Long awaited return to Maine on tap for East Coast Snocross series

It’s no secret that Maine has some of the finest snowmobile trails in the country, and is also home to thousands of race fans with numerous active paved ovals in the state.

Now, after a five-year absence, all of those sled-loving powersports and racing enthusiasts have reason to cheer. Championship snowmobile racing finally makes a long-awaited return to the Pine Tree state, as East Coast Snocross (ECS) invades Carrabassett Valley on Saturday and Sunday, March 10-11, at the Sugarloaf Regional Airport.

Spectator gates open at 10 a.m. each day, with preliminary qualifying rounds already in progress. First-round Pro and Pro Lite qualifying begins at 11 a.m., with the first of two daily Freestyle shows set for 11:30. The Maine-based Outer Limits Sledstyle tour will leave fans speechless all weekend.

Admission is $15 per day for adults, $10 for children ages 6-14, children age 5 and under will be admitted free with a paying adult. Pit passes valid through the entire weekend will be available for an extra $10.

Leading the charge into Carrabassett Valley are veteran riders Danny Poirier and Lucas Brunelle. Both athletes are coming off clean sweeps last weekend in Farmington, NY, and both of the Quebec natives lead their respective points standings.

Poirier, of St. Theodore, is a two-time regional points champion (2004, 2009) in the Pro division, while Brunelle, of Boucherville, is poised to secure his first points title in the Pro Lite classes. Pro riders compete on their stock sleds on Saturday and on modified, or Open, machines on Sunday. Pro Lite riders compete on stock 600cc sleds both days, with two separate finals that award points.

Other top Pro division athletes to watch in Maine include sophomore sensation Lincoln Lemieux of Vermont, who, outside of Poirier, has been the hottest commodity on the circuit this winter. Keep an eye on second-year Pro Corin Todd, who recently returned to Ski-doo after riding Arctic Cat machines the first half of this season and all of last winter. Todd is super-fast on any brand, yet seems ideally-suited on the hot Ski-doo MXZ from daSilva Motorsports.

While Poirier closes in on his third championship, three men are battling for bragging rights of their own. Jacob Muller, Chris Ackerman and Michael George are locked into a tight battle for 2012 Rookie of the Year honors, with a cash purse and some serious recognition on the line. This rookie battle adds drama to an already exciting division and showcases these fine young "rising stars."

Along with plenty of great racing from the Pro and Pro Lite classes, a weekend of ECS action also includes some excitement from the Sport, Junior and Women’s divisions. Add the classes for young children on 120cc machines as they learn the sport, and you’ve got one fun-filled wintertime weekend.

Carrabassett Valley is home to world-renowned ski resort Sugarloaf USA, and Carrabassett Valley Academy (CVA), which has produced several Olympic-level and professional ski racers. Sugarloaf offers the east’s only above tree-line skiing, with the famed Snowfields legendary among enthusiasts.

Serving as host to this exciting weekend of snocross and freestyle entertainment is the town of Carrabassett Valley and Sugarloaf USA. Officials from both the town and world-class resort cordially invite Maine’s snowmobile lovers and race fans to come up and experience this event and sample the warmth and hospitality that "The Valley" has to offer.

East Coast Snocross, presented by AMSOIL and Woody’s Traction, is the sanctioning body for snocross competition in the northeast. As the eastern affiliate to the International Series of Champions (ISOC), ECS strives to maintain a healthy, grassroots regional circuit while also cultivating new talent for tomorrow’s factory-backed Pro teams.

For more information, please go to www.eastcoastsnocross.com.

Cross Country of ste-Béatrix