EGANVILLE – “This is the NASCAR of snowmobile racing as far as ice oval racing is concerned, you don’t get any better than this…It’s a really fabulous thing to be part of,” enthused the Secretary of the Bonnechere Cup, Robin VanHoof.
Almost 20 categories of snowmobile races take place over the annual weekend race supported by over 130 volunteers. The town buzzes with snowmobiles all week long and the town is full of visitors on the weekend.
People come from a considerable distance to race and spectate. Race Director Darin VanHoof, said that drivers come from Wisconsin, Manitoba, New York, Quebec and other areas to participate.
With warm temperature and steady rain on Saturday water pooled on the track. Darin VanHoof explained that the Castle Building Centre Ice Oval is built up over many weeks prior to the race.
“I heard we had about 18 inches [of ice]…it’s all darn good even with the rain,” he said.
Robin VanHoof said after the races, “We had such a great track that even though the rain was absolutely awful…it didn’t matter. Our track stood up because it was so well built. We have a wonderful person, Ralph Selle, he’s the man who does it for us. He takes pride in his craft.”
The VanHoof’s have only recently become involved with the Bonnechere Cup as organizers. They attended an organizing meeting with the Snodrifters Club who put on the race three years ago in order to volunteer their help. At the meeting, they learned that the race was in jeopardy.
Darin said of the previous organizers, “They were getting tired, they volunteered for 25 years. So, they needed a rest. They lost a couple of major sponsors. They didn’t want to go out and get new sponsors. Like I said, after 25 years you need a rest after putting in your all.”
Race volunteers meet throughout the year to ensure everything goes smoothly.
“Our kitchen table is our Bonnechere Cup office,” Robin said.
Get your February 24, 2016 edition of The Valley Gazette to read the full story.