DL Racing: Chasing The Soo 2.0

There's nothing like unwrapping some new buggies to put a smile on a guy's face.

For DL Motorsports and team owner Don LaBean, two must be a lucky number. Or at least he’s hoping it is. You see, 2012 will mark DL Racing’s second attempt at wining the Soo I-500, the team will run two sleds and they have two new riders. Yeah, you could say two is a pretty critical digit for Don and the team right about now.

With the 44th Soo I-500 a little over a month away, the DL Racing crew has already been hard at it for a few months getting everything situated for this year’s race. From taking delivery of new buggies, meeting with sponsors, attending Haydays, and making the plan to not enter 1 but 2 (2!) sleds in the SOO I-500 this year, there’s definitely been a lot going on.

“After a pretty successful launch into enduro racing last season, why not expand and put two sleds in every race” Says owner Don LaBean “We have the resources, man power, and a list of sponsors that totally support our team. The biggest hurdle for us this year was sorting through the resumes from racers who wanted to be a part of our team this season.”

All new and shiny, they almost look ready to ride.

DL Racing will have the same three riders back on board with the team this season, but with a few changes. With two sleds, Justin Tate will be switching over to the new No. 28 sled, while Shane Felegy and Joey Fjerstad will team up to ride the No. 29.

The team will also welcome Soo veteran and multi-time champion Jeff Leuenberger. Jeff brings a ton of knowledge and strategy to the team and a few new helping hands to pit row. Jeff will throw a leg over the No. 28 with Justin this season.

Also new to the team will be Grant Lynch. Grant spent a fair amount of time last season bouncing between cross-country racing as well as racing the Soo I-500. The DL Racing team is expecting big things from him this year.

The shop has been buzzing with activity getting sleds ready to race.

Not quite. The DL crew goes to work immediately, tearing down the sleds to the bare chassis to get them ready for the Soo.

“Sleds have been delivered and completely disassembled already, said LaBean, “The front ends have been tweaked and modified from what we learned last year and some subtle changes have been made to make adjustability a little easier.”

With the race looming just a month away it makes what little test time is left really critical.

“ The team is working really hard to make sure we are ready for the first test session in a few weeks and we plan on holding nothing back with either sled come the Soo,” said LaBean.

Stay tuned to sledracer.com for more updates from DL Racing and Chasing the Soo 2.0

Sponsors: DL Racing, Woody’s, Polaris, Tiede2 Motorsports, Wahl Bros., Camoplast, Fox Shocks, Fly Racing, HMK, Klotz, Straightline Performance, XLT Engineering, EVS, 139 Design and Weiss Equipment.

Cutting into the brand new tunnel? I can't watch! A Soo sled is a different animal and the list of mods needed to endure (and win) 500 laps on an ice oval is long. And yes, some require a steady hand with a cutting wheel.

Returning Team Members:
Don LaBean – Owner
Rick Tiede – Sponsorship Coordinator
Larry Tiede- Crew

Rich Felegy- Crew
Bill Foner- Crew

Dana Hribek- Crew
Shawn Rosenbrock- Crew

Colby Campbell- Crew
Brad Weaver- Crew

Mike Floyd- Crew

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!

TLR Cup Rule Changes And 2012 Schedule

The 2012 Schedule for the coveted TLR CUP Championship has been posted on TLRCUP.com and Driver Registration for the upcoming 2012 Season opens soon. The 2012 Season will begin in January and be contested at six ice-oval racing events within the United States. Changes to the rules allow the opportunity for more riders to share in the incredible $100,000+ prize purse.

Click to see the 2012 TLR Cup schedule.

Snowmobile HOF to eBay Arctic Cat Sled Signed By Team Arctic

Many Sharpies were harmed in the signing of this sled.

Thief River Falls, Minn. (Oct. 31, 2011) – To raise money that supports the Snowmobile Hall of Fame (SHOF), a one-of-a-kind 2012 Arctic Cat F1100 Sno Pro in 50th Anniversary trim will be auctioned off on eBay beginning November 24th, 2011.

But this isn’t like any other 50th Anniversary Arctic Cat.

Of all the 50th Anniversary edition F1100 Sno Pros, this was the very first built during production. This is an all-new snowmobile decked out in classic Team Arctic colors and autographed (and documented) by every Team Arctic racer in attendance at the Arctic Cat 50th Anniversary celebration in Thief River Falls, Minn.

