July 28, 2005
Filed under Features
Hygear Motorcycle Works gets Special Permit
An aftermarket performance company using a test track for snowmobile suspension development, and unknowingly operating outside the law, recently received a special use permit.
A half-acre test track at Hygear Motorcycle Works in Lansing, Mich., includes a wood-chipped route with three turns, several moguls and a few jumps. Russ Benson took over the shop in 2002, where the test track already existed.
When Benson bought Ithaca Motorcycle Works there was no mention that the two-year-old track was not permitted for use so he upgraded the facility to make it more practical for testing the suspension systems he builds for motorcycles and snowmobiles. The area was zoned as recreational, which is not an allowed use, according to Dick Platt, the town Zoning officer.
City officials then came to understand the work Benson performs is industrial research and development, and issued a one-year permit. Under the new permit, testing will be allowed from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday, excluding holidays.
Because the track is located centrally, the planning board recommended a one-year limit be put on the special use permit. The planning board will then revisit the permit to see if there is any harm done or problems with other local businesses.
C&A Pro Lawsuit Settled
Pride Solutions, LLC, the manufacturer and supplier of C&A Ultra Pro skis for snowmobiles, has officially licensed the rights to the C&A PRO trademark and the associated patents from C&A PRO LLC.
The disagreements over patent and trademark issues have kept many racers nervous about using C&A skis, according to Todd Myers of Myers Racing, a contractor with Pride Solutions. The recent settlement should lift concerns of getting caught in the middle of a legal battle, Myers said, now that it is clear who has ownership and rights to the C&A Pro name.
Under the settlement, Pride Solutions will be able to perform the business of manufacturing, sales and distribution of C&A Pro skis after licensing the trademark and patents. The patent holders of the C&A Pro skis will not be involved in the day to day operations.
The C&A product line will consist of all of the models of skis previously, plus the new “Outlaw ski” introduced last season. With legal issues behind them, Myers Racing and Pride Solutions can return its primary focus to racing and increasing its sales business.
“A big goal is to get more Western exposure,” Myers said. “We’re working with a distributor, who is building a [Western] dealer network. The mountain guys using C&A skis are happy with them, but not many people (in Western states) really know about them yet.”
Hetteen Honored for Lifetime of Success
Edgar Hetteen, founder of Polaris Industries and Arctic Cat, was honored for a lifetime of successful entrepreneurship at the 13th annual Joel Labovitz Entrepreneurial Success Awards luncheon on May 18 in Duluth, Minn.
Called “the grandfather of snowmobiling” by those introducing him at the awards luncheon, Hetteen accepted the honor and pointed to the work ethic of northern Minnesotans who he said were vital to the success of his companies.
In 1945, Hetteen founded Hetteen Hoist and Derrick, which was later renamed Polaris Industries. Though he left Polaris in 1960, he didn’t go too far. In 1961 he founded Arctic Cat.
Hetteen also founded ASV Inc., a rubber-tracked equipment manufacturer, in 1983. When combined today, Polaris Industries, Arctic Cat and ASV Inc. enjoy $2.6 billion in annual sales and employee 5,293 people.
Hetteen was inducted into the International Snowmobile Hall of Fame in 1990.