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Weekend warrior


Cam Drouin spends weekends racing snocross around the Northeast



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CAM DROUIN sits on his sled while crew member Justin Kennedy stands behind him as they prepare for the first race of the East Coast Snocross season Dec. 11 and 12. Joshua Spaulding. (click for larger version)
November 29, 2010
BARNSTEAD — Many college students have a tough time getting to their first classes of the week.

Keene State College student Cam Drouin of Barnstead is no different, but his reasons are probably a bit different than those of many of his classmates.

The Prospect Mountain High School graduate, who won a pair of championships with the Timber Wolf baseball team and came within a few points of a basketball title in his time at Prospect, spends his weekends racing snowmobiles as part of the East Coast Snocross racing series.

"It's keeping me going, the competition level and the thrill of trying to lead," Drouin said. "It's almost like not winning the championship once you've won one. You don't want to stop."

Drouin is in his second year of racing on the series, which recently was sold. The former Rock Maple Racing Series races throughout New England and New York and even in Canada. While he only ran a few races last season, Drouin is aiming for a full complement of races this winter.

"Last year I wanted to get into it and see if I liked it," Drouin stated. "And it turns out I was pretty good at it.

"So the goal this year is to race everything," he added.

Drouin notes that he has been riding snowmobiles since he was a kid, a love he got from his father, Mike, and watching the X Games as a youngster and seeing the snocross event pumped him up even more to get involved in something that was fun.

"I always wanted to do it but the financial support was hard to come by," he said. "I finally got a sled capable of doing it and I told myself I was going to do it."

Like most college students, Drouin has worked out a favorable class schedule this coming semester. For him, that means having Fridays and Mondays off so that he can head off to the various venues early Friday morning and not have to worry about being back in class early on Monday morning.

Drouin heads home to Barnstead on Thursday night and Friday morning he and his father are on the road to wherever the series is heading to that week.

Each weekend can feature up to 10 races for Drouin. He races in the Sport 600 Class and the Super Sport 600 Class. Each class has a couple of heats plus finals. Sport Class runs four laps in heats and six laps in the finals, while Super Sport races six laps in the heats and eight in the finals.

"It takes a toll on your body, you never know what's happening next," Drouin said.

For those unfamiliar with snocross, the sport involves racing on snowmobiles over courses that include many jumps and turns along the way. There is usually a good number of other machines on the course at the same time and there is certainly an inherent danger to all riders as they make their way high through the air and through tight corners side-by-side with other riders and machines.

Drouin has found, that despite his strong background in high school sports, snocross is something that has forced him to really focus on his fitness.

"I've been in the gym the last two months to stay in shape," Drouin said. "And Sunday nights, I can barely get into my car."

While snow has yet to fall in big enough amounts to get Drouin out on his machine this winter, the first event of the season is approaching quickly, as the East Coast Snocross series gets going on Dec. 11 and 12 at East Burke, Vt.

Until then, Drouin is unsure whether he will get a chance to get on his machine prior to the first race, though the series is in talks with ski areas in the northern part of New England to try and find a spot where they can all get out and ride this coming weekend. Otherwise, it will be a quick indoctrination when the first race rolls around, as it may be the first time Drouin has been on his machine this winter.

Drouin notes that the series brings a lot of fun wherever it goes for spectators from all over the Northeast. He's pretty sure the crowd gets its money's worth every time the series performs.

"People come to watch and they get a thrill out of it, especially the crashes," he said. "And that can happen once in a while."

Fans from all over New England can catch the East Coast Snocross series in numerous locations, but the closest race to home for Drouin is the race set for Jan. 15 and 16 in West Ossipee. The series raced in West Ossipee a few years in a row but didn't race there last year. Drouin and his counterparts will return to the Lakes Region, where traditionally large crowds turn out to see the racers in mid-January. A race in Salem is also scheduled for later in the season.

After a trip to East Burke, Vt. to open the season, the series goes to Plattsburgh, N.Y., one of the longest trips of the season for Drouin.

Drouin's Blind Side Racing team includes two mechanics, Chad Call and Chad Prusia, and also four or five crew members, which can include high school teammate Justin Kennedy, who was helping with the sled on a recent Wednesday morning. His dad, Mike, also helps out and has earned a lot of praise from his son for all he does to help support the addiction.

"My family's a big factor," he said. "Without them, I'd never be able to do this.

"My dad's behind me 100 percent," Drouin added, noting his father takes Fridays off from work to get him and his sled to the race course.

The crew performs a wide variety of activities on race weekends, from moving the sled to the starting line to helping the mechanics and keeping Drouin up to date on what's up on the course.

With the race season on the horizon, Drouin is psyched to get things going.

"It's a lot of fun," the Prospect grad said. "It's definitely something I'm happy I've gotten into."

Any person or business interested in providing material or monetary sponsorship for Blind Side Racing on the East Coast Snocross series, is encouraged to call Drouin at 520-8450 for information on how they can help.

PeterCavanagh
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