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Polaris Sportsman thrives in hellish conditions

Thursday 8 July 2004

Polaris Sportsman thrives in hellish conditions

When the going gets tough, they don’t come more rugged than logging crews in the New Zealand forest.

Phil Hansen and his men rely on a Polaris Sportsman for what must be some of the heaviest work demanded of this impressive ATV anywhere in the world.

Deep in the forests around and south of Auckland, the powerful 4WD machine has “all hell” thrown at it by Hansen Logging.

Whether it’s transporting men and equipment over rough tracks hacked out of the bush, carrying chainsaws and precision tools to the workface, or actually pulling the logs out of perilous situations, the Hansen crew turn to their Polaris.

For almost four years now their 500 Sportsman has worked in all weathers on terrain barely imagined by even the seasoned US designers of 50-year manufacturer Polaris.

And the Sportsman is still going strong.

“The bike is magic,” says Phil Hansen. “It does an incredible job.”

“It’s all about efficiency,” he explains. “On some jobs in the forest we use it every single day for two or three weeks, carrying things around and transporting the men.

“It tows a trailer the whole time.

“It saves a helluva lot of effort, we just couldn’t do the job the same without it.”

An ATV as a forestry contracting machine, in an industry studded with heavy bulldozing and log-hauling equipment, seems a little lightweight.

But Phil Hansen, with an interest in ATVs himself, saw the opportunity to make life easier in a tough environment.

It all started about four years ago when the Sportsman was demonstrated to him by Rick Beaumont at the western Auckland Polaris dealership, a supplier to Hansens for 30 years and Polaris dealer since the late 1980s.

“Phil’s dad was a customer of my dad, and now the next generation has taken over in both businesses,” explains Rick Beaumont of Kumeu Chainsaw and Mower.

“Today we still look after a whole lot of their equipment.”

Phil Hansen says he saw straight away the job the Sportsman could do in the forest.

“Some people say to me, you’re a lazy bugger with that thing.

“I just say, you walk, I’ll ride,” he adds. “I can get a whole lot more done, quicker and easier.

“We have guys who finish at the back end of a job, down the bottom of a hill … it can be half an hour’s walk out. But it’s just five minutes’ ride on the bike.

“That’s half an hour’s earlier knock-off, or time we can spend somewhere else.

“I wouldn’t go past the Polaris. When you need it, you really need it … it’s just great.”

Of course Hansen Logging has heavy machinery for hauling the logs themselves, the Polaris is just for transport. Well, not quite.

“We also do tree felling work and we had one situation where macrocarpa had to come out of this big depression area, a big hole. It was really quite steep.

“We couldn’t get the big machines in there, so we just hitched the logs to the Polaris and hauled them out.

“We pulled about 15 tonnes of macrocarpa out of that hole,” says Phil.

“Plus carrying the gear. And people. And towing a trailer. The bike’s got the power and the grip to do it.

“It’s called being flexible. That’s what the Polaris means to us.”

And at weekends what does a logging contractor turn to for recreation?

Surprise, Polaris ATVs. Phil owns a Predator and a Scrambler, the much-admired Polaris sports machines.

“We’ve got 17 acres where we live; my 12-year-old son and I spend the weekend chasing each other around.”

Come Monday, Phil Hansen is back to work and back to the Polaris Sportsman.

When the time comes to replace the trusty 500, Phil will have choices all the way up to the latest Polaris Sportsman 700 EFI, the parallel twin 700 which has set a new standard in ATVs with electronic fuel injection for faultless starting and running plus instant throttle response.

Polaris models have won the ATV of the Year award the past three years in a row. And the latest Polaris MSX model has been named Watercraft of the Year.

Polaris has dealers the length of New Zealand, part of a worldwide network covering 126 countries with more than 50 distributors and five subsidiaries. Polaris Sales Australia & New Zealand is a fully-owned subsidiary of Polaris Industries, which totally designs, engineers, manufactures and markets its own machines including the Polaris Ranger for utility and recreational use.

Polaris is the world’s second largest manufacturer of ATVs, the largest snowmobile manufacturer and one of the largest US manufacturers of personal watercraft and other powersports products. Polaris Industries is a $US1.6 billion turnover company listed on the New York Stock Exchange and noted as a Fortune 500 Company.

New Zealanders can access information about the complete line of Polaris products from authorised Polaris dealers or on the net at:


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