Watching From the Stands

While much of the off-road hobby includes time on the trail, lake and snow—o  in the garage wrenching on something that broke last weekend—there is also a vast (and often overlooked) opportunity to appreciate off-road motorsports from a spectator’s perspective. As NASCAR fans pack the stands every week to watch their idols pound the pavement, there is plenty of opportunity for the mud-loving types to watch everything from rock crawling to speed boat racing from the grandstand rather than the driver’s seat.

Sure, you might say that watching isn’t nearly as fun as participating, but when was the last time you watched a monster trucks show and went home saying, “Well, that was pretty boring.” Never. The great thing about off road spectator sports is the ability to gain inspiration for your own riding while simultaneously having an opportunity to bring your significant other and kids along who may not always be so hip to venturing out on the trail with you.

As the new year approaches, plenty of families are planning vacations to fill the calendar, so why not take the time to pencil out a few weekends (or even a giant week of four wheel pilgrimage, if you desire) to get out from behind the handlebars and look on?

While a number of local off-road parks offer events for amateurs on ATV’s and dirt bikes to come out and show off their stuff year-round, there are also a wide array of opportunities to see professionals put their skills to work. Here’s where:

Sportsman’s Shows almost always feature some kind of small rock crawling course, at the least, which allows aspiring crawlers and children alike to be wowed at the ability of suspension paired with skill.

Circuit Races, like the LUCAS Oil Off-Road series, and SCORE sponsored races take place in locations throughout the country, where you can see top-notch trophy trucks, dirt bikes and rally cars rip on some local terrain. These weekend events are typically family friendly and tickets can be purchased online in advance of the event to give you an outdoor adventure to look forward to.

Major Race Events are the other option for some spectator fun. For the true off-road enthusiast looking for a themed vacation, a week to trek to King of the Hammers in Southern California, or the legendary Baja 1000 in Mexico allow you to combine some R&R with some onlooker adrenaline.

No matter what you like to ride or watch, there’s no harm in getting out from behind the wheel and watching a little mud-ripping, dust balling excitement from the sidelines. Your ride will appreciate the rest.