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Archive for March, 2009

March 30, 2009

G-Force, ISOC, Guinness Record

Our friends at G-Force had a pleasant surprise recently. As some may know Gilles and his crew established the ISR world speed record for a snowmobile last fall with his Apex powered slip-streamer. He has been working with the officials at Bonneville to run his machine on the salt. As there is no classification for ‘tracked’ vehicles within the organization, Gilles ‘Bonny’ attempt was postponed for a couple of years to allow the technical and classification aspects to be addressed.

Well he had the call last week from the officials after receiving pictures of the sled and details of Gilles world record run in Val D’or, seems they have fast tracked the entry and welcomed Gilles to run this September. There are some concerns regarding the small wheels under the skis causing some unusual ruts in the salt that might affect other vehicles so Gilles may be asked to run at least one test session if required. Pressure is now on as the team thought they had 18 months to prepare, this is now changed to 6. I’ll keep you posted as the worlds fastest snowmobile gets ready to take on the salt…

Left Gilles, center Richard, right Bob

Left Gilles, center Richard, right Bob

Gilles recently hooked up with another Yamaha world record holder, Bob ‘HONDO’ Davis. Bob achieved his record from Guinness for the ‘most miles in 60 days’ on board his Yamaha RS Venture. The cool thing is the Venture had well over 30,000km before setting out and is currently kissing 60,000km on the odometer, aside from oil changes and a valve adjustment the engine is completely original having never been apart. You can get caught up with all of Bobs adventures on Totallyamaha.

Here is a picture that features Bob and Gilles together with PASSIONYAMAHA’s Richard Hotte. Richard was instrumental in getting the ‘worlds fastest’ together the the ‘worlds most reliable’ for an official introduction and photo session.

Out west another fast guy left his mark on Revelstoke’s Boulder Mountain. Our own Randy Swenson took on all comers at the annual Big Iron Shoot-out and ended up ‘top dog’ in this colorful outlaw event. Turns out his propane powered and boosted Nytro spoiled the day for some fast-talkin, turbo-charged mustard-tubs… ata boy Randy!

In other racing news the factory racing snocross team is finishing up the season in strong fashion. I am looking forward to watching Iain hit the slopes at Horseshoe for the CSRA finals… heres the latest release.  round-7-isoc

And overseas our old pal Yuji Nakazawa has locked down the Japan SX championship, heres a few pics from ‘Ace’ Oyama our newest member of the snowmobile development team, (pardon the ‘Jenglish but you’ll get the picture

Yamaha 1 and 3

😉  ) mfj-all-japan-sno-x-rd5

In closing, the Toronto Supercross was a blast on Saturday, this shot kinda sums it up. Cheers  cr


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Posted @ 2:24 pm in Competition and Racing   

March 26, 2009

TO Supercross

I have been having a few technical issues with Sled Talk this week but it seems now all is well. I’m sorry if you have tried to access the site, leave a comment and been frustrated by an error code but we are, once again, good to go.

As I was spending some time on the admin side trying to figure out what happened, I ran across some interesting stats.

Sled Talk has  passed the two year mark entering number three. I have written and posted 112 articles and received 1110 comments, most of which I have responded to and much of that during my spare time. The good news is, I still have a wife and the dog doesn’t try to bite me when I enter my own house!

If you were hoping to see the factory snocross team in action this weekend in Chickopee (Kitchener ON), the event has been canceled, however the boys are still planning to hit Horseshoe for the CSRA final in a couple of weeks. As for me, I’m going to hit the AMA Supercross in Toronto this  Saturday to witness Bubba and Josh pull off a 1-2 finish!

On the product side, factory has listened to your feedback and I am happy to say it appears that all the 2010 Apex models will be coming with a new fully open / fully clipped, 2-ply Ripsaw track with EXTROVERT drivers and the new MONOSHOCK 2 skid frame. This will certainly enhance suspension durability, performance and hyfax longevity…

I’ll be back early next week with a full update and some new stuff but I wanted to get in a quick post today to let you know the blog is still alive. Now I’m outa here, and thanks to all of you, we have a belated birthday to celebrate tonight…here’s to year 3!

cheers  cr

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Posted @ 3:18 pm in Industry News   

March 16, 2009

Alcan 200 – Testing in WI

Last week was one of those ‘pinch me I must be dreaming’ periods where I am reminded how cool it is to be working for Yamaha. I found myself at our testing facility in Wisconsin along with several guys from Yamaha USA, Victor fromgroup.jpg Russia and a few engineers from YMC. The agenda entailed some very focussed meetings and an opportunity to test ride some new project prototypes. Snow conditions were not that great around Minocqua so we travelled up to Hurley Wisconsin where the trails were in surprisingly good shape. We had some awesome riding conditions under sunny skies at 12F and even manged to run into some fresh grooming.You can see by the smiling faces on this rag-tag bunch of outlaws, at times life in the ‘office’ is pretty good!

