Here we are folks, the final days before the lunacy on the lake, the championship of cheapskates, the battle of the beaters, THE DOMINATORS OF DITCH PICKLES....CHEAP SLED CHALLENGE 2017!! The arms drop this Saturday on a frozen lake in Mexico and only one will reign supreme.

Hey, she’s a nice lady!

The contestants have been working tirelessly for the last couple months buttoning up the loose tie-rod ends and slapping lipstick on their pigs in hopes of achieving CSC glory for another year. There are 16 vintage sleds competing this time around which doubles the previous years entry list. The list includes a couple Johnsons, a handful of Arctic Cats and a mess of Yamahas with a lone Ski-doo as the cherry on top.

Here’s a run-down of the vintage sleds:

  • 1972 Johnson Trailblazer - 437cc Opposed 2-cyl, reverse and electric start
  • 1973 Johnson Reveler Turbo - Mitsu 16g & Custom Exhaust& BOV
  • 1979 Ski-Doo 440 - “Beautifully Majestic” Yellow and Rebuilt
  • 1979 Arctic Cat Lynx 2000 - 275cc Suzuki
  • 1979 Arctic Cat Panther 5000 - P-40 Warhawk Livery aka The Shark
  • 1979 Arctic Cat Panther 5000 - “Electrified Powertrain” w/ Dora Seat
  • 1978 Arctic Cat Panther 5000 - “Digi-Camo 2k18 Panther”
  • 1979 Arctic Cat El Tigre 5000 F/A - 500cc F/A, The Green Machine
  • 1972 Arctic Cat Panter 440 - The “Catillac”
  • 1980 Yamaha Exciter 440 - The Mystery Machine
  • 1979 Yamaha Exciter 440 - ‘78 440 SRX Hood
  • 1983 Yamaha SRV - Born in a van
  • 1985 Yamaha SRV - “Louder than your Mom”
  • 1981 Yamaha Enticer 300 - #stock
  • 1981 Yamaha Enticer 340 - The Postal Service
  • 1981 Yamaha Enticer 340 - “Test Mule”

Competing for posterity (sleds outside the year restriction of 1985):

  • 1991 Polaris Indy 488 - Army Green
  • 1996 Polaris XLT 600 - Sunoco Edition
The trio of Panthers


Returning sleds from last year’s race will be the Shark Panther, that has graced the highlight reel in my previous posts, the Turbo Johnson Opposed 250, and the yellow Ski-Doo 440 that locked the motor up on the second drag race last year. The Johnson now includes an electric fuel pump in hopes of pointing the boost gauge needle above atmospheric and the Ski-doo comes with a fresh rebuild and dreams of 1st place finishes.

That’s one way to blow your johnson. eh eh?


While plasti-dip may be the choice of “customization” for the neighborhood poser, the CSC guys look to paint work and wraps for their rides. We’ll be seeing digi-camo, green chrome, pink carbon fiber and even test mule camo gracing the ice. Speaking of customization there’s rumors of neons, LED light bars, custom loud pipes, stickers and even electrification in the line up this year. There’s no rules for what someone can do to their sled to make it stand out so the gloves are off when it comes to polishing a turd. Some of these relics are in relatively decent shape and require little more than a powerwash and buff; while others need to cover the years of neglect and abuse with obnoxious slogans promising to bang your mom later. Necessity is the mother of invention and with a $300 budget these guys are getting creative.



Looking at the line-up from a macro view one would think that the two 540cc SRV’s will dominate the challenge followed by the 440's, 340's and so on, but we’re talking about a group of friends who work in auto industry and know the value of a good sleeper. There’s a Yami 300 Twin that comes with the hashtag, #stock, which appears to be stock on the outside, but has posted a 65mph top speed on the group’s FB page. The “electrified powertrain” Panther retains its 500cc motor so it’s very capable of big numbers, the 500 F/A El Tigre is a factory race sled and yours truly put together a mystery machine with all stock components that may hurt some feelings.





It’s anyone’s game and everyone is excited to check out the competition when we get to the cabins this weekend. Competitions will be similar to last year with an elimination style drag race, longest catwalk, circuit race, top speed, best paint, best exhaust, biggest POS, most reliable, most air, and best stopping. Should be a riot. Go Pro’s and cameras will be rolling to catch all the action and a compilation video will be released after the competition.

Stay tuned.

The Born in the Van SRV


Previous posts for history can be viewed here and here.