I hope everyone is having a good summer so far. I decided I would check in today for a couple of reasons.
First, I wanted to share this picture of Randy taken a few days ago. Yep, this is July in BC.
While the rest of us are sitting on the dock in the throes of a heat wave, there are a handful of hard-core riders who stay cool in other good ways.
I went through something last weekend that scared the hec out of me that I thought I should share. Won’t be an issue when on the sled, but if you like to get out and enjoy the sunny weather on wheels – as many of us tend to do – or even thrash away at golf or some other frustrating pass-times. Take heed!
I recently entered a Canada Cup mountain bike race in Sudbury Ontario. I have trained and raced quite a bit this season and am in pretty good form but in hind-site, I was not fully hydrated and did not drink enough during the race. I went out hard and about an hour in, dehydrated, began to ‘overheat’. I had no indications of what was happening to me, again in hindsight I realize now that I quickly lost co ordination and became mentally confused… The rest is history.
Hyperthermia aka ‘heat stroke’ – sweating stops, body overheats (my temp was up to 39.5C) heart rate goes way up and organs begin to shut down. Evidently, when found, I was unconscious and in convulsion. I was in a very dangerous place. Quick response by first aid and EMT were able to cool my body and stabilize me. Potassium was way off, as well as electrolytes were sky high both of which needed to be balanced slowly to avoid brain damage. In Emerg, multiple bags of saline were pumped into my blood for re-hydration and my body was cooled with water sprays, cold packs and a fan for several hours. When I came to in the ambulance, I had limited memory, didn’t know where I was, could not remember my address, phone number, b-day and had no idea what was wrong with me. I thought I had taken a header and sustained a concussion. Also my body would not respond to my mental commands, I was twitching like a stuck chicken and struggled to form words. It was about six hours later that my memory began to return, now, 5 days later, I am feeling near normal, albeit humble and am back to work. I have been competing in endurance sports since the late 70’s, Over the years, I have trained, studied and worked with professional coaching. I have pushed harder and longer in other events and I understand the importance of hydration. Given my experience, I am shocked at how quickly this happened, that I unknowingly let it happen and how dangerous it really is. I had no idea it was happening to me. One minute I’m having a good race, next thing I know I’m fighting for my life. What did I learn? Never underestimate the effect of extreme temperatures on your body, doesn’t have to be endurance sports – golf – yard work – whatever, I have spent a lot of time reading up on the subject this week, it could happen to anyone, even you!..’hydrate or die’ – believe it!
Well we’ve had a little snowfall in just about every region that cares about snowmobiles. I have a gut feeling that we may be in for a good winter this year. Last winter I said I was going to keep my Apex SE. I lied. I am happy to announce that this year I am going to ride… drum roll please, another Apex SE. And that’s a good thing in my books ’cause its still a hard sled to beat on the trail. I like what the guys at OSM have to say regarding the tenure of our 4-cylinder sleeper in the face of all the latest bangers… here’s a snippet.
The show season is upon us here in the east with Quebec this weekend and Toronto next weekend, we will officially kick things into overdrive. Next biggy on the list for me is a trip to sunny soCal to hook up with our design team and check a clay model project before meeting with engineering to discuss a couple of pending items. Somewhere between then and now I’ll have to pull the boats out of the water, winterize the Waverunner and dust off the old sleds hiding under my cottage… sound familiar? I love this time of year.
I came across an ad in a magazine that stopped me dead in my tracks. Stared at it for a couple of minutes, read the fine print, put it in context then asked myself again – ‘What the heck were they thinking??’ Let me preface the image with this. I am on record as saying I have utmost respect for the marketing machine at BRP. They know their snowmobile customers well and they know how to create sizzle around their products. This is why I was caught off-guard by this ad. If a picture is worth thousand words, this is not the essay I would want to publish about my products. LOL.
