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First Snowmobile Front Flip My @$$!


6/21/2017 10:44:00 AM

A lot of hype has been made this week on the ol' socialable medias about the supposedly first-ever front flip on a snowmobile at the recent Nitro Circus show in San Diego.

It's NOT the first front flip. For starters, Heath Frisby did it at the X Games in 2012.

And I have personally done a snowmobile front flip at least 20 times in my career. A couple were even multiple-flips. Most of them occurred during various snowmobile races, usually in a whooped-out section of ditch. Granted, each one was unintentional; probably more of a somersault/cartwheel; and a complete surprise, but that shouldn't matter when the history books are being written.

While there is no video documentation of my flips (too bad, because I guarantee they're more entertaining than the recent Nitro Circus maneuver), I still have some shredded windshield plastic and twisted handlebars to prove it.

Gotta give the Nitro gang credit though, they're smart enough to charge money for this stuff.

|  posted in Video  |  comments (3)  |

Hey Jughead (Snowmobiling is Comical)!


6/16/2017 9:11:00 AM

Archie snowmobile comic magazine

Once upon a time, there was a generation of youth who read comic books. There were all sorts of comic books, from Marvel super-hero stuff to satirical MAD magazine to car-culture stuff like CARtoons. And pretty much everything in between.

This generation of youth read (and sometimes purchased) these comics at drug stores, convenience stores, grocery stores, bookstores and even comics stores.

If you were a snowmobiler WAY back then, your heart absolutely RACED on those rare occasions when a comic book featured your favorite sport. It was kind of like hitting the jackpot.

Funny now, looking back on a few examples of these comics from the early 1970s. The writers surely identified the subtle nuance of what the snowmobile experience was like back then: that sleds were often a bit unreliable.

I love that in our modern age, we can make a few clicks to watch video or see images of every single aspect of snowmobiling that exists today. Snowmobiling is literally at our fingertips. We're damn lucky.

But there's a part of me that appreciates (and wishes for) the simplicity of yesteryear. Of Archie, Dennis the Menace, Scooby Doo and snowmobiles that were tough to keep running a whole day.

Click to see a few more comics.

|  posted in Features  |  comments (4)  |

Making Tracks: Happy Birthday, Roger Skime


6/11/2017 10:55:00 AM

Roger and Bernice Skime. Photo by ArcticInsider.com

Roger Skime turns 74 years old today.

To celebrate this day and the immeasurable impact Roger has had on the world, snowmobiling, Arctic Cat and so many individuals, I'd like to share a story written about him a few years ago by his granddaughter Kylie Lehrer.

It's an awesome story that truly captures Roger's essence.

Thanks to Kylie for sharing this remarkable insight into the man who's made so many meaningful and impactful tracks.

And Happy Birthday, Roger!

Click to read read more.

|  posted in Features  |  comments (50)  |

Summer Sledding: Watercross Season


6/7/2017 7:47:00 AM

Team Arctic's Dale Lindbeck wins 2017 IWA Pro Stock opener.

First, the good news: In just two weeks the daylight hours will start getting shorter.

Now the great news: You can maximize your summer fun, hang out at the lake AND get some great snowmobile action. Simply hit up one of the IWA watercross races this summer.

If you do, there's a great chance you'll see Team Arctic's Duracell bunny Dale Lindbeck continue his decades-long win streak continue. In fact, he's already scored a win this season!

I've been covering watercross races since the mid-1940s, and Lindbeck was been winning at least that long. Pretty dang impressive!

Click for the IWA schedule.

|  posted in Racing  |  comments (3)  |

Wildcat Super Sport: D&P Performance's Custom Crawler


6/1/2017 8:32:00 AM

D&P Performance custom Wildcat. Photo by UTVGuide.net

Dean Bulloch and the crew from D&P Performance in Cedar City, Utah, built this one-of-a-kind Wildcat "Super" Sport to tackle monster rock crawling events like the King of the Hammers competition.

Custom double A-arm front and rear suspensions...a turbo-charged Yamaha 998cc triple engine with CVT drivetrain...yep, this baby is built for some fun.

Click to read a few more details.

|  posted in ATV and UTV  |  comments (1)  |

Capturing the Kitty's Thunder


5/30/2017 10:23:00 AM

2017 Arctic Cat Thundercat ZR 9000 Turbo. Photo by ArcticInsider.com

A new, modern Arctic Cat Thundercat returned to the frozen battlefields of speed this past winter.

It had some mighty deep tracks to follow to earn the name "Thundercat," as the original is still legendary among those who experience it.

It also had the challenge of overcoming the outstanding performance the previous 9000-Series machines that had been powered by the Suzuki twin turbo.

I'm gathering info for a story that will appear later this summer about where exactly the new T-Cat landed compared to its predecessors, both in stock and mod form. 

