By: Ron Szczerba
On Saturday and Sunday January 11 & 12 the roar of big block stock car motors will give way to the sounds of snowmobile engines as the East Coast Snocross Series presents a two day event at the legendary Fonda Speedway as the East Coast Snocross Series (ECS) gets set for round two of the 2014 racing schedule on the historic Montgomery County Fairgrounds track in Fonda, NY.
Spectator gates will open at 10:30 A.M. each day, with pro racing getting under way at 12:30 P.M. Admission is $12 per day for adults, $10 for children ages 8-12, age 7 and under will be admitted free with a paying adult. Pit passes will be available for an extra $10.
Spectators who don't want to just watch the snocross event will be able to try it themselves as you can bring your snowmobile (700CC maximum limit) and give snocross a try. Trail classes will be available both days at Fonda for rookie racers.
Leading the charge into Fonda are pro riders Mathieu Morin and Danny Poirier. The two Quebec natives split the pro finals in round one during a one-day doubleheader in New Hampshire in early December. Both are teammates on the New York-based Ingles Performance/Ski-doo squad and both know how to win races and championships. Morin won the final Rock Maple Racing (RMR) crown in 2010, while Poirier is a three-time regional champion (2004, 2009, & 2012) here in the northeast.
The snocross event at Fonda will be the first promotion by DeLorenzo Speedway Management LLC with Matt DeLorenzo at the helm. Other partners sponsoring the event besides DeLorenzo Speedway Management are BBL Carlton, Recovery Sports Grill, and Parker & Hammond.
SO THE QUESTION MAY BE WHY SNOCROSS AT FONDA? HERE IS THE ANSWER FROM NEW FONDA SPEEDWAY PROMOTER MATT DELORENZO
“I felt that we had the ideal location because it is in the middle of snowmobile country,” DeLorenzo said. “It is an easy stop off the New York State Thruway for snowmobilers traveling by the Fonda area from the South and East to go snowmobiling in the Old Forge and Tug Hill areas.”
“Fonda Speedway is an easy set-up to hold such an event; it has the parking, bleachers, sound system and concessions already in place.”
“I've been a snowmobiler all my life, raced them, and raced motocross for several years. This is a mix of both which I want to help support and keep the sport growing stronger. We don't get to see snocross close to our area so I felt this was the perfect place and time as the sport has also really gained popularity.”
“I wanted to give the local community an opportunity to see a different type of racing in the winter time. This event will also give some business to the local establishments during the winter months. I think folks will be surprised at the talent and professionalism that East Coast Snocross will bring to Fonda Speedway.”
“Am I nervous about promoting my first event at Fonda? Not yet but I think I will be the day before the event. Natural snow is always nice but we are going to make it. There are a lot of things to plan for along with all the improvements we are doing with the fairgrounds and also trying to get ready for the stock car racing season.”
“It's a little aggressive for my schedule, but I'm hopeful it will be successful so we can build on it for next year to make it even bigger and better. The folks at East Coast Snocross have been very helpful and together we hope to make this an annual event.”
SNOWMOBILES LAST RACED AT FONDA BACK IN 1969
Looking back through the years this will not be the first snowmobile race at Fonda as they raced there on the speedway surface itself back on December 21, 1969. In a story published in the Schenectady Gazette back on Thursday December 18, 1969 describing the event it stated "the races will feature the stock snowmobile and will give the amateur an afternoon of family fun while there will also be classes and events for the high powered modified vehicles. Awards to the top drivers, both stock and modified, will be made in each of the many classes. A special badge will be awarded to each driver competing in the grand opening program."
According to local businessman Bobby Sanders who actually competed in the first snowmobile event at Fonda back in 1969 it was first hoped that the snowmobile races at Fonda would be a weekly deal but it never did pan out as a total of only three races were run.
"Back then snowmobile racing was really blossoming," Sanders said by phone recently. "In 1969 we were racing model year 1970 snowmobiles and I raced a 1970 Rupp owned by Ed Pieniazek. The motor in the snowmobile had fuel injection on it that came off of one of Pete Corey's big block motors. When I was 16 years old my friend Ed Myczek introduced me to Ed (Pieniazek) and Pete (Corey) and from then on I helped work on their race cars and snowmobiles and got the chance to race Ed's snowmobile. Back in the day the guys would come up with something different to do to the race cars and the sleds every minute."
At age 10 Sanders used to ride a snowmobile with wooden skies around his yard at eight miles per hour and since then has seen snowmobiles and snowmobile racing evolve to what it is now. Not only did Sanders race snowmobiles at Fonda he also raced stock cars there as well.
"I raced snowmobiles at many of the local tracks where stock cars are raced now including Fonda, Lebanon Valley, Utica Rome, Orange County, Oswego, and Weedsport (Cayuga County) where snowmobile racing on Thursday night's was a big thing that Glenn Donnelly had started back then," Sanders said. "I raced up until I was 40 years old racing Jerry Rose's stock car at Fonda along with some of my own equipment through the years with my best finish being a third place at Fonda."
For more information on the snocross event at Fonda you can go to the East Coast Snocross Series website www.eastcoastsnocross.com or the new Fonda Speedway website created by Bobby Chalmers at www.fondaspeedway.com