WINCHESTER, N.H. (Jan. 22, 2018) – Veteran snowmobile racers Mike Pilotte and Leo Patenaude split the Pro class finals over the weekend, as East Coast Snocross (ECS) completed its 2018 season opener at Winchester Speedpark.
Pilotte (Team Southside/Polaris), of Fall River, Mass., held off Patenaude and Chris Ingles to claim Saturday’s final. After a few years away from the sport, Pilotte is thrilled to be back on a sled.
“It sure felt great to compete in snocross again,” Pilotte said. “The new Polaris is strong, I don’t think we touched it once on Saturday. It gives me confidence to ride a great sled, and the win reminded me of how much I love to do this. I’m back for a while and can’t wait to get after it at Speedway 95.”
On Sunday, Patenaude (Ingles Performance/Ski-doo), of Hartland, VT, worked his way past Pilotte in the 18-lap final to secure the win, while Marco Travaglini (Ingles Performance/Ski-doo) filled out the podium in third to cap a solid first weekend with a new ride. Having two riders on the box was big for Ski-doo as they go after a title here in the east.
Patenaude, who’s little brother Hunter made headlines last week when he signed with Scheuring Speed Sports in Minnesota, has become one of the smooth, savvy veterans here in New England.
“Room to pass was at a premium on that tight little track, but I had a great opening weekend,” Patenaude said. “It was the same for everybody. I came into this season with a relaxed mindset, a strong workout regimen and the goal of having fun. The new sled ran great, I felt good and can’t wait to see how we do in Maine. I hope to carry this momentum forward throughout the entire season.”
In Pro Lite action, Bradley Tatro (SBT Racing/Arctic Cat) and Dylan Roes (Kislowski Racing/D&D Arctic Cat) proved they have the skills to win at a high level. Tatro, of Stamford, VT, wasted little time proving he was ready to advance, winning Saturday’s final over Roes and Dalton Jacquier (Kislowski Racing/Arctic Cat).
For Tatro, the hard work during the off-season and confidence in his new sled paid off quickly.
“That was a great start to our new season,” Tatro said. “We made a couple of adjustments to the sled at first, but it came around quickly and ran excellent. Saturday’s win felt incredible, but Sunday forced me to come from the back. We made it up to fifth, so we’ll head for Maine with confidence.”
Roes has years of experience on Quads and in snowmobile grass drags, but is still fairly new to snocross. The D&D Racing-sponsored athlete from Lowville, NY, is making big progress in 2018. He won Sunday’s final over Marco Travaglini (Ingles Performance/Ski-doo) and Jared Gessner.
“It feels awesome to win,” Roes said. “It took a lot of hard work in the off-season, and a ton of support from sponsors, family and friends to make it happen. I’m proud for this team and just hope we can continue with the strong finishes the rest of this season. This was a great way to start.”
Alissah Ashline (Ingles Performance/Ski-doo) prevailed in a hotly-contest Pro Women final on Saturday. Maine standout Kassie Thibodeau (Team Southside/Polaris) gave chase throughout and finished a solid second, while her teammate Ashley Baird filled out the podium in third.
On Sunday, Baird found redemption with a brilliant performance. She won the final in convincing fashion over Theresa Max (SBT Racing/Ski-doo) and the ever-consistent Thibodeau. The Pro Women racers went nine laps on the tough track, a testament to their endurance and skills.
When team owners look for rising talent to fill holes in their rosters, they look to the Sport class. In Winchester last weekend, Nathan Bourassa was the man to watch as he swept the Super Stock 600 Finals on Saturday and Sunday. The veteran from Newfields, NH, also won the Plus 25/35 Finals.
Bourassa held off Emmett Scott (Ingles Performance/Ski-doo) and Nikos Soklaropoulos to win Saturday’s final, while Scott and Adam Levi (SBT Racing/Ski-doo) filled out the podium on Sunday.
In the Junior classes at Winchester, Dillon Powles (SBT Racing) and Adam Ashline were the riders to beat in two classes. On Saturday, Powles won both the Jr. 14-15 and 16-17 Stock 600 finals, while Ashline prevailed on Sunday with Powles in tow. Chance Tietjen also hit the podium each day.
Other final round winners over the weekend in Winchester include Aiden Reynolds (Jr. 7-14 Improved 200 Sat. & Sun., by a mere .001 seconds over Jackson Kaplan); Nathan Bourassa (Sport Stock Weekend over Gavin Fleury and Trevor Parent); Chance Tietjen (Jr. Sport 12-15 Sat.); and Owen Gagne (Kislowski Racing/Arctic Cat), who won Sunday’s Jr. Sport 12-15 Final.
ECS officials would like to thank Deb and Fran MacNamara of Winchester Speedpark for hosting our season opener. It was a rousing success thanks to your grace and the hard work of many people, including our own staff. A big thanks to all those who made our debut in Winchester so nice.
Officials would also like to extend a special thanks to Kevin Duffy, owner of Meadowbrook Trucking in Richmond, New Hampshire. Kevin hauled in tons of snow for this event and we greatly appreciate his efforts. Rain tried to ruin our opener, yet Meadowbrook Trucking helped make it happen.
The series new heads north to the Pine Tree State on Saturday and Sunday, Jan. 27-28, to a new venue for the circuit not far from the Queen City of Bangor. Speedway 95, a longtime fixture on the Maine auto racing scene, will host sanctioned snocross for the first time. Gates will open at 10 a.m.
The East Coast Snocross Conx2share Series, presented by Woody’s Traction and FXR, is an ISR-affiliated sanctioning body for snowmobile racing in the northeastern United States. ECS maintains a regional circuit intended to keep grassroots snocross racing healthy in this part of the country, while also cultivating new talent for tomorrow’s factory-backed national Pro teams.
For full results from Winchester or more information, please go to www.eastcoastsnocross.com.