Ice Oval Testing In December

Any place to test or ride these days is a pretty hot commodity. The past two weekends there have been a ton of guys ripping around the race track in Strathcona, Minn. The track is maintained by a guy named Armand Westlund and is right in the middle of town. So much so, the guys had to wait til church was out on Sunday before they could fire up the sleds. We hung out with Joey Fjerstad and Shane Felegy as they put down some laps. Follow along as we run through some of the photos from the weekend.

Testing starts early. Here Joey Fjerstad waits for his chance to ride while Shane Felegy's sled is prepped by Bill Foner.

Joey fires up his sled. He runs a Felegy engine and a Wahl chassis.

Gotta warm it up a little before you hit the track.

Crew member Andy Fjerstad comes out to help get the sled rolling.

And its off to spin some laps. The Wahl team was there along with a handful of various other racers. There were enough riders there so the track started to get some braking bumps - real testing!

Felegy's new champ, built by Rick Bates, the guy wearing the Polaris jacket. Rick's been out in California helping Levi LaVallee test for his distance jump set for New Year's Eve. The guy in the Woody's hoodie is Rich Felegy.

While Shane raced the Soo last year, he took the year off from Champ racing because this sled wasn't finished in time. It's a huge process to shake down a totally new chassis, but these are three highly-experienced minds.

Shane was comfortable on the sled right out of the box. It was a very positive test session and the team set to work trying to make it go faster. This is a one-off sled, but Bates has jigs for all the parts and is working on spares so the team is ready for its debut in Amherst, WI.

Jordan Wahl waits for his turn to ride. He's the newest member of the Wahl Racing team. He can rip too - he set top speed at Beausejour laying down a 104.9mph number on the radar.

Hey, there's Brandon Johnson, Jordan Wahl's teammate. He's messing with the clutch on his No.22 Champ.

Here's a look at the track in Strathcona. Armand maintains this track out of love for the sport. They have some vintage races every year here too. That's Rick Bates, Rich Felegy and Bill Foner (with the camera) watching Shane spin test laps.

While it might sound fun and glamorous, testing is really just plain work. Most of the time is spent swapping parts and taking the same things apart over and over.

There are lots of trips to and from the trailer.

And lots of working on the sled with numb fingers.

For the rider there's usually a lot of hurry up and wait. Oh, see that ADHUE logo? They stepped up support for the JF16 program this year so some thanks has to go out to them.

It was certainly busy on the pond! Oh, and see that vintage racer? Those are no joke. That's pretty much the stepping stone to the Champ class these days. It's the only thing close in the power-to-weight department.

Bill Foner messes with Felegy's sled. Felegy is supported by Aggressive Hydraulics, DL Racing, Woody's, HMK and Apparelfreaks.com.

Another look at the sled. It's certainly different!

I might be biased but that hood looks pretty darn good...

A look under the hood of Joey's sled as Andy Fjerstad makes some changes. Those Champs are amazing machines.

And the long drive home. Careful with those peppers, Joey!

Whose Champ Is This?

Whose radical new Champ 440 sled is this? It belongs to none other than Shane Felegy. While Felegy has been absent from the Champ ranks for over a year, he’s been testing with his cousin Joey Fjerstad and racing enduros such as the Soo I-500, so he’s certainly not lacking seat time. This latest Champ chassis has been two years in the making and will showcase some new concepts with its build.

“We were supposed to race this sled last season but it wasn’t ready,” said Shane. “We could have rushed it and got it on the ice but we’ve done that too many times and it’s come back to bite us, so we decided to wait and do it right.”

Rick Bates designed and built the sled specifically for Shane and his riding style. It features a chrome moly tube chassis, custom hand-built tunnel, inboard shocks and a centered drive train, which Felegy prefers over the more popular offset designs. Randy from Walker Evans is custom-building all the shocks and will dial in the calibration for the sled. Of course it will be powered by a Felegy Racing engine built by Shane’s dad, Rich Felegy. While he has some new support in the works, Felegy’s main sponsor is Aggressive Hydraulics.

“Paul Johnson at Aggressive Hydraulics has stuck by me through all this and that means a lot,” Shane said. “He wants to win as bad as I do and his support is critical to making it happen.”

Aggressive Hydraulics also sponsors Craig Dollansky on the World Of Outlaws series and NASCAR driver Ryan Newman.

Some of Felegy’s other sponsors include Woody’s, Apparelfreaks, sledRacer.com and Kirk Zack at HMK.

Soo Download

The DL Racing sled gets pushed through the rough stuff late in the day at the Soo.

The DL Racing/Tiede Motorsports team made a great run at winning the Soo I-500 but in the end a broken rod put them out of the race. Team owner Don LaBean isn’t new to the Soo and neither is Rick Tiede, but the team’s riders, Shane Felegy, Justin Tate and Joe Fjerstad were all new to the race. It was a wild week of racing and handling the learning curve the Soo throws at you, but the team came through it well and was competitive until they lost the engine with less than 100 laps to go. We sat down with rider Shane Felegy to get his thoughts on what went down at the race, here’s what he had to say about setups, enduros vs. ovals and if he’s going to come back.

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New Sponsors and More Testing

Fjerstad finished 10th in Champ 440 and 11th in 600 Open at the USSA race in Amherst, WI. Photo: Derek Kumrow

The Fjerstad Racing crew headed to Amherst, WI this past weekend to compete in the USSA race there. This race was part of the TLR Cup and is the last ice race before the Eagle River World Championships January 13-16. The team’s focus is on Eagle River so Amherst was basically an extended testing session for them.

There’s more news in the Fjerstad camp and this time it’s regarding sponsorship. Joe has picked up a two-race deal (Amherst and Eagle River) with Aggressive Hydraulics . Shane Felegy won’t be racing at Eagle River so he has passed his sponsor on to Joe.

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