Mike Durocher - Snowmobile Racing

1977 Open Class Race Trophy

Ile-a-la-Crosse Winter Festival

In 1976, I wanted a race ready sled so I travelled to Meadow Lake, Saskatoon, and finally in Prince Albert, where I spotted this Sno Jet at a snowmobile dealer's. But, they were keeping it for their own racing. I asked if they could get another sled like it at another dealer somewhere in the West? Well somehow, I managed to talk him into selling me this 440 which was the top engine in sleds those days, because of the fuel crisis. I, for a mere $1500 bucks, bought a brand new race sled and did it fly. That is until a couple years later when the liquid cools came out. But, between 1976 and 1978 my snojet ruled the ovals at the Ile a la Crosse Winter Festival.

Ile a la Crosse Winter festival- 1977 - left photo I am second from the left (standing) with the stripe down my arm. The one to my right (far side) I believe is Ken Pederson of Buffalo Narrows. In this race, I was driving Ted Ratt's Yamaha Enticer in 300 Stock Class. Poor Ted, I never told him that I had his enticer pinned throughout the five laps. Photo to the right: I have a fairly good lead on Ken. The oval track was made right on the lake so the track was quite fast.

Nap Gardiner took this photo of my snojet and I sitting on the plowed road; big island is behind me. The winter road was used to transport goods to Patuanak before they got an all-season road. I drove my sled over 3000 miles during the first winter; now that's sledding.

The Open Class Race was the most popular with lots of bragging rights as to who had the fastest sled around. I am on the left or in racing terms on the outside. The sled next to me I think is Philip Chartier of Buffalo Narrows. In the right photo there is no one even close to me. My Sno Jet was very fast and almost maintenance free, yet, I drove it like a wild man. It went three years as a valid racing sled. All I would do is grease it up well, I put gold pladium plugs, a new belt and I used aviation gas with synthetic oil on race days. Otherwise, I used normal gas for everyday use. I won the Ile-a-la-Crosse Open Class race three years in a row - 1975-1976 and 1977 before the old free air gave way to the new liquid cooled sleds that were coming out at about that time.

Memories of past glorious days...I put over 6000 miles on this sled so it had served me well. One winter I rode 3600 miles on that sled.

Look how thin I was when I was 22.

Black and White Photo Credits - Simon Paul when he was Editor of Natotawin News Magazine in Beauval.


Around March 1996, my girlfriend Debbie and I went to see Formula One Snowmobile Racing at the Canadian Power Toboggan Championships at Beausejour, Manitoba one spring while I was attending law school in Winnipeg.

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© mjdurocher 2001- 2002