Spring floods can't put brakes on snowmobile races in Maugerville

No snow didn't stop stop snowmobile racers in Maugerville, N.B., on Saturday. But the track looked a lot different than it did just a few months ago.

'This place has been completely rebuilt this year,' says event organizer

The snowmobile races have been held at River's Edge Dragway for the past three years. (CBC)

No snow didn't stop snowmobile racers in Maugerville, N.B., on Saturday.

But the track made of grass and mud looked a lot different than it did just a few months ago.

The water "was up to here from where we're standing," said Andrew Orchard, pointing to his neck.

"We had to put 28 tandem loads of fill in here, just to bring all this back up, because the river actually caved it all in," he said.

Orchard is a co-ordinator at the River's Edge Dragway. They've held the snowmobile races here, on Mark Robinson's property, for the past three years.

A snowmobile races on a grass course in Maugerville, N.B., on Saturday. (CBC)

"Everything around [here] has been put back up this year," Orchard said. "The stage and everything was in the woods. … This place has been completely rebuilt this year. It's not exactly what it was, unfortunately, but it takes time."

Orchard estimates that the cost of getting the course back to racing conditions was about $4,000.

But it was even worse for Robinson personally.

Andrew Orchard says cancelling the races was never in the plans. (Mike Heenan/CBC)

"The water came up quickly, faster than what I expected," he said. "So (Andrew) came over on a Friday … and we were tying all the fencing down. But by mid-afternoon we couldn't get back home. The place had totally flooded under water."

But they never considered cancelling the races.

"We had a little, tiny bit of money left over from last year and our main goal was to get it restored so at least the land was good for Mark — we didn't want to leave a big mess for him," Orchard said.

Hundreds of people came out to watch the snowmobiles race over the mud and grass. (CBC)

They used that money to hire a contractor who levelled the field again.

"I own a landscaping company so I did a lot of the fine-tuning to try and get it where it was," Orchard said. "It was a really big challenge to get it where it is now and I think with a little more work we're going to get it to where it used to be, hopefully."

Hundreds of people came out to watch the snowmobiles race over the mud and grass. One modified machine could do up to 225 km/h.

The races continue Sunday.

About the Author

Lauren Bird

Lauren Bird is a journalist at CBC New Brunswick. You can contact her at lauren.bird@cbc.ca