DATE OF INDUCTION: JANUARY 13, 2005
CAREER SPAN: 1965-2000
COMPETITION TYPE: Oval & Cross-Country
BRANDS RACED: Arctic Cat, John Deere, Ski-Doo & Polaris
AGE AT INDUCTION: 45
If it is possible to be born to snowmobiling, then Dave Wahl is someone whose life was destined to be one of triumph and success in the sport. The youngest member of a Greenbush, Minnesota, family involved in the sport from its earliest days, Wahl got his first taste of racing snowmobiles competing on the family’s 340cc Arctic Cat Panther in the early 1970’s. After a brief run at Cross-Country Racing on a John Deere 295 S, Dave found his true calling in oval racing campaigning his older brother Dennis’s 1973 EXT 340 as well as several Arctic Cat factory 250 and 440Z racers before branching off into his highly successful series of racing specials.
Establishing what would be long lasting ties to Arctic Cat, Dave began his sled building career in the factory race shop where he created an IFS special that scored a Super Mod 440 win in its debut outing at the Sno-Pro opener in 1978. Ready with another new sled for 1979-80, Dave qualified for the World’s Championship for the first time. Innovation was always part of the game for Wahl, his 1981 Special finished 2nd at the Derby in a season that ended with the young designer/driver in the top 20.
Taking the number 74 that would thereafter be associated with the Wahl family, Dave and brother Durmont established Wahl Brothers Racing in 1981, beginning a dynasty that would produce hundreds of custom fabricated race sleds and a record number of competition titles including three World Championships, several high-point titles and even a win at the Eagle River Derby in 1998 by his nephew Terry. As one of Oval Racing’s most successful drivers and sled builder, Dave Wahl retired from racing in 2000 but continues to contribute to the sport as part of Wahl Brothers Racing.