2014 Lynx 600RS

Meanwhile, in Scandinavia, Lynx riders are getting ready to pilot this 2014 Lynx 600RS into competition. Equipped with a Rotax 600 race engine and a lot of other very Ski-Doo-like (or shall we say, BRP-like?) features, it also has a number of things unique to the Lynx brand most notably the PPS 3300 rear skid. The skid is uncoupled and looks much simpler than the rMotion derivative used in the Ski-Doo race sled. It features a Yamaha-like horizontal rear shock tucked up inside the tunnel. The tunnel is different than the Ski-Doo too, it isn’t tipped up at the back and looks to have different bracing. The rest you can figure out.

See the spec sheet here.

Front end looks the same as the Ski-Doo.

It's got a track.

Yamaha-like dzus fasteners.

Gauges and stuff.

Grips and starter switch that serves as pipe pre-heater switch.

2013 sledRacer.com Racer Of The Year: Tucker Hibbert

2013 was a comeback year of sorts for Tucker Hibbert. It was also one of the best single seasons for a snocross racer. Ever.

You could call 2013 a comeback season for Tucker Hibbert. You see, he spent much of his 2012 season battling with setups on a new machine, then a late-season injury nearly ended his career. Notice the word career and not season? Yup, it was that bad. An off at the last race in Lake Geneva left him in the hospital with a messed-up kidney. While the team kept his status on the down-low, things were literally touch-and-go for Hibbert. There’s something to be said for being in top-level physical condition and Hibbert’s conditioning is one of the things that allowed him to pull through it and emerge 100-percent. This intro’s already way too long, but you should also consider this – Hibbert’s 2013 season was perhaps the best season for any single snocross rider. Ever. In sixteen finals Hibbert never finished lower than fifth place, he won eleven, came in second once and fifth four times. He also won Clash of Nationas and his sixth consecutive (seventh total) X Games snocross gold medal. You want next level? Hibbert’s taken it there with a program where he oversees every single detail of every detail. With 80 Pro wins, he’s only four shy of tying Blair Morgan for total career wins. He was the most dominant rider on the biggest stage in snowmobile racing today. That’s why he’s 2013 sledRacer.com Racer of the Year.

sledRacer.com: You’re sledRacer.com racer of the year.
Tucker Hibbert: Thank you, that’s awesome! It caught me off guard – the timing was a little weird so I was like, “What? Really?” I’m honored.

sR: What would you say was the highlight of your season?
Hibbert: It’s hard to pick the best races and highlights from each season. People ask me, “What’s my favorite track?” and it changes every year, so it’s hard to pinpoint. Obviously X Games was a big race for me to get six in a row last year. Every race is different and every race has things about it that make it cool. There isn’t one thing that jumps out at me that makes it cool.

sR: You didn’t lead every lap at X Games last year, you had to pass Ross Martin about two laps in. Was there any panic for you at the start of that race?
Hibbert: Not really, I try to stay calm all the time. I know that race is long and any time Ross gets a good start it usually makes me a little bit nervous, and he usually gets good starts. He’s fast at the beginning of races so I try not to get too many guys in between us and let him get ahead. I just tried to hammer down and pass him right away and get some distance between us before we got into some lappers.

sR: What drives you?
Hibbert: I’m more motivated by just trying to be better each season and each race. There’s always something going on with new riders or new sleds, but you can always find ways to get better. As a rider I just try to be as efficient as I can with my training and with my riding, and at the race track trying to find things to improve on. Once you get to the level where you’re racing professionally there isn’t something that’s going to gain you a whole lot, so you have to focus on the little things and make up little bits of time or make little improvements everywhere. So that’s what I’ve been focusing on the last couple years is trying to figure out the little things I can to do put myself in a better postion.

sR: Without giving away any secrets, would you say you’ve got things figured out on your sled that some haven’t?
Hibbert: Yeah, we try to stay a step ahead of the competition with our equipment and the sleds. And that’s one cool thing about racing is it never ends with development and testing and trying to make things better. I think we’ve done a good job with trying to be the leaders in that, but obviously we’re racing a bunch of guys who are as driven and competitive as we are. They’re pushing the limits too. We never know what the other guy is doing but I think we have a pretty good idea and that drives us to make better parts all the time. Last year I feel my sled was probably the best it’s ever been as far as being reliable and consistent in doing what I wanted it to do. I think the hard work we put in after the bad season we had two years ago showed through and helped us get confidence back. I know there are a few things we were doing last year that the competition caught on to and started doing toward the end of the year but that’s part of the game I guess.

