How-To & Tech

Double the pleasure

Vintage racers double the fun with their radical rotary racer
By Olav Aaen
Published: January 1, 2005
Roger and his buddies wanted to begin vintage racing, but also wanted to create something radical and different that could make its own history rather than simply be a replica of a factory racing sled. Since Johnson had no snowmobile racing history with the rotary, except for the experimental machine that had never been raced, anything they did with the rotary engine would be unique and fully legal in the Open class.

Open class racing in the '70s had seen plenty of triples and even fours welded together from twin parts, so there could be no objection to combining a couple of rotary engines. A 45-hp rotary could be coaxed to deliver at least 50 hp with some porting. Throwing away the fan and shrouding to make it a free air machine also would likely free up more power. With a potential of more than 100 hp, the project sled looked like it could be competitive with the 440 and 650 engines of that period. However, theory is one thing, doing it is a different story.
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