Jeff Rmid-race-2.jpgyan an old pal of mine from BC,  sent me the following story and I found the concept quite amazing. It’s about one of the best kept competition secrets in snowmobiling, the Alcan 200. Imagine if you will, taking a wide sweeping section of highway close to a hundred miles long, hitting it with a giant Zamboni, and running an out and back, no holds barred ice / road race rally for snowmobiles. Welcome to the Alcan.

Here’s what Jeff had to say:



“The race happens in a place that most people have never heard of, smack-dab in the middle of no where. The track is a twisty highway covered in a thick layer of ice, 86 miles one way with 2 fuel stop’s, racer’s leave 2 abreast and 15 second’s apart. After the racer’s arrive at the end of the first leg the ambulance and sweep truck’s clear the track and then they race back to the start. There is some more info on the Alcan 200 website. This year was the 40th aniversary of the event.


In 2008, the Alcan 200 was won by an SRX700 Big Bore with an average speed of 117 mph. The all-time record average speed is held by the same machine  at120.08 mph. To my knowledge this is the only snowmobile road race in North America. There is typically about 40 entries in this race of which only half will make it to the finish.alcan2.jpg The race is held in the Alaskan Panhandle and BC running into the Yukon and took place on Jan 17-18. This years winning rider is Travis Adam’s from Whitehorse, Travis was the last Canadian to win the overall in 98, he has had 3 first place finishes in different classes since first running the Alcan.



Yamaha has long dominated this event, the average speed record is 121mph and is held by a mod SRX, (these thing’s are legendary for their aerodynamic’s and engine reliability.) The second fastest average speed came from a near stock SRX600, remember the 2 fuel stop’s each way, these sled’s are moving FAAAST… Most rider’s dont need the fuel but they MUST stop, remove the cap and put the jerry can spout in the gas tank This year #2 and #3 were the Hill brother’s from Alaska on a pair of RX1 turbo’s.



alcan3.jpgTravis ran a 2008 Apex RTX, extensively modified specifically for this one single race. It is not a trail sled for the rest of the season and will sit til next January. The build is based on a McXpress 270hp turbo kit, due to lack of soft snow for lube and cooling a Nytro rad is installed on the back and a rail spray lube system is added. It’s geared as high as possible and the sled will exceed 160mph oalcanwinr2.jpgn GPS, tracks will not last long at this speed so a little control is required. Travis held the machine at just under 140mph to minimize a possible disasterous track explosion. Travis told me that he has seen a pile of track debris on the hi-way and the trackless sled 1.5 miles up the road, no brakes and just idler’s on glare ice makes for a long, scary glide

alcanwinr6.jpgTravis had his sight’s on not only the overall win but also the average speed record but unfortunately the second half of the race went through bad weather and ‘white-out’ condition’s. Travis still took the overall but was unable to get the new average speed record, his average was 113mph. Get this, Travis started in 11th– so on the 6th row–that’s 90 second’s back of row 1 and he was 1 minute ahead at the half way point (86 miles). Last year Travis lost when he ran out of fuel almost within sight of the finish line, he was leading by a long shot. Travis is funny, I dont know if you can say this but pre race jitter’s get to him big-time, he get’s diarea and vomiting prior to to any race he enter’s… the whole family is involved in racing, have been for a long time. Interesting folks as they aren’t in it for the glory, it’s simply what they love to do.

Unfortunately there was a tragic death in this years race, a Yamaha loyal rider, running in the vintage class on board an SRV540 Jeff Peede, saddly, did not make it through to the end.”

So there you have it… 120 mph AVERAGE over 200 miles, good thing there are no Caribou in the north! Congratulations Travis and Yukon Yamaha, job well done!! and a special thanks to Jeff for sending in the details.