For now, I'll leave you with a few pix that visually capture this Kitty's thunder.

|  posted in Features  |  comments (3)  |

Flashback: Feb. 22, 2012. Team Arctic Hillclimb Crew


5/25/2017 10:21:00 AM

Team Arctic's Tupper, Kincaid, Shimpa & McClure. Photo by ArcticInsider.com

Flashback. Feb. 22, 2012. Island Park, Idaho. Near Arctic Cat's mountain test facility.

(L-to-R): Todd Tupper, Rob Kincaid, Al Shimpa and David McClure. Each is a key member of Team Arctic's hillclimb race program. Tupper is the racer/engineer.

|  posted in Features  |  comments (0)  |

New Pro Open Rules: CSRA's Ken Avann Responds with His Opinion


5/22/2017 7:53:00 AM

Pro Open Snocross racing from 2016. Photo by ArcticInsider.com

Controversy?!? Right now there's plenty of it when it comes to the new rule for Pro Open snocross sleds for 2017.

Ken Avann, president of the Canadian Snowcross Racing Association (CSRA) was one of the principal architects of the new stock-sled-based rule change.

Click for Ken’s perspective on the new rule and what it will accomplish.

|  posted in Features  |  comments (17)  |

So Close! SHOF New Building Fund On Cusp of Reality


5/22/2017 7:34:00 AM

Snowmobile Hall of Fame New Building Fundraiser

The vision of a beautiful new building that displays historic snowmobiles and memorabilia is almost ready to happen at the Snowmobile Hall of Fame in St. Germain, Wis.  With the Classic Sled Roundup weekend festivities happening this coming weekend, the SHOF hopes to bridge the final gap to its building fundraising goal in hopes of hosting a groundbreaking ceremony on Saturday, May 27.

“We are so close to our goal of $350,000 that we can taste it,” said Craig Marchbank, SHOF President. "With one last push, and a few spare dollars from those who are able, we’ll put shovels in the ground for this important showcase of snowmobile history.”

Click to read more about helping the SHOF this week with any size donation.

|  posted in News  |  comments (0)  |

Mash-Up Masterpiece: The Cat Kid's Custom Arctic Cat ZRThundercat


5/16/2017 8:35:00 AM

Doug Hanson's custom Arctic Cat ZRT 600

Doug Hanson (aka "The Cat Kid") builds some truly wonderful custom Arctic Cat snowmobiles.

This ZRT/T-Cat mash-up featuring a bunch of Thundercat, ZR and performance goodies is a perfect example of his work.

Click to see some more of this fine sled.

|  posted in Features  |  comments (10)  |

Craig Kennedy Named Vice President of Snow & International


5/10/2017 1:54:00 PM

Arctic Cat's Craig Kennedy. Photo by ArcticInsider.com

This week, longtime Arctic Cat veteran Craig Kennedy was named Vice President, Snow & International. The announcement was made by Kevin Holleran, President and CEO of Textron Specialized Vehicles.

Kennedy has more than 18 years at Arctic Cat, in a variety of roles. He knows the brand, the customers, the dealers and the employees.

Oh, and his blood is green.

Click for more info.

|  posted in News  |  comments (13)  |

Textron Shifts Production to TRF & St. Cloud, Closes Mpls HQ


5/10/2017 1:45:00 PM

Arctic Cat manufacturing plant in Thief River Falls, Minn.

Yesterday, Textron Industries announced a few big changes that will make an impact on Arctic Cat:

* Production of the (Textron) Stampede will move from Augusta, Ga., to Thief River Falls, Minn. (above)

* Production of the Textron 4-stroke engine (that powers the Stampede) will also move to TRF.

* Arctic Cat's Minneapolis HQ will be shut down, with employees transitioning to St. Cloud

Click for more info.

|  posted in News  |  comments (19)  |

We Want YOU (to Apply for the 2018 Team Arctic Race Team)


5/5/2017 9:34:00 AM

Become part of the legendary Team Arctic Race Team.

Attention all potential Team Arctic racers: We want YOU to send in your race application for the 2017-2018 race season!

Yep, you could join the long line of legendary Team Arctic race teams for cross-country, snocross, hillclimb, drag, enduro, oval and more.

May 30 is the deadline to apply.

Click for more info and to download the Race Application.

|  posted in Racing  |  comments (4)  |

Inverted Thinking: Say Goodbye to Mod Sleds in Snocross


5/4/2017 9:26:00 AM

Pro Open Snocross sleds, when they were truly Open. Photo by ArcticInsider.com

Say “goodbye” to these stunning and tricked-out Pro Open mod sleds in snocross this coming season.

They’re gone, replaced by Stock sleds with raspier, slightly louder exhaust.

That sound you hear? Sadly, it’s not the howl of 160-hp mod engines and twin tuned pipes. Instead, it’s the proverbial road to hell, being paved with good intentions.

