Veteran Snowmobile Meet Up - Norrbo, Sweden February 21 2016
Whilst we were in Sweden last week we found ourselves in the small village of Norrbo, deep in the provincial forests of Hälsingland at a veteran snowmobile meet up. This annual event is put on by two local enthusiasts, Bonnbagers Festival is a one day event to celebrate veteran snowmobiles.
The organisers have spent most of the winter prepping, building and driving the race course themselves. The race on the day is open for anyone to enter, as long as the snowmobile you're racing is 20 years or older. The heats were raced two on two on an elimination basis, with the winner in each race going on to the next heat and so on. It was great fun to watch the races, with the jumps, minor crashes and plenty of comedy breakdowns with bonnets flying off, seats sliding off on the corners half way through the race, engine failures and some even had to be towed off. All to be expected when you're racing a snowmobile from the 70's I suppose and this certainly adds to the entertainment.
Just like with cycling, there are extremes to all ends of the spectrum. You have the speed hungry elite, who spend a small fortune on the newest, fastest, most powerful machines. Then you have the tourers, who have the big and powerful machines, built for long distance and comfort. Then you have the veteran lovers, who spend hours and hours tinkering with their vintage machines to get them working. They say it's more fun with a veteran machine because you feel everything when you drive it and you get a great sense of achievement knowing you made it work yourself. But they all have one thing in common, their love for snow, winter and the great outdoors and all things snowmobile of course. Whilst walking around the event we saw everything from shiny new machines with 150+ horse power worth around £15,000 (!) to home built diesel machines, that sounded more like an old boat than a snowmobile!
In many parts of northern Sweden people rely on the snowmobiles as their main transportation during the winter months. As many local and smaller roads aren't maintained during the winter months and get snowed in, people need a snowmobile to get to their remote cabins and houses. The Sami's are in need of them on a daily basis for reindeer herding and daily jobs.
This was my favourite of the day, a late 1960's Sno Tric.