Eastern Snocross Tour completes successful inaugural season in 2020
Regional circuit saves sport from extinction in New England
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. (April 4, 2020) — As recently as September and October of 2019, it looked as if the sport of sanctioned snocross racing was on the brink of extinction here in the northeast.
It began back in the winter of 1991-92, when a couple in southern Vermont started the old Rock Maple Racing (RMR) circuit based primarily at Haystack Mountain and a few venues in eastern New York. From those humble beginnings led by Don and Nancy Finck, the series grew into a sizable entity.
After being carried to new heights by dynamic southern New Hampshire businessman Chuck Minasalli, RMR faded into oblivion when New York businessman Eric Scott and his Connecticut-based partner Bob Roscoe formed East Coast Snocross for the winter of 2009-10.
The new renamed ESC circuit would last 10 years, including the most recent six-year stint with western Massachusetts businessman Kurt Gagne at the helm. When he put ECS up for sale and had no offers, the outlook was fairly bleak for snocross enthusiasts in New England and New York.
Enter longtime powersports dealer and snocross team owner Bruce Gaspardi Sr. into the picture. Gaspardi, the leading Polaris team owner in this region for decades and a former racer himself, didn’t want to see his favorite winter sport disappear into the sunset. So he enlisted some help and got started.
During the Scott/Roscoe era of ECS, they utilized a man from southern New Hampshire as their General Manager to work with host venues, series partners and staff members. Shawn Longbook has 25 years of experience in the administrative side of powersports, and last fall, Gaspardi reached out.
“I’m fortunate that Bruce contacted me when he did,” Longbook said. “He asked me if I could help him save sanctioned snocross in the northeast, and I jumped at the chance. I knew the interest was still there, but our time frame to put things together was incredibly short. I knew it would be difficult.
“Yet we dug in and started reaching out to potential host venues, and those folks should get credit as well for their part in keeping this great sport alive. It takes good venues to pull off good races; places like New Hampshire Motor Speedway, for example, are perfect for us and added credibility.”
Longbook and Gaspardi, with support behind the scenes from ISOC, assembled a schedule of events in New Hampshire, New York and Maine. The new Eastern Snocross Tour (ESXT) would also join the AMSOIL Championship Snocross Series, powered by RAM, out in Salamanca, New York.
Despite losing one race weekend planned for the City of Auburn in central Maine, the events were held and racers had a place to compete. Was everything perfect for everybody, all the time? Of course not. But they worked at streamlining and refining procedures each race, and kept notes.
The second season for ESXT in 2021 promises to deliver even more excitement and good action for fans across the region. To Bruce Gaspardi Sr., Shawn Longbook, the entire ESXT staff and every single soul who labored to make this thing survive and thrive, we offer a sincere “thank you.”
To the race teams who “kept the faith” and traveled to each venue to compete, you are greatly appreciated. We’ll work hard to ensure your 2021 season creates more family-oriented memories to last a lifetime.
“It was through the efforts of many that this new series accomplished so much,” Longbook added. “We had to establish relationships with host venues, build trust and good communications between series officials and race teams, and try to attract new partners. I’m proud to say we did that.”
ESXT officials will release a tentative 2021 event schedule in late September or early October. Until then, we wish for good health to all of our teams, partners and staff members during the COVID-19 crisis. As tough as it it for those who are active and always “out and about,” we all need to stay home until the ‘All Clear’ sounds and the risk of danger passes. Life will eventually return to normal.