It was a last minute decision, but the defending Grand Prix of Valcourt snocross champion was almost a scratch for the 30th consecutive running of the great Quebec winter motorsports classic.
Tim Tremblay, the Lac Saint-Jean area native who moved to the USA in order to pursue his passion in the powerful ISOC Snocross Championship, added another feather to his cap by winning the prestigious 2012 Snocross World Championship last January in Eagle River, Wisconsin.
The victory, along with other considerations, earned him an invitation to attend an international snocross meet in Russia the weekend of February 25, which would have forced the Sainte-Jeanne-d’Arc resident to miss the Valcourt race because of possible jet lag problems had he participated in the Valcourt event a week earlier.
But Mother Nature came to the rescue and with Tremblay’s win in the Pro Open ISOC race in Pontiac, Michigan last Friday, the newly crowned World Snocross Champion will be in Valcourt this coming weekend for the Grand Prix February 17-19. Lack of snow due to rain and warm weather, forced ISOC Series officials to reschedule the February 3-4 Farmington, New York races to February 24-25, a conflicting date with the Russian international meet.
Also, his win at the Silverdome Stadium got the Ski-doo Warnert Racing driver within 11 points of championship leader Ross Martin of Team Polaris Judnick Motorsports, who finished sixth that night. At the halfway mark of the season, the decision not to go to Russia must have been a no brainer.
Two Defending World Champions in Valcourt
Last week, it was announced that Nicholas Van Strydonk, who began the 2012 season by capturing the World Championship Snowmobiler Derby at Eagle River, would be in Valcourt to defend the Grand Prix titles he won the last two seasons.
With Tremblay joining the fray, this will mark the first time that two reigning World Champions, who also happen to be the Grand Prix defending champions, would compete in Valcourt the same weekend. Fans interested in meeting the drivers and also discover what makes Valcourt tick at this time of the year, can attend Open House Thursday free of charge to see the drivers test their machines on the ice oval and on the snocross tracks as they get ready for the big weekend ahead. Gates open at 1 p.m.
The participation of Tremblay and several ISOC racers such as Justin Broberg from Waukesha, Wisconsin, Darrin Mees of Long Island, New York and Robbie Malinoski of Lino Lake, Minnesota in the Grand Prix, as well as that of 2011 East Coast Snocross Pro champion Matt Morin from Val-d’Or, who now toils his trade in ISOC, could mean another ISOC Series drivers domination in the Pro classes in Valcourt. Or maybe not.
With three series making the Grand Prix part of their 2012 championship schedule in the Pro and Pro Lites classes, riders from the Quebec-based SCMX series, the Canadian Snowcross Racing Association (CSRA) and the East Coast Snocross (ECS) series based in the American Northeast will be coming in great numbers to try and win bragging rights on who’s the best.
Most of the series’ pro champions have returned for 2012 and so far this year, they keep notching up wins in their own series and in the mixed meetings. In the last CSRA-SCMX meet two weeks ago, the top riders, as well as those from the ECS, gathered in Louiseville, Quebec.
They were all there to size one another up in order to get ready for the big one in Valcourt. Four Pro races were on the agenda and four different riders won. CSRA Pro champion Iain Hayden of Holland Center, Ontario and SCMX’s Pro Super Stock champ Dave Asselin of La Doré, Quebec each won a race on Saturday, while Dave Allard of Saint-Félicien, the reigning SCMX Pro Open monarch won on Sunday.
The surprise came from Idaho snocross rider Colby Crapo who capture the Pro Super Stock 600 on Sunday. The unknown is a Leighton Motorsports teammate of Jennifer Paré. He traveled with the team to Louiseville where she was competing in the Sports Class. Crapo is a regular driver in the ISOC Pro Lite class who picked up a season-best fifth-place finish last Friday at the Silverdome in Michigan.
As for Quebec rider Danny Poirier, who led both the ECS Pro Open and Pro Stock classes ahead of Dylan Martin of Pleasant Prairie, Wisconsin and Lincoln Lemieux following the first four meetings run so far this year, he stepped to the podium in three of the four races in Louiseville. In the CSRA championship race, Hayden leads the Pro Open Class ahead of last season’s points runner-up David Joanis of Cochrane, Ontario and Lee Butler from Sudbury. Fourth-place in the standings belongs to pro rookie Dylan Hall of Ayr, Ontario. Last year at Valcourt, Hall handily won the Pro Lite race.
Aside from snocross action this weekend, fans will enjoy the highly charged ice oval snowmobile races. The motorcycle daredevils and ATV riders, who will share the bill on the Circuit Yvon Duhamel oval track. On Friday afternoon, February 17, fans are invited to attend the snowmobile drag racing showdown, which will conclude under the lights. Admission to the Grand Prix on Friday is free of charge for anyone passing through the Grand Prix turnstiles after 3:00 p.m.
Something new awaits spectators this year with the addition of the Big Air Tow-In snowboard competition on Saturday afternoon, February 18, 2012. Admission to the snowboard freestyle competition is $10 per person after 3:00 p.m., and free of charge for spectators with valid Grand Prix admission tickets.
Tickets for the 30th running of the Grand Prix of Valcourt are available at the ticket office at 1-450-532-3443 or at 1-866-532-7543. Some Trackside Suite passes are still available. To learn more about the weekend festivities, schedule and ticket packages, fans can visit www.grandprixvalcourt.com.
Located a mere 40 kilometers (25 miles) northwest of Sherbrooke, Québec, Valcourt is 90 minutes away from Montréal and around two and a half hours from Plattsburg, New York, Burlington, and a little more from Montpelier, Vermont and Laconia New Hampshire. The track’s civic address is 917, Route 22 in Maricourt.