I spent another day with Brian Nelson working on the three 1979 Arctic Cat Cross-Country el tigres, and doing a bit of riding.
The above footage was taken near Brooten, Minn., where the Brut riders have been terrorizing unsuspecting vintage riders for years. We showed ’em whose boss!
Funny thing…the video makes it look like we’re leisurely cruising and lightly hitting stuff, but in fact we were going around 60 mph here (trying to stay in Flying Tiger formation), and some of the windblown drifts felt like sledgehammers.
We did another 100-mile roundtrip ride to Glenwood, where we stopped for gas, only to discover neither of us brought any money. Couple of rookies, I tell ya!
Our friend Joe who was riding with us (and who shot the above video) popped into the station, announced our dilemma, and a stranger named Angie gave us the needed funds so we could buy enough gas to get home!
Either Angie is an angel, or my sweet new DRIFT Race On gear is so cool that people want to give me their money?
Prior to the ride, we made a trip to Harlan’s Snowmobile Salvage, a Willmar-area snowmobile/motorcycle junkyard that proved to be the highlight of my week.
This place is amazing for its supply of junked sleds, and for the amazing collection of rare and vintage sleds that Harlan graciously showed us. I’m going back there this spring to do a full-blown story on the place.
Here’s a photo of a rare 1975 pilot-build Trail Cat that Harlan owns.
The real reason we went to Harlan’s was to get a different fuel tank for one of the race sleds, which required moving a lot of snow to uncover various sleds, then peeling back the seats and shrouds to see if the tanks were okay. Glamorous stuff, this rebuilding of vintage sleds!
The filler-necks were broken on the first five tanks we checked.
But we finally found a good-condition tank, which Brian hoists like a hard-won trophy!
Back at Brian’s shop, we had to reweld the muffler bracket that showed signs of fatigue. I wanted Brian to weld a plate onto the exhaust that says “Black Magic Tuned Pipe” or “Aaen Performance,” but he was unwilling.
One week from now we’ll be on our way to Thief River Falls for the USCC I-500. Prior to leaving, we still have to stud tracks and button-up a few details. So much time and energy has been put into this project! The excitement level is ramping up big-time.
I’ll try to make one more update/post on this project prior to the race.
Wish us and all the I-500 racers good luck. We’ll all benefit from the good vibe.