This weekend, many of the sport’s top cross-country racers will gather on a small lake in northwestern Minnesota in hopes of finding a groove, a few extra MPH and a suspension/traction setup that will carve with precision and control. Those who find this magic elixir will start the season with a win.
The event: the Gerald Dyrdahl Memorial Pine Lake 200, named after a great racer and man who passed away far too soon, yet who left a wonderful legacy. (That’s Gerald on the right, standing with son Bryan during the 1997 season.)
A few hundred fans will show to see the high-speed action, as will a dozen or so engineers from some of the snowmobile manufactures. Most of the spectators will be crew members. If the weather is as warm as the forecasters are predicting, there will be boots on the ice, so to speak. If it’s cold, they’ll be huddled in pickup trucks parked along the shore.
What they will see and learn on the opening weekend of lake racing is which machines are the fastest and which teams have done their testing. With the new rules in effect for cross-country this season – in which the sleds must powered by consumer-available engines with EFI – there’s even more anticipation and uncertainty than usual.
How will the Arctic Cat ZR6000R XC fare, with its 600 C-TEC2 DSI engine and its consumer ProCross chassis? Will the new Polaris AXYS have the speed necessary to contest for the win? Will the preseason speculation that the Ski-Doo MXZX 600RS is the fastest prove true? Will this be the year that Yamaha climbs on the podium?
We will know the answers in little more than 48 hours.
The entire staff of ArcticInsider (including Engineering, Marketing, Purchasing, Manufacturing, Sales, Accounting, HR and Customer Service) will be there on Sunday (due to a family Xmas party on Saturday) to capture the action and glean bits of useful information. Expect a report early next week detailing what we learned.
Good luck to all the racers and families who attend Pine Lake! May the speed be with you.