Correction: We've updated this article to correct an error as of 3:30 p.m. Feb. 14. The Madawaska Snowmobile Association does not exist, it is instead the Madawaska Snowmobile Club. Also, Denise (not Dennis) Cote is the public relations/marketing director for the Madawaska Snowmobile Club. We regret any confusion this might have caused. We strive for accuracy in our reporting, but sometimes errors do occur. We sincerely apologize.
MADAWASKA - The Madawaska Snowmobile Club has scheduled an exciting Saturday event for St. John Valley residents on Feb. 16, with the USCC East Madawaska 100 snowmobile races as the main event and an action-packed half-time show featuring The Outer Limits Tour, a snowmobiling freestyler show that Rave X riders will perform.
Organizers are holding the events on Albert Flats on Mark and Maribeth Cyr’s land, east on Route 1 toward St. David.
The Maine Snowmobile Association awarded Mark and Maribeth Cyr of Cyr Potato Corporation the Landowner of the Year for 100+ acres. In addition to the Cyr’s award, the Association awarded Madawaska resident and owner of Martin’s Motel Jeanne Ouellette 2012 Business Owner of the Year.
Madawaska Snowmobile Club public relations/marketing director Denise Cote said, “Two winners from Madawaska is really nice. It’s a testimony to the fact that people in the Valley are supporters of snowmobiling.”
According to Cote, the major sponsors of the event are Pelletier Ford, NorState FCU, Katahdin Extreme Gear/Automatic Distributors, Mystik Lubricants (Dysarts), and Lakeview Restaurant.
Jenn Daigle of Lakeview Restaurant said, “Snowmobiling has a huge impact for us. It’s a good place to help.”
“If we can help the snowmobiling club, we do. If it weren’t for the work of the clubs, we’d suffer up here,” said Daigle.
Despite recent concerns in the St. John Valley over low snowfall, and unseasonable warm weather that melted much of the local snowpack, Cote said a lack of snow is not an issue for the Madawaska 100 racers or the Rave X performers. The Rave X performers are able to ride and perform stunts during summer months by substituting snow and snowbanks with wood chips and hay bales. The USCC racers are also veterans to less than perfect tracks.
“The racers have ridden over dirt and rock before. As long as there’s a little dusting, they’re happy,” said Cote. “Even if we just have an inch of snow, it’s satisfactory.”
This year’s event has garnered a lot of interest from the local community, according to Cote, and numerous sponsors are supporting both the races and the stunt performance.
According to Cote, the Madawaska Snowmobile Club contacted both the USCC East race officials and the Rave X team management and confirmed that the events could go forward with so little snow.
“It’s all a go,” said Cote.
The Rave X team even provided race officials with ideas for how to mount a quick ramp for the stunt performance without a large amount of snow, including using bales of hay to help build up a landing ramp.
Regarding the lack of snow, Cote said, “It’s just a challenge. We’ll have to push some snow around and groom it, but it’s going to go well.”
Late last week, the race logistics team and trail master Peter Cyr met to design the course on Albert Flats. Once they’ve designed the course, the USCC East race committee accepts it, and race officials and volunteers are green-lighted to start creating the course.
Cyr said, “With or without a lot of snow, there’s room there for a track one way or another.”
Off the course, race officials have created a vibrant experience for spectators, including multiple vendors, a heated tent, Rave X riders signing autographs, and food stands.
“There’s a lot of things to see,” said Cote. “It’s full-blown.”
On Friday, Feb. 15, racers are able to check in to complete registration and pay an entry fee at the American Legion Hall on Main Street from 6:30 to 9 p.m.
Racers are also able to check in at the USCC East trailer at the race site from 7 to 8 a.m. on Saturday, Feb. 16. Pre-tech inspection for racers is scheduled from 8 to 8:30 a.m. in the staging area.
A mandatory drivers meeting is scheduled at 8:45 a.m. at the USCC trailer, with a parade lap following at 9 a.m.
Though actual starting times may vary, The Pro Open/Semi Pro Improved/Masters 40 race is scheduled for 9:30 a.m. and the Vet 30/Expert 85 Improved/Sport 600 Improved/Legends 50 race is scheduled at 10:15 a.m.
Women, juniors age 14 through 17, juniors age 10 through 13 and the vintage races are set for an 11 a.m. start.
From noon until 1 p.m., race officials have scheduled a half-time break that will feature a Rave X riders stunt performance.
The Expert 85/Sport 85 race is scheduled for 1 p.m., the Sport 600/Trail race is scheduled for 1:45 p.m. and the Pro 600/Semi-Pro 600 race is scheduled for 2:30 p.m.
The Madawaska Snowmobile Club will host an awards ceremony at 5 p.m.
The 120cc races are scheduled to start at approximately 11:30 p.m. on a separate course.
Officials are offering a new amateur race this year. According to Cote, anybody can join.
Community volunteers and members of the Madawaska Snowmobile Club organize and facilitate the annual event.
Tickets to the day’s event are $10 for adults and $5 for children under 10 years old. Officials are offering a $25 family ticket and are honoring members of any snowmobile club with a dollar off their ticket price.
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