Photo Gallery | East Coast Snocross comes to Bennington
BENNINGTON — Campers and trailers blanketed with team logos crowded Willow Park on Saturday and Sunday for the East Coast Snocross tour. Snowmobiles tore and roared up pre-made snow throughout the weekend as a debut after being gone from the area since the early 1990s.
About 80 spectators on Saturday showed support to all ages and skill levels of snowmobiling. This past weekend was the fifth stop of eight on the multi-state racing tour.
Richard Frew from Savoy. Mass., has been trail riding for 10 years.
"I'm just happy to get out and be able to ride finally," he said. "I race about once each year."
The pit and access field for riders was located at the bottom of Willow Park while spectators watched from a higher hill and enjoyed food, drinks and sport-related memorabilia at the upper pavilion.
The five major divisions consisted of pro open and pro lite, sport, women and junior classes. The pro qualifying races started at 11:30 a.m. with the finals for pro lite and pro open at 3 p.m. each day.
Amsoil premium synthetic lubricants sponsors the snowmobile racing series. Representative Chris McKane trail rides himself and enjoyed watching the races.
"I haven't touched my sled in a while," McKane said, acknowledging the lack of snow in the Northeast this winter.
Other vendors included Ramunto's Brick Oven Pizza, Magic Hat Brewing Company from Burlington, Woodford SnoBusters and other retailers.
The Woodford SnoBusters is one of 115 clubs in Vermont that works to promote the sport snowmobiling.
"It's fun," Mary Beth Daniels said. "From 1989 and on I've been a proactive rider. I'm also a part of a Shaftsbury snow club."
Daniels said Woodford has more than 100 miles of snow trails that run into Manchester and it's likely one could ride from one side of the state to the other. Woodford Snobusters volunteers for the event as well as the Vermont Association of Snow Travelers (VAST).
Riders of various ages and skill level raced this past weekend and 9-year-old Michael Bosch Jr. is one of the many who relish in following in family footsteps and soaring across jumps.
"This is my third year riding," Bosch said. "I like having fun and jumping and getting air."
Bosch took to the sport after his uncle had been doing it for three years. He competes in various races yearly.
The Snocross tour began in Plattsburgh, N.Y., on Jan. 23 and will run until the second weekend in April.
— Makayla-Courtney McGeeney can be reached at (802)-447-7567, ext. 118.