In the last few months we found out a bit more information regarding the Manta Twin Trac racer at our shop...
In the winter of 1974-1975, Speedway bike racers Rick Woods and Sumner McKnight raced two identical Mercury-powered Manta snowmobiles, modded up to compete in the USSA 440X category. McKnight's ride, s/n #2055, was later purchased our own Rick Dresang in 1980, and again in 2018.
Woods passed away in 2012. He was the 1970 and 1972 National Champion for Speedway competition, and was known largely as the first star of the sport. His younger brother Gene, also a Speedway rider, went on to race in Winston West and is still involved in the roots of the sport today.
McKnight was the first American to race Speedway bikes abroad against the British, before returning home and eventually finding his footing on four wheels, competing in Nascar Winston West from 1976-1989, and also managing six Nascar Winston Cup starts during that time frame, all at Riverside International Raceway.
[February, 1975 SnoTrack Magazine Photo]
On Feb 22, 1998, the world lost Jim Herzig in a racing accident at the Grand Prix du Valcourt.
I only recall meeting him once, but he was kind, humble, and based on the tales of people I know- usually setting the pace wherever he was competing.
Somehow 25 years have passed since that date. I recall my Dad telling me after my final middle school basketball game that his friend had passed away, and in our recent escapades restoring a snowmobile together, this time in my life has been on my mind a lot.
Now that our 1976 Yamaha 340 SRX chassis #512 is restored and flying, the build on chassis #362 can begin.
This frame was an eBay find in 2007 in Minnesota, and is absolutely pristine. Its great condition will shorten the restoration time significantly compared to #512, which we had to do some tunnel repair to.
Suffice to say, this sled is going to be a screamer, and it might have some speed mods when its all said and done.
Juergen Foerster came by to handpaint the remainder of the logos on 340 SRX #512 today. Yamaha of Port Washington, in respect to the dealership that Elmer Koch purchased the sled from new on December 27, 1975, and Chargers Snowmobile Club, the association Dad raced his 340 with from 1980-1984.
It runs, and it sounds like a pissed off, rabid monster that hasn't eaten since the holidays.
Hold on to your hot cocoa.