So with out further adieu, click on the thumbnails to see what I am chuckling about. Begs the question: Can you find a Yamaha snowmobiler?… see what I mean? No offence guys, I just found this too ironic not to share. And I don’t hold a grudge for the old doo ad showing an RX 1 with dumb-bells attached… much 😉
Anywho, not wanting to stir up a bash-stew here but with the sled shows coming at me I need to practice up a bit on my witty come-backs. Bring rings and pistons, yeah baby – big smile – cheers cr
It just struck me I have not posted anything for a couple of weeks. Things have become crazy busy since the 2013 model launch. I find myself now in preparation for a trip to Japan, where Pete and I will be hunkered down in planning meetings for the better part of two weeks. Some of it will be regarding ATV’s but we will finish up with our ideas for the next snowmobile mid-term plan which sets our path to 2016. We will host a meeting here early next week to line up our ducks and start assembling much of the required supporting data. If anyone knows what mother nature has in store for winter over the next few years, it would sure be nice if you would share 😉
I have been quite remiss in reporting on the cross country and hill-climb racing this winter. At the grass roots level, Yamaha has had some really solid results with privateer teams on board our Nytros, several of which have been proving the merit of the modified front end clip. The latest press release shows an FX Nytro going over the top of the mountain at Jackson Hole under the capable hands of Cody Malmborg. Evidently this is the first time a 4-stroke has ever gone over the top, he ended up 8th after the dust settled. I’ve post a few pics which have come over my desk along with the press releases. 120326 Malmborg pilots FX Nytro over the top at Jackson
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.
I am grateful for the many comments on my last post. It supports my thinking that a hole is opening up in the market for less powerful, less expensive snowmobiles. I am curious how many experienced sled heads would consider taking a backwards step with regards to the performance levels of their current machines. And I wonder what we could do to bolster the fun factor in a smaller machine in the absence of the arm stretching pull and ballistic top end of todays sleds in order to attract you. Then there is the subject of new riders, family riders and returning riders. I have drafted up a survey to help answer some of my questions and will get it posted after a few more tweaks.
In the news, the Grand Prix of Valcourt held last weekend, experienced a nasty storm in the form of Team G-Force. Many of you will remember G-Force for the world record setting slip-streamer created by Gilles Gagne, principal of Gagne Lessard Sport (Yamaha) in Quebec. If that doesn’t ring a bell Gilles is also the invenotr of the Yamcharger blower for the Apex and Nytro. It wasn’t a huge surprise that they ran away with top honors at the drag races but things got really interesting when they won the ATV races on the ice-ovals as part of the main program.
Heres the visual. Valcourt is home base for BRP and the race track is actually part of the factory testing facilities. The whole town is employed by team yellow in one way or another. The passion of the French for motor-sports is unparalleled and the Valcourt Grand Prix is an exciting event with packed stands and non stop action. G-Force entered a YZF450 quad with pilot Marc Antoine Auger. He was lined up against home town favourite Richard Pelchat on his factory CanAm. 5 laps into the 10 lap main, Auger stuffed the CanAm and made it stick with Pelchat finishing 5 lengths back at the checkered. I am told the crowd went completely silent, even the announcer failed to recognize what happened. The trophy presentation was done on the QT and rumor has it there were some tears in the beers being consumed in the yellow VIP booth. Congratulations Gilles, I hope you got out of town unscathed!!!!
We are scrambling to have everything in order for our 2012 sled introduction this Monday. I am going to be up north with Mr Yanagi and Mr. Kato presidents of YMC and YMUS respectively, riding during what now appears to be an impending, rainy melt-down. I am crossing my fingers that the weather forecasters are a bit off and we duck the bullet. I wouldn’t mind so much if things are mild but it will really suck if it’s raining. I want these gentlemen to get a good taste of what snowmobiling in northern Ontario is all about. cheers cr
We had some great early conditions going into the holiday season but in traditional southern Ontario fashion, a major meltdown occurred before New Years. I decided against heading north with the sled, not wanting to splash about on the slushy trails, opting instead to air up my tires and play in the forest closer to home. First week into the New Year, sledding was still not happening so last week I made a last minute reservation for my family in Cuba, packed up and parked on the beach for a few days with a big tube of SPF 30 coconut scented Yamalube
I returned home yesterday to nearly a foot of snow on the ground and minus 30 at my house this morning. Tonight, I ride!
