Aside from the largest annual snowmobile event in the world and the so-called official start of winter for the sport, the Haydays Grass Drags in central Minnesota is the chance for aftermarket shops and the sled manufacturers to show off what’s new for the coming winter before an audience containing tens of thousands of snowmobile enthusiasts. This year, at the colossal booths of Arctic Cat, Ski-Doo and Polaris, the biggest news items were the unveiling of each company’s 2012 race machines.

The level of fanfare varied among the snowmobile manufacturers, led by Arctic Cat’s grand event highlighted and hosted by Sled Head 24/7 host Meisha Johnson dressed as “1970s fashion icon Cat Girl” who asked the crowd what they thought was inside a wooden shipping crate on the stage. After a few wrong guesses, Johnson opened the crate containing the bright green and white 2012 Arctic Cat ProCross Race Chassis, which is stronger and lighter than the 2011 Sno Pro 600.

Cat's new ProCross-based race sled.
Performance Product Team Manager Troy Halvorson who took the eager crowd through its features flanked Johnson up on stage. Key specs include a 600R race engine with 40mm Mikuni rack-style TM carburetors, an all-new Front Arctic Race Suspension with Fox Float X Evol shocks, cross country or snocross-specific tracks, the Arctic Drive System with magnesium chaincase and a Torque Overloading Sensing bottom sprocket, a Torque Control Link that connects the drive and driven clutches, as well as a Radial Master Cylinder Brake System.

“Racing has been a strong cornerstone of Arctic Cat’s heritage and brand. An arena we have consistently used for testing and development. It’s our commitment to race the ProCross chassis and show the world that our consumers can buy the same snowmobile to conquer the world’s toughest terrain,” said Brad Darling, GM Snow Division.

Defending his ISOC Pro Points Championship Title, Tucker Hibbert will race the full season aboard the all-new 2012 Sno Pro 600 as well as compete for his sixth-consecutive ESPN Winter X Games gold medal. If he wins, Hibbert will become the only athlete in the history of Winter X to six-peat. Hibbert has competed every year since 2000 and currently holds 10 medals, six of which are gold.

Arctic Cat CEO Claude Jordan said, “Our talented engineers have built our best Sno Pro race sled to date, and that says a lot considering we won every major race or championship title last season. It’s going to be a tough year for our competition, but an even better year for our Team Arctic race fans!”

Go back to our homepage to see related stories on the 2012 race sleds from Polaris and Ski-Doo.

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