Winnipeg/St. Paul 500
* Viking Photo`s
Art Seydel, 11th. in "500" Snowmobile race
Five broken belts, four sets of skis and a wind burned face was part of the price Art Seydel of East Grand Forks paid for his
11th place finish in the International "500" Snowmobile Race in 1971.
The five broken belts occurred during the early stage of the race. Sydel explained that the first leg of the race (Winnepeg-Crookston )
is the hardest on men and equipment. The snow and the snow drifts are "hard as a rock" and at speeds up to 80 miles per hour,
it doesn`t take long to eliminate quite a few racers from the event. The speed and pounding from the drifts caused the motor mount
on Seydel`s snowmobile to break. Since the belt drive was out of alignment thereafter, Art had to replace 5 broken belts on the first leg
( he carried only 6).
Skis were replaced after each leg of the race. Following a day of running over open fields, blacktop roads and city streets,
Seydel explained that the trailing edge of the skis would be either worn through or worn off completely. He indicated that when the
snowmobilers ran on the streets in St. Paul, the shower of sparks coming off the skis were like someone had placed them on a huge grinding wheel.
The wind burned face Seydel received during the early part of the race when he pulled his face mask down. His glasses were steaming
up prior to this and he had to pull the mask down to see where he was going. The problem was remedied the second day of the race when
Art taped the mask to his face so the moisture of his breath couldn`t seep up into his glasses.
Art indicated that he was lucky to be in the first flight of each leg of the race. He explained that the first flight has an advantage over
succeeding flights because the trail is not worn or rutted. Although he was not in first place, Art knew where the leader was throughout
the race because the airplane patrolling the race would circle the leader and pass back and forth over the course.
Art drove a Viking machine with a 399 cc. Free Air Kohler engine in the race. His pit crew consisted of Marv Kozel and Guy Useldinger.
Arts racing time for the 587 mile course was 13 hours, 7 minutes and 24 seconds.
Winner of the race was LeRoy Lindblad, (Roseau) with a record time of 11 hours, 5 minutes and 4 seconds. Second place went to
Larry Rugland (Roseau) with a time of 11 hours, 28 minutes and 28 seconds, and third place was won by Dale Cormican, ( Crookston )
a former winner, with a time of 11 hours, 47 minutes and 3 seconds.
Only 69 drivers of 300 completed the race