At the recent Toowoomba FarmFest event, Machines4u caught up with Anthony from Polaris Industries Australia and were lucky enough to be shown around the firm’s new farm toys. From humble beginnings as a mechanical shop, Polaris have gone on to become one of the world’s premier powersports manufacturers and, more recently, builders of commercial and military specialist equipment. Sixty years ago, they started with snowmobiles in Minnesota and are now making some of Australia’s most popular ATVs and UTVs.
Back in 1945, brothers Edgar and Allan Hetteen and their good mate David Johnson began an entrepreneurial endeavour into repairing farming machinery. At the height of World War II, their skill and ability to save old machinery from the scrapheap (in times when parts were scarce and money was tight) quickly gave them a reputation for excellence. Their keen ingenuity saw them build the first snowmobile in 1955, and to prove its worth, Edgar and three nutcase mates look off across Alaska on a 1,900-kilometre trek, in minus 40 degrees over 12 days. Carrying over 400kg of supplies and towing toboggans, the four friends proved just how durable, and indispensable their machine could be. Returning home successfully, and with all appendages intact, Polaris’s passion for adventure utility vehicles was solidified.
These humble, albeit adventurous origins saw the Polaris brand go on to be not only the creator of the popular snowmobile, but venture into other vehicles and solutions for commercial, military and private use. Their name is synonymous with rugged, durable and above all, exciting equipment. Under their impressive umbrella of leading brands are both Victory and Indian Motorcycles. That’s enough to get us pretty excited. But we were there to talk about farming, not hogs, and so, we took a look at the range. We weren’t disappointed.
Anthony was brimming with enthusiasm as he showed the Machines4u team around their latest product, the Polaris XP1000 Ranger, built to cope with our rugged agricultural landscapes.
“80 horsepower: This is the most powerful side-by-side now produced in Australia,” says Anthony.
Boasting a unique 3-position throttle, new to the 2017 model, this machine can see you belting around after cattle in aggressive mode, or backing gently up to a trailer in the shed with aplomb. This bad boy has 1, 2 and 4-wheel drive. If you can’t get the job done, whatever it may be, with those three options available to you, you’ve got no business riding one of these machines.
Despite the adventure factor, safety is at the heart of everything Polaris does. Their single-seater ACE 570 is a sit-in rather than sit-on version of the one-man vehicle. Equipped with roll bags, seatbelt and car-like driving setup, this little beastie is designed to make bush (or farm) bashing a thrilling, efficient and safe task. With ATVs being one of the leading causes of farming deaths in Australia, Polaris are showing farmers that you can still get things done, stay safe, and have a great time doing it.