Each spring a handful of Arctic Cat engineers and Team Arctic racers test and evaluate parts and ideas being considered for the next-generation Sno Pro race sled.
Logan Christian is one of those racers.
Here’s what the Christian Bros. Racing pilot had to say about the experience, along with a little teaser about we will see on the 2013 Sno Pro.
(Special thanks to SledRacer.com for this interview)
AI: This spring wasn’t the first time you were part of testing. How many years have you been going out West?
Christian: I’ve been a part of spring testing a bunch of times. This is probably my seventh or eighth year being a part of it.
AI: Where do you usually go?
Christian: We either go to Montana or Idaho.
AI: What is a day like for you out there?
Christian: The engineers wake up before us and start prepping the sleds and then we get out to the test site about 8 A.M. and just pound laps. On our end there’s not much science to it. Basically we try not to let the sled run out of gas because we need to keep it going on the track and try to break things.
AI: That’s your job... trying to beat the daylights out of that sled the whole time?
Christian: Yup (laughs). Well, yes and no. We pound the sled as if we were racing because we want to make sure the durability is where it needs to be, but we're also evaluating how the sled works.
I was out there the entire time. A couple guys came for a few days and left, but Brian Dick and I were there for the entire week and we just rode. The trips vary in length, sometimes they’re a week, two weeks, or sometimes they’re just a couple days. This one was exactly a week.
AI: What are they doing, do they have 2013 stuff on there?
Christian: I don’t even know if you’d call it 2013 stuff. It’s more just testing some of the ideas for 2013, testing new geometry and construction and things like that. When we’re done they take the sleds completely apart and see how things held up, look for cracks and whatnot.
AI: So what do you get out of being out there?
Christian: I don’t get paid or anything, and there’s definitely no rockstar partying or anything going on. The reason I go out there is just to ride the sleds. It’s seat time. Plus it’s fun to be a part of it and to learn from the engineers. Once you know how they think you can help them better. We’re always talking about what’s working on the sleds and what’s not. The other thing is I like being out there with Kirk Hibbert because I learn so much from him.
AI: So what can you tell us about the stuff you tested?
Christian: Well, it’s definitely a better sled than last year. The big things were the angle of the running boards and the angle of the belly pan, they changed all that to keep the sled from bottoming out. Last year the chassis would bottom on the snow and once that happens you’re not using your suspension anymore and it starts to get sketchy. The other thing they changed was the steering.
AI: I know that different riders have different opinions about what they want with a race sled, including what snocrosser want versus cross-country racers. Were the changes you tested some of the elements that you personally hoped for?
Christian: Yup, for sure. That was something a lot of the guys were talking about and saying they wanted to improve. Arctic Cat did a good job addressing that and making the right changes.
AI: Do you ride mods out there or are they stockers?
Christian: We had a sled with one of Tucker’s modified motors in it. It had about 25 hours on it and Kirk [Hibbert] had done some stuff to it to change it a little, but for the most part we were just testing the chassis and suspension, we weren’t doing any motor stuff. We concentrated on the way the sled rode and handled.
AI: Your trainer is Drew Robertson and knowing the way Drew thinks I would guess you guys have counted backwards from Duluth and you’re on a pretty strict training schedule?
Christian: I’ve been working with Drew pretty much every day this summer. Typically at the end of the season we do an assessment of how I did during he season from a fitness standpoint and then we come up with an off-season training plan. He lets me take days off once in a while, but yeah, we stay on a pretty tight schedule.