It’s not often that a 40-plus year reunion of a snowmobile race team gets the attention of the mainstream media. Then again, the amazing over-achievement and success – plus the odd name – of Team Frustration weren’t usual either, so maybe the fact that local newspapers were interested in the reunion shouldn’t come as a surprise.
On Saturday, July 20, members of the infamous Team Frustration – including racers, team members, supporters and others who either literally or figurative made up the extended family of the World Championship-earning team – gathered at Detroit Lakes, Minnesota, in an informal gathering of a who’s who of snowmobile racing history.
Here’s a link to coverage and pictures from the reunion in the Detroit Lakes, Minnesota, newspaper and its website – DLOntline.com. Be sure to go through the slide show at the bottom. The Fergus Falls Daily Journal, meanwhile, did a very interesting preview of the event – virtually anybody interested in snowmobile racing history will want to check out both stories. The team was originally in Fergus Falls, Minnesota, before later being based out of the area around Fargo, North Dakota. Also interesting are the dozens and dozens of photos posted on social media by folks who attended the event.
Team Frustration was started by master tuner Jerry Simison — a multi-faceted racer and engine builder. Unlike most major race teams, it crossed branded lines – hosting some of the biggest-named racers to compete on Polaris, Mercury and Arctic Cat. In fact, there was one period where half the team was on Mercury Sno Twisters, and half was on Arctic Cat Zs. Championship-winning historic racers and tuners who were a part of Team Frustration at some point include Steve Thorsen, Jim Dimmerman, Todd Elmer, Frans Rosenquist, Tim Benedict, Dean Schwartzwalter, Rich Stuntebeck, Doug Lamm, Archie Simonson and a many more. Team Frustration riders won countless major races across the Snowbelt during the team’s main run from 1971-1980, including the Thorsen’s 1977-78 back-to-back World Championships at Eagle River.
Todd Simison – Jerry Simison’s son and the host of the July event – told DL-Online that his dad, “never wanted to be a big fish in a small pond. When they got really good and there was a race in Detroit Lakes, he probably wouldn’t even attend. Not that they were too good, but he wanted to be a small fish in a big pond. That was a saying of his. Instead of racing DL, he wanted to race the Eagle River World Championship or the DAYCO Spectacular, Wausau, Wisconsin or Syracuse, New York. Even from the start when they weren’t that good, they wanted to just go on. He didn’t want to intimidate anybody. He wanted to race against the factory teams and the big boys.”
In a separate discussion with Snow Goer, Todd Simison said, “What made my dad different than a lot of other team owners is he was a machinist who built at lot of motors that won a lot of races.”
Hall of Fame Photographer Wayne Davis told us, “When you’d pull up to the starting line next to somebody from Team Frustration, you’d think, ‘Uh-oh!’ because they knew what they were doing!”
Editor’s Note: This review was originally published in the October 2020 issue of Snow Goer. Every issue of Snow Goer magazine includes in-depth sled reports and comparisons, aftermarket gear and accessories reviews, riding destination articles, do-it-yourself repair information, snowmobile technology and more! Subscribe to Snow Goer now to receive issues delivered to your door or your computer for a low cost.