Sunday, October 12, 2014
Snowmobile to Reno
Vegas to Reno is the longest offroad racing in the United States at close to 600 miles in length over some of the rockiest, siltiest, driest, roughest terrain our country has to offer. Therefore it may not be the easiest race to attempt with a radically new idea. This didn't put off Trevor Erickson however.
Trevor has been running snowmobiles converted to operate in the dirt for years now as evidenced by this article on Off-Road.com back in 2009. He has run sleds across bodies of water, in the dunes and across rocky terrain in the past (as evidenced in the second video below) so varied terrain is something he is experienced with. I'm sure he's made many changes to the sled since then but this is the first major offroad desert race that he has entered that I know of. The sled looks to have no problem with speed hitting a peak of 108 here while you can hear Erickson let off the gas in numerous turns making it appear as if its ability to turn and turning radius may be its limitation.
Snowmobiles are no stranger to big jumps and moguls so bumps and ruts may not be a huge difference for this machine though I would imagine the sharp rocks, dust and heat are not in the typical design specs. His prior sleds are known to run additional radiators in the rear of the vehicle and use Yamaha YFZ 450 quad hubs and wheels for its front end. The sled used for the V2R effort is a Polaris Rush with an Aerocharger turbocharged engine. Given your off the shelf Rush starts at only 436 pounds, they should be able to get up and move as fast as any 600cc bike.
I would also assume that it has extensive skidplating underneath as snowmobiles aren't known for their ground clearance. They do possess a fair amount of travel though--The Polaris Rush lists its rear travel at 14 inches while the front travel of a standard Rush is at 9 inches and this snowmobile is far from stock. Stock shocks cross over into the world of dirt with dampers all around provided by Walker Evans who is a big snowmobile fan himself.
Still, Erickson made it more than 100 miles of the '14 V2R event before a cracked fuel tank put them out. The story rumored so far is that the team tried to fill the crack with soap with heavy duty tape across it. It will be interesting to see if the Erickson's return to desert racing in the future. Unfortunately I haven't found any sort of Trevor Erickson or Erickson Brothers website so if you want to find out more, you'll have to track Mr. Erickson down through your usual social media outlets.