Sleds hit the fast track in triumphant return

by | Feb 21, 2024

Maritime Snowmobile Championship Racing returns to Woodstock, drawing more than 1,000 spectators to the racetrack

After over 40 years of absence, Woodstock welcomed Maritime Snowmobile Champion Racing back last weekend at the Connell Park Raceway.

The roars of the racer’s engines were only softened by the crowd’s deafening cheers.

The races featured a variety of classes, such as Masters F500, Mod Champ, and Champion. Some classes were drastically different from others.

One example is Outlaw class, where racers drove almost wholly custom snowmobiles resembling dune buggies.

The event handed out over $36,000 in prize money over the weekend, beginning Friday evening, Feb. 16, through full days of racing on Saturday and Sunday.

Another unique event was Snocross, a cross between Motorcross and snowmobiling that provided an unequalled thrill to riders and the audience.

A snowmobile zooms by during a heated race. (Connor Barry Photo)

The event’s return drew large crowds, with the parking lot of not just the race track being filled but all of Woodstock High School and the AYR Motor Centre.

Crowds watched from the grandstand and the hill behind the AYR Motor Centre.

Prize money wasn’t limited to the racers. Heavily advertised during the races, the 50/50 draw delivered a grand prize of $25,927 to winner Greg Cluff.

Greg Cluff and family after winning the 50/50 draw. (Connor Barry Photo)

Many influential figures in New Brunswick came to the event opening ceremony on Saturday, including Premier Blain Higgs, Education Minister and Woodstock MLA Bill Hogan, Agriculture, Aquaculture and Fisheries Minister Margret Johnson, Transportation and Infrastructure Richard Ames and Woodstock Mayor Trina Jones.

A number of people who had participated in the original Maritime Snowmobile Championship Racing were also in attendance.

The closing ceremony saw organizers handing numerous prizes to the top riders of the three-day event, including the prestigious Red Buckingham Award for good sportsmanship earned by Dave Blair. The award was named in memory of Buckingham, a snowmobiling pioneer and a driving force behind the original Maritime Snowmobile Champion Racing in the ’70s and early ’80s.

The prestigious Red Buckingham Award was given to racer Dave Blair. (Connor Barry Photo)

More than 150 volunteers contributed to the races, not counting those who participated in the breakfasts sponsored by the Masonic Lodge at the Y’s Men Club, a Saturday night dance hosted by the Woodstock Trailmakers and other events throughout Woodstock.

Co-announcer and organizer Bob Fowlie explained the event was only possible with the help of the event’s sponsors, chief among them E. Cumings Contracting.

During Saturday’s opening ceremonies, guests were at attention during Oh Canada. (Connor Barry Photo)

FOREST FIRE INDEX – click image for current status

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates from our team.

You have successfully subscribed! A confirmation email has been sent to your email account. To complete your subscription, open the email and click on the confirmation link. (If you can't find it in your inbox, try your junk and spam folders.) If you'd like to receive our updates more than once a week, please click the "Manage your subscription" link at the bottom of your Newsletter.