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"Big" Bob Gaudreau's Budweiser speed sled

Classic speedster set tone for an era of speed runs
By Jerry Bassett
Published: Friday, November 24, 2006
The King! - Budweiser's Speed Sled was "Big Bob" Gaudreau's creation, powered by a modified Mercury Marine engine delivering 200 horsepower.
One of the pioneering "speed" sleds was an original creation by Connecticut's "Big Bob" Gaudreau, the Budweiser Speed Sled. Powered by a modified Mercury Marine V6 power head, the sled was designed for only one thing - straight ahead speed. When it was conceived in the early 1980s and run in 1982, it used state of the art sled technology. That explains the leaf spring skis on the original design. After preliminary runs, the leaf springs were abandoned and a modified trailing arm suspension was added, which settled the sled's handling. But it was the powertrain that set this snowmobile speed classic apart from the pack. Under the aero-shaped hood, sat a modified Merc engine with an innovative fuel injection system designed by Land & Sea of Salem, N.H. (Yes, the same folks who make the compact DynoMite portable dynoes!) According to engine tests at the time, the racing motor developed 200 horsepower. Maybe not a big deal by today's standards of 160-hp trail sleds, but a very big deal in the 1980s era of fan-cooled and free-air 2-cycle sled engines. To get this power to the track, Gaudreau devised a system that included a special toothed belt that drove from the engine's crankshaft directly to a titanium front shaft. The unique (at the time) drive belt was developed by Uni-Royal and Micro Belmont Engineering of Grand Rapids, Mich. The front drive shaft was also hand-built and other one-off pieces on the machine included exclusive lightweight traction products. Goodyear, which supplied tracks to the snowmobile industry in the early days, designed and supplied a special lightweight track to minimize "ballooning" during high-speed runs. In keeping with Gaudreau's finicky nature, the sled had a customized paint job of a quality and style that he used on his hemi-powered stock drag racing cars in the 1960s and 1970s. As a factory-supported racer, Big Bob Gaudreau's 1968 Chrysler Kandy Kuda set one of the fastest Pro Stock �-mile times and speeds (10.095 seconds at 135.5 mph) in 1969. Big Bob is familiar with speed, and the tricks to achieve speed are nothing new to him. Gaudreau used a stock snowmobile chassis, but designed a special cowling with side panels that skirted the skis and rose almost to the height of the handlebars. He even pre-dated NASCAR by using an air dam at the nose and a lip forward of the handlebar area to deflect and control wind for improved aerodynamics. To maximize the engine's power, the Budweiser sled's maximum weight with driver had to be less than 700 lbs. On Feb. 24, 1982, with racing hall of fame legend Tom Earhart at the throttle, the sled hit 148.6 mph on a �-mile carefully groomed ice track at Lake Mille Lacs in central Minnesota. Earlier in its first ever run at Rice Lake, Wis., the sled ran 136.9 mph over a �-mile distance. As it turns out Big Bob's Budweiser speedster was the forerunner of a breed of speed sleds, which continues today in the form of high-powered asphalt racers that hit 170+ mph!

 

 

 

Paul Groth's Budweiser Sno-King:

aka Boss Cat II.

 

Paul Groth's Budweiser Sno-King:

Former top fuel dragster

 

****The Bud Sno-King****

 

 

 

Paul Groth's Budweiser Sno-King:

Powered by four Yamaha 750cc two-stroke V-MAX 4 snowmobile engines. Total displacement: 3000cc. Sixteen feet long, five feet wide, 1500 pounds, custom-built chrome moly chassis, 650 horsepower, methanol-injected, racing Powerglide transmission.

 

****The Bud Sno-King****

 

 

 

 

Bud Light "Baby Sno King"

 

 

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