Once again, Valcourt will be hosting the "Winner Takes All" titles in the Sport, Pro Lite and Pro Open classes. Last year, the ECS Pro Open riders were favored to win following dominating performances in the first two rounds of qualifying, but Donovan Asselin from La Doré (QC) scored an upset win over Corin Todd of Otego, NY and Lincoln Lemieux of St. Johnsbury, VT.
2014 Pro Open Triple Crown Action - This year, the final starting grid is more evenly split between the two series, even though riders from the ECS have won three of the first four qualifying rounds. In the opening event in Plattsburgh on January 18, ECS riders Lincoln Lemieux and Matt Morin of Val d'Or, (QC) led the pack in their individual qualifying rounds. ECS champion Danny Poirier of Saint-Theodore-d'Acton (QC) won his qualifying bout a week later in Louiseville (QC), scoring the third win for the ECS. Veteran Dave Allard of Saint-Félicien (QC) saved the day for the SCMX Series with a win in the final race.
Following the first two rounds, the starting grid for the Triple Crown will see Lemieux on the pole next to Poirier and Allard. Outside row one will be the 2013 Triple Crown Pro Open winner Donovan Asselin, his brother Dave and Mike Pilotte of Cheshire, Massachusetts, the 2013 Pro Lite Triple Crown Champion who made the move to the Pro Class this year. Thirteen riders will take the start on Friday afternoon.
2014 Pro Lite Triple Crown Showdown - If the odds of winning the Pro Open Class are fairly even, it's a little different in Pro Lite. ECS riders own six of the top seven spots on the starting grid, winning all four qualifying rounds. Leo Patenaude of Hartland, Vermont, winner of his two qualifying bouts in Plattsburgh and Louiseville (QC), is a heavy favorite. His main opponents will be his 14-year old brother Hunter, winner in one of the qualifying rounds in Louiseville, and Jason Boron of Leverett, Massachusetts, winner of round one in Plattsburgh.
The SCMX answer to the Pro Lite American Armada could come from Kevin Kelly of Shipshaw (QC) who finished second in each of his two qualifying rounds and who will start from third place ahead of Hunter Patenaude. Next to Hunter will be ECS rider Wade Acker of Bristol, Vermont, Jesse James Bonaduce of Sommerville, New Jersey, and Connor Roscoe of Cheshire, Massachusetts. Rounding up the top-10 are SCMX Québec riders David Tremblay and Jonathan Lebel, both from Saint-Bruno, and Michael Ouellette of Tingwick.
Top ten qualifiers SCMX's Luka Dubois of Saint-Félicien, QC and ECS rider Montana Jess of Westminster, Massachusetts, will be out of the running following injuries sustained in action last weekend.
Domination USA in the Sport Class - ECS riders have dominated the early rounds of the Sport Class Triple Crown, an addition to the three-race series in 2014. Winner of the first two qualifying races, Cody Paolella of Wallingford, Connecticut will start from the pole, next to Bruce Gaspardi of Cheshire, Massachusetts, Chris Ingles of Pennellville, New York, and Andrew Faukner of Jamestown, New York. Next in line will be Nykea Williams of Lyndonville, Vermont, the only girl competing in the Triple Crown Series, and Zak Roberts of Rome, New York. Six young Quebec riders will occupy the following spots on the grid.
A Full Weekend of Motorsport Racing Activities Awaits Fans
The 32nd running of the Grand Prix Ski-Doo of Valcourt presented by Intact Insurance will offer fans a full weekend of racing activities featuring six types of winter motorsport competitions.
From Friday to Sunday, the world's best ice oval track snowmobile racers, including Quebec's Jacques Villeneuve, Malcom Chartier, of Marine City, Michigan, Dustin Wahl of Greenbush Minnesota, and defending Valcourt champion Nicholas Van Strydonk of Tomahawk, Wisconsin, will showcase their talents in the daily finals and will attempt to win the big prize on Sunday.
For three days, spectators will also witness the feats of the top professional snocross riders from the Eastern United Stated and Canada, including competitors from the CSRA Series, the ECS, SCMX and riders from the Ski-Doo teams competing in the ISOC Series, as they battle for top honors in the Pro Open class.
Everyone is invited to attend, free of charge after 3:00 p.m., the Friday night under the lights Round 2 of the professional Top Speed Racing Snowmobile Drag Racing Series. Amateur drag racing competition will begin at noon for those who wish to test their snowmobiles in straight-line racing.
Also on the program for Saturday and Sunday are the daredevil motorcycle and ATV riders competing on the Yvon Duhamel ice oval track.
On Saturday, Xtreme enthusiasts can attend the highflying freestyle snocross showdown scheduled to start at 6:00 p.m. in the Xtreme Zone. This year, Quebec riders will face off against American Freestyers from Maine.
Admission to the Freestyle Snocross exhibition is $15 per person after 4:00 p.m., and free of charge for Grand Prix of Valcourt ticket holders. There will be plenty of fun and games for the whole family, including slides for children and kiddy snowmobile rides and live rock bands for the grown-ups.
From Max d'Orsonnens