World's Endurance Record -- 05-06MAR, 1971
Jeff Brick and I set a snowmobile world endurance record on 05-06MAR71 at Donnybrooke International Speedway (now Brainerd International Raceway) located about 7 miles northwest of Brainerd, MN. The record was for 984 miles in 24 hours at an average speed around 41mph! That 984 miles was with 867 miles non-stop -- we refueled in-motion every hour and exchanged drivers in-motion every 3 hours. Jeff and I worked together at Rademacher Marine for a while (~'69-'71) – he went on to Stout State in Menominee, WI (for Fall 71?) and I got drafted in SEP72. The event's pictures were taken by a Mercury Marine (Kiekhaefer Mercury back then) photographer. The snowmobile that we used was a brand new Mercury Lightning (398 cc CCW engine) taken out of the crate about 1.5 weeks prior to the event with about 5-8 hours of break-in. It only stopped once during the event in the back straight (between turns 1 and 2) when drive belt blew -- it was quickly replaced and back running again in about 1-2 minutes (I replaced drive belts all the time as a mechanic there at Rademacher Marine....stern drives in the spring and summer, and snowmobiles in the fall and winter). Unknown to me at that time during the unplanned stop due to replace the blown drive belt, a few of the pit crew had already gone out to see what happened since not being back at the Start/Finish line within my usual lap time. When coming out of turn 10 entering the almost 1-mile straightaway and the beginning of the pit area, I threw what remained of the now replaced shredded drive belt towards the assembled group there….then they knew “why” I had taken a longer-than-usual lap time. We (Jeff and I) had a spare drive belt wrapped around the sled’s handlebars so that it was quickly accessible “just in case” that we would need it during the event….and it was needed. We were sponsored by Mercury, AC Spark Plugs, and Union 76.
My dad, Joseph C. Lambert, was the Mercury Marine Zone Sales Manager for northern Minnesota and northwest Wisconsin. We moved to the Brainerd area (northern MN) in JUN68 from living on southest shore of Lake Winnebago outside of Fond du Lac, WI so dad could be more centered within his territory. Fond du Lac was, and still is, the home of Mercury Marine. Dad retired from Mercury in 1982 in Nacodoches, TX. Nacogdoches was the location he chose for his "most of Louisiana and east half of Texas" territory that he took over in 1980 as a Zone Sales Manager for Mercury.
My goal was to join Mercury someday too. The plan was to finish-out the school year at the Brained State Junior College, and transfer to Stout State in Menominee Falls, WI for Fall of '73 to major in Industrial Education. Upon graduation, then "go with" Mercury. There are times in one's life where your trek in life's journey deviates from the plan -- my draft notice was received on Sep 2, 1971 a few days after starting the Fall semester -- I withdrew from college and enlisted in the USAF a few days after that (and discussed further in my Professional page). I was certified as a Factory Trained Mechinic for Mercury's sterndrives - MerCruiser - in April, 1971 (I was all of 18 then!) and pretty good at it too getting things fixed right the first time resulting in very few "returns" over the course of my wrench-turning. I had already attended an outboard and the first sterndrive training classes when 16 and 17 respectively.
Me on the left with my dad on the right (looking towards the snowmobile). The event was about to start.
Me on the left...with Jeff (Brick) on my right. We were talking with the United States Snowmobile Association (USSA) official just prior to the event starting. There were 2 USSA officials there to certify the event; the other USSA official is on the extreme right.
Last minute trial of exchanging drivers at Donnybrooke (which is now Brainerd International Raceway).
Last minute trial of refueling at Donnybrooke.
My dad, Joe Lambert, on the left. My back to the camera. Jeff (Brick) talking with me on the right (you can see his goggles on his helmet).
Refueling sled set-up. 5 gallons of pre-mixed fuel delivered in about 7 seconds. The nozzle is the type used (then?) delivering fuel oil for heating. We came up with the idea, then tested it with water until getting the pressure right.
My dad, Joe Lambert, taking a break near the end (on Saturday, 06MAR71)
Me, whizzing around at Donnybrooke.
Me again, seeing the chalkboard with the progress each lap.... They kept the chalboard up-to-date with events, things to know, when to refuel, when to change drivers, etc.
Me, all of 18 and some.
After it was over. Jeff (Brick) on the left and me in the middle.
Mercury Messenger, April 1971
Mercury Messenger article from April, 1971. This was the Mercury employee's newsletter sent out each month (my dad, Joe Lambert, was a Zone Sales Manager for Mercury for many years (until he retired in 1982)). The article encapsulates the 24-hour event.
