The snowmobile-racing world suffered a great loss with the recent passing away of Richard Guay.

Guay, a successful Lebel-sur-Quévillon businessman, was well-known in the Cree world as the founder of the Raid des Braves in 1991. The soon-to-be-legendary Raid was inspired by the Harricana snowmobile race, which was organized by Europeans. Guay wondered why people in Quebec couldn’t organize their own race.

The Raid immediately caught on big time, with teams joining in from around the province within a couple of years. At first centred in the Quévillon area, it expanded into an epic, 3,000-km trek across much of Quebec, including lyiyuuschii.

As it grew, Guay worked tirelessly and put his own money into the Raid. Mike Prince, who’s been involved with the Raid for a number of years, said without Guay the Raid could never have survived, despite a growing number of sponsors and consultants who were involved.

Guay’s vision was to promote the North as a place where people could work together. “It was his passion. He was just doing it for the pure pleasure.”

Prince said this year there will be no Raid des Braves. A La Sarre businessman is considering taking it over, but there is also interest among some Crees in either taking over the Raid or starting a new race.

Prince also reported that Mistissini’s Team Pimpichuu, winner of the last two Raids, has signed on as the official Yamaha Factory Team for three-man racing teams in all of Canada. The team, renamed as “Yamaha Pimpichuu,” is appearing in Yamaha’s promotional material and gets the company’s high-tech equipment. Look for an interview in an upcoming issue.

This season, Yamaha Pimpichuu and other Cree teams are entering the Challenge Kanadarace, which starts in Hearst, Ont. and will probably pass through O.J. on the way toQuebec City.