Starting off when I was 10 years old, my Dad taught me how to change engine speed on my 1972 Olympic 399, using washers and quarters in a "power bloc" clutch. From that point on, I became more occupied with learning clutch tuning.
After spending much time on my own researching how to tune, my big break happened in 96 when invited to tune for an Arctic Cat factory racer. I got to spend time at their factory, field-testing, learning and breaking parts and travelling all over the North American snowscape tuning clutches. The next progression around 2002 when snow cross started to approach its peak, some of my new Cat friends jumped ship. I was invited to clutch tune for a Skidoo X-Team racer on the unreleased first REV race sleds - this was a dream come true. I can't explain the feeling of excitement to drive one of these sleds nobody's seen before.
Outside winter months during the year, I did clutch tuning for grass drags, wood chip cross and water cross. Anywhere a snowmobile could go, I got my hands dirty in the clutches.
On clutch kitting - The best way for me personally to make a clutch kit, is still doing old fashioned side by side testing. It is the only way I've ever known that has worked for me. Part of the help is having test riders, just as obsessed at riding and testing. They too are obsessed with this craft. When you are obsessed with what you do, you get better at it.
The key to making a great clutch kit is toiling away, making someone else's clutch kit. I rather the sled owner guide me on what to build for them to start out to run in their sled.
This entails me to be in a position where people want you to help guide them on what they need. I listen and understand what needs they're trying to achieve. Learning of how much of a problem or opportunity tuning presents is the beginning of the kit creation. This sometimes is difficult for me because some who know me say I have a short attention span. Haha
Umm...you think after 29 years, I woulda learned how not to blow up an engine. Really, I should just stick to clutching.
To me this isn't a job. iBackshift is a creative space for tuning that I can stay in, and get better at, while others are fighting it out on a spinning merry-go-round of retail death.