About 120 minutes after Ski-Doo unveiled its new race sled for 2019 at Haydays, Polaris launched its 2019 600R Race Sled with many of the same goals that Ski-Doo targeted, including better holeshots, improved handling and better cornering speed, as both brands try to close the gap that Arctic Cat had with its race sled last winter. (Cat then unveiled its ZR 6000 R SX model an hour later.) Polaris also targeted a much-needed improvement in the durability of its rear suspension.
For starters, both Polaris and Ski-Doo followed Arctic Cat’s lead from last year and launched their new race sleds with a cross-over length track. It Polaris’ case, it’s a 15- by 136- by 1.75-inch track called the SnoCross.
The track wraps around the new RX2 Rear Suspension that Race Director Tom Rager Jr. said it is “new from the ground up, it’s not a me-too 136-inch rear suspension.” In fact, he pointed at the front at the footwell on the sled and said, “just about everything from here back is brand new this year.”
The rear suspension features upgraded shocks, two inches of additional travel at the rear arm and a design that Rager Jr. said is significantly stronger, meaning racers won’t have to add gussets and other reinforcements before they hit the track. Therefore, he said that even though the sled weighs about the same as last year’s race sled, it will be 15 pounds light in “race trim.”
Beyond that, Rager said the design of the new rear suspension makes the whole sled handle better, allowing for a short-keel C&A Pro ski that will ease steering effort but still improve cornering ability.
Up front, Polaris designers improved the steering geometry so the sled could turn in a tighter circle and carry more corner speed. A new, tall, blocky-looking seat sits on top of the tunnel and props the rider in an aggressive position when seated but can also allow the standing rider to lean against it for leverage, Rager said. And, in a crafty twist, Polaris created some louvers in the top of the tunnel to expose the rear heat exchanger so race teams can more easily cool the engine on the starting line by smearing snow on the tunnel behind the seat — once you see it, it’s one of those “why didn’t somebody think of this sooner” moments.
Polaris remains the only brand in snocross running carbs, now that Ski-Doo is using an E-TEC engine and Cat is running its DSI semi-direct system.
Going into the season, Polaris returns most of the same cast of characters to the snocross scene, with 2017 champ Kody Kamm as one of the pre-season favorites to capture the 2019 championship, now that Tucker Hibbert has retired.
Here’s the press release from Polaris:
All-New 2019 Polaris 600R Race Sled Delivers Greatly Improved Performance from the Holeshot to the Checkered Flag
New Sled Has All-New 136” RX2 Rear Suspension, Proven 600 Engine
MINNEAPOLIS (Sept. 8, 2018) – The new Polaris 600R Race Sled is better everywhere on the race course, from the holeshot through jumps, bumps and corners, which gives Polaris racers a decided advantage heading into the 2018-2019 race season. The new race sled features an all-new 136” RX2 Rear Suspension with new shocks, improved steering geometry, a new tunnel, and enhanced cooling, braking, and racer ergonomics.
“Even though it’s new, the Polaris 600R Race Sled is also proven,” said Polaris Racing Manager Tom Rager, Jr. “We had seven different racers – Pro, Pro Lite, Sport, and Junior – testing the sled last winter and in extensive post-season testing. It’s a winner and it gives Polaris racers a decided edge over the competition.”
New 136” RX2 Rear Suspension
The all-new 136” RX2 Rear Suspension is engineered and tuned for improved performance everywhere from the holeshot to corners and rough terrain. It is a proprietary Polaris Racing design, not a copycat suspension, and it features new ideas, and components such as an all-new rear arm and revised coupling block geometry. RX2 components are designed and manufactured for optimized strength and light weight, and the limiter strap is adjustable so a racer can fine-tune the ski pressure.
The front and rear track shocks are new Walker Evans 2” Velocity Series Shocks. These shocks are adjustable and proven to withstand the rigors of racing and reliably soak up impacts throughout a long main event.
Above the rear suspension is an all-new tunnel that is stiffer and provides increased track clearance. A new one-piece tunnel heat exchanger provides improved cooling that is complemented by tunnel snow scoops that help reduce temperatures on the starting line and all around the race course.
The new running board design increases ground clearance, provides greater strength, and enhances snow evacuation.
Improved Steering Geometry
The new 600R Race Sled has improved steering geometry that provides a tighter turning radius and flatter cornering so a racer can carry more speed all the way through the corners. Plus, less effort is required of the racer, which will help minimize fatigue.
The IFS is equipped with proven, outstanding, and adjustable Walker Evans 2” Velocity Series Shocks, and the sled has all-new C&A XCS skis that are less aggressive, a change made possible by the significantly improved rear suspension performance.
The 600R Race Sled is powered by the proven title-winning, quick-accelerating 600 engine, which has a new ignition system that provides increased spark energy. This helps produce extra power for improved top speeds and better high-RPM performance. The Hayes brake’s pads feature a new compound for improved durability and optimized performance
Racers who tested the 600R Race Sled helped refine the new seat design so it significantly improves a racer’s comfort and control. With the new seat, the ergonomics are enhanced to provide the racer with greater stability that is especially noticeable in corners. The racer is positioned to control the sled with less effort, which reduces fatigue. And the new seat cover has additional grip ribs that further improve racer stability.
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