Click to read my rant.

|  posted in Features  |  comments (43)  |

"Cross-Country" Carrie Longley Showing How It's Done in Alaska XC


5/2/2017 10:06:00 AM

Carrie Longley (formerly Goodwin) is an amazing racer!

When it comes to high-speed Alaskan cross-country competition, she's often the fastest racer, regardless of gender. She's on record with a first place overall finish in the Men's Kotz-Kiana 180 XC race, plus a first place overall finish in the Kotzebue 120 XC women's race (3 times, actually!).

At the recent Men's Kotzebue 'Last Chance' 105 XC, Carrie raced a 2004 Firecat 600 in the 600cc class of the race (the 2003-2006 Firecats remain a popular choice amongst XC racers in Northwest Alaska due to their amazing top-speeds).

Carrie got off to a slow start in the 'Last chance' race but eventually passed all of the male Cross-country racers in her class, some of which have placed first overall in the nationally recognized Kotzebue 220 XC race. Carrie caught some huge air along the way and maintained the lead in the 600cc class until she eventually blew her track.

Take a few moments to watch what high-speed lake racing is like in Alaska, as well as the nerves it takes to go wide-open.

For sure watch the wicket tail-stand that occurs at 4:45!

|  posted in Racing  |  comments (2)  |

Flashback: September 2014. Arctic Cat Next Gen Bodywork


4/27/2017 3:25:00 PM

Prototype of the 2018 Arctic Cat Next Gen bodywork. Photo by ArcticInsider.com

Flashback to September 2014.

Inside the Arctic Cat styling shop in Thief River Falls, where Nathan Blomker and Corey Friesen worked their design and styling magic on what would eventually become the 2018 Next Gen bodywork.

Click to see and read a few nuggets from that.

|  posted in Features  |  comments (10)  |

Q&A with John Collins, Vice President of Textron Specialized Vehicles


4/24/2017 8:36:00 AM

John Collins, Vice President, Consumer, Textron Specialized Vehicles. Photo by ArcticInsider.com

In the three months since Textron announced its intention to buy Arctic Cat (and the six weeks since the sale was finalized), the brand’s loyal legion of riders, dealers and employees has wondered what the future would bring.

Last week I sat down with John Collins, Vice President of the consumer business for Textron Specialized Vehicles, and asked key questions about the future of Arctic Cat as part of Textron.

Click to read about Textron's plans for Arctic Cat, including its people and products.

|  posted in Features  |  comments (48)  |

Q&A with "Duke" Johnson, the Million Mile Man


4/21/2017 10:00:00 AM

Arctic Cat's Gary "Duke" Johnson. Photo by ArcticInsider.com

This week at Arctic Cat in Thief River Falls, Minn., Gary “Duke” Johnson logged his last miles aboard a snowmobile (or ATV) as field test rider for Arctic Cat, a job he’s had since 1979. At the tender age of 64, the Thief River Falls native is riding off into the proverbial sunset called retirement, having ridden more than 1 million miles aboard snowmobiles during his career in the company's Field Test department.

Let that sink in for a moment. One. Million. Miles.

Yes, Duke has had a job that most of us would dream for: getting paid to ride snowmobiles.

I chatted with Duke this week about his career with Arctic Cat.

Click to read what it was like to become a million mile man.

|  posted in Features  |  comments (11)  |

New Sport-Utility Side-by-Side from Textron Off Road


4/20/2017 2:45:00 PM

New Sport-Utility side-by-side from Textron for 2017. Photo by ArcticInsider.com

During its dealer presentation yesterday, Textron Off Road announced a coming-this-fall side-by-side aimed directly at the Sport-Utility segment of the SxS market.

They didn't tell us the name, but they gave some pretty compelling spec's:

More than 100 hp, KING shocks, bucket seats, extended cab, usuable storage, and available in fall 2017.

They also announced that the Wildcat XX won't be available until spring 2018.

Click for a few more pix.

|  posted in ATV and UTV  |  comments (10)  |

Textron Talks Future Plans for Arctic Cat


4/20/2017 12:50:00 PM

 

At a special event held in an airplane hanger in Dallas-Ft. Worth yesterday, Textron Off Road shared with its dealers some plans for incorporating Arctic Cat into its family of vehicles. I was there, and I can tell you it was a powerful and good presentation. One of the key messages was that, going forward, the Arctic Cat name will be substituted with Textron when it comes to wheeled vehicles, while sub-brands like Wildcat, Prowler, Alterra and Stampede will be retained.

Arctic Cat snowmobiles will forever retain the name.

("There are some things that are sacred, and the Arctic Cat snowmobile name is one of them," Collins said to me.)

I have a lot more to say about this, including a soon-to-come interview with company Vice President John Collins in which he answers the questions that so many are asking.

In the meantime, if you have an hour to spare, I recommend watching the presentation. There's a lot of business/dealer talk, but there are also great things for everyone to hear.

|  posted in News  |  comments (14)  |
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