Among the Iron Dog Ambassadors on a new Switchback Adventure is Mike Bedard, Polaris Snowmobile Engineering Manager, Trail Performance and Race. The other 2011 Iron Dog Ambassadors who will ride the 2,000-mile race course ahead of the pro-class racers to promote the race and spread goodwill across Alaska are: Skip Boomershine, a member of the Iron Dog Board of Directors and the Ambassadors’ team leader; Mark Ivy, the assistant leader (who will ride a 2010 Polaris Dragon Switchback, a sled that has already run the Iron Dog route in 2010); and Alaska National Guard Lt. Col. Joseph Lawendowski.
Polaris history includes several milestone snowmobile trips throughout Alaska, as well as 12 Iron Dog wins (in 26 years), the most of any brand.
“Alaska is the ideal place for us to demonstrate the terrain-dominating performance of the new 600 Switchback Adventure,” says Scott Swenson, Vice President/General Manager PG&A and Snowmobile Division. “We’re excited to be part of the inaugural Iron Dog Ambassador ride, and are eager for everyone along the race route to see this versatile new model.”
Mike Bedard Background
Mike Bedard, 42, is a long-time Polaris rider, a former snowmobile racer and a veteran of the U.S. Army and Army National Guard. He joined the Polaris snowmobile engineering team in 1991 as a development technician operating engine dynos. He has played a significant role in the development of numerous Polaris snowmobiles, including the snocross race sleds of recent years and the new Switchback Adventure.
“The Iron Dog race is the Super Bowl of snowmobile races,” Bedard said. “We view this race as the ultimate test of our machines and know that when we take a stock machine and conquer this race, we are delivering what Polaris was founded on: Durable, high-performance machines that will take you wherever you want to go.
“There is no greater opportunity in my 20-year career at Polaris than to be part of the Ambassador Team… The information we gain on this trip will be invaluable in future product design. The Polaris engineering team has built the ultimate machine for this event with the Adventure model.” For more information, see attached Press Release.
The 2011 Iron Dog Race
Ten of the 30 Pro teams in the 2011 Iron Dog are on Polaris snowmobiles, as are four Trail teams – including Team 51, the Iron Dog Ambassadors.
The racers will start in Big Lake and ride to Nome, then restart and ride to the finish line in downtown Fairbanks, arriving on Saturday, February 26. The race course covers approximately 2,000 miles.
Trail Class (amateur) teams will start racing at 9 a.m. (Alaska time) on Friday, February 18. Pro teams will begin racing at 11 a.m. (Alaska time) on Sunday, February 20
Among the Polaris Pro teams is Team 10, defending champs Chris Olds and Tyler Huntington, and Team 30 with Pam Harrington and Elaine Jackson, the first all-woman team in the Pro class. Both women are members of the Alaska National Guard, a major sponsor of the race.
How to Follow the Race & Ambassadors
Every race team, including the Ambassadors (Team 51), has GPS units on their sleds so they can be tracked and, if necessary, located by search teams. Each team’s location and progress is available on the race website: www.irondograce.org.
Photos and videos from along the race course are being uploaded to: RideAlaska.com. Click on Iron Dog buttons as directed, or go to the website’s “Media” pages.
The Polaris history of historic trips across Alaska as well as photos and reports from Mike Bedard will be posted on Polaris ESCAPE Online.