There is no other Arctic Cat snowmobile in the world that has so many autographs from Team Arctic racers along with five autographed boards that document the signatures, and the years, the racers were with Team Arctic.

Some of the legends whose names are signed on this machine: Roger Skime, Larry Coltom, Jim Dimmerman, Kirk Hibbert, Roger Janssen, Dave Thompson, Brian Sturgeon, Aaron Scheele, Chester Boman, Tucker Hibbert, Brad Pake, Paul and Brian Dick, Brian Nelson, P.J. Wanderscheid and many more.

For more information on the upcoming auction please visit www.snowmobilehalloffame.com

 

 

sledRacer Interview: Rick Tiede

Rick Tiede sporting some Woody's Wear.

Woody’s is arguably the most recognizable name in snowmobile traction products. Founded by James Musselman and Woody Kozlow back in the 1960s, the company has been heavily into racing from its inception. Based in Hope, Michigan, the Woody’s Race Program Coordinator is a guy named Rick Tiede. It’s not too many years ago Rick was racing Semi-Pro snocross, so he’s not some desk jockey who doesn’t know a stud from a roofing nail. Always smiling and always happy to talk to anyone who approaches him, Rick is also leading a groundswell of new support for the Soo I-500. We checked in with him to find out what you need to do to get sponsorship, why track patterns are important and why Woody’s is offering more support than ever.

sledRacer.com: You came from the ranks of racers, what is it like being on the other side?
Rick Tiede: Absolutely awesome, I’ve grown up in the snowmobile industry and honestly there isn’t anywhere else I’d rather work. Coming from a racing background has definitely helped me better myself as a race director though; I know what it takes to make the relationship from sponsor to racer happen from both sides.

sR: Woody’s has been in the traction and snowmobile racing business a long time, does it ever get old for people in the company?
Tiede: Woody’s is a family-owned company that basically started in racing over 40 years ago. Everyone here is truly passionate about racing, and it shows as we have one of the largest most successful race programs in the industry.

Oval racer Malcolm Chartier is sponsored by Woody's.

sR: One race you’ve supported more as of late is the Soo I-500, why?
Tiede: We have always supported the Soo I-500; it’s honestly where the racing at Woody’s all started. The Musselman family grew up racing Enduros and Drags here in Michigan and did extremely well. There are a few old I-500 trophies floating around here at the office, but as far as the recent increase in added support – that has stemmed from everyone here wanting to help bring back the Soo back to the forefront of snowmobile racing and show how prestigious an event it really is. And its working!

sR: There is a ton more interest in that race in the past few years, why do you think it’s coming back?
Tiede: It’s a great race to showcase your products at, whether it’s the sled, fuel, oil, or traction products. Winning or making it through a grueling 500 laps on a track that gets to be pretty insane is definitely something to brag about.

sR: With the economy down, where do you see snowmobile racing going in the next few years?
Tiede: Of course, everyone had to tighten up the last few years with the big economic hit on the industry, but things have definitely been on a rise the past few years. We understand that its not just sponsors that have to tighten up but racers alike, so we have definitely been trying to do as much sponsorship as we can these past few years. From our end things should only continue to get better as the years roll on!

Tiede once raced for Scheuring Speed Sports. Once.

sR: I know you’re backing a Soo team and have put together a talented group of riders including guys like Justin Tate. Would you like to see racing move more toward what Tate is doing where a rider goes cross-country racing one weekend, races snocross the next and hits an enduro here and there? Or do you think snowmobile racing will remain a sport where riders specialize in one genre such as snocross?
Tiede: I would absolutely encourage racers to get on the multiple forms of racing kick. It allows the racer to get a taste of all forms of racing, broadens not only their knowledge of the sport but also allows them to get their sponsors in front of a variety of crowds and racers. If a guy like Tate can race snocross, cross-country, and oval enduros anyone can do it! Seriously though, we never know what’s going to happen in this industry so being able to adapt to all forms of racing just makes a racer that much more valuable to a sponsor. Levi LaVallee is another perfect example how a rider can diversify his program and make it successful.

sR: If I’m a racer, what is the best way to get support from Woody’s?
Tiede: We try to make it easy for both new and past sponsored riders to get a hold of me for sponsorship. You can do that by filling out our race application online at www.WoodysTraction.com or give me a call at 989-689-4911.

sR: What are some things you look for when you consider sponsoring racers beyond a product or discount level?
Tiede: Every racer wants to be the “factory” guy for us at Woody’s, but the teams and racers that set themselves apart are the ones that go above and beyond putting a sticker on their truck, trailer, and sled. It’s the Steve Scheurings of the sport who get us involved with the Air Force or Makita and into the Power Tool shows across America. It’s the Levi LaVallees who have open door policies for fans that make him the “Fan Favorite” every year. It’s the 4-Time World Champions like PJ Wanderscheid. And it’s the guys that not only help sell Woody’s parts by doing all these things but the racers and teams like Tim Bender, Malcolm Chartier, or Craig Marchbank that have actually helped create, test and prove some of the best products we sell today.

