Vintage snowmobile race returns to Caribou

CARIBOU, Maine — After a successful initial launch in 2018, the Mega Meltdown vintage snowmobile racing event will return to Caribou on Saturday, March 23, behind Northern Maine Brewing Company.  

Funds raised will once again benefit Brian’s Ride, a nonprofit organization that supports cancer patients through the Jefferson Cary Cancer Center.  The ‘Tame the Track’ touring group will hold their last race in a series of Vintage Sled Racing on a track designed on the property of the Northern Maine Brewing Company.  

Vintage sled racing consists of sleds made from the 1960s through the 1980s with leaf-spring suspension.  The sleds race in various classes.

Organizers said the Mega Meltdown will bring a number of sledders from throughout the state vying for points to earn the high points trophy. Local snowmobile enthusiasts who have vintage sleds are invited to participate in the racing and all sleds will be registered for the event the day of the race.

Shawn Pelletier, who works with the race organizing committee, said that in spite of cold temperatures last year the event drew a great crowd and he is hoping for even bigger numbers this year.

“We were very impressed with the success of the event in 2018. People braved the cold and really turned out to see some exciting racing,” said Pelletier.   

“I think the fact that this event is for a worthy cause also draws people out.  It is hard to think of anyone who has not been touched in some way by cancer,” he said. “Brian’s Ride has provided thousands of dollars for cancer patients over the years and this event is a large part of our annual fundraising campaign.”

Brian’s Ride is a special fund created in memory of Brian Caldwell, who died from cancer.  Over the past two years the fund has helped nearly 100 local cancer patients and their families and raised more than $40,000.   

The March 23 event will also invite youngsters to race on sleds called 120s.  The kids’ racing will feature three classes: 120 Stock, 120 Improved and Kids Modified.  Other classes include Women’s Open, Teens Open and multiple others, ranging from Vintage Single Stock to Vintage IFS Stock (up to ’92).  Total payout for the event will be $2,000.

In addition to snowmobile racing, there will be outdoor music, a bonfire and food.  Admission is $10 for adults and $5 for students and those under 12.

There is a $20 registration fee per sled entering the racing program.  Pits for sleds will be open at 8:00 am and racing starts at 11:00 am.

Jimmy Leighton, a vintage snowmobile enthusiast and racer, is once again helping to organize the event.  He said that the welcome sledders and their families received last year was very impressive.

“We certainly have the snow for this event and people really had a great time last year,” said Leighton.  “There is a real sense of hospitality in the County that is hard to find anywhere else. Our conditions should be good and we are hoping for some great crowds as well as a large number of sledders.”

Sharon Pelletier, a registered nurse at Cary Medical Center and the wife of Shawn Pelletier, who is part owner of the Northern Maine Brewing Company, is working with the Brian’s Ride Committee to secure sponsorship for the event.  She said that local businesses have been very generous.

“We know that local businesses are asked to do so much and yet we have been very pleased with the response we have received,” she said.  “It is our hope that more sponsors will step forward so that we can raise more money for Brian’s Ride and help more cancer patients and their families.”

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