Frustration to Factory - Simison keynote speaker at Snowmobile Hall of Fame

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A 2019 reunion of the Team Frustration racing team organized by Todd Simison, far right, gained national attention over the last year leading to Simison and the team's story being the feature presentation at this year's Hall of Fame induction weekend. Submitted photo

World Champions Jim Dimmerman and Frans Rosenquist will join Todd Simison of Detroit Lakes in presenting the story of Team Frustration at the Snowmobile Hall of Fame (SHOF) and Museum in St. Germain, Wisconsin Friday, February 14.

After a day of snowmobiling on area trails and a Friday evening fish fry, Simson’s presentation at the Whitetail Inn kicks off the weekend’s festivities. The Frustration to Factory story is this year’s feature presentation.

Simison’s father Jerry ran Team Frustration, one of the most iconic and important privateer race teams of the Sno Pro era. Simison will present racers who were there and how Team Frustration battled the factory teams and paved the way for countless racers who propelled Team Frustration from small town favorites to factory heroes throughout the entire decade of the 1970’s.

“This past summer, Todd hosted a Team Frustration reunion and it caught our attention,” SHOF board member Pat Bourgeois said. “Once I learned of the incredible people and snowmobile racing champions who were part of the team, I wanted to have them be a part of our special weekend. Team Frustration really was the ultimate privateer team. Todd’s father (Jerry) didn’t just want to compete, he wanted to race against the best and win. The names of racers who were a part of the team over the years is a who’s who in snowmobile racing history.”

The 2019 reunion received national press from industry magazines Snow Goer, Snow Tech, Minnesota Snowmobiler, among others.


“After the reunion, the story blew up,” said Simison “It was so popular with people from 50 to 80-years-old because they all remember that.”

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Jim Dimmerman, a 1984 World Champion, will join Detroit Lakes' Todd Simison as keynote speakers at this year's Snowmobile Hall of Fame ceremony. Submitted photo

Team Frustration was one of five potential keynotes interviewed for Friday night’s main presentation.

“It was a big honor for the team even to be asked,” said Simison.

After a vote by the SHOF board, the team was selected to be part of the Hall of Fame.

That set Simison on a months-long quest to compile information and interview former team members that included everything from the rousing personal stories of Tude Westerberg the team's bus driver to Polaris and other factory heads.


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Team Frustration bus and truck driver Tude Westerberg sits on one of the ace sleds during the Team Frustration Reunion last summer in Detroit Lakes. Westerberg was one of many contributors to Todd Simison's Hall of Fame presentation. Submitted photo

“Back in those days, snowmobiling was like NASCAR,” said Simison. “One of the drivers told me, ‘it was such a great time of my life and broke down in tears.’”

One of this year’s inductees is a former Frustration team member Archie Simonson, who was victorious in the biggest cross-country races and circuits of the era. Simonson’s most notorious victory came in the 1977 Winnipeg-to-St. Paul I-500, when the 18-year-old rookie became the youngest-ever winner.

Simioson’s speech will concentrate on his father and the team’s passion to win and how Frustration was not brand-loyal but speed loyal.

“He just didn’t want to go to races in Minnesota,” said Simison. “Frustration was a stepping stone to the big leagues and the factories came calling on winning Frustration drivers.”

Frustration’s story began in 1971-72 when Jerry Simison and Steve Thorsen started racing in the hayfields of northern Minnesota and North Dakota. Jerry was a professional boat racer at heart but jumped to motocross and snowmobiles during the off-season. The team steadily grew over the next few years including adding its first female driver in Sharon Dahlen in 1975-76. In the ensuing years, Frustration peppered the factory teams with riders going pro including future hall of famers Steve Thorsen, Rosenquist and Dimmerman, along with big stage racers Todd Elmer, Tim Benedict, among others.

The team concluded competition in 1980 as Jerry’s business ventures took up too much time to spend on the road ending the run of what Greg Hedlund of Polaris called the largest independent and most successful racing team his company was ever a part of.


Archie Simonson

Last year’s reunion sparked a lot of great memories for those involved and stories that spread across the nation. Simison is taking those to the Hall of Fame.

“In speaking with all the drivers, Team Frustration was an experience that they will never forget,” he said.

Joining Archie Simonson in the 2020 class of inductees are Jacques Villeneuve, Marlyn Englert and PJ Wanderscheid, who will be recognized for their contributions to the sport during the two-day induction ceremony weekend.

Robert Williams has been a sports editor for Forum Communications in Perham and Detroit Lakes since 2011.
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