“Soup [Campbell’s nickname] won,” said Olsen.. “He was the first one to get to land. We had to let him win.”
“That was pretty fun,” laughed Campbell. “I guess anytime that you can race with two champions and beat them is pretty cool.”
To get a head start on riding, Olsen even came up a little bit early, before rain washed away some of the trails.
“Today [Saturday], we didn’t do a whole lot of riding because it was kind of slushy, but we came in Thursday and on Friday we did a lot of riding,” said Olsen. “We rode over 200 miles over to Pittsburgh, New Hampshire. We got in some good riding before the conditions turned bad. It was raining about halfway through the ride. It’s a good time whether you ride or not.”
SNOW WAS THIN, BUT TIMES WERE FUN AT CHARITY SNOWMOBILE RIDE By Mike Twist
Busch North Scene Event Draws Several Racing Names
Every season, the Busch North Scene Charity Snowmobile ride provides an opportunity for competitors in what was the Busch North Series (now to be known as the Busch East Series) to get together in the Western Mountains of Maine to mingle away from the racetrack and ride snow machines. Crew members, officials and fans come along too and some cash is raised for worthwhile charities.
“We had a good time,” said Busch North champion Andy Santerre. “We didn’t do a lot of riding because the conditions weren’t the best, but we did a little bit of playing around on the lake. We traded sleds back and forth and had a good time.”
Part of that fun included an impromptu race between Santerre, 2001 champion Mike Olsen and Busch North Scene publisher and ride organizer George Campbell across Rangeley Lake. Surprisingly, it wasn’t a big name from the track that won in that competition.
There was no doubt which sled that Mike Johnson drove - it was the one with his racing number, 96, decaled on the side.
In short, it’s been a win-win-win situation for seven years now.
This year, the lack of snow in the Rangeley Lakes region threatened to put a damper on the festivities. The riding was said to be poor with the trails in rough shape. The region, where snow is a valuable community in the winter, simply can’t catch a break. Even a major storm this past weekend that dumped a few feet of snow on much of the Northeast only left a few inches of the white stuff.
But when it came to the Busch North ride, it turned out that the lack of snow didn’t seem to matter very much. The conditions might have left a lot to be desired, but everyone had a good time anyways.
There were some great views along the Busch North Scene snowmobile ride. (51 Photos)
Santerre and Olsen were joined by fellow Busch North drivers Mike Johnson, Rick Bell, 2006 Rookie of the Year candidate Jeremy Clark and PASS driver Bobby Cabral. Another driver, Brad Leighton, sent his best wishes but was absent because he was ice racing in New Hampshire instead.
The ride gave everyone a chance to mingle away from the pressures of the racetrack.
“We’re not at the track and there’s not any schedule to follow, so we can take it easy, relax and talk,” said Olsen. “It’s a good time.”
“This was a lot of fun and we got to meet a lot of great people today,” said Clark, who is new to Busch North competition after several seasons of dirt racing. “That is going to be a lot of help this spring.”
Clark, who brought most of his pit crew from New York for the ride, hooked up with Johnson’s team and let those ride veterans lead the way around Rangeley.
“We went around with those guys and had fun,” said Clark. “They’re a crazy crew. They know their way around, that’s for sure.”
The ride, raffle and auction raised nearly $7,000 for a number of charities and plans are already in place to do it again next year.
Everyone plans to be back and that’s no surprise since both ride veterans and rookies enjoyed themselves this year.
“I haven’t been able to make it every year, but I’ve made it three or four times and I always enjoy it,” said Olsen. “We try to come every year, but sometimes that’s hard with family. Usually it’s awesome riding up here and this year it’s a little off, but it is off everywhere. When we left, we weren’t sure if there would be any snow.”
“We had a lot of fun,” said Santerre. “The riding wasn’t the best, but it was for a good cause. I’m always excited to come up here. George does a great job with this. He raises a lot of money and spreads it to a bunch of charities. I’m just happy to be a part of it.”
“It was a great time,” said Clark. “We’ll be back next year with a full crew.”
The 2007 running of the Busch North Scene snowmobile ride is scheduled for Saturday, February 3rd in Rangeley, Maine.
Riders made the most of a thin snowpack for this year's event.