Snowmobile racing action in the County

Episode 376

September 19, 2021

Motorsports activity in Ashland proves a point

This summer Aroostook County experienced several motorsports events including RC racing at Loring, two Loring Timing Association races, Cumberland Motor Club Mega Autocross at Loring, and the Northern Maine Fair. After witnessing the Big Woods Grass Drags put on by Ashland Snowmobile Club and Portage Lakers, I was thoroughly impressed with the preparation put into the venue and the race personnel. (And unlike winter racing, I did not freeze my tail off!)

Aerial view of the beautiful grass drag facility with its 500-foot track and 1,000 foot stopping space at end of the track. A 100-foot clay starting line yielded some fast times for racers. in Ashland put together by the Ashland Snowmobile Club and the Portage Lakers Club. A large crowd was on hand to watch some good racing action on the grass track. (Kris Collier photo)

Upon arrival, as a media member, I was introduced to Alecia Rafford, PR Director for Big Woods, who answered some questions and promptly provided information such as results, entrant numbers, and crowd estimates. That does not always happen at many tracks where I have covered races. Thank you, Alecia.

Fort Kent’s McBrearity brings home top prizes

The 3rd Annual Big Woods Grass Drags got underway with 89 registered sleds and over 800 spectators on site. A rainstorm at noon stopped racing which would resume in about an hour and a half under clearing skies.

That is when Fort Kent’s Kyle McBrearity came alive in his ProMod 2013 Arctic Cat 1100 Turbo strutted its stuff. The always competitive class with Ryan Kelly and Andrew Paradis provided the competition for the $2500 top prize. That was also the finishing order for the Pro Mod.

Kyle McBrearity at the start of Pro Mod race with his Arctic Cat Turbo. In addition to the win, he also took top speed honors (106.63 mph) and fastest reaction time (.063 seconds) with its $100 prize. (Black Dot Photography)

Kyle McBrearity showing some of the race winning hardware including moose antlers from Maine Antler Works for fastest speed, 106.63 mph and plaque for Pro Mod win. Missing is the rotating trophy which will have his name engraved on it. He will also be featured on the 2022 Big Woods Grass Drags promotional poster. (Jenna O’Leary photo)

Rossignol takes 4 class wins

Woodland native, Ethan Rossignol showed why he is always a threat when he shows up for the drag races when he took four of the five events he entered, Rossignol described the effort like this, “Yesterday was another fun filled day of racing for Team OCD Racing, We had some strong arms behind both of the machines that were ran, I can’t thank all my help enough!”

Woodland’s Ethan Rossignol aboard his Team OCD Racing Artic Cat on his way to another race win. Rossignol won three classes on this sled. Note the eyes! Twenty entries competed for the 800 cc Shootout, the most entered in any class at the race. (Black Dot Photography)

“We started out on the right path, everything seemed to be working very well, without making any changes throughout the day (except belt swaps). We conquered 3 out of the 4 classes that were run with the 700. Although we didn’t end up taking home the 800-shoot-out class like we had in the previous race at BIG WOODS GRASS DRAGS, we know we had the potential to do so.”

“Unfortunately, being a little too trigger happy at the line in the quarter-final knocked us right off the podium all together. As they say sometimes the anticipation can just simply get the best of you.”

Jaxon Sullivan coached by one of the best, Ethan Rossignol, as he prepares to make his run in the Kids Class. Regardless of the result the youngster was very excited to be racing. (HTF Motorsports photo)

“For me, the best part about the whole day was coming home to a young boy with a big smile on his face, who just can’t seem to stop talking and asking questions about doing some more racing! You make me so proud Jaxson Lee! Thank you all once again for you lively support and efforts that were had all around! ”

In memory of Dad

Jay Thompson, Caribou, had a special reason for racing his vintage Polaris Centurion. He mentioned that Saturday would have been his father, Wendell’s 90th birthday. I believe this was his first race on grass with the Centurion.

The first run started out fine until he lost the tether and shut off before the finish. Thompson realized that the gear swap made the night before resulted in the gear ratio being too low.

Jay Thompson, Caribou, at the starting line with his vintage Polaris Centurion racing in memory of his father Wendell who would have been 90 on Saturday. Thompson finished third in the Stock 500cc class. (Black Dot Photography)

He had to settle for a third in Stock 500 after losing to Woodland’s Jesse Taggett “The day was amazing”, he said!

Long distance win

All the way from East Monkton, Vermont Mandy Preston won the Stock 600cc and placed second in Improved Stock 600 cc. She was one of two women drivers at the event. (Black Dot Photography)

Rain plays in his favor

Until the rain happened, Woodland’s Jesse Taggett was working the potato harvest for Moir Farms driving windrower. They had fellow team member Ethan Rossignol drive the Team OCD sled. When the rain hit the County, harvest stopped, and Taggett drove to the races in time to finish second in the Improved Stock 500 cc class. Taggett is to be congratulated not only for the win, but his willingness to fulfil his obligation to the farmer despite wanting to be at the races. In this case he got both. Taggett and Team OCD will be racing at Epping, New Hampshire October 8 & 9. 2021 (Black Dot Photography)

First time racers

Abby LaPlante, daughter of veteran racer Joe LaPlante and wife Erin of Presque Isle gets lined up for her first ever race in the Kids Class. The 5-year-old placed second to James Collins in background. Her brother Andy, 4-years-old in his first race, also was credited with second. (HTF Motorsports photo)

The Maine Snowmobile Association Club Shootout winners, left to right Lendell Buckingham, Big Woods Grass Drags Race Director, Doug Chasse, Ashland Snowmobile Club 2nd, Tim Lary Penobscot Snowmobile Club 1st, and Doug Linscott 3rd. (Black Dot Photography)

And the final results:

Final results of the 2021 Big Woods Grass Drags courtesy Alecia Rafford PR/Media Director

Beech Ridge Motor Speedway to hold finale

As announced in the last episode of UpNorth Motorsports, Beech Ridge Motor Speedway has been sold to a developer signaling the end of racing at the Scarborough race track. The popular track opened in 1949 as a dirt track before making the transition to pavement.

The following statement was released by race officials about the season finale:

“Beech Ridge is pleased to offer bonus season’s wrap-up special event for Pro Series, Sport Series and Wildcat teams on Sunday, Sept. 26th. The extra-distance races for all three divisions will be highlighted by a $3,000-to-win Pro Series 100 lap main event! Sport Series and Wildcat teams will enjoy 50-lap main events.”

“Pit gates will open at 11 a.m., practice begins at 12 noon and racing begins at 2 o’clock Sunday afternoon Sept. 26th. Grandstand seating opens at 12 noon. All ticketing offered at regular season’s pricing!”

Fresh off a third-place finish at Star Speedway’s Classic, Durham’s Evan Beaulieu will be part of the large crowd of race cars and fans expected to be part of Beech Ridge Motor Speedway’s last race. Beaulieu has long called the track his “home track”. Best wishes to all on what will be a bittersweet day. (Rob Branning photo)

Let’s go racing,

Tom Hale

Soli Deo Gloria (Matthew 5:16)

Tom Hale

About Tom Hale

Tom wrote 14 years as freelancer for the Bangor Daily Sports covering motorsports in Maine. Now blogging and concentrating on human interest stories about people and places in racing. He races Champ Karts and owns HTF Motorsports in remote Westmanland, Maine