Brian Dick used Woody's traction products to win the USCC Red Lake I-500 last year.

sR: What is something a racer should know about traction but probably doesn’t?
Tiede: The biggest thing that racers tend to overlook is their track patterns. Track patterns can truly make or break all forms of racing. We spend a ton of time creating different patterns for all forms of racing, from drag patterns with too many scratch lines to count, to oval sprint patterns that help riders to break the back end loose with controlled slip, all the way to balanced patterns for cross country races so when they get on the throttle coming out of a left or right hander they aren’t going to spin because we all know spin is just time wasted.

sR: What is the best part of your job?
Tiede: Best part of my job has to be getting on the road and attending every top snowmobile event in the country, from snow shows to the X Games. I’ve had the privilege of making what is most peoples joy and hobby a profession, you can’t beat hanging out and working side by side with some of the industry’s most influential people and getting paid for it! Also thanks to my job I’ve made some great friends all across the country.

Tiede dabbled in racing for a number of years. He says his racing experience plays in huge in his current position as Race Program Coordinator.

sR: Is there anything new we can we expect to see from Woody’s this year?
Tiede: R&D is one of the big factors that separate Woody’s from the rest of the snowmobile traction industry. We are always working on something new and improved, we definitely have some industry changing news to release this season but you’ll have to stay checked into the website and snowmobile events for that release. Also we have yet again came out with a really cool clothing line so be sure to check that out online, the new Woody’s Wear is top notch!

Money Doesn’t Buy It

Click to make big.

Here’s a column written by C.J. Ramstad that was published in December 1975. Not much has changed for your average racer. It doesn’t have a title but if it did it might be called Money Doesn’t Buy It. My friends at Arctic Insider sent it to me a few years back. I thought I would post it to help get people in the mood for racing. Enjoy.

2012 Polaris Race Sled

Read the press release here.

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.

ORA News

Oval Racers Alliance can be found at Haydays Row B; Section F; Site #6

We are excited to announce a few items:
1) Wahl Brothers is once again sponsoring the WBVC – Wahl Brothers Vintage Challenge.
2) New for this year, is the WBF5C – Wahl Brothers F500 Challenge
3) North Star Racing Ski’s has selected one class at all 6 races to be racing for the first ever North Star Blitz!
More information about the WBVC / WBF5C / and North Star Blitz will follow in next few weeks

Welcome, and a HUGE thank you to our new Sponsors:
1) Millennium Technologies mt-llc.com
2) USI – Ultimate Sports usi-ski.com
3) Leatt leattbraces.com
4) Tekrider tekrider.com
5) North Star Racing Ski’s northstarracingskis.com

All racer memberships need to be renewed for the 2010-2011 race season. We do not require membership fees, but we do ask for a donation of your choice. As an incentive to sign in early and to help inject a little cash flow into our organization, we are offering the following promotion made possible by Millennium Technologies.
*** Sign up or renew at Haydays with atleast a $50 donation, and receive a coupon for 33% off all a cylinder repair, and any parts from Millenium Technologies. The typical cost to repair and re-plate a cylinder is $249! By helping us, Millennium can help you save about $83

We’re not done yet….. Plenty of good things to share in a few more weeks

Monty Normand
info@snowmobileracing.mn

sledRacer Does Arctic Cat’s 50th Anniversary

There was  so much to see and do at Arctic Cat’s 50th Anniversary Celebration it was almost overwhelming. From stunning displays of snowmobiles and memorabilia to a fashion show that featured Arctic Cat clothing literally dating back to Day 1, it was an Arctic Cat enthusiast’s dream come true. For race fans it was the place to be if you wanted to meet one of your favorite Cat racers, past or present. And the stories! Someone should write this stuff down. Follow along as sledRacer gives you a brief picture of what went down in Thief River Falls this past weekend.

