With the 2008-09 snocross season opener now just a little more than a month away, teams across the northeast are gearing up for what could easily be one of the most competitive schedules in recent years.

Officials from Rock Maple Racing are busy preparing to kick off their 17th season of competition on Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 6-7, at the beautiful Whaleback Mountain ski area in Enfield, Hampshire.

C. W. Sirjane, last year’s Pro champion from Whitehall, N.Y., announced his retirement from racing last spring. With that news, the door swings wide open for a new face atop the point standings. Leading the charge toward that 2008 title are former champions Jason and Matt Boron. Both will return aboard the newly-refined Ski-doo 600RS for Dana White at D&Z Racing.

Thanks to RMR’s advancement policy, the Pro division is loaded with talent as we hit the snow in December. Former Semi-Pro stars Jason Stone, Chris Chico and Derek Graham will now battle skito-ski against the Borons and Danny Poirier. Stone will ride Ski-doo for the mighty Ingles Racing organization out of Phoenix, N.Y., while Chico and Graham will pilot Polaris sleds in their quest for supremacy.

Anyone concerned about these moves hurting the quality of competition in Semi-Pro can put those fears to rest. Trevor Bouchard (D&Z Racing) and Brennan Berardo are among the favorites in a full field of talented contenders. Other strong riders of note include Jake Melville and Shaun St. Onge.

Lucas Brunelle and Corin Todd move up from the Sport division this year, adding even more excitement to this division. And just as Sirjane will be missed in the Pro classes, former Semi-Pro Dale Petrus will be missed here as he has also decided to retire from the sport of snocross.

Intense battles will not be limited to the Pro and Semi-Pro divisions this season. Jake Dasilva and Joey Stock will lead a full field of up-and-comers in the Sport division, while former Junior standout Lincoln Lemieux also joins the mix. Lemieux turned a lot of heads last season as he became the first-ever Junior rider to qualify for the prestigious Semi-Pro Shootout.

From a manufacturer’s standpoint, the 2008-09 RMR snocross season should be pretty competitive, as well. Manufacturer support for snocross teams continues to be solid. With the absence of Harrison Motorsports, D&Z Racing becomes the flagship team for Ski-doo, while Chad Miller and David Duchnik (West series) will fly the colors for Arctic Cat. St. Johnsville, New York-based Team Cycle Worx will lead the Polaris effort, anchored by Pro division veteran Poirier. Yamaha is also well-represented in Rock Maple pit area, as the Herrmann family (Brent and Matt) proudly fly the bright blue four-stroke machines with their distinct, rumbling sound.

Across the pit area, from Pro to Semi-Pro, Women and Juniors, every division has its favorites.

Yet every division is also full of family-oriented teams just looking to enjoy quality time with loved ones and share their passion for snowmobiles and racing. It’s an extended family like no other, bundling up against winter’s cold to enjoy the sport of snocross. For more information, visit us online at www.rockmaple.com.sked

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