The inaugural Piscataquis Radar Runs took place on the frozen river in downtown Dover-Foxcroft on Feb. 5, 2022.  Credit: Photo courtesy of Breezy Photography

DOVER-FOXCROFT, Maine — The Piscataquis Radar Runs will return to Dover-Foxcroft this Saturday despite projected frigid temperatures that almost postponed the snowmobile races. A second event is also being planned for March.

The races are slated to start at noon Feb. 4 at a new location in town. Organizers have been grooming the Charles A. Chase Jr. Memorial Field at the airport in Dover-Foxcroft in preparation for snowmobilers, though they recognize turnout may be lower than last year because of the weather.

The parking lot will be plowed for spectators who want to watch the races from their cars, said Lindsay Sands, who co-owns 207 Powersports with her husband, Garrett Sands, and is one of several organizers. Emergency personnel will also be present.

This will be the second iteration of the Radar Runs, which was held on the frozen Piscataquis River in downtown Dover-Foxcroft last year. Because of this winter’s unpredictable weather and fears about thin ice, organizers decided it would be safer to hold the races on solid ground. 

The Sands, Darren Colbry of Colbry Enterprises and Ben Cabot of Cabot Legal Services reintroduced the event last year after it had not taken place on the river since 2002.

The group met Monday to discuss whether to postpone the event but ultimately kept its plans for the racers who have been looking forward to the event, Sands said.

“As far as families and spectators, we know that people may not want to stand out in this frigid weather,” she said. “It can be dangerous if you’re out there for a long time. The March event is where we’ll have our vendors, and it will be our main event.”

The town-owned airport gave organizers permission to use the field Saturday, and there will be no air traffic, Manager Kole Stevens said Monday. Pilots were notified that the runway would be closed Jan. 27-Feb. 6, he said.

For Saturday’s event, registration is from 11 a.m. to noon, and races begin at noon. It costs $20 for two runs.

There are nearly 20 classes of races depending on the size of a snowmobile, including a vintage class and categories for participants 14 years old and under. Cash prizes of $250, $150 and $100 will be awarded to the top-class finishers.

Saturday’s event will include a beer tent, which will return on March 18. Racers and spectators will also have a chance to browse several booths, enter a raffle through 207 Powersports and grab bites from the Lebanon-based food truck Fatboys Concessions at the March event.

“We’re hoping it will be warmer [in March], and that’s when we’ll have more for people to do,” Sands said.

Last year, organizers gave funds collected through registration fees to the Dover-Foxcroft Fire Department, Piscataquis Valley Snowmobile Club and Penquis Youth Hockey Association. There was no admission charge because the location was spread out and it would have been challenging to track attendees, Sands said.

This year, admission is by donation, which could lead to more funds that will benefit an organization, she said. Organizers haven’t decided where proceeds will go this year.

Information about the races is available on the Piscataquis Radar Runs Facebook page.

The Wilderness Sled Dog Races, which draws mushers from across Maine and other parts of the country and Canada, was scheduled to return to Greenville on Saturday, but organizers postponed the event to Sunday. Information is available on Facebook.