A teenager story of determination and courage fueled by a love of motorsports

Episode 440

February 18, 2024

Keep your eyes on the “prize:

For many readers when you were thirteen, thoughts of spending 8 1/2 months in pain with countless trips to doctor’s offices, hospitals, operating rooms and missing school were not on your radar screen. New England Snocross racer Claire Durepo daughter of Libby and Chris Durepo from Limestone, Maine, has had to endure that maze of pain with no definitive answers from the medical community.

In June 2023. she complained of extreme pain in her lower right quadrant of her abdomen. That began the multiple trips to doctor offices, hospitals, and spending time with the medical community.

It seemed that no diagnosis was forthcoming that would help her and the family understand this ailment which frequently yielded pain of 9 on a scale of 10.

Claire’s favorite sport is soccer where she is the Limestone Community School goalie. She made it through the entire soccer season and got in two games in basketball before the pain became unbearable.

November 2023, a cyst in her small intestine was seemingly the trouble. Surgery ensued with hope that the mystery would be solved…finally.

No cyst was found despite an in-depth look at the small intestine. She was sewn up. At that point her small intestine appeared to be paralyzed and Claire subsequently was unable to eat.

After about a month of not being able to eat normally, it was back to Portland for a feeding tube and test-after-test trying to pinpoint the problem. Claire is not a big boned young lady so one can imagine the toll not eating took on her body.

Back home she came with the uncomfortable feeding tube attached. After a short stint at home, she was sent back to Portland about 35 days ago. The intense pain was accompanied at times by loss of hearing, loss of vision, and is still not stable enough to walk on her own.

Boston Children’s Hospital was contacted so Claire might be able to be in the care of doctors with such skills that to get to see them is next to impossible due to long waiting lists. Her parents were just informed that a bed had opened up for her. They leave Wednesday.

Claire the racer

What makes this story fit an UpNorth Motorsports episode is the fact that Claire is a racer. Her father, Chris Durepo, raced stock cars at Spud Speedway utilizing the #58 which Claire has claimed as her number in SnoCross.

I first met Claire at the 2017 Tame the Track Snowmobile Race at Caribou in 2017. She was seven years of age at the time. Claire in the Skidoo was racing against Northern Maine Karting Association (NMKA) champion Gage Theriault in the center aboard the Artic Cat and Kyle King on far left. At Claire’s side is her brother Evan, All the racers are from Limestone. I do not recall how she finished this race; however, I do recall her determination. ( Claire Durepo Racing photo)

In the interim years through Covid and post Covid, Claire mentioned to track owner Troy Haney she would do whatever she could do to help him at Spud Speedway to ensure she would have a place to race as she grows up. She put her words in to action serving on the T & T crew, (Trash & Toilets) for several events until physically unable to continue.

Track owner Jim Gamage said, “I think she is our biggest fan!”

At the 2023 SnowBowl at Spud Speedway Durepo on the right competed with seasoned veterans of the Snowcross circuit and finished the race. At one point earlier in the day she broke her windshield off after a practice crash and came to the pits and said, ” Dad I’m so sorry”. Chris said, “Don’t be sorry, we are here to race. You saved us time by doing this in practice not a race”. He patted her on the back said, “Good job, you’re still in the lead lap “!

At the snowmobile drag races held at Spud Speedway Dustbowl in 2023 are Evan Ayer, a friend of Claire, Claire and a fan named Rhett Frost along with Claire’s sister Maddy on right. (Claire Durepo Racing photo)


Claire Durepo met Peyton Lanphear on right at ACT race at White Mountain Speedway in the summer of 2023. The 22-year-old Lanphear had a similar story to Claire in that she battled cancer for some time. The two hit it off. Claire seemed to appreciate meeting another racer who was racing again despite health problems. Lanphear is from Duxbury, Vermont and was racing at Thunder Road last summer when I was working on an episode of UpNorth Motorsports. I think she won a heat race that evening. Lanphear is living in North Carolina and going to school to become a nurse. She is dating NASCAR Cup driver Carson Hocevar who drives for Spire Motorsports and is going for Rookie of the Year. (Claire Durepo Racing photo)

At the RaveX store in South Portland, Maine, Claire is welcomed by Ralph Gallagher on left and Dave Carlberg on right. They set her up with sponsorship in 2024 with some personalized swag, racing jacket, and carbon fiber helmet. In this photo Claire still had her NG tube which has since been removed and she is eating and drinking by mouth. Finally… (Claire Durepo Racing photo)

The racing community has been supportive of the County racer. Her 2020 Skidoo snocross sled looked like this prior to a trip to Team Huff Customs in Carmel, Maine. (Claire Durepo Racing photo)

After Nick Huff did his magic with a customized wrap, Durepo’s sled appearance is completely transformed. (Claire Durepo Racing photo)

At the hospital in Portland prior to heading south to Boston’s Children Hospital, Claire is not out-of-the-woods yet. When the doctors and nurses come in, she reminds them that there are only a few days left to get her out of this health crisis and get to the SnowBowl at Spud Speedway at the end of the month. Cards can be sent to the address below and prayers sent to our heavenly Father, the Great Physician. (Claire Durepo Racing photo)

Birthday wishes for Claire from Spud Speedway owners



Send cards of encouragement to the address below the #58

Claire Durepo Racing

127 Main Street

Limestone, ME 04750

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