Big turnout expected for snowmobile races

Posted Feb. 20, 2011, at 11:01 a.m.
Last modified Feb. 20, 2011, at 10:10 p.m.

MEDWAY, Maine — Record-setting performances and a strong turnout of professionals has East Branch Sno-Rovers Club Vice President Brian Wiley hoping that Sunday’s Katahdin Area Snowmobile Racing Affilliates State Championship will put the club on the map as a premiere national drag-racing location.

Saturday’s KASRA heats featured three racing teams from New Brunswick and former world record-holder (grass racing) A.J. Lacasse of New Hampshire, who set the Medway track’s time record on Saturday when he ran the 2,200-foot track in 4.60 seconds, achieving a speed of 139 mph, Wiley said.

“People are starting to find out how good our track is and that our payouts are good and that we are very good to race with,” Wiley said Saturday.

The track’s speed record was set by New Hampshire racer Walter Joy, who was riding Medway resident Jim Stanley’s F-1000 Arctic Cat snowmobile and finished his best run of the day at 142 mph in 4.81 seconds, Wiley said.

About 200 people attended Saturday’s races, Wiley said. The club hopes to see more people on Sunday. Sunday’s races will start at 9:30 a.m. at the clubhouse, which is off Hathaway Road, with finals left over from Saturday’s races. With as many as 70 snowmobiles raced on Saturday, that day’s races had to finish on Sunday, Wiley said.

The state championship races will start at 11 a.m., he said.

The club formed KASRA last spring to develop the sport of snowmobile drag-racing in the Katahdin region, which is already heralded internationally for its snowmobile trail networks.

Snowmobile drag-racing is not unlike auto drag-racing. It’s loud, precise and a little amazing to the eyes. From the starter’s light pole to the finish line is 660 feet of ice, 5-7 inches thick. That’s the racing portion of the 2,200-foot iced track. The rest is for slowing down.

Located at the clubhouse on Hathaway Road, about a mile from the East Millinocket line, the snowmobile drag-racing track is the only one in Maine not built on a waterway. The club charges a $3 gate fee for people 12 and older.

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