DOVER-FOXCROFT, Maine — While there are several events in the Dover-Foxcroft area geared to attract visitors in the summer and fall, there aren’t many organized local activities in the winter.
This year will be different. On Saturday, March 8, the Piscataquis Valley fairgrounds will host its first-ever vintage snowmobile race.
Dan Bishop, one of the organizers, said that the races are designed not only to give vintage sled owners an opportunity to compete, but to bring visitors to the community.
“There are more than 100 restored sleds in the Dexter-Dover area alone,” said Bishop. “Many owners would like a chance to compete on an oval track. Others will just be happy to bring them to the fairgrounds to show off.”
Bishop said that just through word of mouth, 30 to 35 racers are already committed to the March 8 date. “One of the classes — leaf-sprung single-cylinder — runs on a two-track mini-circuit in Lincoln and Turner. So we’re going to be the third oval,” Bishop said. Racers compete for points based on their finishes at each venue.
Other classes are: 1973 and older single-cylinder stock; 1973 and older single-cylinder modified;1973 and older twin-cylinder; pre-1980 440cc or under; any year production leaf-sprung, single-cylinder; and Powder puff.
There will be $1,300 in prize money up for grabs, gate admission is $8 for adults and free for children and the entry fee is $15 for competitors — $12 if they ride their sled in off ITS 85. “The biggest expense will be clearing the parking lot,” Bishop explained. “So we’re encouraging people to ride in on the trails.”
The half-mile fairgrounds oval will be groomed by the Cold Smoke Riders Snowmobile Club of Atkinson.
The format calls for 8-lap qualifying heat races and 12-lap features. “We don’t want to run lengthy feature races and ruin the track,” Bishop explained.
Vintage snowmobile racing can also be unpredictable. “Some will crank right up, but fall to the end of the pack in mid-race,” Bishop said. “Others might take 50 pulls to get started, and run away with it.”
Gates open at 8 a.m., a drivers’ meeting is set for 9:30 a.m. and the races begin at 10:30 a.m. There also will be concessions available.
For more information, contact Bishop at 564-7700 or Billy Smart at 564-7712.
Updates and rules will be posted soon at www.piscataquisvalleyfair.com and on Facebook.