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Start your (snowmobile) engines: Snocross debuting at New Hampshire Motor Speedway this weekend

  • Janell Brown, a New Hampshire state trooper based in Concord, takes a practice snocross run at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on Friday. Snocross will be making its debut this weekend at NHMS, which transformed the dirt-covered Flat Track into a snow-covered course for the high-performance snowmobiles. The event will serve as round three of seven in the Eastern Snocross Tour Championship sanctioned by International Snowmobile Racing. New Hampshire Motor Speedway

  • Kamden Duffy, an 11-year-old from Richmond, poses with his snowmobile at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon on Friday. Duffy will part of the first-ever snocross event at NHMS this weekend. The speedway transformed its dirt-covered Flat Track into a snow-covered course for the high-performance snowmobiles. The event will serve as round three of seven in the Eastern Snocross Tour Championship sanctioned by International Snowmobile Racing. New Hampshire Motor Speedway

Monitor staff
Published: 2/14/2020 10:21:14 PM
Modified: 2/14/2020 10:21:01 PM

The racing season is expanding into winter this weekend at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.

Snocross – racing on specialized, high-performance snowmobiles – is set to make its debut on Saturday at NHMS with the first-ever winter event on The Flat Track. Professional riders from around the East Coast and beyond will compete in the two-day event that will serve as round three of seven in the Eastern Snocross Tour Championship sanctioned by International Snowmobile Racing.

“This course is awesome. It really represents the national style track that we all love, so we’re happy to see a lot of snow out there,” said Janell Brown, a New Hampshire state trooper based in Concord who started competing in snocross at age 9 and still races on weekends.

Brown said it is, “a huge honor,” to be competing in the first snocross event at NHMS, but there’s also some extra tension that comes with competing close to home.

“There will be more support, but it’s kind of nerve-wracking. I feel like it’s a little more pressure, people kind of know me,” Brown said. “I’m hoping to go out there and get first place all weekend. We’ll see how it goes.”

Kamden Duffy, an 11-year-old from Richmond who has been competing in snocross since he was 5, said he won’t notice any extra pressure, or much of anything coming from the fans in Loudon.

“I don’t even really know (spectators) are there when I’m racing,” Duffy said. “I don’t really pay attention to them because I’m out there beating the sled and it hurts.”

But Duffy, like Brown, is excited to be part of this debut event at New England’s premier motor sports facility.

“That feels really good,” said Duffy, who is in sixth grade at Cutler School in Swanzey. “I think it’s going to be a good track. I’m excited because they say this is going to be a big race and there’s going to be a lot of people. Hopefully it’s not going to be too cold so people can show up.”

For those who do show up to watch the snowmobiles race and jump (yes, there are jumps on the course) around the ¼-mile track, some of the top level pros to keep an eye on are Leo Patenaude, Corin Todd, Jason Boron and Jake DaSilva.

Patenaude, who is from Hartland, Vt., has three wins this season and is in the points lead for the 2020 ESXT Championship. Todd, a 26-year-old from Otego, N.Y., is second in the points standings and won a bronze medal in snocross at the 2016 Winter X Games. Boron, 43, is from Shutesbury, Mass., and has qualified to race in the Winter X Games five times for snowmobile events. DaSilva is a 27-year-old from Salem who started competing in snocross at age 5, and his family owns DaSilva Motorsports in Hampstead.

Snowmobiles won’t be the only thing racing around The Flat Track this weekend. There will also be Snow Bikes, motorcycles that utilize conversion kits to race on the snow. The man to watch here is Jesse “Showtime” Kirchmeyer from Warsaw, N.Y., who is coming off a clean sweep of the ISOC Nationals and a bronze medal at the Winter X Games in Aspen, Colo., last month. Kirchmeyer was a silver medallist at the 2019 Winter X Games and was the 2018-19 National Snowbike champion.

In addition to the ESXT Pro and Snow Bike class, there will also be competitions in the Pro Lite, Sport, Women’s and Junior divisions at NHMS. The gates open at 3 p.m. on Saturday, followed by a free autograph session. Racing will begin at 4:30 and the Pro final is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. under the lights. On Sunday, gates open at 9 a.m. followed by a free autograph session with the pro riders. Racing will start at 11:45 a.m. with the pro final scheduled for 3:15 p.m.

For snowmobilers riding into this event, The Flat Track is easily accessible off Corridor 15A on the New Hampshire Snowmobile Association’s Trail Map.

Tickets are $25 for the entire weekend (which includes pit access) and kids 12-and-under are free (pit access for kids can be purchased for $10). Single-day tickets are $15 for adults and kids 12-and-under are still free. Single-day tickets do not include pit access, but it can be purchased for $10.

The Loudon Firefighters Association will be at the track both days hosting s’mores pits with proceeds going to the support the association, and the Red Bucket Brigade will be coming through the stands looking for donations to support the Speedway Children’s Charities New Hampshire Chapter, which helps children in need across New England.

(Tim O’Sullivan can be reached at tosullivan@cmonitor.com or on Twitter @timosullivan20)



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