With snow covering racetracks around Maine, how are race drivers and fans supposed to get their speed fix during the winter?
On a snowmobile, of course.
Racing fans will be able to get twice the fun with a couple of upcoming charity snowmobile rides.
The 12th annual Busch Sport Scene Snowmobile Ride for Charity is slated for Saturday at Moose Alley in Rangeley while the seventh annual Andy Santerre Sno-Run at the Caribou Inn and Convention Center is on Feb. 12.
Both rides offer a lot of fun while helping worthy causes that feature a morning snowmobile ride followed by an auction.
Turner’s George Campbell, publisher of Busch Sport Scene newspaper and author of “Busch Sport Scene: A Ten Year Retrospective,” organized the annual Rangeley ride and is proud of what it has accomplished.
“We’re just shy of $120,000 (raised) in the history of this event,” said Campbell, who said this will be the final year he runs the snow ride. “By the end of this year, there’s little doubt in my mind we’ll go over $125,000. I’m really proud of that.”
The Busch Sport Scene ride benefits three charities: Maine Special Olympics, the Multiple Sclerosis Society and the Travis Roy Foundation.
Joe and Lorraine Chamberlain of Caribou have run the Andy Santerre Sno-Run since the beginning.
“It takes a whole year to rig this up,” said Joe Chamberlain. “(but) it’s very rewarding.”
The ride in Caribou benefits the Aroostook Mental Health Services’ Sexual Assault Services. The service’s aim is to help children who are victims of sexual assault.
Last year, the Santerre Sno-Run raised a record $47,000.
“If we can only match that, we’ll be very, very happy,” said Chamberlain.
Though both events feature a snow ride and auction, they’re still different.
“Most people that come to this event don’t even ride a snowmobile,” said Campbell.
Many current and former NASCAR K&N Pro Series East drivers (formerly the Busch North Series) plan on attending the event including Mike Olsen, Mike Johnson, Eddie MacDonald, Tracy Gordon, Bill Penfold and Santerre. Revolution Racing driver and Maine native Katie Haggar also plans to attend.
“You can almost call it a Busch North reunion,” laughed Campbell.
Chamberlain’s ride will also feature its share of drivers including Santerre, Shawn Martin, Kirk Thibeau, Michael Cherry and former Nationwide Series driver Mark McFarland.
Santerre is thrilled to take some time off away from the shop in North Carolina to head north and have some fun.
“I’m real excited,” said Santerre, a Cherryfield native. “I’m looking forward to getting on a snow-machine.”
The seemingly endless amounts of snow have made for good conditions.
“I’ve talked to some people up there last week and the trails are fantastic,” said Campbell.
Though Aroostook County has seen less snow than the rest of the state, Chamberlain said the trails are well groomed.
“We don’t have a lot of snow, but with the snow we got, the trails are primo right now,” Chamberlain said.
His will feature more than300 sleds traveling 40-80 mph rail beds and wide trails.
“We don’t allow passing, it’s not a race,” said Chamberlain, who added that no one has been hurt in the event’s history.
The auctions are a big part of each event, and there’s a variety of items up for bids.
In Rangeley, racing and other sports tickets are on the auction block including a Portland Sea Dogs package where the winner gets to throw out the first pitch at a game. Boston Red Sox, New England Patriots and Maine Red Claws autographed memorabilia will be available along with some golf packages.
“We seem to attract a lot of golfers,” said Campbell.
In Caribou, the nose and side to Clint Bowyer’s No. 33 Cheerios Sprint Cup car will be up for bids along with many gift certificates, snowmobile jackets and suits.
There is still room for Saturday’s event in Rangeley, but tickets for the dinner and auction for the Santerre Sno-Run are almost gone. However, slots for the snowmobile ride are unlimited.