ISOC’s National opener at Duluth now in the books, the time has come to fire the engines and wave that familiar green flag here in the northeast.
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 third season of competition on Saturday and Sunday, December 8-9, at the beautiful Burke Mountain Ski Resort in East Burke, Vermont.
Spectator gates will open at 10:30 a.m. each day, with early qualifying rounds already in progress. Admission is $12 per day for adults and $10 for students, while children age seven and under will be admitted free with a paying adult. Pit passes valid through the entire weekend will be available for an extra $10.
With 2010 ECS Pro champion Mathieu Morin returning to the circuit, several athletes have their sights set on minimizing his time on the podium. Leading the effort to derail Morin’s title hopes is North Dakota native Derek Ellis, now part of Jess Racing with Arctic Cat as the sled of choice. Ellis finished second in Pro Lite points last season on the ISOC national tour and won the final in Pontiac, Michigan. Two-time and defending champion Danny Poirier returns to defend his title, hot off a win at Duluth in the Pro Vet class. With no clear-cut favorite, these riders on all three major brands have trained for months and are on brand new sleds. Fans of Ski-doo, Arctic Cat and Polaris will have stars to support as an exciting new season gets under way.
Fans will notice a few changes to the race format this season, most of which will make things easier to follow and each day even more exciting. Each day will feature the top Pro and amateur riders from around the region competing for points and purse. With only nine weekends of racing, every event is critical for those athletes with title hopes.
New this year is the elimination of the Pro Stock class, meaning top Pro drivers will now compete on their modified Pro Open sleds both Saturday and Sunday. For race teams, this means one less sled per rider to purchase and maintain, helping to curtail expenses. For race fans, this means they get to see the top riders compete on the fastest sleds no matter which day they attend. In the past, fans watched the Pros compete on stock sleds Saturday, with the high-revving Mods sleds hitting the track on Sundays. Lower costs to teams and more action for fans can only improve the sport as we move forward.
In the talent-laden Pro Lite division (formerly known as Semi-Pro), fans should keep their eyes on athletes like Jesse James Bonaduce (who just won the Sport class final last weekend in Duluth) Andrew Bailey, Jake daSilva, Adam Sedlmeier, Leo Patenaude and Montana Jess 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 55 trails serviced by six lifts (two Quads) on 250 ski-able acres, Burke Mountain offers a variety of terrain for all ages and ability levels. 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 in 1970, 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, be sure to visit www.skiburke.com.
East Coast Snocross, presented by AMSOIL and Woody’s Traction, is the 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 snow belt, while also cultivating new talent for tomorrow’s factory-backed Pro teams.
For more information, go to www.eastcoastsnocross.com.