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Remember When: Chris Vincent on Team Arctic


(5/25/2011)

Chris Vincent on an Arctic Cat in 1995

Before he switched to Yamaha, then Ski-Doo, and before transforming into the bad-boy of snocross, Chris Vincent was a young phenom on Team Arctic.

He'd made a name for himself on the Rock Maple circuit (where he's shown above in 1995), winning most of the Pro classes there for a year or two. Then he set his sights on the national-level races.

Chris Vincent on an Arctic Cat in 1996

I remember him vividly at the West Yellowstone snocross in March, 1996. He raced super-aggresively and, though he didn't win, he seemed the stand-out of the weekend. In one race - an LCQ if I remember correctly - he crashed early on and was a good half-lap behind the leaders before getting going. It was an impossible distance to make up.

But nobody told Vincent that. With the throttle pinned forward and thoughts of self-preservation cast aside, he charged and began gobbling up ground faster than I could have imagined. The entire crowd was on its feet with the hopeful drama unfolding before their eyes.

Literally going for broke, Vincent got to within a few feet of grabbing the final qualifying spot, and almost collapsed after the finish line jump. He didn't qualify, but he won the hearts of everyone there to see his gutsy attempt.

 

Vincent on the Amsoil Team

Vincent switched to Yamaha for a couple years, then he moved to the Amsoil/Ski-Doo team.

His battles with Team Arctic's Blair Morgan were legendary. Vincent was brash, aggressive and (in my opinion), clearly overmatched by Blair. But Vincent raced on emotion, which would thrust him beyond his abilities and occasionally put him on par with Blair. Even better for the fans, Vincent wore the badge of "bad guy" well and, when the two crossed paths, fireworks would erupt.

There would be some goofiness from Chris over the years. I recall several instances of talking to the camera in third-person that was good entertainment.

Chris Vincent on an Arctic Cat

But I still distinctly remember his early days on a Cat, and the electrifying intensity he brought to the races those first years. Good times.

I don't know what Vincent is doing these days. Do you?



Comments (25):

jimu@sledracer.com says:
5/25/2011 11:51:00 AM

Last I heard he was working at his dad's car dealership.
old school says:
5/25/2011 11:54:00 AM

Wasn't Chris faster off the track then he was on? John, you should ask all women that have "known" CV to chime in, that would be funny, or better yet post the yearbook of the Lincoln High 10th graders and let's see how many look like Chris....
Hambone says:
5/25/2011 12:54:00 PM

Snocross needs more "bad boys". I cant remember the last time I heard a podium speech that was actually entertaining. Its either a line reading thank you to the sponsors, or a church sermon.
Todd Ulschmid says:
5/25/2011 2:04:00 PM

Oh, the races between Vincent and Morgan were epic battles! I have just about all the old WSA races on videos and it's hilarious watching how those two banged on each other. I remember the mid air colision between Morgan and Vincent at Canterbury back in 09. They had to be 20-30 ft in the air! In flight, Morgan dismounted his buggy and looked like he bounced off the snow when he landed. It looked like Superman was done for the weekend... He returned later that weekend to win at least one of the finals, if not both! Vincent just didn't have the finese out on the track like Morgan. He was all about brute force.
Shawn says:
5/25/2011 2:40:00 PM

Isn't it funny so many guys go from winning on Cats then switching to other brands and becoming so so. Take Malinoski, and numerous other good semi pro guys that have switched over. Then you have guys that were never really stand outs and do really well riding cats like Garth Kaufmann.
bubba says:
5/25/2011 6:51:00 PM

Forgive me if I don't have a soft spot for Vincent or kind words. He was an ass when I met him at race school in 1996 and he was an ass when he lived here in Anoka County when he switched to Yamaha and was around Coon Rapids. He and the other drunk(used to ride Poo, Nate somebody?) were two obnoxious stooges.
MrBigPoppy34 says:
5/25/2011 9:24:00 PM

I used to love Chris Vincent until he had to go out boozing and riding one night. His Girl friend ended up hitting a tree in Vermont and that was it.

Friggin shame! I am sure he thinks of it every day.

