Hay Days to Jackson Hole Vintage Snowmobile Challenge

The challenge: Build a vintage mod race sled to take on the Jackson Hole World Championship hill climb – and be the first to the top. Ski-Doo snowmobile racing legends Carl Kuster and Steve Martin teamed up to take on the top dogs of the hill climb race circuit, Jay Mentaberry and Blaine Mathews in an epic dual of mechanical aptitude and riding ability on the world’s toughest hill climb racecourse.

The Swap at Hay Days

The Hay Days swap meet is legendary for both its sheer size and the seemingly unlimited supply of snowmobile necessities available for any make and model of sled you can imagine. With hundreds of wheelers and dealers lined up peddling their parts, it’s an oasis of possibilities for vintage sled builders – the perfect place for our teams to start their competition.

Team Mentaberry/Mathews wasted little time starting on reducing sled weight by picking up a few lightweight side panels and a little extra motivation in form of a Steve Martin lookalike to keep them laser focused on their ultimate goal.

The savvy vets of Team Kuster/Martin were a bit more discerning with their purchase power. With their advantage in experience, they had already started concocting their vintage Ski-Doo from spare parts accumulated over the years. Only a few minor essentials were acquired at Hay Days, but the inspiration gained from the world’s largest snowmobile event was priceless.

The Sled Builds

With the vintage rules requiring snowmobiles being aged at least 20 years to be competition eligible, both teams opted for the original 2003 REV platform as the base for their builds. The advantage clearly belonged to Team Kuster/Mentaberry. The pair were among the first to race the game-changing platform on the snocross tracks in the prime of their careers. They were well equipped with knowledge of where even the slightest advantages could be gained.

Steve Martin leaned on a bit of fatherly advice – he and his dad had already modified an original Ski-Doo REV snowmobile for the mountains two decades prior. Combined with the unmatched sled expertise of Carl Kuster, their 2003 REV race mod paired a mogul-crushing suspension with tricked out power that screamed podium finish.

The Jay Mentaberry-Blaine Mathews duo used the trial-and-error method. By the time they got to pits at Jackson Hole, they were on sled No. 4. But she was a thing of beauty – a true 2003 REV race mod that had been trail converted with twin pipes. Their additions included a tunnel extension and Ski-Doo factory racing rear skid. Their secret weapon: 2003 stock front end, even down to the 2003 skis.

The Race at Jackson Hole

Race day arrived with the best snow the course had seen in years, and two teams eager to prove their machines were king of the old iron. Through the qualifying runs it was clear the Mentaberry/Mathews dream machine was in top form as they set the pace early on.

As Martin made his initial ascent up the mountain, things looked promising with early speed on the lower part of the run. Then disaster struck as the rugged course claimed another mechanical soul when the rear suspension of the Kuster/Martin build gave in to the mountain. The pair wound up heading for the pits with a broken sled and broken hearts.

In the vintage class finals, it was all Blaine Mathews as he piloted their REV racer with precision through the gates to claim the win with a flawless run. Youth had prevailed and earned the praises from the competition to along with their first-place finish.

Those on hand to witness the accomplishment knew they had just seen the first chapter in a budding rivalry on Snow King Mountain.

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