As some have already mentioned next season will be the 10th anniversary of the RX1 and Yamaha commitment to 4-stroke snowmobiles. I think it’s cool that the Totallyamaha forum is also celebrating ten years and should be recognized as the number one, privately owned, online community for Yamaha fans and interested riders from around the world. Tom and his posse of moderators have done an excellent job of keeping it real, providing a great service and lots of entertaining reading, (even the stuff I don’t want to read about!).
Going through the email this morning, I found the latest OFSC bulletin announcing snowmobile safety week, nothing any repsonsible rider hasn’t already reflected upon this year but I’ll paste it in anyways… OPP OFSC Safety Week MR
Jeff R our western rep, sent me an update on the Alcan 200 which you might recall is the crazy fast, out and back race held up in the Yukon and Alaskan pan-handle. Heres what Jeff had to say:
Good day, Bubba wasn’t the only guy winning a race this weekend
Great news about the most awesome snowmobile race on the planet, the Alcan 200 was run this weekend (I think this is the 43rd year) and there was only 1 four stroke running and it took the only place that mattered, #1
To refresh your memory, the race is 80 miles on a frozen highway, short break while they sweep the dead Cat’s and Doo’s off the road, and they race back, the word Extreme does not have enough X’s in it for this race
Yukon Yamaha has a dedicated Apex Turbo race sled for this with a cruising speed of 140 Mph which was ridden by Jarrid Davy
Weather was brutal with -30 – 35c temps, average speed record (including gas stops) is over 120 mph, this year Jarrid averaged 99mph and was still 9 minutes ahead of 2nd place
The wind and blowing snow was so bad at times that racers were racing neck and neck @ 50mph
5 minutes later Jarrid was running over 150mph on bare pavement…..Wow!!
After re-reading what Jeff wrote, I think I should mention a couple of things to keep everyone happy. First of all, the highway these guys run is closed to cars and trucks, however caribou and moose are allowed. Second I wouldn’t want anyone to be offended with his remark about removing broken down sleds of the specific brands mentioned. I am sure there was a Polaris out there somewhere and possibly even an old Yamaha 2-stroke, although if I recall, before the RX based models, this race was dominated by SRX’s. Congrats to all the good folks s at Yukon Yamaha
In closing, I am sorry I haven’t been regular with my posts thus far this season. I am hoping that a good ride tonight will spark my imagination and once I recover from my Vitamin D exposure and the over hydration from my week in Cuba, it’ll be business as usual.
For some reason I had to chuckle when I saw our new ad… then I thought it would provide a nice little segue into my first post of the season. I’ll give you a snap shot from a ‘mile up’ on some of whats been going on this summer.
First we have a couple of changes in the corporate line-up. Rob Powers has taken the helm of the snowmobile division in the United States. He is certainly no newcomer having held down a regional sales manager position as well as assistant product manager when Mike Doughty was wearing the hat and marketing communications prior to Greg Marier. Rob is a hard core sled head and I’m stoked he’s running the show in the US. Here’s his official intro. Rob Powers
We have been short one key member on our team since Vic Ikuta was called back to product planning in Japan. Ace Oyama is now in the process of moving to Canada and will be the official snowmobile voice (assistant to the president) for North America at factory, (no pressure there!).
I went on record last spring as saying the new Apex had around a 5% increase in horsepower and a wider torque curve with no drops… Dynotech has had the opportunity to flash a production unit and heres what they came up with: (you can click to enlarge)… under promise and over deliver?
