A true legend in the snowmobile drag racing community passed away recently, leaving behind a long legacy.
William “Bill” Cudney, 76, of Ontario, died at his home on the morning of September 23, reportedly of a heart attack.
A drag racer whose career spanned parts of four decades, Cudney was a large personality at the races in every conceivable way. He was outspoken, omnipresent, well-respected and legendary, and well-known in many circles.
Competing mainly in Pro Stock and Mod classes on various machines emblazoned with his No. 177 race number (though occassionally on other numbered sleds depending on who owned the machine), Cudney racked up countless wins in both the U.S. and Canada. He earned world champion and ISR Drag Racer of the Year honors for his feats on the track.
That said, his influence expanded well beyond race weekends, according to Chris Riley, the former racer and voice behind the popular Super Sled Online Facebook group and online radio program. Riley noted that Cudney was a valued member of the original Michigan Snowmobile Drag Racing Association (MSDRA) board of directors.
“He welcomed and influenced so many people not only as racers but as promoters and sanctioning bodies,” Riley said. “He was a very big influence in ISR rules meeting, which taught me personally quite a bit about how to handle myself in those situations as well as the politics and economics involved in the sport…. He influenced all levels of the sport, on the race track and in technical areas and rules.”
In various online posts, many on Riley’s Super Sled Online pages, racer after racer shared memories of Cudney’s presence at the race track. Riley shared with us his own golden memory.
“The very first real points race that I ever won on the MSDRA at my home track in Cedarville [Michigan], when I was coming up the return lane, Cudney was the first guy to greet me. I’ll never forget that. That meant everything to be recognized and respected by one of the biggest names in the sport.”
After Cudney’s passing, Riley dedicated one of his online radio programs to Bill Cudney’s memory, and it turned out to be the most listened-to live program in the Super Sled’s long history. Check it out here. It has many of drag racings top names sharing more stories about Bill.
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