NEWPORT CITY – Forty-two snowmobile enthusiasts had a need for speed at the sixth annual Fire and Ice Radar Run.
KLW Productions sponsored the event that took place on Lake Memphremagog behind the Eastside Restaurant Saturday. It entailed traveling down a 600-foot track with a 400-foot slow down lane. Speeds reached well over 100 miles per hour.
Promoter Ken Wells said Pat Sicard of Derby reached the top speed of 133 miles per hour.
Competitors came from as far as Tilton, N.H., and Sherbrooke, Quebec, to take part in 10 categories that had first and second place winners. The total number of participants was a little less than average, but considering the lack of snow, Wells is not disappointed.
Many of the participants have a lot of money invested in the hobby of radar runs.
“It’s like any hobby,” said Wells. “It takes money.”
Jim Rich of Lyndonville was one of the racers. Rich, a huge race enthusiast, formerly raced for Fortin Races. Rich used a sled that had belonged to a friend of his who had died. “We’re racing for him today,” he said.
The radar runs give the snowmobile racers an opportunity to enjoy their sleds in a year where riding has been far less than perfect. Some people, like Rich, enjoy racing no matter the amount of snow.
Rich said he likes the adrenalin rush. "It's really fun," he said.
“Just the need for speed,” is the reason Jack Freeman of Highgate has been taking part in such races for 15 years. Freeman said the difference between riding on the track and in the woods is, “On the track you can get it going."
Freeman enjoys seeing how fast he can make the snowmobiles travel.
Todd DeMarinis, owner of Peak Performance in St. Albans, said radar runs are always fun. DeMarinis usually competes in radar runs every weekend.
“I love to do it,” said DeMarinis, who has not driven on trails in years.
Joe Church of Colchester owns a sled that holds two world records for speed. Church said he didn’t reach his record it this past weekend, but his sled has gone 189 miles an hour at 1,320 feet and 171 in 1,000 feet. Those records were made in the Midwest, Church said.
“We’re happy,” said Church. “We’re like junkies for this stuff. Wherever we can find a place to go, we head out and do it.”
Wells thanked Dena Gray from the Eastside, Dave Price for running the radar, Pat Sicard for cleaning the track, Jeff Manning to being the utility man and Stans' Sport Stop for providing the trophies.