sR: You’re testing right now? It’s the end of October and I just saw a video of you riding.
Hibbert: Not right now. We were back at the shop for a few days getting ready to do another run. It’s been good for us this year, we found some good early snow. I’m doing a lot better than I have in some of the previous years so that’s good.

sR: This must be the earliest ever for you as far as being able to go testing?
Hibbert: I think for me it’s probably the earliest I’ve ever gotten to ride. Last year I didn’t get to do much pre-season riding at all just because we were building sleds late and trying tog et things done. We never made a big push to do a lot of pre-season testing. Some seasons I’ve done tons of pre-season testing. It doesn’t always seem to translate into results, more riding isn’t always better, but it doesn’t hurt.

sR: What’s in Tucker Hibbert’s future? Long term?
Hibbert: I have a game plan for what I want to do in the future. For now I just try to focus year-to-year and just keep winning races. As long as I’m racing I want to be up front, I don’t want to start fading and finishing lower than I am. I’m getting older and the competition is getting younger, so I have to find ways to keep them behind me.

Steve Vandeputte

Steve Vandeputte (r) with Ryan Greening after Greening won the Semi-Pro class at the I-500 in 2011. Photo: FOX

Steve Vandeputte passed away yesterday, November 1, 2013. Steve owned Brothers Motorsports in Brainerd, Minn., and was a huge supporter of racing. I didn’t know him as well as some, but he is someone I would always try to at least exchange a handshake and a few words with whenever I saw him at the cross-country races. Here’s a story I did with him a few years back. This is the raw text from an interview.

Brothers motorsports started as Brainerd Yamaha in 1989 founded by Steve.

I was in the car business with my dad and I was looking for something else to do to supplement the car business and the Yamaha dealer in Brainerd at the time had went out of business. I thought that was something I could do since I grew up in the car business. I approached Yamaha and inquired about being a dealer, they accepted me and that’s how it started.

What got us started in racing was in 1990 the Ski-Doo dealer north of town, vacationland marine, went out of business and ski-doo approached us about being a Ski-Doo dealer. I was reluctant, but they talked me into it. At that time Polaris was everything. I was wondering how I was going to promote Ski-Doos and sell them. Rick Strobel was working at Vacationland and I hired him. He had been racing and I decided if we can get some race sleds we would try racing them. We had pretty good success racing Ski-Doos in the MRP ice lemans circuit. They had plenty of horsepower and they handled good on the ice and we started winning some races with them. We got race team of the year in I think 1992 or 1993.

All of a sudden ski-doo was saying we were selling a lot of ski-doos compared to everyone else. The only thing I could put my finger on was we were out there racing them, we knew them inside and out, we knew the strong points and the weak points in them and we believed in the product. It reflected in the dealership and when no one was selling any we were selling hundreds and it sold me on the idea that being involved racing the sleds helps promote the product. Not so much if I found some young guy and gave him a deal on a sled and a discount on parts, it was because I was at the races and I was actually racing them myself. I think it’s a good formula and its worked for me ever since.

Customers sense the passion, that’s my belief. When we sponsored the ISOC National in Brainerd last year customers thanked us. It was a good venue and they were happy to see that Brothers Motorsports put forth the effort and came up with the resources. I think a dealer that gets in the business just to make money you’re not going to be successful. You have to believe in the product and be passionate about it and it will come off in your employees and in your customers. I’ve talked to dealers that sell jet skis and they’lltell you they hate jet skis because it ruins their fishing. Or if you sell motorcycles but don’t ride one because it’s too dangerous or you sell snowmobiles but don’t ride them because you don’t like the cold, you’re not going to be successful no matter how good a businessman you are. It’s a passion-driven business.

I’ve got Robbie Malinoski’s sled here, the one he won the silver medal on last year. Robbie knows I’m passionate and Russ Ebert knows I’m passionate so they want me involved. Russ called me and asked if I wanted to display Dan’s sled. And with Robbie, I met him a few years ago and the next thing he’s on a ski-doo and then he’s here signing autographs in the dealership here and pretty soon he’s coming up here withhis family to hang out. He sense it and he likes being involved here.

No one person can be everything. My passion and drive is snowmobiles and snowmobile racing and it has been my whole life. But I have employees that have the same passion and involvement with motocross and ATVs. It’s a good fit because I can’t be the guy who does everything, but I have key employees who fill in the other areas. Steve was in the red bull last man standing and he’s a parts man here. Every employee here is hired because they’re enthusiasts.

I’m proud of the fact that central Minnesota is the hotbed for snowmobile racing like southern California is for motocross. It’s unique culture and way of life, I’m proud of it.

