By Jeff Labine
Timmins Daily Press

Bill Froud has a need for speed.

That’s why the 56-year-old Cochrane resident entered his name into the third annual CAMAO (Circuit d’accélération de motoneige d’Abitibi-Ouest) snow drag at 81st Cochrane Winter Carnival.

“Ever since I was thirteen or fourteen years old I was always racing,” he said on Saturday. “It didn’t matter if it was cars or trucks or whatever.”

Froud wasn’t the only one wanting to speed away. About a hundred participated at the snow drag, which was also part of the opening weekend of Cochrane’s yearly Winter Carnival. Some came as far as Québec in order to participate.

Froud, who rides a turbo sled, could only race in the two highest classes. There were five categories at the snow drag: stock, improved stock, pro-mod, open modified and pro-max.

Froud said he was able to get his sled up to more than 100 km/h along 660 feet. But at the end of the day, he pointed out, it’s just about having fun.

“I don’t race for the circuit,” he said. “I just come out, spend a few bucks and have some fun with the guys. I think it is great to have an event like this. It’s a cold day but the sun is shining and it is great racing. Everyone comes together for bragging rights I guess.”

Darryl Owens, the logistics co-ordinator with the event, said the carnival continues to be a success each and every year. He explained organizers were able to add more to the carnival and bring more life to the event with activities such as the snow drag. He said the majority of the costs to run the event – such as tents, heaters – are covered by the assets they have acquired over the years.

Owens added they were able to get sponsors to help cover the costs of the lanes for the snow drag, but he stressed that people paying at the doors is also an important part of the carnival’s continuation.

He said the races are sanctioned by CAMAO, and the points collected by racers will be added to totals which will be tallied at the end of the year to decide the championship.

“The response has been good from the community,” said Owens. “People will come out to this. We have a beautiful venue here on the lake. The location is great and people seem to like the venue because they can park their cars and look at things. We would hope most people would come out in their snow suits to enjoy the event itself and smell the exhaust and to hear the noise.”

The winter carnival continues all week with the final day being on Monday, Feb. 16.

Upcoming events include the torchlight parade followed by a bonfire and fireworks starting at 6 p.m. at First Ave. near the fire hall on Feb. 12, the pancake eating contest at 10 a.m. on Feb. 14 at Parish of Transfiguration on Seventh Ave. and the demolition derby at 11 a.m. on Feb. 15.

For a full list of events, visit the winter carnival website at http://www.cochranewintercarnival.com.