The Eastern Snowmobile Racing Hall of Fame Inductee Ceremony
The Eastern Snowmobile Racing Hall of Fame is a non-profit organization originated by Paul T. Crane, who along with its board members on May 20th of 2017 at Crane’s Snowmobile Museum, began to recognize our first generation eastern snowmobile racers. Those original “Warriors of Winter,” the ones who started it all.
The first chapter of the history of snowmobile racing was written right here in Lancaster, New Hampshire, the town that introduced the revolutionary Bombardier Ski-doo to America in December of 1959.
It was here, that the very first organized race was held in February of 1962! The Lancaster Grand Prix, with it’s famous Kilkenny Cup, was considered the biggest, most prestigious in eastern racing during the golden era! A more fitting town could not be considered for an eastern snowmobile hall of fame than Lancaster, nor a better place within which to house it than Paul T. Crane’s museum.
VIEW PAST YEAR’S INDUCTEES 2017-2019
2020 Inductees to The Eastern Snowmobile Racing Hall of Fame:
Joe Wilkinson began racing Ski-doo for the Tri-State Power Sled Team from Lee MA, from 1966 to 1973. Joe cleaned up at the 1969 Berkshire Hills Championship by taking first place in Stock “B” Stock “C” and Mod I!
He grabbed first place wins in Stock “B” Stock “C” ModI and Mod II at the 1969 Massachusetts State Championship! Joe was the overall Stock winner at the 1970 Massachusetts State Championship Wilkinson went on a tear in New York State in 1970, by taking three firsts and one second at four different events!
1971 was no different as he took several first places in New York and Connecticut! In 1972, Joe’s Blizzards were hard to beat! He took two first places at the Lancaster Grand Prix, winning the coveted Kilkenny Cup!
Joe took second place in Mod II at the World Series at Ironwood, MI and was second in USSA points in Mod II for the season! Joe’s Mod II sled for 1973 took first at Bangor ME, at Northampton MA and he won the Pennsylvania State Championship! Joe Wilkinson always wore a gold bib with the #5 gold bib being his highest!
Roger Poulin began racing in 1967 on a 340 ss Ski-doo displaying an early talent for going fast! He jumped to a big 669 Ski-doo for 1969 always placing in the top five at every event he entered! Roger swept all four events at Bethel Vermont in 1970 taking first places in the oval, drags, cross country and slalom! In 1971, Team Rodco made a good choice when offering Roger a chance to race Arctic Cats. Besides winning many smaller races He grabbed two first place wins in Mod II and Mod III at one of the premier NH events, the Bourbon Cup at Laconia! Changing to Polaris in 1972, Roger was unbeatable in “C” Stock and Mod IV at every race he entered plus grabbing many 1st and 2nd place finishes in Mod I and Mod V! Roger sometimes raced four different classes in one day! He returned to Rodco Cats for 1973 and continued his winning ways by taking two firsts at Ludlow,VT in Mod III and the open class, but it was at the New Hampshire State Championship in Wolfboro where he got his name on the Big Cup, becoming top point Champion! In 1974 and ’75 Poulin won back to back Mass State Championship titles and came away with the #7 Bib in USSA racing! He was invited to the Snowmobile World Series at Eagle River WI, in 1974 where after holding the lead in the early going he blew a clutch!. Roger worked as tech adviser for Rodco and sponsored many local races near his home town of Randolph, VT. in April of 1976, at 25 years old, Roger Poulin was diagnosed with cancer, cutting short his incredible racing career of 60 top wins in only eight years of racing! it was however for Mr. Poulin just another win!
George, during his first year in competition, earned the fourth lowest bib number for stock classes, was the season’s high point winner in “B” Stock and second high point winner in “A” Stock!
He dominated every class he entered at the 1974 New England Snowmobile Open in Greenville Maine, winning all first place finishes in “A”, “B” and “C” Stock! George won first place in “B” Stock at the 1974 World Series in Eagle River WI. During his second race in the 1974/75 season George was injured in a crash, ending his season.
In his first race back in 1975, he won three firsts and a second at Jackman Maine! For the next three years straight, George enjoyed a perfect attendance record by never missing one single race! George had garnered over 75 trophies in just the first three years of racing, attaining the #2 Gold bib!
His impeccable gentleman like conduct both on and off the track earned him the, “New England’s Sportsman of the Year” award for 1978! George grabbed three firsts, three seconds and a third at the inaugural Granite State Open Championships in Berlin, New Hampshire in 1979! George worked tirelessly to improve racing, both as a member of the USSA New England Board of Directors and as chairman of the safety committee.