Ralph Engelstad Arena was full of some of the most interesting, significant and historical snowmobiles in Cat history including Tom Rowland's collection of "skinny" sleds that mark the development of the Firecat.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

P.J. Wandersheid had his Champ sleds on display.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kirk and Tucker Hibbert had a fantastic display of memorabilia and race sleds. All of Tucker Hibberts race sleds have serial numbers that end either in 41...

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

...or 68. The exception was Tucker's sled he raced in Finland at the FIM World Championship last Spring, that had a VIN that ended in 69. Also, some of the sleds had no VINs.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Brad Pake's I-500 winner from 1995.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pake's I-500 winner from 1996 - still got the tape on the hood covering the pipe!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Troy Taggart's I-500 winner from 2001.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tucker Hibbert dazzled onlookers with his knowledge of Hibbert racing trivia. From left to right: Robbie Dahlen, Tucker Hibbert, Mandi Hibbert, Paul Mack, Paul Mack's personal camera guy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Arctic Cat screened it's 50th Anniversary DVD multiple times over the weekend. The guy in the black shirt and tan shorts is Aaron Scheele. You couldn't swing a dead cat without hitting some famous Cat racer. Wait, that may be a bad choice of words...

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This display of Arctic Cat race sleds was located on the mezzanine of the Ralph. That green and black is so sexy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Just about every Cat on the trails back in the day had these letters and numbers on them.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Before the King Cat came the 793 Puma. Hang on...

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hanging out at the Fox Racing Shox trailer. Drinking the adult beverage is Pat Bourgeois, editor of OSM Magazine. Next to him is John Prusak, editor of Snow Goer and former editor of Snow Week. He gave me my first job in the industry when he hired me to write for Snow Goer/Snow Week/Snowmobile Magazines.. Blame him.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Arctic Cat mini bikes. So '70s.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Products from some of the many markets Cat dabbled in over the decades. This particular push mower had a rotary engine.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is a bad picture because this little toy sled was in a glass case, but I had to put it in here because I sooo lusted after this thing as a kid. It even came with a trailer!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And when I wasn't lusting after the toy Cheetah I was trying to talk my dad into buying me a Kitty Cat. I remember pleading my case every time we went to Steve Anderson's dealership behind our house in Center City, Minn. I never got one and sometimes I think that's one of the reasons I love sleds so much now. I was so much in awe of everything about them as a kid and the Kitty Cat only added fuel to the fire.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Doug Oster rode this factory experimental IFS cross-country sled in 1980.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Speaking of Doug Oster, here he is on the right talking to Brian Nelson. He asked Brian to sign his copy of Legend. Doug himself raced for Team Arctic back in the day and was still racing until just a couple years ago. He's in his 50s and still hauls the mail.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here's an early Twin Spar prototype Aaron Scheele built out of a Firecat. You can learn about this sled and a ton more in Arctic Cat's new 50th Anniversary book.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This '73 El Tigre parked next to Kyle Pallin's 2011 X games sled illustrates the sheer difference in scale between today's sleds and those of the early years.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tubby Lund's 1974 I-500 sled. He finished 4th. Tubby still works at Cat as a development engineer.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Can you imagine sitting behind these bars going balls out for 500 miles?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Another I-500 sled. Seats were a huge deal in the early days and were one of the main differences between a consumer sled and a cross-country sled.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Another Winnipeg sled, this one featured a Panther seat back.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One of Kirk Hibbert's hillclimb sleds from back in the day. He rocked a turbo on this buggy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Carly Davis was the feature image on the Team Arctic poster. Here she rolls one of them up to take home. The guy next to her is her dad, legendary cross-country racer Scott Davis. Next to him is Rick Strobel of Fox Racing Shox.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This 2001 ZR had a sign on it that said it was the last Arctic Cat mod raced by Blair Morgan.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you saw this spindle next to you on the track it's a pretty good bet it was going by you.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Arctic Cat bought and produced Scorpion snowmobiles back in the day. This sled was raced by Steve Thorsen, he's the "T" in T&S Racing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Brian Sturgeon's 1998 T&S Racing-built Champ 440.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Holy stinger pipes, Batman! All three Boss Cats were on display. At one point during the weekend Kirk Hibbert told us that he remembers seeing one of the Boss Cats as a kid in West Yellowstone and just standing there for like an hour looking at it thinking it was the coolest thing ever. He was right.