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Brian & Paul Dick's Iron Dog Sled Prep


Brian & Paul Dick's 2012 Arctic Cat Iron Dog race sleds

Just after winning the first USCC cross-country of the season, but before he jetted off to contest the Soo 500 enduro, Brian Dick (L) and his dad, Paul, prepped and shipped two race sleds for the upcoming Alaska Iron Dog race.

Paul has experience in the Iron Dog, but this will be Brian's first attempt at the famed Alaskan cross-country that pits two-person teams against some truly brutal conditions (as well as other teams).

The goal for these two is to finish well, which means they first must finish. In the Iron Dog, durability and fuel range are more important that terminal velocity, so the work they and their crew did to their 2012 Arctic Cat Sno Pro 600 XC sleds emphasized bullet-proofing, storage and comfort.


Brian & Paul Dick's 2012 Arctic Cat Iron Dog race sleds

Brian & Paul Dick's 2012 Arctic Cat Iron Dog race sleds

Attention to detail is critical to any race program, and these guys started by tearing stuff down. As the lead engineer for the Sno Pro 600 race sled, Brian could probably do this in his sleep. Same too for his mechanic, Joe Lesmiester.

For this project, the team did most of their work in the Team Arctic Race Shop.


Brian & Paul Dick's 2012 Arctic Cat Iron Dog race sleds

The crew started with fresh sleds that hadn't been raced.


Brian & Paul Dick's 2012 Arctic Cat Iron Dog race sleds

In order to run on the 87 octane fuel provided by the race, the 600 race engine was de-tuned with lower compression heads and double-ring pistons. These race motors are pre-mix only.


Brian & Paul Dick's 2012 Arctic Cat Iron Dog race sleds

Storage is another key ingredient to a successful Iron Dog program, so the crew modified the seat cover to incorporate a zippered rear storage pouch large enough to contain a tool kit, oil measuring cup and a few spare parts like brake & throttle levers.


Brian & Paul Dick's 2012 Arctic Cat Iron Dog race sleds

Crazy amounts of snow in the area of Alaska where the race takes place which, in conjunction with bitter cold temps, means snow dust can be a problem. High-impact plastic is placed under the running board holes prevents some of the snow from swirling up from the track and posing problems with goggles, gear and visibility.


Brian & Paul Dick's 2012 Arctic Cat Iron Dog race sleds

Here's an underside shot of the running boards. The suspension is stock, but with every nut and bolt given a drop of red Loc-Tite and torqued to spec.


Brian & Paul Dick's 2012 Arctic Cat Iron Dog race sleds

More custom, high-impact plastic was added in the form of a skid-plate on the bellypan.


Brian & Paul Dick's 2012 Arctic Cat Iron Dog race sleds

A tall windshield aids in the comfort factor. Check out this clever idea: Each sled has two windshields (placed together). That way if one rider busts his up, the other rider has a spare. Smart!


Brian & Paul Dick's 2012 Arctic Cat Iron Dog race sleds

To add more range, custom aluminum fuel tanks were fabricated and affixed like saddlebags to the rear of the seat/tunnel. Each tank holds slightly more than 2 gallons.


Brian & Paul Dick's 2012 Arctic Cat Iron Dog race sleds

The cockpit of each sled incorporates additional storage via Arctic Cat accessory bags. The end of the brake lever was chopped off to clear the stacked windshields. The stock speedo/gauge was pulled to provide room for a custom-bracket for the needed GPS.


Brian & Paul Dick's 2012 Arctic Cat Iron Dog race sleds

As a just-in-case piece of prevention, remote-reservoir, coil-over FOX shox replace the stock EVOL Float shocks. In the event of a seal getting nicked and the nitrogen charge leaks, the coil-over units would still keep the sled level and rideable.


Brian & Paul Dick's 2012 Arctic Cat Iron Dog race sleds

Final tweaks to the handlebar and control-lever positions, and these sleds are done! The sleds were then shipped to Alaska, where they'll be waiting for Brian and Paul prior to the Feb. 19 race start in Big Lake by Wasilla.


