Group to resurrect snowmobile races in western New Brunswick

by | Nov 23, 2023

Oval snowmobile racing set for Woodstock on Family Day weekend 2024

By Ross Antworth

Snowmobile ice oval racing will return to the Connell Park Raceway in Woodstock on Family Day weekend, Feb. 17 and 18, 2024, thanks to an energetic and focused group of volunteers with multiple backgrounds in business, snowmobiling, and racing. Their goal is to revive Maritime Snowmobile Championship Racing (MSCR).

Plans include two days of ice oval snowmobile racing at Connell Park Raceway. Snowmobile racers will get to ‘test’ themselves and their sleds on the half-mile flat, oval horse racing track.

The organizing group’s focus is to attract entries, spectators, and sponsors from the Maritimes, Ontario, Quebec, and the New England states. 

The last time snowmobile racing took place at the Connell Park Raceway was in the winter of 1981. Then organized by the Woodstock Y’s Men’s Club with Connell Park Raceway, the event had a 15-year run. 

“The Woodstock Y’s Men’s were looking for a fundraiser for the club. Snowmobiling was becoming so popular, so we began the races to raise money for our causes,” said Y’s Men Merlin Gibson. “The money raised from the Maritime Snowmobile Championships; we used it all those years to help the youth in our community.”

In the 1970s, some of the major sponsors included cigarette companies. These events often drew record crowds, with spectators numbering as high as 5,000 in its heyday. With the event growing in popularity, factory snowmobile teams often took part. The Van Dolder’s race team from Ontario was often racing with their Flying Dutchmen, and famous Quebec Formula One racer Gilles Villeneuve even took his turn on the Woodstock oval.

The plans to resurrect snowmobile racing began in the fall of 2022 with a small group of volunteers. Since their initial meeting, the group has received support from the Woodstock municipal council, the Old Home Week committee, and the Woodstock Driving Club. 

The group feels it’s fitting that the event will be resurrected the year the Woodstock Trailmaker’s Snowmobile Club celebrates their 50th Anniversary. 

The organizing group believes this event has the potential to be an annual event that brings in essential tourism dollars during the winter. 

If you want to provide volunteer or financial support to this event, please email or call Kendall Leech at (506) 325-8279 or Twyla Rogers at (506) 324-3145.

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