EvolvedSX Schools Us On Greens

No, that's not beer! Greens can be a vital nutritional supplement for athletes.

sledRacer.com fans! Here we are, it’s getting cold out, some places are even getting snow, who’s excited to ride? Well I know I am, racing can’t start soon enough!

In this article I want to discuss a different supplements that some of you may have heard of but aren’t sure what it is or why we should take it; greens. Over the years I have talked with quite a few people at different conferences and given a multitude of lectures on nutrition and one of the most asked questions I get: what are greens? Should I take them? I eat a lot of fruits and vegetables do you think I need to take them? So in this article I will go over what green supplements are, why we should take them and provide some interesting stats on how many people actually get enough fruits and vegetables.

First off, what are greens and what do they typically contain? Greens supplements are basically veggies and fruits that have been compacted and distilled into powdered form. They typically contain a full assortment of grasses (barley and wheat), algae’s (spirulina and chlorella), alfalfa, herbs, vegetables, legumes, seaweeds and fruits.

· Barley grass contains fiber and oil that may help to lower cholesterol.
· Wheat grass is rich in chlorophyll.
· In Chinese medicine, alfalfa is used to treat digestive disorders.
· Spirulina is full of vitamins and minerals, but it isn’t a reliable source of vitamin B-12.
· The use of bipolar compounds (such as phosphatidylcholine or lecithin) in greens formulas can help increase bioavailability of both water-soluble and non-water-soluble nutrients.

Think of greens as concentrated awesome, or concentrated fruits and vegetables.

Should I take greens? Or I eat a lot of fruits and vegetables do I need to take greens? Well here are some interesting number on how many people consume five or more servings of vegetables each day:
· Less than 1% of men & 4% of women ages 18 to 24 
· Less than 6% of men & 9% of women ages 25 to 34 
· Less than 14% of men & 16% of women ages 35 to 49 
· Less than 24% of men & 22% of women ages 50 to 64.

Drew Robertson (L) with six-time(!) CSRA Pro Open champ Iain Hayden.

When I see those stats my first reaction is shock at how poorly we are eating these days, but in terms of intake even though some people eat a good clean diet full of whole foods, they might not be eating this on a regular basis or not eating enough fruits and vegetables. On average, protein consumption among the public has remained higher than vegetable and fruit intake. This can create an acid load in the body and potentially create low grade acidosis. Introducing more vegetables and fruits (including a greens supplement) can help counteract this acid load and preserve bone and muscle. Now some of you might be wondering why is it so important to be eating fruits and vegetables, well ample fruit and vegetable consumption has been associated with a reduction of:

· Cardiovascular disease 
· Colon cancer 
· High blood cholesterol 
· High blood pressure 
· Prostate cancer 
· Type 2 diabetes 
· Obesity 
· Stroke 
· Eye disease 
· Asthma 
· Breast cancer 
· Cervical cancer 
· Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease 
· Endometrial cancer 
· Gastric cancer 
· Lung cancer 
· Lymphoma 
· Osteoporosis 
· Ovarian cancer 
· Pancreatic cancer 
· Thyroid cancer

Now for the athletes or more active people out there (working out, or active 3-4 times a week), regular exercise can increase acid production in the body due to repeated muscle contractions. Typically active people and athletes also consume more protein as well, and like I mentioned above this can lead to low level acidosis. For these reasons athletes and those of us who are more active have to make sure that we are consuming more alkalizing foods, and/or taking a greens supplement.

In general and overall adding a greens supplement is a great idea as it can benefit energy, recovery, antioxidant status, and bone health. Greens are very alkaline and can help to balance dietary acids. I look at greens as an insurance policy making sure that we are getting or fair share of fruits and vegetables daily, now if you are consuming at least 10 servings of fruits and veggies per day on a consistent basis, then supplementing with greens may be unnecessary. If you have any digestive problems or are taking medications, have any medical problems always consult a your physician before adding anything to your diet.

For the greens supplements I recommend make sure to get a hold of me and I will point you in the right direction.

Our motto at Evolved:

“Do today what others won’t, so tomorrow you can do what others can’t!!”

Drew Robertson
A.Sc. Nutrition, CFT, SPN SSC
Sport Nutritionist / Xtreme Conditioning Coach
Email: drew@evolvednutrition.com

References:

Lock K, et al. The global burden of disease attributable to low consumption of fruit and vegetables: implications for the global strategy on diet. Bull World Health Organ 2005;83:100-108.

