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 firstname.lastname@example.org Or, by mail to Derby Archives at PO Box 2187 Eagle River, WI. 54521
Isn’t this what it’s all about? Riding with your friends on some old iron on a beautiful trail? Here some of the gang from “Live on Skis” in International Falls enjoys some of Northern Minnesota’s best trails.
My first attempt at vintage racing in about 2005 did not go so well. When the flag dropped, all I heard was the sound of a little 250cc motor struggling to get out of it’s own way. I never left the line. Turns out the belt was not adjusted right (you’d think I have noticed that in testing wouldn’t you?) and it engaged where it has about four horsepower. Many adjustments later, she started to show signs of life.
Then it was all about the suspension – I had, unbeknownst to me, a Wahl drag race suspension in it. I could adjust it 1/4″ one way and it wouldn’t move at all. 1/4″ of an inch the other way and it would bottom out. The result was it became a crap shoot if the track would stick at all in the corner, making for a very uncomfortable ride. The next year we switched to a slightly modified 76 Cat Z suspension and then she stuck like glue.
For the record, this sled was made from a 1976 250 TX chassis. I had the original RXL 250 motor, but I stuck some 79 Ski-Doo 340 pipes on it, and that’s when it came alive. After Jim Haug proved she was a winner, I was encouraged to shave about 150 pounds off the driver (me) and let Matt Goede take over for three World Championship titles.
The Goede’s converted it to a rubber track, and had to put a re-enforced cross member on the front to keep it from cracking and breaking. Other than that, the only thing that was done to it for several years was frequent pistons needing to be replaced and a new tach.
I do love this little sled. It’s now retired, but I still like just staring at it.
Alaska native Adam Hagen rocketed off the line in last years vintage World Championship in Eagle River and was gaining ground towards the end. On the last lap he pushed a little too hard and wound up in the bails. It took most of the year, but he’s ready to go again – and his 73 Cat is ready to prowl.