Two weekends ago, at the USXC lake cross-country race in Willmar, Minn., Team Arctic racers Ryan Simons and Brian Dick tested the sled they will race at the upcoming Soo 500 enduro.
For the first time ever, the duo will race a Speedwerx massaged 7000-Series Yamaha 4-stroke engine in the ZR R race chassis.
Speedwerx has spent a lot of time generating additional horsepower in the powerful three-cylinder engine. Satisfied with what they saw in the dyno, the team went to Willmar to put the first real race miles on the sled and engine. Both Steve and Jeremy Houle from Speedwerx were at Willmar, working on the machine and observing the race testing.
There wasn’t time to do a full ice set-up on the machine, but Simons competed in the Pro Open class anyway. He ran hard on the straights, but backed way down for the corners. The effort was more about puting on miles than it was getting a good finish.
Arctic Cat engine engineer Blake Shoh was in the Christian Brothers Racing trailer, downloading the data from the engine after Simons raced it in the Open.
Later in the day, after the Pro Stock race but before Brian Dick could change out of his sweaty race gear, he was back on the course with Simons, drag racing a 600 mod against the 7000-Series mod.
Both riders are impressed with the top speed of the machine, and are confident they’ll get the handling where it needs to be for the Soo’s notorious oval.
Qualifying for the 46th Annual Soo 500 begins tomorrow, Tuesday, Jan. 27. Saturday, Feb. 2 is race day.
Good luck to Simons, Dick and all the other Arctic Cat racers who are competing in this famed event!