2014 Race Sleds

Well, everyone’s thrown their hat into the ring with new race sleds. Seems the 128 is the sweet spot for track length. Here’s what’s new:

Ski-Doo:

The chassis changes are significant also with a longer overall length, new rear suspension geometry, new steering system and refined front suspension. Most noticeable is the lengthened and tilted tunnel at the rear to better handle tail landings on the new 128-inch length track. The rMotion Racing suspension gets reworked with longer rails to match the track, a 2 3⁄4 inch (70 mm) longer front arm with new mounting points, revised coupling system and completely recalibrated KYB Pro 40 shocks. The suspension geometry changes and longer track will provide much better traction for starts and better bump absorption in the nasty snocross style bumps.

The front of the MX Zx 600RS gets a new top A-Arm mount and new rack style steering system with increased leverage. The new mounting location of the A-arm provides better caster characteristics as the suspension cycles through its travel and the rack steering system eliminates any bump steer while taking less work to turn. Steering effort is reduced enough that racers will feel like power steering is a part of the changes. Additionally the spindle length increases 5mm and the top ball-joint and spindle have increased tapered mating surfaces for a 135% strength increase.

Complimenting the platform and chassis changes are some engine updates to the cylinder and intake system. The cylinders will have tighter tolerances and better finishing for improved flow, while the carburetors increase to 40mm in size. Combined with the new intake tract, V-Force3 carbon fiber reeds, and less restrictive muffler, racers will see better performance from low in the RPM’s all the way to peak power output at 8400 rpm.

Recap of changes:
• New REV-XS Body Style
• New, Longer Rear Suspension
• New 128 inch Track
• New Longer and Tilted Tunnel
• New Front Suspension Geometry
• New Rack Steering System with reduced steering effort
• Increased Cooling Capacity
• Improved Clutch Calibration
• Improved ECM Calibration
• 40mm Carburetors

Arctic Cat:
See the snocross spec sheet here.
See the cross-country spec sheet here.
See the mountain spec sheet here.

Arctic Cat 2014 race updates
• New spindles (more material removed to reduce weight)
• New ski rubber (improved front suspension handling characteristics)
• New tie rod tubes (larger diameter for increased strength)
• New side panels with added venting
• New driven shaft for improved durability and ease of assembly
• New top bearing in dropcase to accept “floating” driven shaft design
• New track driveshaft and track drive sprockets (revised pitch and tooth profile, broached hex for increased insertion force)
• New running board stiffeners for increased strength and added traction
• New seat cover for improved durability
• New brake caliper with low compression seals for improved level feel and faster-reacting brake
• New idler arm for improved durability
• New lightweight idler wheel mounting blocks (magnesium with 6mm mounting hardware)
• New rear axle adjuster blocks with added nylock nut to prevent track adjustment bolts from backing out
• Modified exhaust (similar to 2012 Sno Pro for improved engine durability)

Polaris

Feature Updates on the 2014 Polaris IQ Race Sled
Re-engineered elements of the 2014 Polaris IQ Race Sled include:

• NEW Lightweight Crankshaft
The new lightweight crankshaft features a design that provides the same balance as the previous crankshaft – with a 2.5-pound weight reduction in rotating mass.

This results in a 25% reduction in inertia, improved throttle response and increased acceleration. Racers will achieve better holeshots, and the engine will reach its optimal operating RPM faster.

• NEW 128″ Rear Suspension
Polaris® racers will benefit from the increased traction of the new 128″ rear suspension and new 128″ track. This new setup delivers better holeshots, better stability in whoops sections, and improved cornering.

Similar to the setup that Polaris teams have raced with great success in the Mod class for more than four seasons, this new rear suspension is based on the original IQ® Race geometry, with new rail beams and tunnel components to package the longer track length. The 2014 Polaris IQ Race Sled utilizes an aggressive new 128″ Sno-XT track.

“Along with delivering an improved holeshot, the new rear suspension tracks straighter in the whoops sections, and results in less ski lift for enhanced turning,” Prusak said. “Our cross-country racers in particular will benefit from the improved high-speed stability.”

Along with the new 128″ rear suspension, additional improvements were made to enhance performance and reliability.

• Updated Shock Calibration
Polaris engineers, race teams and the technicians at Walker Evans Racing have combined forces to recalibrate the Walker Evans® shocks used in the race sled’s front and rear suspension. The updates are designed to ensure consistently outstanding performance from green flag to checkered on demanding terrain such as extreme snocross tracks.

• NEW Brake Pads
The new Hayes™ Type 126 brake pads were developed to deliver consistently reliable braking as brake systems heat up during aggressive racing action. Racers will also see an improvement in brake pad life.

• NEW MY14 Racing Graphics
While Polaris racing teams will customize their sleds with team graphics, racing numbers and sponsor logos, they’ll start with a new look that features a white hood, red belly pan, accents of red, white and blue, and Polaris graphics. The 2014 race sled also has a low white windshield.

