In Praise of the Common Machine by EricR

In praise of the common machine.
Starfires! Magnums! Thunderjets! EXT Arctic Cats! Ohhh, look at the magnesium,
the race history! So and so rode this in 1971! The best sled EVER! I’m going to let y’all in on a secret………those machines are neat, and I love to look at ‘em. They are an important piece of history. However, when it comes to actual riding? Give me something you can buy for beer money, and not get upset if it gets a scratch. No disrespect to those ice oval racers which may be reading (proofreading?) this,
but I just don’t want something that has to have little booties over the skis to move it when it’s not on the track! What good is a machine so fragile it has to be ridden on ICE when it is called a SNOWMOBILE? That’s right.

I love ‘em cheap, and I love ‘em common. Bring me a ’72 Ski Doo Olympique, or a square bellypan Panther with a duct taped seat. I think old STP stickers and 30 year old registration decals are cool. Way too much fun is restored out of a sled these days! I like the sleds that you can replace the “traction aids” on with a bead of weld down the old wear bars. And if you ride a bit out of the range of the tank, you aren’t bothered by mixing in the tank at a small town pump. Yes, the bread and butter sleds from the heyday of the market were made by the ton, and parts for the major brands are still pretty plentiful. It all works for this guy. Go on any vintage trail ride, and see what type of machines are there. Green John Deeres with bogie wheels? Check! Wide track OMC’s, Rupp Americans, folks snaking the trail on Boa Skis, ruling with Skiroules, or jetting off with Sno Jets. Stinging ‘em on Scorpions!

Towing un matched cutters with hose clamped on hitches, heading for that mid ride bonfire. Folks clad in the same oil stained garb they had on when they dragged the machine home from a swap meet and got it running, all having a blast and reminiscing. Tales of how their mom used to hide the gas can so they couldn’t ride anymore, and now they have to do the same with their kids. Now that’s my kind of fun!

Eric Rylander
Vintagesleds very own EricR

The preceding article appeared in the December 2013 issue of Vintage Snowmobiler magazine and is used by permission of the author.

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31st Annual Ride with the Champs and Induction Ceremony

Friday morning at the Snowmobile Hall of Fame in St. Germain, Wisconsin opened up with a beautiful sunny day and snow filled trails. Everyone arrived around 9:00am for a trial/poker run put together by Fuzzy Zeller. After riding approximately 40-50 miles with 5 stops to draw cards, the winner of the poker hand received 50% of the money while the SHOF receives the other 50%. After the ride, everyone returned to the SHOF for an Open House, including a bonfire and cook-out.

Saturday morning began with beautiful crisp blue skies along with a breakfast buffet and followed by the introduction of all the celebrity riders that were in attendance.After breakfast, it was time for the 180 riders to head to the trails for the 31st Annual “Ride with the Champs”. There were six different rides, going in six different directions and all leaving from St. Germain. The rides consisted of 3 modern sled rides and 3 vintage sled rides; including a short vintage ride traveling approximately 30 miles; the “Swamp Challenge” which was about 100 miles; and the “Vintage Challenge”, that went all the way to Lake Gogebic, MI, for a 165 mile loop.

After returning to the hotel for a quick “fluff and buff”, everyone gathered again at the White Tail Inn for the main event, the induction banquet to honor our four inductees for 2014: Ted Nielsen, Tom Rager, Sr., Don Omdahl and Loren Anderson.

The banquet started with an autograph session, a silent auction and then onto the induction of our 2014 honorees.

As I sat there for my 18th induction ceremony and listened to the words from the last inductee to speak, I realized the experience is still the same as it was the first time… very exciting and humbling, all at the same time!

Craig Marchbank SHOF President

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Spy Photos from the Anderson Racing display, RWTC Weekend.

Submitted by Loren Anderson. 
While you are at the Ride With The Champions this weekend, do not miss the OPEN HOUSE in the Anderson Race Shop next door. Here are some shots of our OPEN HOUSE setup in the shop. Remember open house is Fri 3-6, Sat all day. Photos show our rig, E-Z Up tent, one of the first pit-boxes to be found on the circuit, McDonalds/Dennis Kirk twin-track #65 sled, just as they came off the track when Bob retired over 20 yrs ago. Built stairs so the folks can go into trailer and see everything……….untouched in over 20 yrs. Photos include my first red GMC truck and trailer hauling my Rupps, then my yellow Chev. truck and 6 place ski-doo rig as well. These two are from my racing days and together with Brad Bettin #20 display, complete our families 50 yrs in the sport.
Refreshments served.
Loren Anderson
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Do you have a racing snowmobile from the 70′s or 80′s? Is there a history behind it but, your not quite sure it’s correct? Are you thinking of purchasing a rare racing sled and the owner is claiming a heritage but, you want it verified? Now, thanks to the Derby Archives Research, there is a way to document that racing sled!

Boxes of registration records from 1966 to 1990 have recently been discovered at the Eagle River Derby Track. Beginning in 1969, the entry forms requested the Chassis number and the Engine serial number. Through the efforts of the Decker Family and the World Snowmobile Headquarters, this very large collection of documents has been dissected and organized into an Archive that can be accessed to provide copies of the original entry forms that each driver filled out prior to participating in the Eagle River Derby.

This is NOT just the big-time factory racers! They have tickets for EVERY class. That means you can find out the history on almost any high performance machine from back in that era.

The organization of the records took months and the service has just begun to provide documentation but, there have already been a few success stories:

  • A 1976 Ski-Doo Blizzard with a 340 liquid engine was traced back and discovered to be the 250 Free Air entered by Factory Race Team for Mike Trapp.
  • A 1978 Ski-Doo 440 Blizzard was found to be a Doug Hayes Factory entry.
  • A 1978 Polaris, found years ago in New Hampshire, had been entered at the Derby by Jerry Bunke.
  • A 1971 Yamaha 433 engine known to be raced by one of the Trapp Factory drivers, was confirmed as the 1971 Derby Winning engine.
  • A few conditions have been put in place, regarding the copies of the forms. Social Security numbers and Phone numbers of the driver will be whited out. If only the chassis number is verified and the engine is not there or incorrect, the engine number on the form will be whited out. They call this the “Clone Prevention Clause”. They will only provide documentation for numbers for which have received pictures.

    If a sled was raced for multiple seasons, a copy of those entry forms will be provided as well. This will aid in creating a paper trail for the history of these rare machines.

    There is a fee to do an initial search. If a match is found, there is an additional fee for the documentation process.

    If you’d like to give it a try, inquiries can be made by email to Or, by mail to Derby Archives at PO Box 2187 Eagle River, WI. 54521

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