1974 440’s

So what’s a Yamaha doing on Starfirekids.com?

Simple. These little monsters dominated the 440 class in the original, 1974 Sno-Pro series.

Larry Rugland described them as “3/4 scale sleds that were so light you could pick them up by the handlebars and carry them around”. Looking at this picture, it is easy to see that the sled is indeed really, really small.

Polaris dominated the series, with Hayes, Eastman and Omdahl ruling the 340 class. Donny and Bernat broke through for a few wins in 440, and all the Polaris drivers dominated the 650 class.

But if you read the press from back in the day, that all gets lost. What they kept writing about and taking pictures of was the Yamaha’s and of course, the Alouette Twin Tracker.

It was Polaris’s fault to an extent. The press pumped the series as being the most exotic of the most exotic. To most race fans, the 1974 Polaris Sno-Pro sleds looked like slightly improved 1973 Starfires. Polaris had elected to make a lot of subtle improvements to what they had the year before.. but under the paint there was some really big changes. Lighter materials, a refined clutch, better motors and pipes, and of course, the best of the best drivers and mechanics.

When the sleds first hit the track at Ironwood, Michigan in December of 1973, the Alouette stole the show with the fans and the press – and the little Yamaha’s were not too far behind in the Public Relations arena.

And let’s face it – the Yamaha’s were just blazingly fast in 440 and they beat Polaris fair and square. One cannot wonder what might have happened if Yamaha would have had a 340 and a 650.


The passion, triumph, dominance and tragedy of one of the most successful
efforts in motorsports: The Polaris Professional Race Team


Starfire Kids Books