Race-Winning Power & Suspension
The 2014 IQ Race Sled is built on the strong, durable and lightweight Polaris-exclusive IQ® Chassis. Advanced assembly techniques minimize the parts count to keep weight to a minimum while delivering maximum strength and reliability.

The race sled is powered by the Polaris Liberty® 600 engine. It delivers class-leading acceleration for outstanding holeshots as well as impressive horsepower across the entire RPM range.

The liquid-cooled Polaris Liberty 600 twin has twin Mikuni Rack TM 40 carburetors, NiCaSil-lined cylinders for efficient heat dispersion and the Polaris VES (Variable Exhaust System) for maximum power and instant throttle response. The power delivery is managed by the legendary Polaris P-85 drive clutch and a Lightweight TEAM™ Roller driven clutch.

Polaris racers can fine-tune their front and rear suspension performance with the Walker Evans 16-click compression-adjustable shocks. The race sled’s IFS uses Walker Evans Aluminum IFP 16 Position Compression Adjustable Shocks with Piggyback Reservoirs.

Recreational riders can enjoy the same outstanding IFS as Polaris racers, as the race sled’s IFS design is used on Polaris Switchback® models and on RUSH® models built on the PRO-RIDE™ Chassis.

In the IQ® Rear Suspension, the front track shock is a Walker Evans Coil Over Shock with 16-position compression adjustability, and the rear track shock is a Walker Evans Aluminum IFP 16 Position Compression and Rebound Adjustable Large Body Shock.

The new Polaris IQ Race Sled was developed for use by Polaris snocross and cross-country racers. The suspension and shock packages described here are intended primarily for snocross racing, and the Polaris Racing Department is providing cross-country racers with shock tuning information and setup recommendations for terrain racing.

Project Indy

Christensen's sled as seen in Bunke Racing's shop. This sled could tell some stories.

Last season Bunke Racing took a Polaris 600 Indy racing and, with Eric Christensen behind the bars, won the USXC 40+ class. This year Bunke Racing has put all the critical parts they used to make that sled race-ready and put them in a package anyone can buy. Chad Colby saw this and thought it would be an easy way to turn a good trail sled into a great one.

Colby is a former Pro cross-country racer and is meticulous about machine prep. He's not afraid to take a new sled completely apart and that's where he started.

Colby likes to have his motors worked - crank trued and phased, etc. You'd be surprised how far off some of this stuff can be straight from the factory.

While Polaris doesn't like using the F word, the Fusion actually had a pretty good skid, and that's where the Indy rail design comes from.

You can see the arms on this thing are ready for some rough use. The shocks? Not so much . More on that later.

Colby checks all the bearings and fasteners in the sled just to make sure. These shafts will be squared. Everything will be loctited.

Chaincase is gone through.

It may not be as high-tech as some other 600s, but the Liberty 600 is a powerful, bulletproof mill.

Polaris handlebars don't have the most comfortable bend, so Colby swapped them out and replaced them with a full ROX setup.

The skid is disassembled.

Everything will be powdercoated red or black.

Colby strayed from the Bunke Racing plan and went with a full Stage 2 SLP engine package complete with pipe and fuel controller setup. This should free up some ponies.

Since this will be a trail sled, Colby opted to install a Trail Tech Voyager Moto GPS.

Bunke Racing is sponsored by Woody's, but Colby opted for Stud Boy.

Colby spotted an Assault seat that would match his sled's design better than the stock, plain black seat.

Once Colby saw the seat in person he knew he'd made the right decision. This thing pops.

Remember those rear skid shocks? Here they are next to the Walker Evans shocks that will replace them. These are straight from Bunke Racing and run the same valving as the race sled.

Here is the full shock package. Bunke worked directly with Walker Evans getting these things tuned.

Like the skid, the front suspension is totally capable and is pretty much the same as what comes on the race sled. All it needs are good shocks.

Here are some more Bunke Racing pieces - CNC cut tunnel braces. You'll need 'em.

Fits like a glove.

Another non-Bunke Racing part is this SLP engine brace. Probably gonna need that too.

Here are the ROX bars with the Trail Tech computer mounted.

ROX Flex-Tec handguards are nice pieces. They are designed to flex and not break.

Firing up the Trail Tech. If you know Colby you know he'll probably be sending e-mails with this and using it control a drone that's flying behind him and filming him while he rides...while he's riding.

Another Bunke Racing part is this SLP lightweight brake disc. The stock brake disc really isn't up to racing so they replace it with this one. Much better.

Skid parts are back from the powder coater.

Going back together, everything is squared up and loctited.

