This week we lost a friend of the magazine, Mark Mueller, a Wisconsin snowmobiler and hardcore racer. His death was sudden and happened at work, not at speed or the result of it.
Mark was like many hardcore, longtime snowmobilers, especially those who loved to compete. He spent much of each winter at various ice and snow drags, often sponsored by local clubs or communities. He lived in southeastern Wisconsin and didn’t let many weekends pass without loading up his trailers and boogieing an hour or two up the road to run his sleds.
He had quite a collection of older machines, some vintage. But his passion was fixing them up, good as new and doctoring them up to run fast and hard. His ability to tune and clutch and jet them perfectly was an art that he loved. No detail was too small.
Mark took a lot of pride coaxing more power from his older, smaller displacement sleds and beating guys on their big, fancy, new sleds. He’d smile and say, “It doesn’t have to be new to be fast.”
By his family’s estimation he has more than 500 trophies to prove that he was right.
We saw Mark at the Milwaukee Snowmobile Show every fall, loading up on Klotz fuel, and again every winter at races like the Suburban Sno-Hawks’ annual snowmobile race in New Berlin, Wis.
I bumped into him frequently around the neighborhood too, his family lives just down the street. He was always talking snowmobiles, even worked at a Yamaha dealership for about 10 years. Every summer, as we were mowing our yards, he’d complain about having to wait so long for the snow to fly. Oh, and don’t ask about his lawnmowers, they were always souped up. When he’d crank one up you’d better close your home’s windows. Whenever I see that State Farm commercial with Mayhem blowing rocks through a house’s windows, I think they must have seen Mark on a riding mower.
So this is our farewell to a devout snowmobiler, a guy who worshiped at the altar of snow, who loved motorsports machines and keeping them running like they were new, a guy not all that different from many of us, and our buddies.
Wherever the trail now leads Mark, we wish him plenty of snow.
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