The season’s first annual performance showcase of brand new sleds was held again in New York recently, albeit with a new name (due to a magazine closure) and a few late adaptations (thanks to Mother Nature).
At the NY Shootout (previously known as the AmSnow Shootout) event on December 15 in Inlet, New York, Ski-Doo had the quickest and fastest 600-class snowmobile in 2020, the brand also had the quickest entry in the 800-850 class – though the Polaris was faster – and the Arctic Cat ZR 9000 Thundercat was the fastest machine of all.
As per usual, the sleds that competed were fresh out of the crate, with a little break-in time allowed and Woody’s studs added to the track. Most of the sleds were also dynoed, and all were weighed – though variances in the amount of fuel in each tank plus snow in the suspensions made the weight numbers difficult to compare to one another.
Sleds were run down a 1,000-foot strip of packed snow by the same driver (Jason Owens), back-to-back, multiple times into a strong western wind – first in “box stock” form and then after the host dealers were allowed to do a bit of tuning – namely tampering with the helix, springs and weights in the clutches and adjusting suspension settings. Because time passes between the runs, however, and sometimes track conditions change, the “dealer prep” runs aren’t always the fastest – and that was the case again this year.
As always, there is one huge caveat: These results are each from one individual machine – while every effort is taken to make this a fair playing field, the results may not be exactly what is experienced on other sleds throughout the season.
Let’s break down the numbers:
The Renegade Wins The 600 class
The 600-class two-stroke class pitted three 137-inch sleds against one another: an Arctic Cat ZR 6000 Sno Pro 137, a Ski-Doo Renegade Adrenaline 600R E-TEC and a Polaris 600 Indy Adventure 137.
In an effort to get strong and consistent traction, the tracks (which featured varying lug heights) were studded “taller” than normal – with 1.325-inch studs on the ZR 6000 with 1-inch lugs and 1.575-inch studs on the Renegade and Indy, which featured 1.25- and 1.352-inch lugs, respectively.
First the sleds were run box-stock form, during which the Ski-Doo gained an advantage right off of the starting line – as shown by the 60-foot elapsed times (ETs) in the chart below, and then it narrowly held off a charge from the competition – with the 1000-foot times closer than the 60-foot times. In fact, it edged the Cat by just .01 seconds and the Polaris by .07 seconds in 1000 feet – that’s a blink of an eye!
After dealer prep, the sleds were run again, and the Ski-Doo became quite a bit quicker – as did the Polaris – while the Arctic Cat went backwards. Versus both of its competition, the Ski-Doo started faster and then built a substantial lead by the finish line.
Here are the actual results – with the best runs from each sled in each form, and the best times overall highlighted in yellow.
Close 800/850 Class
The 800/850-class two-stroke class also pitted the three 137-inch sleds against one another: An Arctic Cat ZR 8000 Sno Pro 137, a Ski-Doo Renegade Adrenaline 850 E-TEC and a Polaris 850 Indy XC 137. Track variances were greater in this class – with the ZR wearing 1-inch lugs, the Renegade 1.25-inch and the Polaris 1.50; such is life when trying to grab sleds that are available at the participating dealerships and match them up as best you can.
These sleds were studded more heavily than the 600s – with four studs per lug row instead of three, and 1.325-inch studs on the ZR, 1.575-inch studs in the Renegade and 1.740-inchers in the Polaris.
Once again, the Ski-Doo consistently got off the line quickest and had to be chased by the other sleds – in fact, in the first 60 feet it opened an incredible .30-second lead on the Polaris in its best box-stock run. Meanwhile, the Cat was playing at a displacement disadvantage – running 794cc against 840cc on the Polaris and 849cc on the Ski-Doo. Maybe that’s why Cat tried to get away with the 1-inch lugs?
After dealer prep, the Ski-Doo got off the line more slowly than box stock and all three sleds lost time in ET, though the Ski-Doo and Polaris both picked up top speed. In fact, the Polaris was the fastest overall among the two strokes at 96.15 mph in 1000 feet.
Here are the results from each sled’s best run:
Four-Stroke Turbo Class
Also at the shootout, the Arctic Cat ZR 9000 Thundercat, Yamaha Sidewinder SRX LE and Ski-Doo Renegade 900 ACE Turbo were pitted against one another. The Thundercat and Renegade were both dynoed – coming in at 203.1 and 161.1 horsepower respectively on Jim Czekala’s Dyno Tech Research machine – while the Yamaha took a pass on that step.
The Cat and Yamaha both wore 137-inch tracks with 1-inch lugs, so 1.325 Woody’s studs were used, while this Ski-Doo matched the other Renegades with 1.25-inch lugs, and thus 1.575 studs were used.
The Thundercat showed best – launching best off the starting line in both box stock and dealer prep and carrying the lead to the end with very impressive speed. In the end, it became the first stock shootout sled to break the 9-second barrier, according to organizer Heinrich Kirschner – breaking the lights in 8.90 seconds at 103.68 mph in box-stock form and 8.83 at an incredible 108.69 mph after dealer prep.
The SRX wasn’t far behind – 9.07 seconds box stock and 9.18 dealer prep – while the less powerful but still impressively overachieving 900 Ace Turbo laid down 9.56- and 9.73-second runs that would have won the top two stroke class.
The annual NY Shootout is a partnership of many. Heinrich Kirschner organizes and runs the event, but he has a super-long list of local supporters and sponsors from the Inlet area.
Participating dealers this year were Livingston Arctic Cat of Hillsborough, New Hampshire, Arctic Adventures of Rosendale, New York, Excell Motorsports of Hubbardsville, New York, and Kubecka’s Polaris of Mohawk, New York. As always, Jim Czekala from Dyno-Tech Research was vital and instrumental in many ways, including a lot of the dyno and technical work. Woody’s was the official traction sponsor, the Inlet Barnstormers Snowmobile Club prepped the track and KMS Performance providing the timing system.
In summation, organizer Kirschner wrote the following: “To finish out the day I would like to thank all participating factory dealers, Trail mod companies, Trail Riders, Chip and Cindy Sauer Track owners, the Town of Inlet NY for all the work they do in preparing and helping put on the event, Rocky Point Properties Inlet NY for their lovely accommodations, Inlet Barnstormers for track grooming. Woody’s stud products for supplying the studs for the factory sleds, JJ Outlaw Photography for all event photos, test rider Jason Owens, The Ole Barn Restaurant for the banquet site and my crew who always pulls thru no matter the weather. I have a lot of ideas for the upcoming 2020 New York Shoot-Out.”
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.