Monthly Archives: February 2011

Team Arctic Rules Red Lake USCC Cross-Country

20 Class Wins, 10 Podium Sweeps and Twice the Usual Beatings

Team Arctic cross-country racers took advantage of a two-race USCC weekend in Red Lake, Minn., notching 20 class victories and 10 podium sweeps while inflicting twice the usual beating upon the competition.

For the second weekend in a row, Team Arctic’s D.J. Ekre and Ryan Greening captained the corps, with Ekre winning Pro Stock and Pro Open while Greening snatched 3-of-4 Semi Pro wins. Ekre’s Arctic/Christian Bros. Racing teammates Garth Kaufman, Ryan Simons and Zach Pattyn occupied plenty of Pro podium real estate, while Chad Kyllo and Spencer Kadlec did the same in the Semi Pro class

Jon Arneson, Bryce Buchanan and Luke Perreault also scored double-wins during the weekend, adding to their hefty hardware haul this season.

“Ekre has definitely found his sweet spot for speed these past couple weeks,” said Mike Kloety, Team Arctic Race Manager. “After bad luck plagued the start of his race season, he’s hungry for more wins while Ryan Simons is riding to maintain his lead in the championship points race.

“Plus Ryan Greening has been literally unbeatable in the Semi Pro 600 class so far this season, and we’ve seen a slew of Expert and Sport racers take turns winning the 85-hp classes. With two races remaining, Team Arctic racers appear ready to top most of the USCC class championships.”

The next race in the USCC circuit is March 12 in Warroad, Minn. Go to USCC for more information.

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Godspeed to Edgar Hetteen

The Founder of Arctic Cat and Industry Pioneer Dies at Age 90

The legendary founder of Arctic Cat, co-founder of Polaris and “grandfather” of snowmobiling died on Saturday, February 12, in Grand Rapids, Minn. He was 90 years old.

An innovative visionary who turned the concept of an over-the-snow machine into a playful winter pastime, Edgar made deep, lasting tracks that led to a new means of experiencing winter.

“Edgar did more than just make tracks,” said Roger Skime, Vice President of Engineering at Arctic Cat, “He broke a trail. From the frozen farmlands of Northwest Minnesota to every state, province and country that has snow. Along the way he built a company, nurtured an industry and shaped the culture of winter recreation with an unbridled optimism that made the sport what it is today, and will be tomorrow.”

In 1954 Edgar, along with his younger brother Allan and brother-in-law David Johnson, formed a manufacturing company in Roseau, Minn. The company produced its first snowmobile in 1956, a concept that Edgar initially scoffed at. But he quickly and wholeheartedly embraced the snowmobile, and soon became its greatest promoter. His flair for adventure and promotion led him on an unprecedented 1,200-mile snowmobile trip across Alaska in 1960, which brought national exposure to a fledgling sport despite unanticipated derision “back home.”

Undeterred, Edgar founded Polar Manufacturing in Thief River Falls in 1961, where he began producing snowmobiles that reflected his dreams. One year later he changed the company name to Arctic Cat, and began a series of innovations that transformed hulking snow “machines” into small, playful snowmobiles.

Edgar didn’t invent the snowmobile, but he envisioned its near-limitless opportunities with a clarity and passion that made him the greatest pioneer the sport has ever known.

“Edgar focused on the ‘mobile’ aspect of snowmobiles,” said Skime. “At the time few had any idea where the sport would go, but Edgar had a unique vision. He could imagine the possibilities, especially the social relationships. Perhaps his greatest insight was that snowmobiles were a means for people to recreate together.”

Five decades later, Edgar’s vision continues to propel a sport and an industry.

“Today, snowmobiling continues to capture our imagination,” said Claude Jordan, Arctic Cat President and CEO. “It fuels our spirit of adventure and, as an experiential, social winter recreation; it builds and strengthens the relationships we have with friends and family.”

Although the family of employees, dealers and snowmobilers sheds a collective tear, we raise our hands to cheer the sport, industry and culture that Edgar so profoundly shaped.  While the long, lifetime-track Edgar made has ended, the trail he blazed continues onward.

