Race Into Winter 2018 recap and photos: Racing-food-fun-great deals-all in one place. It’s the official start of winter snowmobiling for many! The 2018 event is now in the books and by all accounts was a success. Over 45,000 people attended the event during the three-day holiday weekend.
On Friday night all the vendors said it was the best Race Into Winter attendance ever, and the numbers proved them right as we saw 6,698, up approximately 1,000 from previous years. Saturday was pretty much on par with last year with 25,179, and Sunday was also up, by over 2,000, with 13,225 through the gate.
We often hear people take the total number of people through the gate and multiply it by the $15 and $20 admission fee to figure out what the event nets. There are a number of reasons why that simply does not work. All vendors are allotted a certain amount of free passes included in the site fees. Area neighbors within a certain distance of the venue are given complimentary passes, and there are sponsorships and contests that also result in free tickets. Children 12 and under are admitted free. So while our number reflects the amount of people through the gate, it does not give the total number for paid admissions. Another consideration is all the extra services required to host such an event-police, fire, EMS, porta-potties, dumpsters, and equipment are at the top of the list. And let’s not forget the money paid to clubs for their volunteer hours.
Governor Sununu and Tucker Hibbert
Tucker Hibbert was among the vendors, and spectators were excited to meet and have their photo taken with the retired X-Games racer, as well as get an autograph! Another celebrity in attendance was our very own Governor Chris Sununu. He spent quite some time on grounds and was very impressed with the magnitude of the event, especially the fact that it is volunteer run.
Speeds Top 115 MPH
The grass track saw some pretty fast speeds. Improvements were made to the runoff to allow the 100mph+ sleds to race, and the Pro Stock 1000 class did just that, with a few runs at 115mph! There were 10 pro classes with over 10 entries, and 7 classes with over 20 entries. Pro Stock 1000 had 28 entries. Race Results
Eastern Watercross Association had the most sleds ever registered to compete this year. It was the big “East meets West” challenge for them, with several top racers from other countries including Sweden, participating. Ours is the largest watercross venue in the states. Many of you may have seen the story WMUR aired featuring NH female racer Heidi Munson. Also in the clip was Brenden Melanson, another NH racer. It was good to see a positive story on snowmobiling in the news!
Rave X continues to bring an exciting show to NH every year, and they certainly know how to entertain. Their daredevil stunts are well thought out and practiced and a crowd pleasure for sure.
Amazing Kids Zone
Our Kids Zone includes a 120-track for the little ones to get the feel of the throttle-the smiles are priceless. Over 1,000 boys and girls got a ride on those mini-sleds. The newly added face painting was a hit, although it wasn’t clear who enjoyed it more, the painter or the paintees!
The lawnmower racing is quite an exciting addition to the event. They hold a championship race on both Saturday and Sunday, some of these machines reach speeds of 50+ mph! Our little interactive spectator mower challenge track adds a little fun for all.
Challenges and Solutions
We had our challenges this year for sure, it was a very wet summer, and it continued to rain just days before the start of the event. Besides the normal tasks of erecting snow and chain link fencing, putting the bleachers in place, marking out campgrounds and vendor sites, putting up all the signage, getting the tracks in shape, and general maintenance to any structures we use, our dedicated staff of volunteers was busy laying down wood chip roads, and pulling stuck vehicles from the fields pretty much all weekend.
Because this is a working farm, the parking lots are pastures and fields, and the rains left many of the parking and campground areas unusable, creating congestion and traffic woes. Compound the increasing popularity and growth of the grass drags with the fact that two other venues in the area held events at the same time and it caused traffic problems. We scrambled to remedy it with satellite parking and shuttles but there simply was not enough time to put it in place. Going forward there will be alternatives to parking at the venue in hopes to alleviate the issue. Workable solutions are being discussed now.
The volunteers who work the event are very dedicated and many of them take vacation time to be there earning needed funds for their clubs. The committee meets for months planning the show and getting every detail in place. It’s a fast-paced event and the team works hard to meet every challenge. We worked through them as best we could and I am once again both proud and humbled to lead this group.
In closing, I would like to thank each and every volunteer for assisting with the event, your help makes it work and is greatly appreciated! Thank you to all vendors, racers, spectators, safety services, sponsors, the Peterson and Bartholomew families, the town of Fremont and its residents, NHSA office staff, and to the committee (and their families for sharing them!): Bill Bolton, Jena Hayes, Chris Hanson, Victor Henry, Roland Martin, Charles Malmsten, Keith Monmaney, Leon Nelson, Stephanie Nelson, Nelly Roache, Jason Roache, Kevin Yelle, Dan Gould and Roger Wright.
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