It has again been a winter with very little snow to date.
But a defiant Jennifer Khavari said regardless of the snow situation, the East Coast Snocross tour will be held as scheduled Jan. 28-29 at Bass Park in Bangor for the third straight year.
Snocross involves the concept of motocross racing on snow using snowmobiles instead of dirt bikes. The ⅔-mile course includes a series of bumps, jumps and banked curves.
The highest jump is the table top, which will be about 12 feet high and 80 feet long.
The event will kick off the East Coast Snocross season.
“It is going to be held regardless of Mother Nature’s input,” said Khavari, the director of the Eastern Maine Community College Foundation, which brought the event to Bangor two years ago and will benefit financially from the racing.
She also is the project coordinator.
The event has been the school’s top fundraiser, according to Khavari, and it gets “larger every year.”
Between private donations and fundraising events, the EMCC Foundation raised $66,000 for scholarships last year, she said.
Snowmobilers racing in several different classes will negotiate the race course, and Khavari said snow from Bangor International Airport will begin being trucked in by the Lane Construction Corporation on Monday.
She said the event couldn’t be held if it wasn’t for Lane Construction.
“They donated $38,000 between the equipment and the manpower last year,” said Khavari.
Khavari said the EMCC Foundation expanded its advertising focus to Aroostook County to try to increase attendance this year.
The event involves both professional racers and amateurs.
“There aren’t a lot of events going on during the winter other than concerts, so we wanted to have something different and exciting,” said Khavari. “And this is a family-oriented event.”
She added that it has given EMCC students and faculty an event with which they can become involved.
“We had something like 50 volunteers from the school,” she said.
One of the sponsors is Dysart’s, and Khavari said the revenue they receive from the concessions will go to the Pine Tree Camp for adults and children with disabilities.
Two of the professional riders from Maine to keep an eye on will be Logan Trembley of Bangor and Kassie Thibodeau of Rumford.
Each class will hold heat races, and there will be last-chance qualifying heats for riders who hadn’t qualified up to that point.
Heat races can range from three to six laps, and the finals can go from 14 to 20 laps.
There can be as many as 15 snowmobiles in the finals.
There will again be a 120cc class for youngsters.
The riders may practice on the course on Jan. 27, and the gates will open at 10 a.m. Saturday and Sunday.
Khavari said the community and local businesses have been supportive of the event, and that sentiment was seconded by Phil Whipple, the media relations director for the tour.
“We have been very pleased with the response we have received from the community up there,” said Whipple. “It has been wonderful, from the spectators to the area merchants who have gotten on board. We’re delighted to be back for a third year.
“We couldn’t have a better place for our season-opener than Bass Park,” added Whipple, who speculated that there will be 250 entries.
He said one of the highlights will be the snowbike class that was introduced for the first time last season.
He said that they are basically taking a dirt bike and putting a track in back and a wide ski in front.
“They are about 10 feet long,” he said. “It’s cool.”
The admission fee is $12 per day for adults or $20 for a weekend pass. It is free for age 7 and under.