Joe Capstick isn’t a threat to dominate the field at Race on the Rock this year, but it’s a showcase of sled power and speed he embraces every year.
The 50-year-old native of Sydney, N. S., along with his sons, 16-year-old Josh and 19-year-old Jordan, hopes Mother Nature co-operates long enough for him and his boys to be on the start line for the 2014 Race on the Rock scheduled for Saturday at 11 a.m. on the Cruiser slope at Marble Mountain ski resort in Steady Brook.
Capstick is no stranger to Race on the Rock, an event organized by Western Sno-Riders. He was on the start line for the inaugural Race on the Rock back in the mid-90s and hasn’t missed one since.
“There’s nobody who won it anymore than I did. The King of the Hill over the years I’ve won it four times,” Capstick said from North Sydney Tuesday with fingers crossed the winter storm coming this way Wednesday won’t put a damper on his travel plans.
He has fond memories of his ventures to Newfoundland over the years so that makes it pretty easy for him to make an effort to get him and the boys across the Gulf.
“It’s always a big event. It was a good fun to meet the people,” he said. “I do a lot of business in Newfoundland, got to know the people and made a lot of friends over the years.”
Saturday’s event gets underway at 11 a.m. with 100 sleds registered for 250 different race classifications so it’s a safe bet it will be an action-packed day at the ski hill.
“It’s the last one of the year and history repeats itself,” Capstick said. “When that race was first organized back in the mid-90s it was probably the biggest race in Atlantic Canada as far as drawing crowds. It drew people from all over the Maritimes, including myself and fellow Newfoundlanders and people from Labrador.
“It was very well hosted by the club, and the conditions were great and the people you met there were very hospitable and you bring back good memories win or lose,” he added.
He doesn’t expect he will be a among the top sledders this year as he’s taken a break from the competitive side of racing for a bit, but he was quick to point out that there are several contenders from the mainland making the trek to the province who will push the locals to the limit.
However, he has been around long enough to see that the local sledders have certainly amped it up over the past few years so he expects there will be some exciting races to witness at the base of the ski hill.
“The Newfoundlanders have developed more interest and they don’t want to be second best to anybody. They want to be as good as anybody else,” he said. “If the weather holds out you’re going to see some fairly fast sleds over there. There are some fast sleds that are brought in from away by the Newfoundland people and built by the Newfoundland people, and you have people from over here in Nova Scotia coming with sleds that are worth $50-75,000.”
Now, it’s a wait-and-see attitude to see if the weather conditions allow him to catch the boat to Port aux Basques Friday.
“I’m hoping too. I’m really confused right now with this weather thing,” he said.