January 25, 2012
Its My Ball and you Can’t…
Just got the email from ‘Red’ regarding the Alcan 200 point to point race up in the panhandle. Once again the boys from Yukon Yamaha won with their turbo Apex maintaining an average speed of 119mph in near white-out conditions (yikes!). This marks the fourth year in a row that this race has been won by an Apex but the all time speed record average (121mph) set by an SRX still stands. I would think some blue skies and a bit of packed snow will see a bigger number from the mighty 4′s if ever mother natures lets them run full out. Congrats to the Whitehorse crew, awesome job!
While on the racing topic. Its no big secret that Yamaha USA is supporting some FX Nytro’s to compete in the USCC cross country circuit. Pine Lake saw some good results for Yamaha (and of course some protests from the other manufacturers). It is my understanding that the original rules allowed for certain ‘kit’ parts to be installed to production sleds in order to be competitive and durable under the rigors of full out racing. Kits had to have a minimum build of 50 and be commercially available. Well the boys in our advanced engineering group in the USA had a little time on their hands and developed some slick mods for the FX chassis a couple of years ago which have evolved into a cross country race ’kit’. Contrary to some opinion the kits are not identical to the original skunk works design but for all intent and purpose they perform the same function. As with anything this limited, there have been a few bugs but they are being ironed out one at a time.
The basics of the kit is comprised of essentially a complete front clip (A-arms, spindles, sway bars the whole enchilada). You also get a 128 inch track which requires relocation of the rear skid and a large capacity fuel tank. The end result yields a chassis with improved high speed ‘manners’, read into that what you will. Now I anticipate a few questions arising from this post so let me jump ahead a bit. No it is not going to be a production model in 2013. Is it planned to be a production model ever? … certainly not in its present form. Can I purchase one? Sure, the part number is SMA-XCRAC-KT-OO and the retail price is (you might want to sit down for a minute) US$ 8,284.00.
Needless to say as soon as the sled showed some potential, red flags went up in a couple of the other camps and as of yesterday the ruling committee was hearing from the stakeholders on whether we will be allowed to continue to run our heavy four-strokes against the lightweights 2-smokes with our suspension kits installed. It seems one manufacturer in particular is quite worried about Yamaha getting in the game but they seem to have a bug up their butt about a lot of things in the industry these days. The rules evidently have been modified recently and it was just confirmed to me that Yamaha is being tossed from the production classes. It’s interesting to note that one of our competitors sells a race specific chassis for the production class and the owner has to come up with their own engine, that’s okay. The other guys are running limited build, dedicated race machines in the stock classes, no problems there. Yamaha was bolting a front end onto a full production sled (a heavy 4-stroke at that) and gets tossed, go figure. Rules are rules, spirit and intent aside, the decision didn’t go our way. Too bad because win loose or draw I think having all four manufacturers in the game would put on a better show for the fans. Guess I’ll have to root for team green as the underdog now
Finally I have the privilege of hosting an ‘on-snow’ meeting for our snowmobile service and accessory development team. The guys will be flying up from the US on the 6th and I have blocked rooms at a top secret location just south of Parry Sound for a good ride and some meetings. I rode some of the local area trails around there last weekend and things were surprisingly good. Speaking of that, I was on board my new ride. I had to decide between two good ones this year, the 128 SE or the XTX. I chose the SE, added an Ice Attack, some Trackers and HID’s so far so good, no regrets leaving the XTX to another man but I know I’ll miss her somewhere down the trail especially if things get really rough or steep and deep. Soft side up.