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1974 rocket car seeks land speed record on ice

1974 rocket car seeks land speed record on ice

November 10, 2019


By John Gunnell

Kurt Anderson, a 60-year-old Orono, Minn. man, hopes to set a new World’s Speed Record on ice with his 1974 Arctic Arrow rocket-powered racing car during the 2020 Manawa Snodeo in Manawa, Wis. on February 15-16, 2020. Anderson’s attempt to break the current record of 247.93 mph will take place Feb. 16, 2020.

That record was set way back on Feb. 15, 1981 by the late “Slam’n Sammy” Miller at Lake George in New York. Strangely enough, in its original format, the Arctic Arrow was built seven years before the Miller record was achieved.

Anderson—a semi-retired Internet Services provider–started racing in the NHRA Heritage Drag Racing Series. Ky Michaelson introduced him to rocket-powered race cars. Kurt and a small team of fabricators rebuilt and updated the Arctic Arrow for the single purpose of bettering the World Speed Record on Ice.

The shiny gold, 1,510-lb. rocket-powered snow machine can be set up to run on skis or on wheels. It has been raced previously in Sweden and tested in Minnesota.

The Arctic Arrow is 25-ft. long, six inches wide in front and 72 inches wide at the rear. It uses a 5000-lb. thrust HTP rocket motor. Fuel is a pressurized 90 percent Hydrogen Peroxide mixture called HTP (high test peroxide). A chemical  reaction converts the Hydrogen Peroxide into water and oxygen, creating steam and a memorable start.

Anderson and Byron Nelson rebuilt the car’s chassis and roll cage. The front suspension utilizes 1997 Yamaha V-Max snowmobile struts. The hardtail rear suspension is custom built. Stiletto rack-and-pinion steering has a 15:1 turn ratio. The front independent suspension uses 14-in. Drag Ski skis. Areoski MI500 skis are used in back. A pair of Simpson 12-in. Crossforn drag chutes and a pneumatic ice claw stop the car.

The Arctic Arrow’s safety features include a driver compartment built to SFI 2.3Q specifications, ISP roll cage padding, a 5-point impact harness, an EIS poured form seat, a HyBrid X head and neck restraint, a 3-point high-pressure safety relief system, primary and secondary fuel shut off systems and cockpit arming and disarming controls.

Crewing for the record attempt will be driver/owner Anderson, crew chief Ky Michaelson, assistant crew chief Curt Michaelson, fuel master Buddy Michaelson, chassis master Kevin O’Kelly, commander and chief Capt. Jack McClure, safety supervisor Ed Ballinger, logistics expert Steve Wagner and fuel/motor heating engineer Dan Swanson.

The World Record Speed Attempt will take place during the Snodeo (www.manawasnodeo.org) at Bear Lake Resort, in Manawa, Wis. For more information about the Arctic Arrow visit (https://www.facebook.com/ArcticArrow/).


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