The late Ted Winot was a long time USSA Official, he was our Flagman for all Major New England Snowmobile Championship events and a tireless promoter of the sport of snowmobiling and snowmobile racing. Ted began his flagging career in stock car racing, during the early 1960’s. In 1966 he was invited to flag at the Lancaster Grand Prix and never looked back, until he flagged his last snowmobile race at Whitefield, NH, in 1984!
His flags, made for him by his wife Doris were treated like gold. Each one displayed in a certain order and when the event ended, were folded carefully and particularly.
Ted’s career as a USSA official and chief starter took him to the most prestigious racing events in the eastern division of the United States Snowmobile Association, including several Maine SnoPro events!
Ted’s fairness as a flagman earned him the utmost respect from both the competitors and spectators alike! Whenever anyone who has ever passed under one of his checkered flags gathers in conversation and Ted Winot’s name comes up, along each story told, there are many accompanied smiles!
He was a Yamaha representative, from 1969 to his retirement. A job he took very seriously, treating his many dealers more like family than business associates, often going above and beyond for them!
Paul began racing snowmobiles in 1969 for Rupp Distributor, “The Harris Company,” from Portland Maine. He won in both the cross country and Mod I at the “Lake’s Region Open” in Wolfboro, New Hampshire and won first place in Mod III at Berlin, New Hampshire in 1969! He received full sponsorship from “Bardahl Oil Company” for the 1970 season racing Rupp snowmobiles! At the 1970 “Maine State Championship,” he won first place in both the cross country and in Mod IV oval competition!
Paul broke through the “Timberland Machines Inc.,” sea of yellow by winning in Mod III with his Rupp at the 1970 “Paul Bunyan Open” in Bangor, Maine! At the 1970 “Lancaster Grand Prix” he took first place in the cross country and first place in Mod II !
He grabbed first place wins in the 400 Stock Class and in Mod II at the 1970 “Pennsylvania State Championship!” Paul not only began racing Chaparrals for “Nelson and Small Company” from Portland Maine in 1971, but helped to set up over 30 new dealers throughout New England! In 1974 Mercury shipped him two brand new Sno-Twisters. He went undefeated in both classes and was a shoe-in for the World Series, but was involved in a horrific crash at Boonville, New York, breaking both legs, an arm and needing multiple skin graphs!
Paul came roaring back in 1975 winning five out of six races at the season’s first event in Jackman Maine against hundreds of top New England drivers! He won most points and the Championship! With nothing more to prove, Paul Lamontagne retired at years end.
Tom was a small town independent driver who raced entirely within the borders of the State of Maine during his five plus years of professional snowmobile racing! He rode to a third place finish in cross country at Mapleton aboard a 1966 370 twin cylinder Ski-doo and to a first place finish in cross country in the Class “C” division at Island Falls in 1968!
Tom competed with the best eastern drivers at the 1970 “Paul Bunyan Open” taking second in the 650 Class and as eventual winner Cal Reynolds told later, “Tom Peters gave me the race of my life!”
Tom raced to a first in Class “A,” a first in Class “D” and a second in the Open Class, at Ellsworth in 1970! He won both Mod III and Mod IV in the speed ovals, plus first place in the Mod IV Drag Race at Limestone, in 1971!
Tom won first place in both Mod I and Mod II at Houlton and captured the prestigious, “Buckingham Trophy” at the “Maine Maritime Snowmobile Championships,” in 1972!
Coming out of retirement in 1976, he won another cross country race in Presque Isle against much younger riders! Tom Peters was recognized for his achievements and is the only snowmobile racer in the State of Maine’s history to be inducted in 2018, into the “Maine Motorsports Hall of Fame!”
Judy began her racing career in 1973 and by 1980, she was considered by most, to be the best woman racer in North America! When she was only 17, she set the Women’s Land Speed Record for snowmobiles at 72.4 mph and nearly set the men’s record of 94 mph but blew a piston 20 feet from the finish line!
Racing Rupp sleds from her father’s dealership, Judy won 10 Snowmobile World Series Championships! She was the youngest woman to win the title and after her ninth Championship, became the first person, man or woman to win nine titles!
From Warners New York she also drove Mercury, Sno-jet, Arctic Cat and Ski-doo sleds.On the very same day in 1980 that our USA Olympic Hockey Team beat the Soviet Union to advance to the Gold Medal round, Judy Rinaldi won the World Series of Snowmobiling in Waldheim, Saskatchewan, Canada!
SAVE THE DATE:
The 2021 Inductee Ceremony will be held Saturday September 11, 2021 at 1:30 pm