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"95" Nate Ewing: An Unsung Hero at Duluth Snocross


(12/5/2014)

Nate Ewing races a custom 1995 Arctic Cat EXT at the '15 Duluth snocross. Photo by ArcticInsider.com

For a few brief laps, Nate Ewing of Big Lake, Minn., became the unsung hero and crowd favorite at the recent ISOC Duluth National snocross.

The reason for his sudden rise in popularity was that the 21-year-old from Big Lake, Minn., was competing in the Amateur class aboard something far older than a 2015 edition snocross race sled. 

Like 20 years older!

Conventional wisdom in snowmobile racing suggests that you must ride the latest and greatest in order to compete. The sled HAS to be this year's model, loaded with the newest Kashima-coated suspenders and wrapped with the sickest vinyl. Your gear has to be so new that the tags are still hanging on it. And you must roll to the races in a 53-foot hauler.

Sure, you MIGHT get a pass for racing a year-old sled, but nothing older than three years will pass the litmus test for acceptability. Get outta here, poser! Maybe hit the vintage circuit with that 3-year old iron.

Fortunately Nate Ewing completely ignored these unwritten rules.

Get this: He was just 1-year old (and still wearing diapers, I might add) when Arctic Cat built the 1995 Arctic Cat EXT that he would eventually race two decades later at Duluth!

Lest we give Nate too much credit for being old school, I should mention that his '95 EXT is a bit of a mutt that incorporates some really new and cutting-edge technology. Such as the front suspension that's from a 1998 Sno Pro, the tunnel from a 2008 Crossfire, and the skidframe from a 2008 Sno Pro.

And it should also be noted that Nate DOES have the latest 509 goggles.

Nate Ewing races a custom 1995 Arctic Cat EXT at the '15 Duluth snocross. Photo by ArcticInsider.com

Nate started racing four years ago, competing at ERX Thurs. Night races as well as select regional events. Interestingly, he's owned almost-new race sleds during that time, but he returned to his '95 for the sheer joy of it.

Nate went to Duluth with the intention of racing the Trail class, but switched to the Amateur class when no other racers signed up for the more low-key Trail class. His 10th and 11th place finishes in the two heat races failed to advance him into the final, they might have been the result of part failure rather than outdated design:

"I think the shock blew," he said immediately upon removing his helmet after the second heat.

While there was no fairytale ending to Nate's race at Duluth, his infectious smile and carefree attitude were a refreshing reminder that there is no one "right" way to enjoy the sport.

Thanks for the entertainment Nate, and good luck this season!

Thanks for reading.

Nate Ewing races a custom 1995 Arctic Cat EXT at the '15 Duluth snocross. Photo by ArcticInsider.com

Nate Ewing races a custom 1995 Arctic Cat EXT at the '15 Duluth snocross. Photo by ArcticInsider.com

Nate Ewing races a custom 1995 Arctic Cat EXT at the '15 Duluth snocross. Photo by ArcticInsider.com

Nate Ewing races a custom 1995 Arctic Cat EXT at the '15 Duluth snocross. Photo by ArcticInsider.com



Comments (16):

Terry Foss says:
12/5/2014 10:19:00 AM

This Young man is simply AMAZING!!!!
Builds, rides, races and genuinely ENJOYS snowmobiling!!!
Absolutely love him!!
Dan Hegman says:
12/5/2014 11:10:00 AM

Hats off to this guy for having fun and marching to the beat of his own drum. For sure my favorite story I have read about the National.
563 Motorsports says:
12/5/2014 11:39:00 AM

We saw this rider flat rippin it pounding through the ruthenium section at ERX before Duluth. Awesome to see and hear that sled rock
Mike F says:
12/5/2014 12:06:00 PM

Flippin Awesome!
Dave Guenther says:
12/5/2014 2:12:00 PM

He was a smile maker! everyone loved it from the time he came past the fans, to the start and every lap that he ran, the crowd loved it!!! Everyone cheering as he went back to the pits... VERY entertaining, good for him!
Matt LaJoy says:
12/5/2014 3:22:00 PM

Awesome story. I will always love the ZR chassis sleds. My brother still has a 1994 EXT 580 EFI and that sled still has tons of power even with 7K miles on the original engine.
Sandy coleman says:
12/5/2014 4:12:00 PM

What??? He's 21!!! My how time flies. Well, congratulations Nate....you are a WINNER no matter what.....Great job!!!!!
Wade Schroeder says:
12/5/2014 5:25:00 PM

My first brand new sled I ever bought was 95 EXT 580. I bought when I was 17 years old. I wanted a ZR 580 but couldn't find one in the area. It was late in the year. I end going to Pro Tune in Burnsville to get my 580. My uncle was friends with the owner. I had a choice EXT 580 or ZR 700. I really wanted a ZR 580. I was told they where the same sled as the 94 580 ZR minus the fox shocks. I thought about it I think if I remember correct the 700 was about $500 more. I chose the EXT what a great sled. I end up blowing the shocks out and I end up getting fox shocks for it a set of used ones. Wow what a sled. There wasn't to many sleds in the 580-600 class that could touch it back then. Even other ZR's I just would smoke them. Only thing I did was clutch it,stud it, move some stuff around on the skid and re jetted it down 1 size. It ran the same no matter what all the time. It wasn't fast up on top end it only did maybe 90. But it would just jump when you hit the throttle and not let up until it ran out of gear. I never had a issue with the sled at all. Other then the shocks went to heck because I thought I was Flying Finn and the cheap oil shocks broke the end cap right off. Still wish I had that sled. Not to brag it was one of the best running 580's out there. A number of people in the area had zr 580's I would race them. Same result I just smoke them by about 3 sled lengths. Only bad with them the clutch was JUNK! I would rebuild it every 150 miles. The motor would twist also in the mounts have to true that up. That was the key to the 580 stay on top of the clutch and keeping the clutches trued up.
Chris Carlson says:
12/5/2014 5:31:00 PM

Nate Ewing is one of the coolest young men I've ever met. His passion for snowmobiles and snocross racing runs deep and his positive attitude is inspiring. He has been a constant at ERX since we opened our doors and is a great representation of what grass-roots snowmobile racing should look like. Every time I see his smiling face at the track I'm reminded of why we opened the track in the first place. Way to go Nate!
hugh says:
12/5/2014 7:10:00 PM

This and Jim D's Team Arctic Reunion story are the best of the year, John. Thanx for sharing. If I was lucky enough to win the Powerball this week I'd sponsor him just for the sheer joy he brings to the fans.
Jim Urquhart says:
12/5/2014 7:33:00 PM

I think it was 2008? some guy showed up at Duluth and raced Sport class on a Prowler. True story.
ICE says:
12/6/2014 9:08:00 AM

Nate!!! Was a true honor to throw the checkered flags for you last weekend! Thanks for keeping the dream alive and reminding everyone what it's all about!!!! ~ICE
Eric says:
12/6/2014 2:16:00 PM

Everything about this is awesome! Thanks for bringing that sled out as it brings back a lot of good memories for many of us I am sure.
kevin sebastian says:
12/6/2014 5:29:00 PM

It really was cool !! everyone got a huge kick out of his ride!! Made a lot of people smile that day!!
Kevin Heston says:
12/7/2014 7:47:00 AM

A true weekend warrior! Good story. The sport needs more like him!
Alley Cat says:
12/30/2014 9:04:00 PM

Get that boy three new sled and turn him loose.

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