NORTH ADAMS, Mass. (Jan. 3, 2019) — One of the northeast’s longest-running and most dedicated snocross teams is gearing up for the 2019 season, with a full lineup of talented athletes ready for battle.
Team Southside announced a full roster on Thursday, headlined by veteran Pro rider Mike Pilotte. The squad will campaign the red-hot new Polaris 600R on the East Coast Snocross (ECS) series, beginning with Rounds 1 & 2 on Jan. 12-13 at the Rochester (New Hampshire) Fairgrounds.
“I think we have an excellent group of athletes lined up to attack the new season,” team owner and founder Bruce Gaspardi Sr. said. “Mike has been training hard and is ready for a strong season. We’re lucky to have several gifted riders set to go, supported by dedicated families behind them.”
As has been an annual tradition for over a decade, the team got a jump on the upcoming season here in New England with a trip to Duluth, Minnesota last month for the AMSOIL Snocross National. Pilotte turned heads all weekend, running competitively against the world’s top professional riders.
Over the course of the weekend Both Pilotte and Kristoffer Holm who made the trip over from Norway ran extremely well in the Pro division, both making the final on Saturday night.
Pilotte, known affectionately as ‘The Pilot,’ returns to the Pro class on his No. 748 entry. He finished second in last year’s Pro points after a three-year hiatus to rehabilitate from major shoulder surgery. Pilotte now resides in the state of New Hampshire.
He’s been training hard during the off-season and has his sights set on earning the Pro points championship while being a role model for younger riders.
Returning to the team for his fifth season is Ryan Dupont. The native of Canterbury, CT, finished sixth in 2018 points and has the skills and experience to hit the podium in Pro Lite on a steady basis. He finished off last season on a high note, making it onto the podium in three of the last four rounds.
Also returning is Vermont veteran Wade Acker. The Bristol native has tremendous talent and years of experience. In 2018, Acker finished second in the ultra-competitive Pro Lite class on his familiar No. 367 Polaris entry. His goal for 2019 is to secure the coveted points championship and is considered a legitimate contender.
The rookie sensation of last season aboard the No. 42 returns as well, New York native Jesse ‘Showtime’ Kirchmeyer. In an impressive rookie effort last winter, Kirchmeyer hit the Trifecta, earning two Sport class championships and the Snowbike title. Jesse hopes to finish on the podium as often as possible in the Pro Lite class, and is proud to have qualified for the Winter X Games a couple Saturdays ago at ERX on his Yeti Snowbike.
Eddie Trottier will compete for Team Southside in the Sport class this winter. Trottier, of Billerica, MA, was fifth in final 2018 Upper Jr class points and will strive to improve upon that performance in 2019.
Kolton Gillilan makes his return to Southside this season. The Fletcher, VT, native is excited to be on Polaris this winter and is certainly one of the favorites in the Lower and Upper Jr. classes this winter.
Cody Milanese and newcomer to the team Cecily Bernaiche will be both be taking on the Junior Novice division in multiple classes. Cody in his first season on a snowmobile made it on the podium multiple times last season and will be looking for the championship in 2019.
Bernaiche, who won ECS’ Rising Star award last season is looking to get used to her new Polaris and make a lasting impression battling with the boys all winter long. Both are extremely talented athletes and should make great strides throughout the season.
Veteran racer Bruce Gaspardi Jr. hopes to make his return to the snow sometime during the middle of the season after he is fully healed from injuries sustained in early December. His original plan was to compete in multiple divisions on the ECS circuit along with Pro Plus 30 on the ISOC series, but unfortunately his return will be determined by the doctors.
Gaspardi is excited to get back on the track as soon as he can.
The team also looks forward to the return of the ‘Dad’ on the Southside squad, Garrett Powell. The New Hampshire native came out strong last season on his No. 831 entry. In 2019, he’ll be guiding his son Hayden and will introduce two new competitive racers, his twin daughters Bristol and Addison.
Garrett’s goal this year is to stay consistent in the Plus 25 and Pro-Am Plus 30 divisions and aim for a championship.
In addition to the team’s full slate of riders on the ECS series, Team Southside also has two very talented individuals competing on the ISOC circuit all winter long. Leading the way is the Jackson, Wyoming, Holdfast entry of Brody Hasenack.
Brody had an amazing season last winter tallying up podiums almost every weekend. He capped the season off with a 3rd & 5th place finish in the points. The Intermountain Roofing No. 722 bumped up to the Junior 14-15 and 16-17 divisions this season and has gotten off to a strong start. He’s had two stops on the podium already and he currently sits third and fourth in points.
His teammate out west this season is the New Jersey native of Chance Tietjen. This is his first full season on the ISOC tour after a great season last year on the ECS Series. There were many questions of how Chance would adjust to the different tracks and faster pace, and he has answered all of them so far with great showings in the series’ first four rounds.
The Red Bank Self Storage racer currently sits fifth and sixth in points. Brody and Chance will be on the track this coming weekend for rounds five and six at Canterbury Park in Shakopee, Minnesota.
Team Southside would like to thank its valued sponsors, including Polaris Snowmobiles and Southside Sales & Service, proudly serving customers in North Adams, Mass., since 1969. The team also thanks FXR Racing, SSI Decals, C&A Pro Skis, Woody’s Traction, V-Force Reeds, Holdfast Racing, ROX Speed Fx, Wiseco Pistons, Walker Evans Shocks, NGK Spark Plugs, EVS, OGIO, Jettrim, Engine Ice, Camso, Hayes Brakes, IceAge Rails, Acker Excavating, Intermountain Roofing, Red Bank Self Storage, Bernaiche Racing, Bunnells Parts & Accessories, Acker Waste Management, Tortilla Flat, Tim Latham Electrical and Bourassa Construction. We appreciate the support from all of you in 2019.
To keep up with the team all season, follow along at www.facebook.com/team.southside.polaris/