Two area snowmobile racers are preparing for a competitive weekend.
Andrew Faulkner, 21, from Jamestown and Taylor Anderson, 16, from Sinclairville, will be competing in the AMSOIL Snocross Series event today and Saturday, at the Seneca Allegany Casino.
Both Faulkner and Anderson race for Team Southside Polaris, based out of North Adams, Mass. With 13 riders, Southside is one of the largest snocross teams, according to Anderson.
Andrew Faulkner is pictured.
Photo by Bruce Gaspardi Jr.
Despite having to race against teammates in competitions, Faulkner said that Southside is like a family.
Faulkner's love for snowmobiling began when he moved to New York from Florida when he was 10, trail riding in the winters. He has a successful history in racing both BMX and motocross, earning various awards including state champion.
Despite multiple broken bones, including a broken leg earlier this year from a dirtbike accident, Faulkner has not let the injuries slow him down on the track.
Faulkner also owns and manages Vinyl Designs, located on Third Street in Jamestown, a screen printing and decal shop he began in his garage attic. For more information, visit www.facebook.com/jamestownvinyl.
When the snow melts, it is most likely he will be found riding his Suzuki 250 dirtbike.
According to Anderson, riding a standard snowmobile holds little in holds little in common with riding a factory-built, custom sled like the 2014 Polaris IQR 600 she rides, which is not legal on trails. Each custom sled is built specifically to the needs of each rider for maximum performance.
"I love trail riding though," Anderson said. "It's more about the experience - you're along for the ride - than racing, which is all about the adrenaline."
After watching a snocross race Faulkner was competing in, Anderson decided to get involved with the sport also. Currently a sophomore at Cassadaga Valley, she has won multiple snowmobile championships and various awards, including the Rising Star Award.
However, the trophies did not come without a price for her either - Anderson has broken her arm multiple times, although each season she continues to excel in the sport.
In the future, Anderson plans to keep racing snowmobiles and hopes to eventually become a State Trooper.
According to Andrew's father, Rick Faulkner, both he and Anderson's father, Nels, are good mechanics, which helps keep their kids on the track. Naturally, the two fathers met through snowmobiling decades ago.
When at competitions, Rick said that he is often taking care of the snowmobiles of other riders, as well as his son's and Anderson's, before and after races.
Rick's home shop, nicknamed the "Throttle Shop," is often filled with snowmobiles and dirtbikes he is tinkering with.
On race weekends, Faulkner and Anderson, along with their fathers, travel to races together, trips that usually span Thursday through Sunday.
According to Faulkner, it is a different experience to race locally because generally the families travel 5 hours or more to compete on tracks in Canada, Maine, Vermont and other parts of New York.
"There is a little more pressure because of the local spectators," Faulkner said. "There are a ton of people we know that will be at the casino this weekend, so it's exciting."
According to Rick, the casino has expanded the spectator section this year because of the significant turnout last year.
For tickets and more information about this weekend's race, visit www.isocracing.com/national/tickets. Prices run from $25 for Friday or Saturday, $30 for the weekend, or $100 for a weekend four-pack.