The Brainerd Daily Dispatch for Saturday, March 6, 1971
Several photos and their captions highlighting the Endurance Record having taken place for the past 24-hours. The top right picture shows my dad, Joe Lambert, updatng the chalk board for the laps and thier times. The bottom picture is with me during one of the laps.
Poster (from Mercury)
Large poster (about 36" x 48") from Mercury in 1971. Even though not seen or named in the text or any of the pictures, this poster is prominent in my office today.
~'53 St. George, IL. Farm about 2 miles ESE from St. George and about a quarter mile directly east of my Grandfather and Grandmother’s farm (where my dad grew up), only here for 6-8 months as a baby. Coordinates: 41.178421, -87.747963.
‘53 - NOV62 St. George, IL. Farm about 1 mile southwest of St. George, on west side of Exline Creek (now Exline Slough) and on south side of (what is now) E 4000 N Road. Our farm was about 1 mile directly west of my Grandfather and Grandmother’s farm (again, where my dad grew up). Coordinates: 41.176757, -87.786699.
NOV62 - DEC64 Sullivan, IL
DEC64 - JUN68 Fond du Lac, WI. Our house was just north of Taycheedah about a half mile up Sandy Beach Road and right on southeast shore of Lake Winnebago.
JUN68 - MAY70 Brainerd, MN
MAY70 - AUG70 Pelican Rapids, MN. Rented a room in a large house across from the Hospital. Marine Mechanic at Froelich Marine on northwest shore of Pelican Lake for the summer.
AUG70 - SEP72 Brainerd, MN. Started college while still working at Rademacher Marine.
SEP72 - DEC72 Fort Atkinson, WI. At parent’s house while waiting to go into USAF, Marine Mechanic at Tofte Marine in Madison. Parents had recently moved to Fort Atkinson from MN in JUN72. (Fort Atkinson is about 30 miles southeast of Madison, WI).
DEC72 - FEB73 Lackland AFB (San Antonio, TX). USAF basic training.
FEB72 - NOV73 Keesler AFB (Biloxi, MS). USAF Electronic Countermeasures (ECM, aka Electronic Warfare) Technician school.
DEC73 - APR75 K.I. Sawyer AFB (Marquette, MI). 410th Bomb Wing. USAF ECM Technician. Lived on-base from DEC73 to ~OCT74, then off-base from ~OCT74 to APR75 at “the Crossroads” in a mobile home at the northwest corner of Michigan Hwy 553 and County Hwy 480).
MAY75 - MAY76 Osan AB, Korea. 51st AMS (Avionics Maintenance Squadron). USAF ECM Technician. (Osan is about 60 km south of Seoul).
MAY76 - AUG76 Fort Atkinson, WI. Parent’s house after the USAF and before heading to Milwaukee restarting college.
AUG76 - NOV78 Milwaukee, WI. Had a great apartment on the 7th floor of a 7-story apartment building on Prospect Avenue directly across from the Jewish Community Center -- had pretty good view to the north and some to the northeast looking out to Lake Michigan.
NOV78 - AUG81 Northwest suburbs of Chicago (apartments in Arlington Heights, Cary, Fox River Grove)
AUG81 - AUG83 Nacogdoches, TX (in east Texas, north of Houston and south of Texarkana). Was back in college, actually graduating this time.
AUG83 - APR90 Dallas area - Dallas, AUG83-APR84; Garland, APR84-OCT86; and Rowlett, OCT86-APR90.
APR90 - SEP96 Alice Springs, Northern Territory (NT), Australia. Denice and I had only been married for just over two (2) years when arriving.
OCT 97 - APR98 Denver and northern VA. I was in Denver area from SEP96 to OCT97 (with Denice and the three (3) boys: Nathaniel, Alexander, and Kristofer), and then in northern VA area from OCT 97 to APR98 (by myself while looking for house and traveling; Denice and the boys still in Denver waiting to move). Denice and the boys in Denver area from SEP96 to APR98. I was back in Australia twice during this time.
APR98 - DEC04 Alice Springs, Northern Territory, Australia. Second time.
DEC04 - JAN08 Brighton, CO. Denice and the kids (Nathaniel, Alexander, Kristofer, and Zoe) at Brighton from JUL04 (I returned back to Australia in AUG04 until getting back in DEC04).
JAN08 - APR18 Haymarket, VA (We were in northern Virginia for a lot longer than planned....never believed or thought being there so long.....we thought we would be out of there after 3-4 years. Denice was there until house sold in APR18 even though I started working in Colorado Springs in DEC17 – I was TDY to the Springs in DEC17 and JAN18 and started renting a townhouse in FEB18 on a month-to-month basis.)
FEB18 - SEP18 Colorado Springs, CO. Furnished rental townhouse and then a small house while waiting to close on the house in Pueblo West.
SEP18 - Present Pueblo West, CO