January 18, 2012
Winter Has Arrived
Well here I sit in the Quebec City airport. It is a raging blizzard outside and my flight has been delayed another 3 hours… but if it means more snow, I won’t complain! We had an excellent ride yesterday, departing at the foot of Mont St Anne, parelleling the north shore of the St Lawrence all the way to Pointe Au Pic on trans Quebec 3. The trails could not have been any better, groomed pool table smooth with a good base and minus 6 with six Apex’s and a Vector hauling the mail. The ride itself was focused on a special guest. Knobby Shirashi, the general manager of our RV division and commander in chief of all things snowmobile at Yamaha. He was in town to say goodbye after over 40 years with the company. What more could we do in his honor than go for a good pull on some of the worlds finest trails (besides it was his request).
Knobby was involved very early on with snowmobile, as a young engineer he worked for six years with the sno pro team in the 70′s. We had a good laugh when he told us the story of the race rig breaking down on the prairies. Appears they had the trailer hooked onto a tow truck, Bob Work was in the cab with Roy Wall and the driver, Knobby was forced to ride it out in the trailer. They stopped at one point at the side of the road to take care of a little business. Then the rig drove off accidentally leaving one young engineer zipping up in a light windbreaker at minus 30, in a cloud of snow dust. Some time later, resemebling an icicle, he was picked up by the RCMP who rescued him and set out in pursuit of the race team but they would not let him ride in the trailer anymore as it is illegal, but I digress.
As much as Knobby has supported our snowmobile since the launch of the RX-1, his work on ATV goes right back to the beginning with the Tri-Moto, he had influence on all the Bears and was lead on the Raptor development. I should say that Knobby is passing the torch and I am looking forward to meeting his replacement. I hope to see him out on our trails yet this winter.
Our trip started off with an evening at the ice hotel. I have heard of this place for years but never had the chance to visit, if you are ever in the hood, its worth a stop but be sure to wear your sled gear… brrrr. The ride was uneventlful except for one minor mishap which shall remain my secret as I like my job and tend to avoid bad career moves whenever possible . I would like to make a shout out to Steeve and Francois our Quebec contingent for putting together all the logistics and our dealers Collette Sport and SM Sport for supplying the machines, they were very well set-up and ran perfect in fact my Apex had over 10000km and felt better than out of the box new. If you are ever in need of a rental sled in La Belle Province I would recommend either of these dealers. We were also treated to some excellent service by Andre who shadowed us in his posh rig making sure we had transportation options at all times. As you may have guessed, I was rather spoiled over the last couple of days but then again its not every day that a piece of our history as big as Knobby retires. Thank you Knobby-san for everything you have given to snowmobile, you have been a very good leader.