In 1973 the development of Yamaha’s racing program hit the bulls-eye with the 74 SRX. The innovations are extensive and impressive. Words like Titanium, Magnesium, Carbon fiber, liquid cooling, CDI electronics, and more all describe this engineering marvel. Geometry and function marry together with “fine tuning” created a competitive weapon. Notably for the individuals, manufactures and competitors that cried foul for an exotic hand built machine, they cannot deny that nearly all its innovations have ended up in the retail line-up as a technological feature [sales on Monday].
The 74 SRX history is a story in itself. I have separated the saga into three parts. First was the development and introduction of three individual race machines that were very near to custom units – three sleds for Larry Oman, Ed Schubitzki and Lynn Trapp. Each machine was based on a basic platform; from there the differences are many. Some items individualized are: the seats, brakes, [manual vs. hydraulic], traction devices, clutching, handle bars, shocks, stirrups, and add in particular set ups for track size, conditions, and secret combinations, very possible the machine you saw this week could be dramatically different from last week. Documentation for original gets a little fuzzy. Very little is noted of the 4th machine. This was the photo-opt sled that initially was for marketing purposes. It had a dual spark plug per cylinder head and was reported to be all magnesium motor. The steering post was higher than the raced units and was thought to be the donor sled for Lynn Trapp after the Syracuse, NY crash.
The second part of the saga is surrounded in rumor, theories, and maybe some fabrication for the next 35 years. Parts were reported to be retrieved from dumpsters, complete sled missing from under the staircase, [which is resting peacefully in a place undivulged] and complete motors finding there way to a local motorcycle shop. All were mentioned by credible and incredible sources. The tidbit stories all make for great entertainment around the campfire; that’s what’s great about this saga.
The third part of this snowmobile history is the part my son and I have played in resurrecting and recreating what we have today. The lion’s share of our sled came from Kenny Edmiston in Anchorage Alaska – these sleds were tested at Kenny’s Anchorage Yamaha shop prior to the 74 race season. Our sled is an amalgamation of these sled parts. The sled we acquired, in its current form, was a local warrior of the track and had many changes in appearance and power plants, but it was the same basic platform.
I know there has been much debate on what this sled is or isn’t? This sled is not the 74 SRX Lynn Trapp, Ed Schubitzki or Larry Oman raced. Parts of these sleds could be in ours; Yamaha did not make a parts list nor did retail pieces enter the system, so availability limits the sources. Please enjoy it as much as my son and I have by adding it to our collection.
We only plan to take our sled to the Hall of Fame show, May 30th in St Germain Wisconsin. With many other special Yamahas at this show it will be on overwhelming day. We look forward to seeing old and new friends this Memorial day.
Larry Ellifritz Sr.