Godspeed to you, Edgar Hetteen.

Mid-Season Momentum Continues for Team Arctic

The wins keep coming for Team Arctic cross-country and snocross racers, with another dominant performance at the USCC cross-country race in Walker, Minn., and Pro win at the ISOC National snocross at the Pontiac, Mich., Silverdome.

D.J. Ekre was the man-of-the-weekend, winning both the Pro 600 and Pro Open class at the USCC race in Walker to notch his first victories of the season. Racing for the dominant Arctic Cat/Christian Bros. Racing team, Ekre’s victories, along with teammate Chad Kyllo’s win Semi Pro Improved, set in motion an unstoppable wave of winning for Team Arctic racers who claimed 15 of 20 class wins during the day.

Ryan Greening scored another win in Semi Pro 600 – his third of the season – while Jon Arneson topped the highly-competitive Expert 85 class for the first time. Proving the depth of the Team Arctic program and the strength of the Sno Pro 600 and Sno Pro 500 race sleds, 12 different racers stood atop the podium in Walker, with six podium sweeps.

“When one team wins 15 of 20 class finals, I call it a phenomenal performance,” said Team Arctic Race Manager, Mike Kloety. “Yet it was a bittersweet weekend for us, as we’re still grieving the death of USCC President Pat Mach, who guided the circuit into a premier venue for cross-country racing. One week after his passing, USCC crew provided a first-class event to honor Pat and the entire Mach family. I’m as proud of that as I am Team Arctic’s domination.”

Meanwhile, Team Arctic’s Tucker Hibbert delivered another scorching win in the Pro Stock class in Pontiac, where ISOC ran an abbreviated class program for the indoor event. Garth Kaufman notched his second ISOC podium in a row, with teammate Logan Christian just missing the box in fourth. Hibbert was on his way to another double-win before an uncharacteristic get-off in the Pro Open final shuffled him back to fourth.

Although bad luck prevented the usual podium-sweeping performance, Team Arctic motored out of Pontiac with the championship points lead in four of six classes.

The next race in the USCC circuit is Feb. 19 in Red Lake, Minn., while the next ISOC National is March 5-6 in Hayward, Wis.

Thirty-Two Win Weekend for Team Arctic

On Top in Eastern/Canadian Snocross and Western Hillclimbs

It’s the middle of the race season, and Team Arctic snocross and hillclimb racers delivered a 32-win weekend that makes the competition wish winter was over.  Leading the victory lap parade in snocross were Tucker Hibbert and Cody Thomsen, each winning a class at the ISOC Eastern National in Farmington, NY.

Hibbert’s win in Pro Open marked his 62nd career Pro class win, and overshadowed the troubles that derailed his efforts in Pro Stock, in which he finished fifth. Pro teammates Garth Kaufman, Logan Christian and Dan Ebert found additional speed in Farmington, with Kaufman taking a second in Pro Stock, while Christian and Ebert each notched a fourth place.

Factory Team Arctic standout Cody Thomsen continued his season-long onslaught of the Semi Pro class, winning one final, taking a second in the other and leaving New York with a commanding points lead.

While Team Arctic snocrossers were winning in Farmington, the hillclimb team set the high mark with 13 wins at the RMSHA season-opener in Bear Lake, Idaho.

It was a familiar family of names who once again proved the superiority of the M Series, as Chance Buckallew, Amy Zollinger, Kyle Tapio and Bryant Ropelato each won multiple events, including Kyle and Bryant’s King titles. They were joined in the winner’s circle by Nels Tapio, Todd Tupper, Taylor Siemers and Casey Morley, giving Arctic Cat the top spot in more than half of the class finals.

At the Soo International 500 enduro in Sault Ste. Marie, Mich., Team Arctic’s Isaac Wolfgang was oh-so-close to notching his first victory, finishing in the runner-up position just five seconds out of first.

“This was one of those weekends where Team Arctic racers won all-over the North American map in all forms of competition,” said Mike Kloety, Race Manager. “While we didn’t win every time we hit the track, notching 32 wins tells the story of our racers, crews and snowmobiles, while highlighting the strength of our program.”