Here's the finished skid complete with Walker Evans shocks.

Notice the attention to detail in things such as the billet shock reservoir holder.

Going back together - everything is checked and double checked. Wiring gets sealed. The brake disc is in place.

On the other side you can see the SLP engine brace and how it is designed to help keep center-to-center consistent.

The sled is pretty much together minus bodywork. That oil tank? You don't get that on the race sled - most cross-country racers choose to add oil injection. With the Indy you're already ahead of the game.

With the Bunke kit the stock 1-inch track is replaced with a Camoplast Ripsaw II 1.25-inc track. Colby added 144 of Stud Boy's finest complete with Super Pro Lite backers, all in the center belt. It should hook up.

Off to the graphics shop.

Luckily this all makes sense to the sticker guy.

To finish off the sled Colby went with his old friend Jordan Yankee at ArcticFX Graphics. Jordan also sets up Bunke Racing with their wraps as well as some other guy named Burandt.

This is how it should come from Polaris. Full Bunke Racing package, SLP Stage 2 engine package, Trail Tech computer, ROX bar setup, Stud Boy traction and ArcticFX makin' it look good.

 

 

 

 

EvolvedSX Challenge Camp 2013

Don't let the swingset fool you, Zak Mason got some serious training done via Drew and EvolvedMX. Wasn't he the guy in front of you last season?

The EvolvedSX Challenge Camp is happening this week, August 26-30, and we will be updating this page all week with different stuff from the camp. Here’s the first intro from our leader Drew Robertson.

Some pics from Day 1 and course prep.

Before cartwheel. Don't try this at home people.

Morning warm up. So far so good.

That wall doesn't look so high!

Little push-up demo.

Over the logs and through the tires.

Testing fitness.

Taking a break, everyone looks tired. That's good!

2014 Ski-Doo MX ZX 600RS Sneak Peek

The 2014 Ski-Doo racer will have a new body style so it should look different than this 2013.

Wondering what next year’s Ski-Doo race sled will be like? Valcourt released a few hints as to what’s in store for the coming race season. Click here for some specs and a link to racer app.

sledRacer Goes Inside FOX Museum Opening

Tucker Hibbert, Levi LaVallee and Mike Schultz were on hand for the grand opening of the FOX Museum.

A warm breeze blew through the tree branches on Disc Drive in Santa Cruz County as guests navigated its gentle curves. Hundreds of people gathered in the sun, sipping on wine and beer on the patio outside FOX’s worldwide headquarters.

Trophy trucks, rock crawlers and side-by-sides littered the front and side entrances, welcoming folks from all parts of the globe, drawn here by their love of outdoor sports and appreciation for excellent suspension.

That suspension was about to be put on display in a brand new way for FOX; this wasn’t the announcement of a new product line. For a company that’s known for pushing things forward, FOX was taking a rare moment to pause and look back as it opened its doors to the new FOX museum on the bottom floor of its Scotts Valley offices.

There was something electric in the air when this many people gathered in one place, all with a passion for riding fast and pushing the limits. Motocross racers mingled with engineers. Pro mountain bikers chatted with desert racers. X Games athletes got invited to drive trophy trucks. The passion was palatable. Combine that passion with an event like an opening, where these folks would be the first to unwrap the visual history of a company as influential as FOX, and it wouldn’t be a stretch to say it was a bit like Christmas morning.

Mike Schultz has developed his prosthetic leg designs using FOX shocks.

As the crowd grew to more than 400, so did the expectation. What would they find inside? Even outside was a feast for the eyes. A black and gold ribbon bearing the FOX logo waited to be cut, trembling from the breeze and anticipation. In a welcome befitting a company that got its start in motocross racing, the crowd was beckoned from the beer gardens to the front doors by the sounds of a revving motor. The smell of exhaust perfumed the air.
Dan Robbins, FOX’s director of marketing, welcomed the crowd briefly and brought out John Marking, one of FOX’s long-time employees and vice president and general manager of the off-road division. With longevity comes age, he joked, as he put on his glasses to read a short speech introducing the guest of honor, Bob Fox.

“For the last twenty years I’ve been fortunate to have a front row seat, watching this company evolve and grow into what it is today. What started out as a small business working out of a borrowed garage has turned into what you see before you.”

Bob Fox echoed Marking’s sentiments, putting on and taking off his glasses as he addressed the crowd. While the building with his name stood behind him, he made it clear that certain people attending the opening that made everything the crowd saw now and in the museum possible.

“Without these three guys back in the 1970s and what they did, I wouldn’t be here today, and FOX and this museum wouldn’t be here either.”

