I’m back from a few days at Arctic Cat in Thief River Falls. As usual, there’s always fun stuff and great people to see.
For starters, the One Millionth Arctic Cat (a 2011 Crossfire 800 LE), sits loud-and-proud in the lobby, greeting visitors and reminding everyone of the cool production milestone.
The 2011 Arctic Cat Sno Pro 500s were on the assembly line, going together nicely and looking ready to rip. I wonder if there’s going to be a 800 version later this month?
Coil springs getting placed on the Fox Zero Pro gas shocks that suspend the Arctic Cat Sno Pro 500. The machine here compresses the springs.
Snow Goer magazine editor Andy Swanson (right) and photographer Wayne Davis (left) were there, doing a cool story in which Andy worked on the Arctic Cat assembly line, putting together sleds, including the Sno Pro 500 that the magazing will ride this winter. If anyone buys a new SP 500 and it has a Snow Goer decal plastered on the hood, you know the source.
While Swanson was putting together Arctic Cat Sno Pros, I took a moment to place an ArcticInsider decal on the Snow Goer company Suburban, increasing its resale value by 18%.
Back inside, deep within the Arctic Cat engine department, I spent some time with engineer Ryan Hayes, who showed me some of the new dynos being installed. Hayes is responsible for 800 H.O. engine calibration. He’s the son of legendary racer Doug Hayes, came up through the Clean Sled Challenge program and is a VERY talented engineer. It’s great to have guys like this at Cat. Look for an interview with him in the digital edition of Arctic Cat Pride magazine, coming soon.
Got to spend some time with ATV engineer, Craig Kennedy. Kennedy has the ultra-cool job of working on future Arctic Cat products, and he’s a busy man. Here he’s explaining to me how a suspension goes through it’s range of travel, and how it can affect vehicle width. Either that, or he’s breaking down the technical nuance of a coat hanger.
On the way over to the Arctic Cat race shop, a look at RV Sports shows some Arctic Cat Prowlers on display and on sale.
Passing by the Black Magic Motorsports sign, I couldn’t help but feel sadness this company no longer exists. Lots of history with this name.
Inside the Arctic Cat Race Shop, Al Shimpa ponders the future of these 2010 Sno Pro 600 Race sleds. Shimpa is the Hillclimb and Drag Racing coordinator for Arctic Cat, and one of the most talented fabricators I’ve met. I interviewed him for an upcoming story.
And finally, no trip to TRF is complete without a stop at Dee’s Kitchen, which makes the best home cooking in Northern Minnesota. Kale loved his roast beef dinner, with real mashed-potatoes.