2012 Iron Dog snowmobile race route

The race heads from Big Lake/Wasilla to Nome, then retraces part of the route backwards before heading to the finish in Fairbanks for a total of 2,031 miles. Epic!

CLICK HERE for the official Iron Dog Website.

I wish the best of luck to Brian, Paul and all the other Team Arctic (and competitive brand) teams in this year's race.

Thanks for reading.

Comments (18):

Chad Colby says:
2/2/2012 9:56:00 AM

GOOD LUCK guys, like many we'll be cheering you on. Have a safe trip!
Mike F says:
2/2/2012 10:42:00 AM

What an adventure! Good luck!
Tom Rowland says:
2/2/2012 8:20:00 PM

Pretty interesting stuff goes into this Iron Dog effort...good luck Team Arctic! Regarding the doubled windshields...I recall my dad telling me that he ran two windshields mounted together way back in the 1966 I-500, not to put on another sled but to try to add strength. He said with the primitive windshield materials of that era that the doubled windshields would snap off just as easily as one from simply pounding moguls in super cold temps!
Kirk and Penny says:
2/2/2012 8:27:00 PM

Very nice sled build for a pair of great Guys. Looking forward to your race and the results of your hard work. Judy and family all the best in your support.
ron says:
2/4/2012 10:01:00 PM

The floats lose AIR pressure when it gets around -30 to -40*F, happens every year on consumer sleds up here in Alaska since the introduction of the shock.
Scoota1969 says:
2/5/2012 12:48:00 PM

Jason Currier says:
2/5/2012 3:53:00 PM

Great Article/write up, the race is brutal, and I have seen first hand how this sort of planning and "research" pays off... good luck! PS good move on the shocks, just need to ad some TI spings:-)
Rusty says:
2/6/2012 1:39:00 PM

Brian,, I was at he 2006 Soo I-500 in corner 1 when your belt blew coming down that front straight and entangled itself so badly,, eventually costing you the race even after leading by all the laps/distance you had over Corey..

I know you have the endurance and drive to push yourself well past what many racers would only dream of,, pace yourself and do your best with your father to bring the title back to the Arctic Cat camp!

Good Luck
Greg Hallstrom says:
2/6/2012 9:30:00 PM

Is that a velcro spare belt holder I see on the clutch guard?
stephani walsh says:
2/8/2012 7:24:00 PM

Good luck Brian and Paul~Austin and I will be thinking about you and cheering you along.
Kent careen says:
2/11/2012 5:53:00 AM

Good luck Paul,I like your setup,you need to bring a 'modified' 600sno pro to Labrador for a race!!! Again best of luck to you both!! Kent team 12,07,08,09 cains quest!!!
jerry says:
2/12/2012 1:37:00 PM

What is the horsepower rating of that sled after it is de-tuned to run 87 octane? Just curious.
Jeff Peterson says:
2/13/2012 6:10:00 AM

Good luck guys
Bring another trophy back to Grand Rapids
And Arctic Cat.
If anyone can do it you guys can.
Doug Oster says:
2/14/2012 11:52:00 AM

what an experience! Paul-I wasn"t sure if u were crazy before, now I know! Good luck! Drive Fast and take chances!
Rex H. says:
2/14/2012 12:58:00 PM

Nice artical, John. Good luck,Paul and Brian. Be sure to take plenty of wire and water.(joke)
Mary Lee and Paul says:
2/18/2012 11:34:00 AM

We will be watching and cheering you on! Good luck!
Mary Lee, Paul and kids
Greg Hallstrom says:
2/21/2012 1:53:00 AM

How about making those spare gas tanks an accessory for 2013?
Jumpin says:
2/24/2012 11:32:00 PM

How about some updates on the dick boys at iron dog. Their on dog site is hard to get results from. Looks like they are back a ways. What are the details John. Surely you have the inside scoop

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