Bob Fox thanked the professional motocross racer Brad Lackey for his testing, rider feedback and unspoken endorsement of AirShox by bolting them on his bike. Kent Howerton was another motocross athlete he thanked for choosing the AirShox to race the AMA race season after a day of testing.

“I had no idea how important that decision was — how important that day was going to be for my future. Kent ended up winning the 1976 500 cc AMA National Motocross Championship that year. He won it using Fox AirShox. That really put us on the map in a big way. And we have the actual bike Kent won the race on in the museum today.”

Bob Fox extended his gratitude to Marty Smith, another motocross racer who rode Fox AirShox and won the 1977 national motocross championship.

“He did the same thing Kent did in 1976 — only difference was he did it on a Honda,” Bob Fox said. “Those two back-to-back championships are what truly what launched my career and launched my business.”
With all the current and former athletes attending, the sentiment was well-received. “It was neat to see how much he appreciated the riders that put him on the map,” Levi LaVallee, snowmobile racer, said.

Bob also took a moment to thank the employees who had stuck with him through thin years — some of whom are still with the company today.

“Several times I had to ask guys to hold their checks for a couple of days. We still have at least one of these guys here who held his check and trusted me. I’ll never forget that,” he said as his eyes welled with tears. “And you can see I haven’t. Wow.”
After rounds of hoots, hollers and applause, he was ready to cut the ribbon.

“There’s a lot more to the story than just FOX AirShox. There are more stories. There are more products. And there are a lot more talented, dedicated people who helped make it all happen. And we tried to capture the highlights with the new museum. So without further ado, let’s drop the flag and get on with it. Who’s got the scissors?”

Levi kept things upbeat for sure!

The double doors opened wide, welcoming the eager crowd into the lobby, past a mountain bike hanging in a bike stand. Each step in drew them closer to a brilliantly designed welcome sign: the distinctive FOX logo, in its original orange and black that backslashed into its present day incarnation in black and white. The exhibit was aptly named Defining Moments: Then & Now. Looking to the left, vintage Bob Fox was staring back, looking cool and unfazed, sunglasses on, cigarette hanging out the left side of his mouth. This is where it all began.

A replica of Bob’s first motorcycle sat in the center of this first display of history, telling stories of his drag racing and college days. The story moved lyrically around the walls, combining photos of Bob’s first car, a 1951 Oldsmobile, with images of other work he did after college helping to design rocket fuel devices. There’s almost a magical quality in the large quote that frames this wall: “…but then something special happened. My brother introduced me to motorcycles.”

The rest is history, so they say, and so rarely does one get a chance to see that history. The motocross bike Howerton won the AMA 500 cc championship on sat next to a replica of Smith’s bike. In between was Howerton’s jersey, in dazzling red and white. All around the bikes were magazines, press, photos and race memorabilia. But for those who love to get their hands dirty, the real beauty of this display were the cross sections of the AirShox, the spring rates and engineering work done by hand. It is one of Bob Fox’s favorite parts of the museum.

“I really like the old drawings and hand-written notebooks on display — the pre-personal computer stuff. The younger generation needs reminders of how much more difficult many things were back then — not just two or three times more difficult, but in some cases a hundred or a thousand times more difficult and time consuming. I’ve already heard comments indicating some of that awareness coming from young engineers after seeing the stuff displayed. I think that’s good. I think they need to know that.”

The AirShox were just the beginning of the display. Folks moved on as FOX moved into superbike and IndyCar Racing, experiencing more race-winning excitement and all the behind-the-scenes stories that went with it.

Tucker Hibbert may have been featured further down the timeline for his snocross six-peat at the Winter X Games, but he was more focused on the bikes hanging in the museum and the snowmobile history.

“Oh wow! Look at that old snowmobile!” Hibbert gestured toward the Polaris XCR “I didn’t know what to expect, but this is awesome. I love the mix of mountain bike and snowmobile stuff. When I look at all this old stuff — the bibs, the sled — I think of my dad.”

Hibbert’s father, Kirk, was instrumental in early snowmobile suspension with Arctic Cat in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s. One of his dad’s inventions, the crosslink, was mounted on the wall.

Winding around a bit farther into the 4000-square-foot space sat a mountain bike suspension time capsule. Starting with some of the earliest forks and shocks in the ‘90s, there were plenty of cross sections, photos and old advertisements for any enthusiast to geek out about.

“It’s really cool looking back to see how far we have come. I remember being a jealous kid wanting suspension like that,” said Greg Minnaar, a downhill racer who has plenty of podiums with FOX suspension.

Minnaar was joined in by other bicycle greats like Gee Atherton, who was the first to win a downhill championship on FOX suspension.

