A quick trip to Thief River Falls, Minn., with a stop in Fertile, Minn., produced the sights, sounds and smells of a snowmobile world that’s ready to ride (and race).
Cruising North on Hwy 59, a dusting of snow in the ditches and a sign of good things to come.
Kirk Hibbert (right) gives me a quick tutorial on the VIP Data Acquisition System used on the Sno Pro 600 race sleds. Kirk and Tucker had just returned from two days of testing and practice at Planet X. Even though it was 10:30 p.m. and he’d been gone for two days, Kirk still had to download the data before going inside and eating another of Teresa’s amazing desserts.
Team Arctic Race Manager Mike Kloety had the phone glued to his ear all day, fielding questions and helping racers, determining the best places for testing and making sense of the political aspect of the sport. His isn’t always a glamorous job, but the tradition, excitement and contribution of this important department is ever-present.
The engine of the Race Department is this awesome person, Dawn Haugen. She keeps it organized, stays on top of the information pile and ensures that everything runs as smooth as possible.
First tracks of the season coming out of the Arctic Cat factory and into the ditch. I didn’t see the sleds, but I’d bet it was an Engineering sled (or two) getting a few quick test runs. Not enough snow here for Field Test riders, who were an hour North riding on five inches of the good stuff.
Troy Halvorson is the High Performance Project Team Manager at Arctic Cat (which means he’s the guy responsible for the F Series and Sno Pro production sleds). Troy logs desk, field and shop time during the course of each day, and can tell you the part number of nearly every piece of a sled he’s responsible for.
ATV test riders were making laps on the test track across the street. Rumor has it there’s some good, new stuff coming.
About 40 miles south of TRF in Fertile, Minn., the Christian Bros. Racing team was preparing race sleds in their monstrous shop. Here’s Dwight Christian who, along with his brother Stuart, has built one of the most impressive team in snocross.
Either Semi Pro standout Zach Pattyn has a strange new training program, or he’s getting his picture taken for autograph stock to give to race fans. He looks pretty excited, huh?
The CBR team has made a HUGE investment in racing, including owning/operating snow guns to build a practice/race track behind the shop. When the cold weather finally hit a couple days earlier, these guns began working full-time.
CBR team racers Logan Christian, Garth Kauffman and newcomers Zach Pattyn, Ryan Simons and Cory Davis (pictured) made their first laps of the season on this track. It wasn’t long before doubles turned into triples, and the smell of 110-octane filled the air.
On this Friday afternoon, Logan Christian raced home from High School in order to log laps on the CBR test track before darkness set in. Dedication is the name of the game for this Semi Pro racer and the entire CBR team.