It took a few days to reflect back on Team Arctic’s 5th reunion. I was riding my electric bike on my daily 12 mi ride and it dawned on me how old we really are. I’m on the doorstep of 70 and the others are crowding the 80 mark!
Meeting up together is truly a highlight of the year for all of us. We’re in Fargo, North Dakota, sitting up on the top row of the bleachers, looking down at the speed spectacle of modern day Outlaw Sprinters. (That sweet smell of methanol, God I luv it..)
I caught myself thinking about lapping a Champ sled. A smile came across my face and I wondered what we could do to incorporate down force on a sled? Hmmm..
Then I turned to see what everybody else was intent on looking at. Of course, we’re race drivers listening to the engines build rpm’s and marveling how much the front wheels dance back and forth while the rears are searching for traction. (These guys are flying..exhilarating to watch!)
Schatz, Sweet, Macedo, Gravel and Haudenschild…yeah, all the hot shoes were here. The track was perfect with traction from top to bottom. If you haven’t been to an Outlaw sprinter race you need to get it on the list. It reiterates my feeling that Champ oval sleds need much bigger motors. You need to get them loud and extremely powerful. Our premier class of oval Champ sleds needs to be on the edge. It was fast in its day, but it’s not exhilarating enough..
These guys next to me were no slouches in their day. We were the talk of the town across the snowmobile country. Respectfully now, I see gray and wrinkles and a limp in their walk, very much like the ones I have! We all talk loud because we gave up our hearing to the sport.
From the late 60’s to the early 80’s this group represented Arctic Cat Snowmobiles on and off the track. The days of salaried factory drivers are gone. We all know how lucky we were to be the fortunate few.
In between heat races we’d sneak in a story or two and catch up on our lives around us. Our reunion ended with talking about next year. We’re thinking about a laid back pontoon cruise on an up north lake or river. A box of beer and some brats. It will be quiet and simple. Unless of course if the Polaris team shows up on a pontoon next to us…then, the race is on!!
Here’s to Bob Elsner, Larry Coltom, Dave Thompson, Bill Decker, Jim Dimmerman, Roger Skime and William Ness – Stay healthy boys…
Bucky (Jim Dimmerman)
Editor Note: If you’d like to read about a couple of the previous reunions with this group, click on the links below. And if you’re on the Facebook, hit the FRIEND button on Jim Dimmerman’s page. He frequently shares some great snowmobile info like this story. Enjoy. – Kale