I don’t mind saying it’s been a ‘rough row to hoe’ through-out the rocky global economies but the atmosphere here at Yamaha is now one of cautious optimism. We know real snowmobiler’s are in the game for the long run and we have our fingers and toes crossed for good snowfall with lasting trails this season. The big fall trade shows are getting ready to kick-off and if Hay Days is any indication, the attendance will be strong and there will be bargains to be had.
On the out, I want to thank you for your support and encouragement in keeping Sled Talk up and alive. I will do my best to offer more insight into our business and continue to share in your passion for snowmobiles and Yamaha.
I have been watching this link on PassionYamaha where the journey from Quebec to Utah has been unfolding for the G-Force team and the planned assault on Bonneville. Between Coyote (Richard Hotte) and Gilles there are lots of cool pictures and updates however you’ll need to have a basic understanding of French or try the Google translation tool.
Today will be their first test session and they plan to limit the speed to 200mph while they dial everything in to the traction offered by the salt. Sounds like they have already encountered some of the unexpected. Personally I am finding this quite intriguing. I just hope the tracks hold together and the boys return home safely.
There was quite a send-off for the team in Coaticook and I understand the Discovery Channel has taken quite an interest in the project. On another note, I was privileged to speak at the OFSC AGM last week in Ottawa, opening their first convention session along with Mark Lester from Supertrax and Claude Aumont from Ontario Tourism. I was please to report that the snowmobile industry in Canada is coming into this fall stable and healthy. From the Federations point of view, permit sales last year were strong and there will not be any increase in the cost this season. They are making good use of the federal grant money available and this organization is still a shining example of how it should be done.
Mark challenged them with the topic of ‘free-ride’ / off trail riding and how it should be viewed by organized snowmobiling with infrastucture in the future. His point; that most young enthusiasts entering the recreation are coming from the X-games, vert-park mentallity and are not attaracted by seeing how many miles they can cover in a day, opposed to doing tricks and challenging themselves off-trail. Mark is a brave man!!
I was reminded twice this week about a statement I made in the post ‘Blackflies and Snowflakes’ regarding my decision to once again ride an Apex. To reiterate I was completely sold on the new Vector for next season, it is our best handling snowmobile out of the box and the injected motor leaves nothing on the table for corner to corner acceleration. So what made me change my mind?
I finally got to see the factory Nytro’s run yesterday and run they did… Iain Hayden took the holeshot and never looked back. Taylor was on his snow-flap for most of the Pro-Open main but dropped a couple of positions towards the end due to what appeared to be a broken track tensioner. Prior to the mains both Yamaha sleds dominated all their heats and Taylor won the previous days ‘Blair Morgan ProAM Tribute’ race hands down. The 4-strokes were definitely pulling hard up the long steep Horseshoe face, even the very special ‘one-race’ engine dropped into the Royal Polaris just for the occasion, couldn’t make up any ground on the climb. They say a picture is worth a thousand words and I just happened to have my trusty Canon along.
There was another tid-bit of information attached to the press release. My old friend Greg Marier has officially announced his retirement. Greg has been overseeing the factory snowcross team development for the past couple of seasons but more importantly has given many years of his life to Yamaha snowmobile planning and engineering. Greg has already forgotten more about snowmobiles than most of us will ever know.
Shifting gears, I spoke with Randy Swenson this morning and the Revelstoke Yamafest went off without a hitch. He reported about 300 blue sleds on the hill, close to 150 demo rides on the new Air Nytro mountain and a good time was had by all. He sounded a little rough so I asked him if all was well… turns out he was bitten by his big turbo after he tried to park on a rock outcrop on the edge of a vertical chute during a slight detour on the way up… A little banged up and some wrenching ahead of him but they plan to have the cameras rolling on another first ascent attempt later this week.
Finally the OFSC has announced our provincial trail system is officially shut down for the season. This is for your safety… heres the scoop trailclosuremr