My good friend Troy who owns UTV-Off-Road Magazinetold me that Arctic Cat was having demo days for the WildCat 1000 at Speedworld Dec 3rd and 4th. I was at first a little bummed as I had a ride planned with a couple of my buddies on the 3rd. Oh well at least I would be riding for the day.
As it turned out it was perfect. I got to go on an awesome rock crawling ride on the 3rd when it was super cloudy and threatening rain most of the day. Then on Sunday the 4th I was able to go out to Speedworld for the Demo. What a perfect weekend.
The Arctic Cat people made arrangements to use the short stadium off-road course to demo their new side by sides. The course looked like it would be fun as it had 3 jumps on the track. One after the first turn on the outside, then a short section of whoops to get you back to a sharp turn in the middle where there was a good size jump to a table top. Then another sharp turn back on the front straight away for another jump.
This was a free ride so I was very surprised that there were not that many people that showed up (at least at this time). All you had to do was sign a waiver and let them hold your driverís license while you were driving. Thatís a no brainer.
Initially as you look at the WildCat it is a very impressive machine. It looks more like a sand rail than a traditional side by side. It is very sporty indeed with its class leading 17 inches of travel in the front and 18 inches in the rear along with a massive 64 inch Walker Evans race inspired shock and an all new 5-link rear suspension that minimizes the wheel travel angle. Wow, they put a lot of effort into this machine.
I couldnít wait to get inside. I put on my helmet, goggles and gloves and walked out to the first WildCat behind the pace car. At first I did not see the push button inside the front door to open it up. I was so excited to get in I just started crawling in through the opening that would be a window when the rep on the track stopped me and showed me how to open the door. I didnít really care how I got in just so I was in. The latch does work kind of nice as long as it stays shut as it is a suicide style, meaning it opens
from the front.
After some instructions from the staff I secured my seat belt and fired the beast up. Wow, it sounded cool. It was quite throaty like the old muscle cars. It reminded me of the first time I threw my leg over the ThunderCat
1000 at the first press intro. I was excited and ready to go.
I shifted into high and took off. The first lap the pace driver went somewhat slow so you could see the track. The rest of the laps were a bit faster. Not WOT but if you would hang back some you could punch it coming out of the corners and launch over 2 of the 3 jumps. The jump on the back side of
the track was not set up to be able to get much air.
The middle jump was by far the best. The Wildcat would get good air for such a short run at the jump. When it landed the suspension would just soak up the impact with the ground similar to a trophy truck.
I figured out if you took off from the left going right it would give you the most air and set you up for the front straight away.
The front jump was pretty fun as well. As soon as you landed you had to get hard on the brakes to slow down to go through the hay bales on the first turn.
The side by side was very controlled going through the whoops. I would take a different line each time and it would stay very straight as you powered through them. It would have been fun to go through a long section of whoops at higher speeds to see how well it would handle.
I lost track of how many rides I took. It was either 4 or 5. I would get out of the vehicle and grab my camera when I would hear them say, we have
another seat open. I would grab a helmet and take off running. Wow what a blast. I think I got in about 40 laps total.
The last time I got out I looked over to the sign up table to see Corry and Jason Weller standing there signing up. What a team they are. Cory drives the snot out of her SR1 Rhino that Jason builds for her. He builds them and she breaks them. Awesome!!!! Cory will win the Championship for the season in the 2011 Lucas Off-Road Racing series in her class if she just finishes the race next at Speedworld. She is that far ahead of everyone.
I went and talked to them before they got into the WildCat. Cory was first behind the pace car as they started out. As soon as the pace driver started into the corner Cory dove to the inside and nailed the throttle, passing the car. I guess she forgot this was not a race. The Arctic Cat team quickly corralled her and told her she needed to stay behind the pace car. Oh well it was very funny. I explained to them who she was. They said they were hoping to meet her so now they had a chance.
I think Cory and Jason had just as much fun as the rest of us trying out this outstanding new machine. I thought it was a bit underpowered for a 1000cc
machine but I am sure they had them somewhat de-tuned for the public just to be safe. The power steering was an absolute pleasure to drive. There
was no effort what so ever and it tracked true.
The Wildcat comes stock with Trailfinder tires that are 26x9R-14 front and 26x11R-14 rear. One of the members from a forum already placed an order for
tires and wheels.
Here is what he ordered which we canít wait to see.
ATVision 161 Bruiser 14x8 4-115 wheels]Discount Tire Direct
PitBull Growler Uber XOR 27.5x11R-14 tires]Discount Tire Direct
The PitBull Growler Uber XOR are a super tough 8 ply rated radial tire. It comes with an extra deep rim guard to help protect the rim.
This combination should improve the looks as well as the handling for this monster machine.
I canít wait to get out on some real trails with the WildCat to see how she really runs. For a new machine right out of the box I believe they put together a winner.
Good Luck Cory and Jason!!!
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