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Lancaster Grand Prix

10:00 AM - 11:00 PM
Local Events

Hundreds of vintage snowmobiles will converge in Lancaster on January 31st and February 1st and 2nd for the running of the Lancaster Grand Prix, celebrating the 50th anniversary of “The Kilkenny Cup,” the oldest snowmobile race in the United States.

Lancaster has a proud snowmobile history. The town was the first in New England to hold an organized snowmobile race, in 1962. For the town’s Bi-Centennial in 1964, the third race in the series was dubbed the “Grand Prix.” It was a success, the name stuck, and in subsequent years, the race drew factory teams and crowds estimated at between 15,000 to 20,000, making it the largest outdoor winter event in New Hampshire, and possibly New England, and earning Lancaster the title of Snowmobile City, USA.  

In 1966, Timberland Machines, Inc. donated a huge silver cup, named the Kilkenny Cup for the nearby 4,000-foot mountain range, to the Grand Prix’s chief sponsor, the Lancaster Snow-Drifters — the oldest snowmobile club in the United States. 

In 2014, the Kilkenny Cup, retired since the last race in 1977, will be welcomed back. The winner of the Grand Prix event will have his or her name inscribed on the trophy, joining past winners in what reads like a Snowmobile Hall of Fame. 

The Lancaster Grand Prix coincides with the kick-off of a year of activities celebrating Lancaster’s 250th anniversary. Coincidentally, the races will be held on February 1 and 2, the Grand Prix’s original date. 

Plenty of events are planned to whet the appetite of participants and spectators. The weekend gets underway on Friday, January 31, with a Vintage Sled Show at Crane’s Snowmobile Museum from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. The museum’s 85 machines trace the evolution of snowmobiling, from the Ski-Doo machines of the ‘60s to today’s modern sleds. 

That evening, from 5:30-11 p.m., enjoy cocktails, dinner, music and dancing at the Kilkenny Cup Ball at the Mountain View Grand in Whitefield. 

Saturday’s highlights include the Northern New York Vintage Snowsled Racers — about 90 racers from the Boonesville, N.Y. circuit — competing on the ¼ mile oval ice track at the Lancaster Fairgrounds. Gates open at 7 a.m., and racing begins at 9 a.m., with cash prizes. Later in the day, enjoy a parade of snowmobiles from the Lancaster Fairgrounds down Main Street and back, followed by a bonfire.

Vintage sled racing and the running of the Lancaster Grand Prix on the ice track at the Lancaster Fairgrounds rounds out the weekend’s events on Sunday, with the gates opening at 7 a.m., and racing starting at 9 a.m.. Cash prizes will be awarded. The class winners from both days of racing will have their names inscribed on the Kilkenny Cup. 

Get all the details, including registration information, lodging options, and a Lancaster Snow Drifters trail map, at www.lancastergrandprix.com.

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