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Trip Report: AI visits the Factory Race Department


(12/2/2020)

A quick visit to the TRF Race Department

I made a seriously quick up-and-back trip to the Race Department to pick up my new 2021 ZR Blast. Spending 10hrs in the truck went by like nothing, and leaving TRF I feel re-energized for the start of winter and snowmobiling. 

To me, this image never gets old. Seeing the stacks of race sleds waiting for pick-up or shipping to Team Arctic racers. Labeled here, are a few for western Team Arctic hillclimb racers, Zollinger Racing

Im not sure why, but Ive always enjoyed seeing the Team Arctic race sleds awaiting pick-up or shipping at the Race Department. Sounds childlike, but I envision them modded, stickered with team graphics, and capturing checkered flags across the country. Pictured above, are a few ear-marked for Zollinger Racing - Team Arctic's Western Hillclimb racers.

#17 David Brown's new R-XC

#312 Zach Herfindahl

Also in the stack are snowmobiles for #17 David Brown and #312 Zach Herfindahl. Both Team Arctic Cross-Country racers will be racing out of the Factory for 2021 season like they did last year. 

#43 Pro Snocross racer, Logan Christian, Christian Bros Racing

On my drive to TRF, I had a phone conversation with Logan Christian, #43 Pro Snocross racer for Christian Bros Racing. Logan expressed excitement to pick up CBR's new ZR 6000 R-SX snocross sleds at the Race Department that day, and also his excitement for the upcoming snocross season. (scheduled to start January 8-10 at ERX Motorpark in Elk River, MN)

I was hopeful to cross paths with Logan at the Race Dept, but timing wasnt in my favor. The 2021 ZR6000 R-SX race sleds were fresh off the factory line, and were delivered to the shop as I was leaving.

Aaron Scheele was headed to CBR shop in Fertile to start wrenching on the 2021 ZR6000 R-SX

And speaking of Christian Bros Racing, I also talked with Aaron Scheele who was on his way to CBR's shop to start wrenching on the 2021 ZR6000R-SX. Aaron's son, Anson will be racing out of the CBR trailer again this season. Aside from racing, Aaron filled me in on a couple vintage mod projects he's been working on at home...I will definitely be paying him a visit and sharing those builds here in the near future!

Mike Kloety Team Arctic Race Manager

I missed Logan, but I did get to spend a bit of time with other friends, including Mike Kloety, Team Arctic's Race Manager. With stacks of snowmobiles arriving for pick-up, Mike was busier than a squirrel at a nut factory. Upon my arrival, Mike bundled up, we went outside, found my ZR Blast and he was kind enough to let me uncrate it, so I could get it up on its legs to put in the back of my truck easier.

If you've ever wondered how a ZR Blast is crated...

If you've ever wondered how snowmobiles are crated and shipped, this is pretty representative of most models. Skis are off, as are shocks, and the rear skidframe torsion springs are off the perches. Additionally, windshield is off, and all parts are boxed along with acid for the battery that needs to be filled and charged.

Zach is always smiling and eager to talk Arctic Cat Snowmobiles. Here, he poses next to his SOO mod sled which is a true work of art.

About the time Mike and I got the ZR Blast into the shop, Zach Herfindahl walked in along with his friend and mechanic Hector (Not pictured). It was great to see both of them, and even better timing for me as both pitched in and helped quickly bolt on the Blast's skis and shocks.

Both Zach and Hector joked this was their "first day of work" at the Race Dept for the season. A short time later, Corey Berberich arrived, who is also a longtime Factory Arctic Cat mechanic. This team will be working on buttoning up some of the race sleds in the shop, and will quickly transition to building the 2021 R-XC units for Zach and teammate David Brown.

These twin pipes on Zach's SOO Mod - They're sexy. Or Sexual?  I think both.

If you're in the Team Arctic race shop, you gotta take a few photos. Zach gave me the rundown on his SOO Mod. There are so many cool pieces on this sled, and visually, the most striking are these twin pipes.

#17 David Brown

#17 David Brown's R-XC from last season was being put back together and may be used at certain races this season.

Number plates, Grip Strips and Handguards were a few cool Rox Speed FX parts on Brown's ZR

Rox Speed FX products are pretty incredible...David's ZR was using their Number Plates, Grip Strips and Flex-Tec Handguards.

#15 Wes Selby's R-XC from last season

Next to Herfindahl's SOO Mod, was #15 Wes Selby's R-XC from last season. I talked to Selby on my truck ride, and he is undecided how many events he'll race this season, but is definitely excited about competing. He's thinking of focusing on the lake races, I500 and SOO 500.

 Herfindahl (L) and Ben Langaas (R)

Mike helped an old-man's back out (mine) and fork-lifted the Blast into the back of my truck. While Zach and I were admiring the Blast, Ben Langaas arrived on his lunch hour. For me, Ben's enthusiasm for building and racing performance snowmobiles is infectious. It excites me to know, and spend time with, young engineers who live to race the snowmobiles they design. This is the same enthusiasm Ive seen from engineers like Brian Dick, who works closely with Ben.

