NH snowmobilers return to roots at Lancaster Grand PrixBy DEBRA THORNBLAD
Special to the Union Leader January 29. 2014 10:53PM
LANCASTER — The oldest snowmobile club in the country is reviving the oldest snowmobile race in the country to celebrate its 50th anniversary and the town’s 250th.
The Lancaster Grand Prix race will be part of a three-day celebration this weekend. It includes dusting off the Kilkenny Cup, named for the rugged mountain range on the town’s border.
“In a lot of ways, competitive snowmobiling was born in New Hampshire, in Lancaster,” Ken Balland, president of the Lancaster Snow-Drifters said.
He said for 13 years, the Lancaster Grand Prix was the superior snowmobiling race in the country, attracting nearly 20,000 spectators.
“We decided to restore the Grand Prix in hopes this special one-time event will bring out past competitors, along with the newest generation of snowmobilers,” Balland said.
The Lancaster Snow-Drifters, the oldest snowmobile club in the U.S., is also celebrating its 50th anniversary this year.
Shane Beattie, a club member and Grand Prix organizer, said the 1964 race was the brainchild of Bob Bottoms, owner of Timberland Machine, which sold logging equipment and Ski Doos. He said the Lancaster races were followed by Boonsville, N.Y., and then Eagle River, Wis.
The Boonsville club revived its races a few years ago and will be coming to Lancaster in force. Beattie said they are expecting 100 sleds from that group alone.
The event will start Friday, with the Vintage Snow Sled Show at Crane’s Snowmobile Museum on Main Street from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
That night, there will be a dinner and ball at the Mountain View Grand; a Grand Prix Snowmobile Queen will be chosen.
The Northern New York Vintage Snowsled Racers will race to the finish of the one-quarter mile track at the Lancaster Fairgrounds at 9 a.m. on Saturday. Later that day there will be a snowmobile parade on Main Street and a bonfire.
The Lancaster Grand Prix will take place at 9 a.m. Sunday at the fairgrounds. Racers will be awarded $8,000 in cash prizes over the two days of the celebration, which is sponsored by Ski Doo and Dalton Motor Sports, E.B. Spaulding, North Country Ford, Mountain View Grand and Fitch Fuel.
For more information go to www.lancastergrandprix.com