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Morin returns, Ellis comes east as riders prepare for battle in East Coast Snocross series

Former series champion and national standout Mathieu Morin returns to northeastern regional action for 2012-13, leading a talent-soaked field to the green flag as East Coast Snocross (ECS) draws ever closer to the Dec. 8-9 season opener at Burke Mountain.

One major change to impact the top division while providing fans with "more action per day" in 2012-13 is the elimination of the Pro Stock class. Following the ISOC model, ECS teams will now run two separate rounds of Pro Open each weekend. With nine races on the slate, Pro riders will earn points in 18 final rounds. For fans who love the high-revving, high-flying Mods, the excitement lasts all weekend.  And with teams all using identical Mod kits within their respective brands, the playing field has been leveled in a big way. This puts the power to succeed directly into the hands of riders and team chemistry, right where it should be.

Morin, of Val D’Or, Quebec, has joined Luc Brunelle’s Damexco Racing/Ski-doo squad for an all-out assault on the 2013 championship. Along with two-time and defending ECS champion Danny Poirier (Bailey/Hulten Polaris), one of Morin’s primary challengers will come from North Dakota native Derek Ellis. Now part of Jess Racing and riding for Arctic Cat, Ellis looks fast in practice and will be a threat to win on any given weekend. The gifted athlete from West Fargo will turn heads here in the northeast.

Morin claimed the 2010 ECS titles before returning to the ISOC national circuit.

"I am very excited to return to ECS and to be riding for Damexco Racing," said Morin in a prepared release. "I expect big things on the ECS tour, and also in the ISOC events we attend."

Don’t expect these three powerhouse riders to control the podium all season. A new group of rising stars are starting to make their mark, led by veterans Corin Todd, Chris Ackerman  and Lincoln Lemieux.

While we’ve said this in the recent past, this year’s Pro Lite field has more depth than the mighty Atlantic. Riders to watch this winter include veterans Andrew Bailey, Jesse James Bonaduce, Adam Sedlmeier, Jake daSilva, Tyler Brancifort and Chris Coleman. As a seasoned veteran, daSilva is determined to lead the Pro Lite class this season.  His laps in pre-season practice have been rock-solid.

With 2012 champion Brunelle advancing to Pro this season, the door is wide open for a new face at the top. Those looking to challenge the veterans include Ed Bandel, Montana Jess, Leo Patenaude and Brent Royea.

Competition in the Sport division will be intense this season, as well. With talented riders like Connor Roscoe, James Obine and Kyle Sackett leading the field, we should see some heated battles. Other riders to follow include Tyler Heath, Austin Kodey, the brother act of Chris and Anthony Messina, along with Jeff Roylance.

All three major snowmobile manufacturers actively involved in snocross racing have strong representation on the ECS circuit this winter. With accomplished veterans like Morin riding Ski-doo, the folks from BRP should be smiling as the season kicks off. The folks at Polaris are proud to back Poirier once again, given all he has done for them here in the northeast. Poirier has been testing daily at Planet X in Aurora, MN, and looks impressive as he prepares for a new season. Having rising star Corin Todd on their brand is a big bonus for Polaris, as well.

Officials at Arctic Cat should be excited about rising stars like Montana Jess on a green sled this winter. Their second generation ProCross Sno Pro 600 should carry the famed "Flyin’ Onion" to new heights in 2013. All three brands will be seen on the podium often, as ECS has enjoyed parity among brands since its inception.

It all kicks off in a few short weeks at the beautiful Burke Mountain Ski Resort. Expectations are high for all the teams as an exciting new season takes the green flag.

East Coast Snocross, presented by AMSOIL and Woody’s Traction, is the sanctioning body for snowmobile racing in the northeastern United States. ECS maintains a regional circuit intended to keep grass-roots snocross racing healthy in this part of the snowbelt, while also cultivating new talent for tomorrow’s factory-backed Pro teams.

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

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