Joey Hallstrom poses in his home shop in TRF 

Before leaving town, I stopped in for a quick visit to see my old pal, Joel Hallstrom. Joey updated me on how well Mission Trailers were selling (Company he works for) and how his kids were taking after him and racing Arctic Cat's in various cross-country circuits including COR Powersports. The photo above, Joey was sitting on his daughter Gabby's ZR she'll race this season. Gabby did extremely well in the Junior Girls 14-17 class last season.

 Jesse Hallstrom

Also in the shop with Joey, was his son, Jesse who was starting to work on his R-XC he'll race at Pine Lake in a few weeks. Like his older sister, 15yr old Jesse did extremely well last season in various classes including Junior 14-17 and Expert 600 Limited. It's cool to watch youth like Gabby and Jesse rise through the ranks with success. I wish them well this season, and all the other Team Arctic racers!



Comments (20):

I Bleed Green! says:
12/2/2020 11:19:00 AM

Looked like a bunch of fun to me!
Travis says:
12/2/2020 11:55:00 AM

Can I go with next time? Haha. Id love to see the Race shop! Thank you for sharing.
HiRev says:
12/2/2020 11:58:00 AM

Holy crappeth! That Soo mod is unreal. Loved the video you posted on Instagram it sounds incredible.
TerryC says:
12/2/2020 12:10:00 PM

Please share more of these race sleds!!! The factory cross country team looks like it will be strong again like last year. I pray they'll get to race despite this covid ridiculousness.
HAM says:
12/2/2020 12:13:00 PM

With the heavenly sounds those mods make, maybe the races could be considered a church service? LOL It was said above but thank you for posting that Soo sled video to facebook.
Jack says:
12/2/2020 12:42:00 PM

Has Joey taught his kids the art of road running? Hahahaha Its good to see his face.
Jamie says:
12/2/2020 1:40:00 PM

Thanks for sharing, Kale. I would really like to see an interview with Joey Hallstrom. I enjoyed reading what he put in the comments section of the article on here in the past about the 1990 EXT special. Would love to hear more of his racing department days.
Paul J. Nadeau says:
12/2/2020 3:50:00 PM

Thanks for sharing with us Kale! The race shop looks like a magic kingdom for all those involved in racing! Wondering, where do the older race sleds go after their winning ways? Is there a heaven for these sleds? Fill us in. Keep up the great work!
Kale says:
12/2/2020 6:21:00 PM

Paul- I think it all depends on the snowmobile. Most times if a sled wins a historic race, the racer keeps it. A lot of race sleds get sold at the end of the season. I'd have to verify, but i believe i was told the #15 Selby R-XC in this story will be reassembled and sold. And off the top of my head, I don't remember what races Wes has won with it?
Big Mac says:
12/3/2020 9:21:00 AM

Was there any mention of a Blast for me or was the "timing off" there as well
Kale says:
12/3/2020 12:36:00 PM

Mac- The timing was being advanced for you.
Paul J. Nadeau says:
12/3/2020 2:28:00 PM

Thanks Kale,
I am sure that there must be some collectors looking for these sleds, especially the winning ones. Anxious to here your review/feedback about the good looking blast you picked up last week! Sure would be curious to see what sleds Kurt and Tucker kept after the race seasons. fodder for another great story from you! Pictures please!
CW142 says:
12/3/2020 2:31:00 PM

Kale, 10hrs .Thats it ! ? I left Saturday at 2am. And got home with my race sled at 830pm. Seen a couple other racers. Heading south with there crates. Didn’t spend a lot of time at Race Shop . Just Caught up with Mike on a few things. And hit the road home ! Hopefully Covid doesn’t kill all the races this winter like it did this summer ! Team Arctic
Raymond Fouch says:
12/3/2020 3:23:00 PM

Cool beans man!
Ken says:
12/4/2020 4:53:00 AM

How awesome is this! Would love to see the race shop in person. And then meet up with Zach there. Pretty cool that he helped put your Blast together. Also great that you stopped and met with Joel. Thanks for another great story. Go Team Arctic!
George O Safford says:
12/4/2020 9:00:00 AM

Aaah I see your blast came with no windshield. My RR came with no front bumper. Trails open here in 10 days and still no bumper. What gives???
Kale says:
12/4/2020 9:16:00 AM

George - I mentioned it above in article, but the windshield for my Blast is there, it just comes in the crate unattached for shipping. (Its wrapped and attached to the seat) I will try to get an answer for you on your bumper.
Glad2BGone says:
12/4/2020 10:17:00 AM

Tell Selby to get a haircut! Oh, and let's see some smokey burnouts with that Charger!
Greg Hallstrom says:
12/8/2020 1:29:00 PM

I hear cousin Joey is actually working for a living now!
Chad says:
12/17/2020 2:51:00 PM

thanks for sharing Kale!

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