Cheers  cr

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Posted @ 11:06 am in Competition and Racing,Yamaha People and Communication   

March 6, 2009

Scratchers – New Sleds 2010

Most lakes in southern Ontario are glare ice now after the most recent melt down, quite a shame considering the temperatures have been arctic cold for days. The good news is in the bush, where the trails are still in great shape (at least until you have to run a road). Up north I am told the conditions are stellar. My cousin Brian called me last night to pick my brainsdscn1209.jpg about the new sleds and if he should be trading his hi-mileage Attak…

He had just returned from a week long tour (2500km) in northern Ontario. He was traveling with 3 other sleds -all of them yellow- and had some good stories for me. I won’t go into the details, lets just say his Attak provided some extra pulling power for all three at one time or another (one of them twice) nothing serious, but good hot-tub fodder!

Another good buddy Chris H, just returned yesterday from a five day northern Ontario epic and reported the same stellar conditions but with a twist. South of Sudbury the ice really took its toll on his group.  He is running an XTX and had the foresight to install some ice scratchers on his skid-frame, not everyone in his posse did. On the return they jumped onto Georgian Bay near the French River and ran all the way down to Moon River well south of Parry Sound. His XTX was happy-happy showing no wear onfrenchr.jpg the hy-fax, Chris figures thatdscn1211.jpg over the whole trip if he had any wear at all it was no more than a 1/16 inch. The sleds without the scratchers all destroyed their hyfax (including the Poos and Doos) with a couple of guys getting right into the aluminum and wrekcing their rails… On top of that they were dealing with over heating engines. Chris sent me these picks of the Bay… you can just smell the plastic!

So whats my point? Ice Scratchers work. I have known this for a long time but because we haven’t been able to sell them as accessories in the past, we haven’t done much to promote them on our sleds. With the advent of the 2010 Nytro MTX SE, which is sold with our new scratchers included, we are now able to offer them as an accessory item. A little background on the mountain market; light weight has a much bigger impact on their riding than it does here on the trail. Also running 2+ inch lug tracks presents some isues for hyfax. Some riders, in a quest of additional weight savings started removing their idler wheels and adding scratchers. They unload at low altitscratch.jpgude, drop the scratchers and carefully walk the sleds up several thousand feet of packed trail to access the pow, game on. By including scratchers with the new air Nytro, owners can realize over twenty pounds total of weight savings over the 09, nice! Kind of ironic that the deep snow, powder guys were the ones to break open the ice scratcher biz, while the majority of hyfax and overheating woes are due to hard packed conditions our sleds are  constantly subject to in the east. When you figure the cost and hassle of dealing with baked hyfax, overheating (additional heat exchangers) and pooched idler bearings, a good set of ice scratchers are pretty cheap insurance.

The Scorchers brand scratchers we are selling can be mounted on practically any sled. They have an adapter that lets you mount them behind the second idler wheel on a mono-skid but the torsion skid (twin shock) requires mounting them back of the idlers so as to clear the main spring when not in use. Probably the biggest concern is remembering not to back up witih.jpgh them down, especially on packed snow where they will dig in and bend (right Chris? 😉 ). I predict we’ll see a lot more of these being used here in the east in the coming seasons.

Shifting gears, I heard from a little birdie that Hayden and the Factory SX Team  will be at the final 2 CSRA events,  March 28-29 at Kitchener’s ‘Chicopee Sky Resort‘ and April 4-5 at Craighurst’s ‘Horseshoe Valley’ resort.

I must admit, I was waiting in anticipation for the release of the all the new sleds from our competition. After all the comments I read and received regarding the lack of new models from Yamaha, I was fearful that one might drop a serious trump card. In the end it didn’t happen, that’s not to slight the new chassis Polaris has released. I am sure they have put a lot of time and resource into it but in the big picture, I believe we did pretty good. Matter of fact, take out the Rush from the equation and dang-it we clearly had the most changes with the Air Nytro and new Vec.. It’s a little perplexing to see how gentle the forums have been to the other guys… Most of the comments I am seeing are along the lines of ‘oh well it must be the economy’ and ‘I didn’t really expect much anyways…’ sheesh, maybe we took the brunt of the venting by being first out of the blocks, I wonder what 2011 will bring?  😉 cheers  cr

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Posted @ 9:55 am in Accessory Stuff,Industry News,Yamaha People and Communication