February 19, 2010
New Apex Sets World Record
A couple of weeks ago I got a call from an old acquaintance.
“I’m going to take a shot at the Guinness world record for the most miles in 24 hours on a snowmobile. Just wanted to let you know I’ll be riding a Yamaha Nytro“
That’s where it started. Matthew Weidinger is a friend of a friend who I had met a couple times in the past and had picked up a good vibe from him. After a couple more phone calls, and a chat with Peter (my boss) about what I was potentially getting myself into, I made the decision to offer Matt the ‘TY mystery sled’ to ride. Yep, the same 2011 red Apex EPS which was broken in by Supertrax and ridden by the first group of Sled Talkers back in early January.
Bracebridge Yamaha volunteered to prep the sled with some fresh carbides, studs and a set of low snow wheels. Dan at BBY also freshened up the chain-case oil, checked out all the fasteners and fluids then installed a pair of TRIC scratchers that we are currently testing for durability. The only mod was the addition of a second throttle lever for his left hand in case of cramping.
I loaded up my sled Wednesday morning and headed up to Big Win Island on Lake of Bays where I was met by Matt and his support crew. A local survey company had laid out an exacting 10.3 km oval course around the island. It was well staked with lots of reflectors. A start finish banner was erected in the middle of the front straight with a heated timing booth, generator and large construction light off to the side. The 2011 Apex was there, adorned with graphics depicting the different sponsors and Matthew in his new Klim suit (thanks Sue!) was calmly preparing for the longest ride of his life.
At precisely 3:00PM on Wednesday Matt fired up his sled and off he went. I hung out with the guys as he continued to lap in just under 5:00 minutes, until the fuel light came on. He slid to a stop and Stephen dumped in about 28 liters of gas and he was gone. I jumped on my Apex and started following him around lap 15, to discover he was really flying. I was pinning my Yamacharged sled and was not gaining on him. I was hitting over 160 down the snow drifted straights and cornering no lower than 140. The track was snowy enough not to afford consistent traction and it required a lot of attention. Scary pace… Matt was truly in for a grueling ride.
Fast forward about six hours, it’s dark, it’s cold and starting to snow Matt is still cranking sub 5 minute laps and taking on fuel every 13-14 rounds, the sled is running great. Johnny is serving us warm, oozing pitas on the ice, while the boys continue to log and video the run for the Guinness adjudicators. After another couple of hours I eyeballed the sled (again) during a pit stop, everything looks good, I decide to leave the team and go get some zzz’s. Fast forward another seven hours, daybreak, my cell phone didn’t ring last night, jump in the truck, fingers crossed. I arrive at the lake just as Matt is taking his first break, some dry fish, ibuprofen and energy drink. He has been running strong all night and his lap times are coming steadily down. He’s running under 4 minutes 30 seconds now. He’s a machine!
I visually checked the sled again, this time there’s a problem. The outside ski has only one stud left on the carbide and the inside isn’t much better with only two of the four studs left. The next pit stop we changed the carbides in record time, track was a bit loose but the studs weren’t contacting anything and the new Apex has extroverts… away he went, and cranked his fasted lap yet @ 17 hours into the ride. Fast forward to 10:35, the current world record of 2372km set by Dustin Shoemaker of Illinois on an Attak was about to fall, Matt slid under the banner with four and a half hours left to widen the gap. Apparently, Shoemaker was spent/exhausted after his run and could barely lift his arms. Matt got off and looked fresh as a daisy. He took a short break and I pulled the body panels for the first time, adjusted the chain case, checked the oil and coolant and threw on a fresh belt, just because… off he went and cranked a 4:15, he was still going faster! Jump forward to 3:00PM.
Amidst family friends and local media, Matt’s solitary challenge came to an end. He not only broke the world record he annihilated it. He finished up approaching 3000km 24 hours. -Think about that for a moment.- He was averaging around 80+mph the whole time. The 2011 Apex required no maintenance or repairs outside of what I have mentioned. Matt gave kudos to the power steering, engine durability and suspension. Hugs, handshakes and a couple of tears. I am sincerely honored to have been a part of this.
What a great accomplishment for Matt and testimony to the QDR of our newest snowmobile. 23 hours wide open and not a single issue to be addressed aside from ripping the carbides off in the corners. Congratulations Matthew and congrats to our engineers, Nakano-san you built us one heck of a sled!
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