ATV Racing

atv raceMany ATV enthusiasts not only enjoy riding, but pay attention to ATV racing events that are regularly televised. As fans of events like the ATV Motocross Nationals, these sportsmen are curious about how they can get started racing. ATV racing is certainly a growing sport, with a variety of competitions including cross country, desert and dirt track racing, endurance, mud, and moto/super motocross.

There are major motocross races taking place throughout the country, with the AMA ATV Motocross Nationals, Yamaha/ITP Quadcross, and the New England ATV Motocross Series among the most recognized. Motocross (MX) racing is held on enclosed off-road circuits. The tracks used for these races are normally one to two miles long, and consist of tight turns, large jumps, and sections of natural terrain. In qualifying, drivers compete against the clock. On race day, competitors might be given a set amount of time to complete the race, or a fixed number of laps to complete with the winner clocking the fastest time.

Motocross ATVs are most typically 50” wide with the ride height lowered with smaller – 18” rear and 19” front – tires. All ATVs that race go through a required tech check, to certify that they are equipped with the necessary safety equipment: nerf bars and a kill switch are required. The tech inspections certify that the equipment is properly installed. Races begin on a concrete or dirt starting area with a live engine. Up to 20 racers start at the drop of the gate, racing down a wide straight away which is funneled into a tighter course by the first turn. The majority of the track is approximately 20-30 feet wide to allow room for passing.

In Cross Country (XC) racing, ATVs are grouped by class and lined up for the start in rows – normally there is no limit to the number of racers and the course start is a wide open field. Classes start from a dead engine at one-minute intervals. Depending on the area, the courses vary: often tight woods back east and open desert in the west. XC venues do try to mix up the terrain to include wooded and rocky sections, mud, hill climbs and wide expanses of open fields.

The premier national cross-country event is the GNCC ATV Racing Series, which has events in the mid-west and eastern U.S. The WORCS ATV Racing Series holds cross-country races on the west coast and in the southwest part of the country. Racers run heavy-duty tires (20” rears and 21” fronts) and use Skid plates. Racing utility ATVs is growing in popularity, and there are classes for different engine sizes/modifications. Anyone with a utility ATV can get in on the fun, as long as they have a kill switch installed and have proper riding safety gear.