Rumors about the status of Arctic Cat’s race department have been spreading faster than a wildfire in the last three weeks, with social media posts, message board comments and direct and indirect comments from Cat employees, dealership owners, race teams and more stoking the flames into a full-blown inferno.
The only thing silent has been the Arctic Cat/Textron headquarters – until today.
On both Twitter and Facebook this morning, Arctic Cat – Snowmobiles (the company’s official page) posted this message: “Arctic Cat is still racing and will continue our race-winning ways. Be careful what you hear. See you at the track – Team Arctic Cat.”
The post is accompanied by a picture of Christian Bros. Racing’s David Brown landing on the backside of a field approach on an Arctic Cat cross-country racing sled. On the USXC racing circuit, Brown was the 2018 Semi-Pro points champion and finished second this past season on the No. 871 Cat in the photo.
The post undoubtedly brought a sigh of relief to some Team Arctic race teams, racers and fans, but there are still many questions to be answered. When we reached out directly to Arctic Cat and Textron officials earlier this week, we were told, “We will be issuing a public release soon, but the rumors you’re hearing are likely inaccurate,” by one and “We are not closing the race department. There will be some changes and some are going to be major changes,” by another.
We’re still awaiting that official press release, so for now this social media post will have to suffice. Many rumors are still circulating over the size of the race department, whether or not Cat will have a 2020 snocros racing sled and how many (if any) teams and/or race circuits will get factory support.
Arctic Cat racers, dealers and fans weren’t the only ones watching this situation carefully and hanging on every twist in the rumor mill: Many folks associated with other brands were also tracking the situation closely, as a complete step away from racing by Arctic Cat would also likely have a large effect on various race circuits – from the large national circuits on down to local events.
Since Arctic Cat was purchased by Textron about two years ago, there have been many changes with the Arctic Cat brand, including the departure of many personnel from various departments — from marketing to engineering and beyond — as well as a smaller snowmobile product mix, changes in dealer support programs and more.
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