“It is amazing to see where all the technology started,” Atherton said. “It’s easy to forget how much history there is in the company, and it makes me feel proud to be a part of it all. Racing has really been the No. 1 focus for the whole journey.

Aaron Gwin, the first American male to win the downhill World Cup Series marveled at the museum as well and was featured prominently on one of the final displays.

“It’s great to see the bike in here and some of the photos and stuff. It’s humbling. It’s a total honor to be up there with all those other guys.” Gwin said as he was trying to make his way over to meet Bob Fox. “It’s cool to see an awesome guy — this hard worker — make his dreams come true and now doing the same to help us out: the riders, the company and a whole bunch of people. He’s just giving back.”

Opposite of the entrance across the long halls of the museum sat the RAD display, a monument to the Racing Applications Development program that FOX uses to make some of its most ingenious products like the Cactus Cooler, an off-road bypass shock cooling component.

Jesse Jones, trophy truck racer, scoped out the exhibits. He drove the first trophy truck to race with FOX shocks and won the 2006 trophy truck championship with them. His rider feedback within RAD was instrumental in the development of the Cactus Cooler.

“What an evolution. It’s pretty cool when I look at all the stuff we did together. And we did a lot more stuff than just what they’ve shown. They brought a lot of the finished stuff but not all of the R&D pieces.”

Mike Schultz with some of the FOX employees who make it all happen.

When chatting with Bob Fox, it was clear that the museum is a work in progress with plans in the making, so perhaps some of what Jones talked about will be featured later.

“We want the museum to have some rolling exhibits where we can change what we display in certain spaces over time. The #70 Maico will be done in a couple months and will be added. Maybe we’ll add a Brad Lackey bike if we can locate a ’77 RC500 Honda. But they’re very hard to find. It was never a mass-production model; maybe only a handful of them still exist.”

The evolution of off-road suspension for ATVs, side-by-sides and trophy trucks was mounted on the walls and was one of desert racer and King of the Hammers Rock Race Champion Jason Scherer’s favorite things.

“Seeing the original bolt-on bypass tubes that the Roger Mears truck used was my personal highlight, but it’s hard to overlook the roots and see the original dirt bike that started it all.”

Videos of the technology in action allowed viewers to get a feel for where the shocks were placed and the kind of punishment they took as they roamed through the desert sands and rocky terrain. Vivid images showed Jones testing the Cactus Cooler and racing the Baja 1000 with shocks still intact after a race that leaves most shocks destroyed.

As guests mingled through history, wait staff offered snacks to accompany the wine, beer and nostalgia. Final panels of the museum featured some of FOX’s newest athletes, who are the backbone of FOX’s tagline “Redefine your limits.” Hibbert, the six-peat snocross racer was sandwiched between stories of Paul Thacker and Johnny Greaves — both jumped 301 feet on a snowmobile and 800-horsepower truck, respectively.

“It’s just amazing to see the progression, the technology and how much it’s changed. It’s a different ballpark,” LaVallee said. “It’s helped us to reach crazier limits.”

Monster Mike Schultz, an adaptive athlete who uses FOX mountain bike shocks in his prosthetic knee and ankle design for active sports filled the final panel of the museum. Folks milled around his Moto Knee and the sled displayed with it.

“It’s hard to put this into words. FOX is such a huge company and for me to be a part of it is pretty special,” he said. “Looking at some of this vintage stuff, these old sleds and shocks — it’s come a long way in the last 20 years.”

As folks took a little break from the sensory experience in the museum, they wandered into the dining area where snacks and drinks were served. Choosing from fresh ahi, shrimp cocktail, chicken sautee and loads of sweets including the likes of maple and bacon cupcakes, people sat around tables and caught up. Many were old friends from years of working in their respective industries. Others just met but engaged in lively conversations, learning and teaching the lifestyles they loved. A three-piece band played, backing up the banter with some pleasant guitar, bongo, drums and keyboards.

By all standards the evening was a success, from the smallest children stoked to get autographs and photos with a favorite athlete to the big kids drooling over the toys they’d like to have at home.

“It feels good that we now have roots and history — more or less the legacy of the company — laid out. That should help current and future employees understand the founding values and help our company to continue to be strong and productive.”

2014 Polaris Soo Kit

On the heels of another massively successful Soo I-500, Polaris Racing has released a revised 2014 Soo kit. This kit will allow racers to build a sled virtually identical to the ones that finished 1-2-3 in last year’s Soo. All you need to do is ride it. See the info here.

Polaris Racing suggests using a LRM (Larry Rugland Motorsports) engine to go along with the rest of the kit.