Contributed by: ACT Staff
Among the early favorites to win the $10,000 top price are the champions of several of the region’s short track series including ACT’s Jean-Paul Cyr, Phil Scott and Dave Whitcomb as well as PASS’ (Pro All Stars Series) Johnny Clark and Ben Rowe. Also filing an entry is veteran stock car driver Mike Rowe from Turner, ME who has the distinction of being both an ACT and a PASS champion. And Quebec’s defending Series Castrol title holder, Sylvain Lacombe from Terrebonne, Qc hopes to have a home field advantage.
Cyr, Scott, Whitcomb, Lacombe and Mike Rowe have all previously raced at the Sanair tri-oval. Neither Clark nor Ben Rowe has raced at the unique St. Pie race track before, but to their credit, the young guns have multiple event wins across New England as well as skills at the wheel of a race car that belie their age. Earlier this year, Lacombe finished second in the ACT event at Quebec’s high banked, 5/8ths mile Circuit Ste-Croix. A top finish by the veteran racer will help him in his quest to repeat as Series champion.
Another racer to keep an eye on is the ageless Claude Leclerc. At 60+, Leclerc will be one of the most experienced drivers in competition at the Sanair tri-oval this weekend. In addition to his thousands of miles at the wheel of a stock car at dozens of tracks over the year, Leclerc, a multi-time STP Canadian Challenge Champion, is a former winner at the Sanair tri-oval.
Other champions who’ve filed an entry for Sunday’s Mega Classique include Patrick Laperle from nearby St Denis, Qc as well as a pair of Airborne Raceway Late Model Champion, second generation racer, Brent Dragon from Milton, VT and Mooers Forks, NY driver, Mark Lamberton. Also, 35 year-old Derek Lynch will lead a contingent of Ontario drivers to Sanair for the first time in several years.
Laperle, a 30 year-old hot shoe, captured ACT’s 2005 New England Dodge Dealers Milk Bowl title in the event’s 43rd edition as well as the Furniture World of VT Fall Foliage 150 the week before. More recently, Laperle, who is a former Late Model Rookie of the Year at Airborne Raceway, Plattsburgh, NY, won the PASS race at Maine’s Oxford Plains Speedway on July 1.
Dragon, a three-time title holder at the Plattsburgh, NY half-mile loves the longer tracks. He has participated in four of the five ACT Late Model races held at Sanair and has earned a finish average of 8.5 which includes three top five efforts. The son of two-time ACT Champion (1979-1980), Harmon “Beaver” Dragon, who virtually ruled the Sanair tri-oval during his hey-day, would like nothing better than to score a $10,000 win.
Lamberton has been to Sanair twice in his lengthy racing career. Once as an ACT Sportsman driver, the other time, in 1998, at the wheel of a Late Model. The former Airborne Late Model champion must’ve found the track to his liking as he finished second to winner Joey Laquerre in his rookie season.
Lynch, a former winner of the prestigious Oxford 250, one of the Northeast’s most historic short track races, returns to Sanair for the first time at the wheel of a Late Model. The veteran competitor from Warkworth, ON, has several starts at the 7/8th miler during his previous stint with ACT in the 1990s. Lynch sees the ACT Late Model as a car for the times with its affordable GM “crate” engine, spec Koni shock absorbers and Goodyear Eagle racing tires.
Several past and present ACT Tour Rookies of the Year also look to make their marks at Sanair this weekend including 2005’s Scott Payea from Milton, VT, New Hampshire’s Roger Brown (2003), and Shelburne, Vermont’s Jamie Fisher (1999). Fisher also won the 2003 Thunder Road Int’l Speedbowl (Barre, VT) Late Model crown. None of the three have raced at the Canadian super speedway.
Additionally, Dennis Botticello, a multi-time track champion from southern New England is looking forward to seeing the track he’s heard so much about, “I know that Sanair’s a big track,” he stated. “We get around Thompson (CT) Speedway pretty well and that's the fastest short track (5/8ths
of a mile) in New England. The only thing that I want to check at Sanair is the banking. We have enough experience to set my car up once I know that,” he remarked.
This weekend’s Mega Classique will bring together the competitors from the Vermont-based ACT Late Model Tour and Quebec’s Série Castrol as well as a host of outlaw racers from across Canada and the northeastern United States. Qualifying, through heat races, is set to begin Saturday (July 8) around 3:00 pm. Sunday’s activities start with practice which will be followed by a Last Chance “B” Feature at 12 noon. The first of the three 50-lap segments comprising the Mega Classique is set for 1:30 pm.<br><br>
1. Saniar Super Speedway, St. Pie Que.
2. Mike Rowe (24), a veteran of more than 30 years, keeps on winning - here in a July 4 race in NC. He hopes his good fortune continues this weekend at Sanair.
3. Multi-time STP Canadian Challenge Champion Claude Leclerc.
4. Father and Son - Brent and Beavor Dragon.
5. 2005 ACT Rookie of the Year Scott Payea