Local Female Snocross Racer Has Her Sights Set On AN ISOC Series Points Championship
Nineteen year old JC Hupe of Thunder Bay grew up in a snowmobile racing family and has made her own mark in the exciting sport of snocross. JC and her family including father Dale, mother Lana and Jesse Pinneault, who lives with them, travelled throughout the US with their team Animal Racing to compete in the National Championship Series called ISOC. JC competes in the Pro Women’s class and Jesse in the Jr 14-15 class. Both had tremendous years in the 2008/ 2009 year and are looking forward to the upcoming season.
JC Hupe started snocross racing in the winter of 2003 but first rode a snowmobile with her dad at 6 months old and on her own at 6 on a Kitty Cat. “ All my sisters rode snowmobiles and my mom raced so I just followed them. Shawna my oldest sister started racing and so I wanted to race too. My first race was in Vermillion Bay in 2003 in the NWRA series on a 1995 Arctic Cat ZR 440. It was pretty good.I enjoyed the race a lot and began motocross as well in 2005. There were few women racers here except my sister so we had to go to the US to race.”noted JC Hupe.
In 2006 JC started racing at the former WSA series in Pro Women as the youngest women ever to race at the age of 16. Her third season last year was by far her best where she won 2 out of 6 races and finished 2nd once and third twice. She ended up second in the overall points which is quite an accomplishment for a small privateer team competing against much larger professional outfits that have Pro Male Riders and are full time operations. Carly Davis from Alaska won the overall series points title last year as part of the Christian Bros. Racing Group.
“ 2008/2009 was a break out year or us as we did the full series. I had more practice and training at our practice track at the Hupe residence. I do work full time as a dental assistant and usually ride all weekend with Jesse on the practice track. We try to be consistent and then do some hard and go laps. I go to the gym every day after work at McFit and do everything from cardio, weights and sit ups from 5 pm to 6:30 pm. We also eat healthy at home,” smiled JC Hupe. “ Our race laps are 8 to 10 in number and you get tired. It is physically demanding. I had some huge crashes this year and hurt my back at the last race. Last summer I had a cracked vertebrae from motocross.”
Animal Racing has no financial sponsors. “We love it and will spend all our money on snocross. Motocross in the summer keeps the mindset of racing for JC and Jesse. In 2009- 2010 we are gong for the overall points championship. We will race with Animal Racing and stay with Arctic Cat. We will get 2 or 3 2010 Arctic Cat Sno Pro 600’s. We may have a semi pro rider with this year as well,” said Dale Hupe. “ We do have Ride Concepts as a sponsor to help with the shocks. It costs about $2000 per weekend and a season of racing costs $45,000. Arctic Cat has already recognized JC and helped Jesse Pinneault as well. After you buy the sled there is much to do to keep the sled competitive for instance tracks, studs and motors. One of Jesse’s competitors this year went through 4 motors in the season. They buy new motors at $4000 each and new tracks at $1200 every race weekend as the track is stiffer when new and the engine stronger. We cant afford to do that. There is also maintenance on the trailer, the truck pulling the trailer, spare parts, oil and gas. You have to add up the whole thing.”
Animal Racing was quite happy with the new series owner, ISOC. “ They did a good job this year. They tried some things that didn’t work but changed things when they needed to. They call the races well with very good technical people.” said Lana Hupe.
Last year JC Hupe ran the 2008 Arctic Cat SNO PRO 600 while most of her competitors had brand new 2009 equipment.
“ I think the 2008 SNO PRO 600 was not much of a difference. The women will never out drive the 600’s. 10 HP is not going to make a difference. The women just don’t have the physical strength of the men.” said Dale Hupe. “ You learn all kinds of tips and what effects the other riders you compete against. If you feel pressure. Some people know where the limit is and others don’t.”
This year Jesse Pinneault who was in the Junior classes and won one race will go into the sport class.
JC Hupe and her friends had a trip to see legendary James Stewart race motocross at Sam Boyd Stadium in Las Vegas and really enjoyed the experience. “ It makes you want to get out there racing snocross again .” smiled JC Hupe.