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Imitation and Flattery


(9/11/2009)

In just his first season in the Pro snocross ranks, Polaris pilot Brett Bender scored three Open class wins, making the most of his talent, Tucker Hibbert’s hiatus and his dad Tim’s top-notch sled preparation. He also used an Arctic Cat rear suspension and track.

This is a sport where competitors ply every advantage to gain an edge, so it’s not uncommon to borrow technology from another brand, especially for testing purposes.

In my years of working with Cat, I’ve seen many Ski-Doo, Polaris and Yamaha snowmobiles being tested by engineers and/or in various states of disassembly, but always far from the public’s view. Chalk it up to “knowing thy neighbor.”

And no doubt every brand has adopted good ideas from their competitors, although I would argue that, more often than not, Arctic Cat is the original source of these good ideas.

This time around it’s the 15 x 128 x 1.7-in. Camoplast track and the race version Slide Action suspension. Stretched another seven inches compared to other brands’ tail sections, the Cat combo has proven to deliver better holeshots, more manageable in-flight characteristics and greater stability over the chatter.

Arctic Cat skidframe in a Polaris race sled.

Sno Pro 500 rear suspension and track.

The Sno Pro 500 (above), with the Slide Action rear suspension and 15 x 128 x 1.25-in. version Camoplast track.

While it’s no surprise that Polaris (via crew chief Tim Bender) tested the Sno Pro skidframe and track, it is unusual for them to race these two items so publicly, and for so long (reports indicate that it was raced for the entire second-half of the season).

And obviously it worked well for them.

With Haydays so close and the typical unveiling of new race sleds at the famed event, I’ll pay close attention to the 2010 Polaris racer and whether it has adopted technology whose origins are in Thief River Falls rather than Roseau.



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