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By Robert Janis

A Desert Racing Partnership

Chad Prull
Chad Prull

For 31 year-old Chad Prull, there is nothing like racing a quad in the desert. He has partnered with Wayne Matlock to form a racing team that competes in SCORE INTERNATIONAL and Best in the Desert events for the last five years.

Prull, who is a branch rental manager for Enterprise Rent-A-Truck in Tempe, Arizona, is an accomplished racer on his own. Married and with a baby girl on the way, Prull has been riding ATVs since 1983 and raced in his first event when he was just 8 years old. “My first race was a desert race in Wickenburg, Arizona,” said Prull. “The biggest challenge was for my family and the organization to get me to realize I had crossed the finish line. I just kept going like Forest Gump.” He rode a 1983 Honda 70 that his dad had bought for him. The machine was customized over time. “The first year my father put a Basani pipe on the bike and within two to three years my Honda 70 had a built motor and suspension in the front and rear,” said Prull.

After that first race in Wickenburg, he continued the series and also raced in motocross events. He turned pro at the tender age of 14 and now concentrates on desert races produced by SCORE and Best in the Desert.

His partnership with Wayne Matlock was probably the result of grudging respect. The two competed against each other in a grand prix race in California which Prull won. “About five years ago my family, my wife, and I decided to travel to California so that I could participate in my first Adelanto Grand Prix,” remembered Prull. “I placed third and beat Wayne. About one or two weeks later, Wayne was able to research and find my phone number. He called and asked if I would like to be his teammate in the Best in the Desert series. I said ‘Yes’ and we’ve been teammates ever since.” Matlock probably realized that it would be better to join him than to compete against him.

The partnership has been a fruitful one. The duo has either won or finished second in the SCORE and Best in the Desert series. Their wins include the Baja 1000, the Nevada 1000, the Henderson’s Terrible 400, the Parker 250, and the Terrible’s Town 250.

Chad Prull
Chad Prull

Prull and Matlock learned quickly that not all ATV races take place on beautiful sunny days. Their win in the 2006 Tecate San Felipe 250 proved that. They had to adapt quickly to the inclement weather to grab that victory. During Prull’s leg of the race, it went from silty dust to sudden bee-stinging rain drops. Prull stated, “I sure am glad I decided to apply Rain-X to my goggles before the start, as it is crucial to help keep them clear.” Also, the rain assisted in finding better lines. Prull would follow the single-track motorcycle lines created by the motorcycle pros that could be easily seen in the sand washes and throughout all the trails. "It worked out great," he said. "It’s very rare for desert racers to race in a dust-free environment; it creates a more aggressive environment as it keeps everyone close. It was a great day for racing as we beat the next team by 20 minutes," said Prull.

Prull and Matlock also had to learn to overcome equipment failures. “In the 2007 SCORE Baja 250, the blinker light that was placed on my chest protector had broken off when I put my jacket on to ride the bike to the starting line. I didn’t know it. At the start line, I was pulled out of my fourth place start position and put in the back of the line--nineteenth position--because I was penalized for not having a safety light. So we physically started 19th and our time started fourth off the line. Unfortunately, there were not enough miles to catch the Temecula Motorsports team. We had the fastest time on the course, but they still beat us in time by two and a half minutes.”

Today Prull races a 2007 Honda TRX450. He and Matlock are sponsored by American Honda. Other sponsors include ALBA Action Sports, Elka Shocks, Roll Design/IMS, Precision Concepts, Maxxis Tires, Tire Balls, Moose Gear, TAG, Honda Oils, Douglas Wheels, Quad Tech Seats, Laeger, Division 4, One Industries, Alpine Star Boots, AC Racing, and Baja Designs.

It is no surprise that the sponsors helped Prull customize his ATV for optimum performance. “Honda gave me a stock TRX 450, and we had it built by Precision Concepts. ALBA supplied much of the smaller aftermarket parts while Roll Design provided the best handling A-arms with foot pegs, heel guards, steering stem and bumper. Elka provided a race-proven shock for the front and rear and an excellent stabilizer that does not fade in the worst conditions after many hours of use. The Maxxis tires I use hook up all day long with semi-aggressive traction that is just right, and we use AC skid plates that are thicker than normal to ensure the bullet proofing of the undercarriage,” said Prull.

Chad Prull
Chad Prull

His favorite race is the Baja 1000. “It is the king of all races,” he said. “We won the Baja 1000 in 2005, and it was the greatest feeling of accomplishment. There is so much planned effort and attrition. It is the most physically and mentally demanding event.”

When asked what the best part of racing was for him, he answered, “The thrill of doing something you love with so much support from our families and sponsors and coming home a winner.”

What is the worst part of racing? “Losing!” he said.

He sees an explosive future for ATV racing. “The future of ATV racing has blown up for 2007, and it will be even better for 2008. All the manufacturers are beginning to sign on professional racers in all areas of ATV racing, and they are also throwing lots of bonus money out there as well. That was unheard of three to four years ago.”

As for his future, “Hopefully, my future in ATV racing will be bright for years to come,” he concluded.

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