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By: Robert Janis

ATV Racing Has Traction With World PowerSports Association

World PowerSports AssociationNow in its ninth year as a sanctioning body, the World PowerSports Association (WPSA), actually began as the World Snowmobiling Association. It wasn't until November, 2005 that the group was recognized in its present carnation.

According to Justin Anderson, Director of Public Relations for the WPSA, the change in name led to an expansion of vision and the creation of two racing sanctioning groups--the PowerSports Snowmobile Tour and the PowerSports ATV Tour.

The group first got involved in ATV racing with its first Tour event in May, 2006 at the Daniel Boone MX Track in London, Kentucky. The ATV Tour consists of 10 races per year for three different categories--the MX, the Quad Terrain Challenge, and the Super Sport Side-by-Side. "The Quad MX consists of professional and pro-am sport MX racing on pro style, big-air MX racing circuits. The Quad Terrain Challenge consists of professional and pro-am sport-utility racing on purpose-built all-terrain racing circuits, which includes obstacles such as logs, mud bogs, and uneven terrain. ATVs allowed to compete in the Quad Terrain Challenge are stock, near-stock, utility type, and modified. SuperSport Side-by-Side is open to two-person utility vehicles which race on MX tracks," explained Anderson.

Riders making their way through a section of whoops.
Riders making their way through a section of whoops.

Eight tracks will be used during the 2007 racing season: South Fork Dirt Riders in Taylorville, Illinois; Cooperland Raceway, Stillwater, Oklahoma; Daniel Boone MX, London, Kentucky; Virginia Motorsports Park, Richmond, Virginia; Wild Cat Creek MX, Rossville, Indiana; Old Bridge Township Raceway Park, Englishtown, New Jersey; and Carolina Adventure Park, Charlotte, North Carolina. "A venue in Georgia is still being negotiated," said Anderson.

Tracks that host the PowerSports ATV Tour have to satisfy certain criteria concerning the track and locale. "Obviously, it's important for us to race near population centers and where ATV racing is a popular hobby," said Anderson.

Track layouts are designed to optimize television coverage and fan viewing and the QuadTerrain courses are a half mile or less in length. In order to allow competition from amateur and junior classes without taking away from the professional event, the courses include amateur alternative lines.

The SuperQuad Pro 450 class leaping through the whoops.
The SuperQuad Pro 450 class leaping through the whoops.

Setting up a race starts one year in advance of the scheduled date. WPSA crews go to the venue and analyze it to be certain it can host the association's version of ATV racing. In addition, employees of the WPSA work with track personnel and in the market to promote the event, also about a year or so before it is actually scheduled to take place. About one week before the event, WPSA personnel are on the ground setting up signs, building the track to the association's specific regulations, setting up timing and scoring boards, and building a media center.

"Racers must pay an entry fee of from $40 to $125 depending on the class they intend to race in," said Anderson. About 4,000 spectators attended each event in 2006.

There are 27 classes in the PowerSports ATV Tour's Pro, Pro-Am, Amateur, and Youth Categories. The youngest class has riders who are as young as four years-old. There are two women's classes. All racers are required to be a member of the WPSA. Membership fee is $50 a year. There are two categories of membership--An Annual Competition membership which allows the rider to compete in every ProSports ATV Championship Tour event for the full season, and the One Weekend Only Membership which allows a rider to compete in a single ATV Championship Tour event.

A look at one of the 8 tracks that the WPSA will attend in 2007.
A look at one of the 8 tracks that the WPSA will attend in 2007.

There are four ways to join the association:

  • Online registration
  • Download and print the appropriate application form, fill out and fax it to WPSA headquarters at (651) 209-7447. You must pay with a credit card.
  • Mail the form, along with payment to: WPSA headquarters, 1863 Buerkle Road, White Bear Lake, Minnesota 55110, Attn: Memberships.
  • Sign up at track registration. This is discouraged, but registration will be available on a limited basis at each race.

Pro riders are eligible to compete in Pro and Pro Am classes. Pro-Am classes include Pro A, 16-24 years, 25+, 35+ and women's class riders can compete in the Pro-Am classes. Pro-Am riders cannot compete in any B or C classes.

To compete in the QuadMX classes, riders must be 16 years of age or older. QuadMX classes include: SuperQuad Pro 450; SuperQuad Pro Am; A class; B class; C class; Women; 16-24; Plus 25; Plus 35; and Open Amateur.

The Quad Terrain Challenge Log section, which is brutal on the machines.
The Quad Terrain Challenge Log section, which is brutal on the machines.

To compete in the Youth Classes, riders must show proof of age. Categories in the Youth Classes include: Production Lites (age 13-15); 0-90 modified (ages 8-15); 0-90 Sr. (ages 12-15); 0-90 Jr. (ages 8-11); 0-70 (ages 6-11); 0-50 Sr. (ages 6-8); 0-50 Jr. (ages 4-6).

Riders must be 16 years-old or older to race in the Quad Terrain Challenge.

Classes in the Quad Terrain Challenge include: Pro Stock, Pro Open, Pro-Am Unlimited, and Pro-Am Superlite.

Anderson boasted that about 300 riders participated in each event in 2006. He added that more than 20 women participated. it is expected that more than 600 riders will be competing in each event in 2007.

Machine and rider is tested in the log section of the course.
Machine and rider is tested in the log section of the course.

A typical ATV racing weekend starts with racer registration which takes place typically all day on Friday and Saturday morning and Sunday morning if needed. When riders check in they will receive a weekend access wristband after signing an insurance waiver. The wristband allows access to the facility and the pit area. A practice session is held, weather and time permitting, usually the Friday before a race weekend. A mandatory drivers' meeting is held by the race director on Saturday and Sunday morning. During this time there is a pre-tech inspection which may include ATV safety equipment and rider safety gear.

All riders have to pass pre-tech inspection before they can race. Heats are then held. There is a staging area at the facility where heats will be posted on a board to alert racers which race is being staged. Within a half- hour after a race the race results are posted in the staging area.

The World PowerSport Association includes marketing and advertising departments that promote races through advertising in the local newspapers and campaigns geared toward the local news media.

The rock challenge section for the Quad Terrain Challenge race.
The rock challenge section for the Quad Terrain Challenge race.

Companies involved in the ATV industry that sponsor WPSA Racing include Jack Link's Beef Jerky, ITP Tires, Dunlop, Elka Suspension, Suzuki, Can-Am, AMSOIL, Arctic Cat, Rocky Mountain ATV, Dennis Kirk, Outerwears and more. Sponsoring companies are encouraged to exhibit at PowerSports ATV Tour events. "We believe in working with our sponsors as partners, bringing them on and introducing them to a suite of opportunities both at the race and on television," said Anderson. "Our ESPN2 telecasts last year beat Supercross ratings by nearly double and with our 'TiVO-proof' signage, we offer great value for the dollar."

The association website (www.wsaracing.com) includes news and event information as well as race photos, race results and point standings. A section on racer information includes how one can get started with the WPSA as well as membership registration and racer forms. This section also includes the association’s rule book which you can download from the site. There is also an online store.

The future calls for the association to grow the sport. "We have plans to expand the Tour to include a regional series. This will allow local racers to compete in WPSA-sanctioned races at a lower fee and close to home. Additionally, we are planning to expand our promotional activities in market to build our fan base," concluded Anderson.

Click here to see the complete 2007 WPSA RACE SCHEDULE

 
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