DG says:
5/26/2011 8:47:00 AM

It was a tragedy that ultimately ended his racing career. Although the case was dismissed, it will linger on in his memory forever.

http://www.vermontjudiciary.org/TCDecisionCvl/2005-9-30-5.pdf

tito says:
5/26/2011 1:06:00 PM

Yeah bubba sadly thats how things are. Not everyone in the public eye is Mother Treasa. But racing wise first time I saw Vincent race was the best heat race i have ever seen. Early Duluth when it was more bumpy than jumpy and Kirk Hibbert was the man. Hibbert, Jack Struthers and Vincent ran the heat like they were tied together with a rope
Alley Cat says:
5/26/2011 6:00:00 PM

Oh please find some pictures of the Hansen Brothers. #96 and #21... NOT the hockey players....
jimu@sledracer.com says:
5/27/2011 8:25:00 AM

One of my favorite Chris Vincent moments occurred during Friday Night Thunder at Eagle River in 2001. Some of the National guys showed up for the snocross including Warnert Racing and Tucker Hibbert. In the final Vincent got the holeshot and was leading. Tucker got his typical bad start and fought through the pack. You couldn't have scripted it any better, Tucker caught Vincent at the finish line jump as the white flag came out. He passed Vincent in mid-air and did a little look back at him as he took the lead. Tucker won and of course Vincent couldn't settle for second, he tried one last time to catch Tucker in the whoops before the finish line and got ejected. Vincent also landed on Kent Ipsen that night as the riders rode around the track before lining up for a heat. He just pinned it off a jump obviously not thinking someone might be sitting on the other side looking at the track.
John Sandberg says:
5/27/2011 10:37:00 AM

The salacious stories of Chris's off-track excursions are the stuff of tabloid-like headlines, no doubt.

I never did "know" Chris. Met him several times in the years he was on Team Arctic, but never connected with his personality.

Ultimately, it seemed to me that was a tragic figure. I hope he's found health and a non-destructive path in life, just as I hope he's found a little religion and the redemption that can accompany it.
Todd Ulschmid says:
5/27/2011 10:32:00 PM

Edit: Back in 99 not 09....
tonybott says:
5/28/2011 12:06:00 AM

i remember him in a rock maple race in 96 at haystack in vt. on a white hooded zr 440 chassis with a zrt 600 motor triple unbelievable sled and even more outragous rider he won the pro open final by half the track
AKrider says:
6/1/2011 2:07:00 AM

I'm enjoying these stories and photos of older racers!
oldbuddy says:
6/6/2011 9:21:00 AM

The ZR440 with the ZRT engine was a 170hp Black magic custom built sled for Chris. Very, very fast, almost too fast. I think he is in NC or SC working at a Harley dealership, not sure. Too bad he has so many internal demons haunting him, I was always rooting for him.......
NowYouKnow says:
6/8/2011 11:26:00 AM

http://www.h-dofcharlotte.com/about/

It appears Chris is the Service Advisor at H-D of Charlotte. Copy/Paste the link, theres a photo of him.
Eric says:
1/12/2012 10:32:00 PM

I remember at Crandon when Chris was on a Yamaha, I was probably at the most 12 or 13. I was decked out in Arctic Cat stuff and Chris rode by me before the heat and gave me a high five. Chris came back through after winning and made sure to give me a thumbs up and yell "Hell Yeah"! Never forget that!... On a side note, Yuji Nakazawa and the Yami guys showed me around the inside of the hauler and asked my dad if he knew a good sushi place in Crandon after Yuji won a heat. Dont know if Yamaha thought they could switch us over to blue that weekend or what but it was pretty cool!
krab says:
12/29/2012 8:51:00 PM

So many people did not know Chris at all he was and is a private person. Devoted to his family and close friends..far from a boozer...happy go lucky..fun..just like so many..and judged for being so..with a horrific tragedy that can not escape many....he is an amazing person .friend and oh yeah amazing to watch race. ..any and all motors...balls out. Wide open....crash or trophy!

Caroline Ashley says:
4/15/2013 6:54:00 PM

Chris is married and lives in North Carolina with his lovely wife and new daughter, he is doing well. I believe he works for a Harley Davidson dealer down there. Haven't watched snocross racing since TJ Gulla and Chris left.
46forever says:
1/29/2014 9:55:00 PM

I met Chris twice..both times he was very nice! Good to read he is doing well. I never judged him for what happened to his girlfriend....if he wouldn't have been a well known snocrosser we would have never known his business...everyone has a personal life outside of racing....I too quit watching snocross after he left....wasn't the same.
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George says:
9/18/2014 5:24:00 AM

I'm sure his Dad was real proud when jumped ship from Arctic Cat, owning a Cat dealership and all.
StraightouttaVT says:
12/31/2014 1:25:00 PM

We purchased watercraft from Chris's father when they had the Arctic Cat dealership in Essex VT. They had a potbelly pig as a pet that would hang around the showroom. Chris worked at the dealership and was always very nice.

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