Deckers Race Sled: 1975 Ski-Doo Snowmobile

While it’s not uncommon to see vintage sports cars with true racing pedigrees, I can honestly say this is the first time I’m writing up a snowmobile that falls in that category. This 1975 Ski-Doo once belonged to Richard Decker, one of the more predominant members of the competitive snowmobiling community, with Decker actually owning a race track in Eagle River, Wisconsin, that was a destination in its heyday for fans of snowmobile racing. This piece of history is listed here on eBay with bidding over $5,000 and no reserve.

Spend a little time searching Richard Decker’s name through Google and you’ll come across a news story from 2018 detailing how he sold his world championship snowmobile derby track in Eagle River, Wisconsin. The man is clearly a pillar of the sport, with the article noting that Decker spent three decades bringing snowmobile racing to Wisconsin. The stickers still adorning the Ski-Doo indicate that, much like how fans flock to Sebring or Daytona for iconic races, the competitive snowmobiling world is no different. Of course, what’s harder to determine is whether snowmobiles – like vintage race cars – can be assigned a certain value based on who drove it at one time.

The description reads as if the Ski-Doo was retired at one time and then re-entered snowmobile racing sometime in 2015. Mechanically, the seller has installed new rubber tracks with picks and a slide lubrication system. It will come with North Star racing skis, and the seller notes that it runs great at the moment. Obviously, the decor is one of its strongest selling points, with racing livery that reminds me of the old Lotus cars wearing the John Player Special colors. The seller notes there is a slight stress crack in the hood, and that the seat remains in good shape.

If you have a chance, check out the website for the World Snowmobile Headquarters in Eagle River, WI. The seller mentions you can call them up and ask about the snowmobile, as they apparently know it well. The world of competitive snowmobiling is bigger than I thought, and the museum houses memorabilia and racing history that fans of anything that goes fast (or faster than it should!) will likely appreciate. While I don’t have a snowmobile taking up space in my garage, I can see how someone who does might want to get their hands on this piece of racing history. Would you race this successful Ski -Doo or put it on display?

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Comments

  1. Michael J. Hall

    Nice 340 Merc Sno-Twister in the background!

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  2. Steve R

    Race it, but keep the current paint job. Just because it won a championship in a niche sport doesn’t mean it should be in a museum. Unless you are suggesting every vehicle that ever won a championship, even in the most obscure class for the most obscure racing organization belongs in a museum too.

    Steve R

    1
  3. Howard A Member

    Ok, 1st, the author makes it seem like snowmobile racing is gone in Eagle River, or so it sounded. Nothing is further than the truth and it’s alive and well. Typically, the 3rd weekend in January, it still attracts fans and racers from all over. A group called Snowmobiles USA ( duh) , former Skidoo execs bought it, and plan to keep it going. As for this sled, T’NT’s were hot sleds. They had “Blizzards” that looked like this, were fast sleds too, but not very rider friendly. This sled might be ok for roundy rounds, but that’s it. It has no suspension to speak of, and free airs don’t do well on the trail unless it’s 10 below. I suppose you can go round and round with this, but I doubt it’s competitive anymore. Neat find, but I certainly wouldn’t pay $5g’s for it.

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  4. On and On On and On Member

    And that’s a free air engine, rare in Ski-Doos. Fast, powerful and light. They love cold air. When it gets over 40 degrees, not so much. This machine was made for speed.

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    • Howard A Member

      I pulled up this short video of a couple years ago, and maybe it’s the class running, but it looks like several older sleds and this sled might do well, if you got the grapes, that is. Got to be a rush. In the opening shot, you can see a vintage Mercury, and a John Deere next to it, I’d say they hit maybe 80 on the straights? I’m positive , on a lake, this would go well over 100. And I’ve gone 90 on a sled. Things going by pretty fast,,:0
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S7mkvIckCrk

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      • On and On On and On Member

        Never been to the race in Eagle River, but I’ve gone to them in Hayward at ‘Winterfest” drag races,fun stuff. My favorite is the 250cc class, you can’t imagine the sounds.

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  5. TheCrustyAutoworker

    Vintage weekend at Eagle River just passed Jan 10-12th with the up coming weekend being the World Championship races for late model sleds.
    Oval racing is still very much alive and well, though manufacturers tend to mostly support Snow cross because the sleds are more in common with production offerings.

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  6. Tony Morrison

    I believe his daughter, Natalie races in Nascar.

    • Tom Anderson

      Granddaughter

  7. George Mattar

    Oh boy. A 245 c c Ski Doo RV. This sled when new tore up USSA Stock A class. Saw them race many times. Couple of comments from a life long snowmobile junkie. Big time factory racing died years ago, but yes there is plenty of oval racing going on. Boonville, NY will host its huge event Jan 31 to Feb 2. Plan on going. The action is great. Years ago, professional drivers got paid a salary plus winnings for teams from Ski Too, Arctic Cat, Polaris, Alouette and numerous other defunct brands. Polaris pulled the plug in 1978, when it’s superstar driver Jerry Bunke was killed while racing on a Polaris RXL, probably one of the most sought after raving machines today. I recently sold my purrfect 1972 Arctic Cat EXT 440 triple MOD sled. Brought $9,200 on ebay. Yes you must keep free air sleds moving. They heat up very fast. This sled is worth what someone is willing to pay. The Decker name is huge with Ski Doo faithful. Hats off to Barn Finds for featuring vintage snowmobiles. They are stashed away in barns everywhere.

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  8. Jim Benjaminson

    Just this very afternoon I went thru the Polaris Museum in Roseau, Minnesota – home of the first snowmobile built in the early 1950’s – lots of early models and racing memorabilia including the famous ring that Polaris Thrill Drivers ran their machines through – upside down with only momentum holding them in place. Its a spot you don’t want to miss and its all free as well

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