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Testing Team Arctic’s Soo 500 4-Stroke ZR

Team Arctic's Ryan Simons race-testing his Soo 500 sled.

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.

Ryan Simons (left) and Jeremy Houle prepare the Soo sled for racing at Willmar.

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.

Brian Dick (left) talks with Steve Houle from Speedwerx

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 engineer Blake Shoh looks at the download of engine info from the test

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.

Ryan Simons does more testing on the Soo sled

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.

Ryan Simons (left), Brian Dick and Mike Kloety talk about the post-race test session.

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!



  1. Anyone that has seen a Viper with the panels off will know. Here’s my thoughts.
    That motor is shoe horned in there, had all the panels off this weekend. Motor is a full 1-1/2″ higher than the Suzuki. Engine air intake is in front nose of unit(gets hot air off rad)
    The whole exhaust system to me just seems goofy, top off tunnel is cut out(for room i’m assuming?) so ice and snow directly hit the y-pipe=kills hp
    And the steering, well the post is on an angle, so the steering is slightly different left to right.
    And check all your hose clamps guys, a few have cooked motors up here from a loss of coolant(light comes on after damage is done)

  2. jeff:
    what have you seen for a difference of intake temperature? im guessing that when the vehicle heat soaks underhood that any warm air thats coming off of the radiator isnt any warmer than is already in the engine compartment.
    Also, not sure i completely agree with your theory that the ice and snow hitting (what I assume is the header and collector you are referring too) killing horsepower. From the posted numbers I have seen is just as comparable to the stock nytro as you could get considering dyno variability.
    I would consider hose clamps and coolant leaks a major deal as well. But as far as burning down because the light doesnt come on until after the damage is done, could happen just as easy with your car. If there is no coolant left to heat up the coolant temp senor I wouldnt expect a hot light to come on.

    Just my $.02 Happy sledding!!!

  3. Its a 4-stroke, I don’t think I’d worry about exhaust temps if I buy one. It doesn’t depend on pipe scavenging. You want to change the airflow and operating rpm change the cams.

  4. Where is the quality control from the factory? How can it leave without having the hose clamps tightened properly?? I would identify the source of the problem and fire that employee ASAP. Send a message to the rest of them that suspect work will not be tolerated. Do it right or don’t do it at all.

  5. Cant wait to see the 7000 compete! Go Brian and Ryan! Having these Factory Pros compete at the SOO sure has breathed some new life into that event. Im happy to see it. Thank you Arctic Cat for supporting it!

  6. Jamie: It say’s right in the PDI (Dealer check list for you, dummy) that the dealer is supposed to check the sled over and that includes hose clamps. Not get enough sleep last year?

  7. All I can say is GO TEAM GREEN. Hope you guys have a excellent race and have fun. It’s nice to see a 4 stroke snowmobile, especially from AC compete in this awesome race event.

    Does anyone know if it will be broadcasted via internet?

  8. Anyone else notice its not running in a production chassis, that the side panel removed in picture (in top to bottom order) three shows no “batwing” that the production sleds run , also picture number two has a funky nose to it , I didnt see the yamaha vipers having anything like this at the snocross races they ran… insight into the future? speculation? its sure fun to stir the pot!

  9. Just saw to day that one of the rebranded Arctic Cats is on the pole. Only the top two were locked in. I think Selby, Ekre, Herfindal are all going to be there as well.

  10. Sure seems like cat is trying to the green blood to turn blue ! All this crap about the 7000 engine lol ! Even there wildcat brochure has a blue wild cat in it ! What’s going on here ? Why can’t the brass at cat balls up and say we will be all blue by _____ !!!!

  11. alex the sleds used in that race are not even close to production sleds. so much is changed. My friends are pitted next to ryan and brian this year.

  12. So much for “the awesome horsepower”, lol! Losing over 9mph up top on the SOO straights?! And the fuel mileage??? They had better success with the 600 twin 2-strokes.

  13. it’s so difficult for your youngsters not to relish schools when you are aware it’s vital.


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