There's a small cadre of snowmobile enthusiasts in the northern U.S. and southern Canada who prefer not to wait for snow. They've outfitted snowmobiles into machines that compete in the Outlaw Sled Drag Racing Association, which had about 15 sleds at the IHRA Mopar Canadian Nationals at the Grand Bend Motorplex in Toronto.
The snowmobiles on steroids are driven by a rubber belt, but where you'd have skis up front, there are four small wheels, two each side. The engines are substantially modified and usually turbocharged. The speeds are remarkable – the fastest speed was 152.85 mph by Dave Marshall of Preswood, Ontario – and that's in a one-eighth mile.
Among the Americans racing was Chris Hemirich of Troy, Michigan, on a 1200cc, 2015 Ski Doo. How much horsepower?
"Around 650," he said. Hemirich said he figured the entry list at Grand Bend was about three-quarters of the outlaw sleds in the area.
"It's a fun ride," he said. "There's a million variables."
Hemirich made it to the finals, where he was taken out on a holeshot by Glenn Hall of Gordon, Wisconsin, on his 2016 Arctic Cat – Hemirich ran 4.875 seconds at 136.96 mph to Hall's 4.713 at 147.95 mph. Hall's ET was the quickest of the event.