Saturday, July 20, 2024

Despite weather challenges grass drags were a success in Ashland

Episode 433

September 4, 2023

Big Woods Grass Drags battle weather in Ashland

The 5th Annual Big Woods Grass Drags, a combined effort of the Ashland and Portage snowmobile clubs, proved to be a huge challenge due to rain that cascaded through the area continuing into Saturday.

For those unfamiliar with snowmobile grass drag racing the 500-foot race distance typically features about 100-feet of clay/silt starting area followed by grass for another 400-feet with about 1000-feet more grass surface for shutdown. Wet clay and wet grass make a tricky surface even more so with volumes of rain dropped upon them.

Race officials worked through the rain Saturday August 26th. The stock class racers finally were able run in what turned out to be tolerable conditions. The improved stock and Pro classes were asked to come back Sunday when light became an issue. Unfortunately, UpNorth Motorsports was unable to attend this event for the first time since its inception.

Justin Hartford Memorial 600 Pro Shootout

Justin Joseph Hartford, Wolfeboro, New Hampshire, son of Jennifer Langone Smith and Trell Hartford. A racer they called “The Legend”. (Lord Funeral Home image)

One of the examples of the empathy of race officials was the staging of the Justin Hartford Pro 600 Shootout in memory of Hartford from Wolfeboro, New Hampshire. He passed away July 29, 2023 at the tender age of 24. Despite his age Hartford made a name for himself racing snowmobiles cross country, snowmobile watercross, motocross, and snowmobile drag racing. He was very competitive and respected in all he did.

Podium finishers in the Pro 600 Shootout in memory of fellow racer Justin Hartford. J & J Lobsters as well as Ronnie Weeks were sponsors of the prize money in this race. Jamie Burbank said, “Top 3 finishers of the Justin Hartford Pro Shootout race this weekend at the BIG WOODS GRASS DRAGS!! Congratulations to the winner Madison Pellerin for taking win! Justin Hartford would be proud! Thank you so much to you all for racing in this class and keeping his memory alive! I know his parents are very thankful for this!” (Photo courtesy Big Woods Grass Drags)

Results of the 2023 Big Woods Grass drags

Results courtesy of Jen Buckingham

Site of next grass drags in the County

Aerial view of Spud Speedway under construction. Thompson Road is in the foreground. Jerry Williams Construction and several other contractors are putting the finishing touches on the new grass drag track as well as the new truck and tractor pulling track. Both tracks are surrounded by a huge paddock area for truck and tractor pullers. Impressive improvements to the racing and entertainment center. (Jim Gamage photo)

Loring Timing Association hosts another world record

The Harvest Event of the Loring Timing Association (LTA) was held at the former Loring Air Force SAC base in Limestone, Maine August 29-September 1, 2023. When I arrived on Friday afternoon the first thing said to me was did you see the world record set by the guy and girl on a motorcycle.

I was dumbfounded for a moment, “What? A guy and girl on the same bike went over 180 mph”?

James McDunnah, Wethersfield, Connecticut, on his Kawasaki Ninja ZX14R with his girlfriend Erika Marino, Wallingford. Connecticut, waiting in the staging lane for their record setting run. (HTF Motorsports photo)

When asked about his background, McDunnah replied, “I am a Director of Operations at JB Hunt and Erika is a Transportation Manager for a local logistics company.
I graduated from Penn State in 2017 with a degree in Supply Chain Management. Erika graduated in 2021 from University of New Haven with a degree in National Security.”
“I used to race back when Mototown USA was open in Windsor, Connecticut. At the time it was the largest indoor motocross track in the country. It unfortunately has since closed. I also rode a lot at a local practice track, CTMX in Rocky Hill Connecticut which has also closed.  I stopped riding motocross circa 2012. I was knocked unconscious after a bad jump and suffered memory loss and headaches for a while afterwards. No lasting issues luckily. “

On one of the jumps at the Mototown USA indoor motocross track, Windsor, Connecticut. It was the largest indoor motocross track in the USA until it closed. (Photo contributed by James McDunnah)

“I ride track in the Expert-level group on my 2018 Suzuki GSXR-750 but don’t have any plans to officially race. I’ve attached a photo of myself on that bike at a track day at Palmer Motorsports Park in Palmer, Massachusetts. I also ride at New York Safety Track in Jefferson, New York quite frequently.”

James McDunnah aboard his 2018 Suzuki GSXR 750 at a track day at Palmer Motorsports Park, Palmer, Massachusetts. (Contributed photo from James McDunnah)

Erika Marino does not ride street bikes. yet. She does ride dirt bikes. This is when she got her Kawasaki KX100 this past Spring of 2023. When asked if roles would be reversed McDunnah said, “Right now Erika has only piloted a 30 hp dirt bike, so she has some practicing to be able to handle a 230 hp street bike! However she’s determined, and I’m crazy enough, so I wouldn’t completely write off the possibility of trying the record with opposite driver/passenger combo!”(James McDunnah photo)

LTA starter Cliff Daly gives the “All clear let’s race” sign to McDunnah and Marino on their way to setting the 2_Up world record for motorcycles. (HTF Motorsports photo)

James McDunnah and Erika Marino both from Connecticut racing as Stepmother’s Chariot, set new world record for 2 Up or tandem on motorcycle with a speed of 188.923 mph. The old record was set by Allen Millyard and Henry Cole aboard Millyard’s Viper V10 powered custom bike at Elvington Airfield, North Yorkshire, England. McDunnah suspects Millyard & Cole will try for 200 mph. (HTF Motorsports photo)

You can see the Viper powered bike in this article. Quite a powerplant difference.

Marcia Barker knocking on a record run

Marcia Barker, a Central Belmont, Maine native now living in Reading, Pennsylvania,  brought her bellytank racer to Loring and ran137.605 mph and set records in E/FL and E/GL classes. The bellytank machine last ran at Bonneville in 1964 with Jerry Kugel at the wheel. It was lovingly restored by Tom Pease including a junkyard Ford 260 powerplant.

This is Marcia’s fastest speed at Loring in the Chevomet owned by Tom Pease, Florence, Massachusetts where he owns 1812 Paint and Body Shop. She attained a speed of 180.109 mph in the mile and a half setting a new C/FCC record. They will be back!

County man races to 200 in his street Mustang

Madawaska’s Kraig Dumais giving his Ford Mustang Shelby Cobra a pat on the air box to reassure it that it has over 200 mph in its DNA! Dumais was correct, he turned 200.455 in the mile earning his 200 MPH Club status. (HTF Motorsports photo)

Let’s go racing!

Tom Hale

Soli Deo Gloria (Matthew 5:16)