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By: Robert Janis

Danny Represents Third Generation of Prathers Racing ATVs

Danny Prather a third generation of racing ATVs.
Danny Prather a third generation of racing ATVs.

For the Prather clan, racing ATVs must be in the DNA. Dan is the third generation Prather to be involved in desert racing. In fact, his dad Scott won the Baja 500 twice.

“It’s in my blood,” commented Dan. “I used to pit for my dad when he was racing and go on rides with him and my grandpa all over Baja.”

Now 27 years old and a resident of Ramona, California, Dan is married. Although he has a day job as a field superintendent for Legacy Paving, most of his spare time is spent with his two dogs Caesar and Savage and ATV riding and racing.

Knowing now how involved his dad and grandfather were, and are, to the sport, it should be to no one’s surprise that Dan rode his first ATV at the tender age of just 4 years-old. Again, no one should be surprised to learn that it was his dad who bought him his first ATV--a Honda TRX 70.

He was 15 years-old when he participated in his first race. “My first race was a flat track race at Barona Speedway (in San Diego, California),” he recalled. “I was really nervous. I worked on my quad every day after school getting it ready. We (he and his dad) made a loop out in a field so I could practice with different set ups. I rode a Honda 250R since that was what my dad was racing. He had enough extra parts around to piece the whole thing together. Let’s just say it was not the prettiest quad on the track. I didn’t work yet so I had very little money for sway bars or good tires. I had stock a-arms on the left side of the quad and took the Roll Design a-arms off my dad’s quad and put them on the right side of my quad. We cut the coil spring in the back and put a tie down to the swing arm to get it low. I mounted the stock tires backwards on the right and went racing. It was all rigged, but it worked okay for a few races until I could afford the good stuff.”

Taking the win at the Baja 500.
Taking the win at the Baja 500.

His first year racing must have been successful. He turned pro the next year. He started out competing in the District 38 desert races for about 11 years and won about 30 of them. He is now a member of the Temecula Motorsports racing team which is managed by his teammate Mike Cafro. He mostly participates in the SCORE INTERNATIONAL Series which includes the Baja 250, the Baja 500, the Baja 1000 and he has been racing in the Best in the Desert series for the last five years. He estimates that he has raced in 60 to 70 desert races including eight Baja 250s, nine Baja 500s, and eight Baja 1000s. He has won the Baja 250 once, the Baja 500 twice and the Baja 1000 once. “By far, the best finish was last year’s Baja 1000,” he said. “We (he and his teammate Michael Cafro) had a flawless race and the first place finish locked up the 2006 SCORE Points Championship. So we have the number one plate for 2007.”

He is racing a Honda TRX 450. “It is the best desert race bike you can get,” he added. He credits Cafro, who besides being the Temecula racing team manager is also the mechanic, for “putting together a bike that is proved to be the best out there. Mike handles all the prep and puts everything together for us to succeed.”

Danny Prather

Dan volunteered that he and Cafro have worked for two years with the R&D departments of Elka Suspension and Roll Design to assure the best possible set up for his bike. “We have the new Elka Factory shocks and they are awesome. We gusset the frames in key areas and Doug Roll has designed a-arms and a swing arm that is the best I have ever ridden on. CD Racing goes through the head and does the porting, cam, provides better valves and springs, and dynos the engine. We run the engine with more HP for shorter races and mild for the Baja 1000 to keep it reliable. Allen Knowles of CD Racing really knows how to build a fast reliable engine. We’ve also done a lot of testing with Tire Balls and have come up with the right ingredients on pressures and the amount of Tire Balls to use to keep failures to a minimum. We went the entire distance of the Baja 500 on one set of tires without any flats. A/C Racing makes custom skid plates and belly pans for us that are 3/8-inch thick and heat treated. Overall our sponsors have helped us build the best ATV available.”

Dan’s entire sponsor list includes Temecula Motorsports, Maxxis Tires, Elka Suspension, IMS-Roll, CT Racing, Roll Design, RPM, Ricky Stator, Tire Balls, Douglas Wheels, Tsubaki Chains, Maier Plastic, Universal, Works Connection, Zing, SPY, K&N Air Filters, Hardcore Hubs, Streamline Brakes, A/C Racing, MSR, WolfPak, Dana Creech Racing, Darryl Smith Sand Tires, Brian Cox, Joe Graves Clancy, and Elias.

Danny Prather

He got his fine list of sponsors by racing as much as possible and winning those races. He also credits some close friends in the industry. “Luckily I had some close friends like Ricky Stator and Doug Roll who helped me in contacting the right people,” said Dan. “I sent out resumes each year to gain new sponsors. I try to represent my team as well as I can and be professional on and off the track. I keep a close relationship with all my sponsors and have loyalty to all the people who have helped me over the years. Relationships are very important in this industry.”

When you’ve been racing for 11 years, there are no doubt interesting stories to tell friends. Dan certainly has his share. One of his favorites concerns keeping the light working on a Bombardier Ds650. “I was racing the Baja 1000 in 2001 for Team Bombardier on a Ds650. I had one of the night sections about 600 miles into the race. We were having battery problems, and the lights kept going out. When the bike came into the pit around 8 p.m., we changed the battery; and I took off. We were in first place, and I was at the beginning of a 290 mile section. I made it about 20 miles, and the voltage regulator went out. The engine would run for 30 minutes but without any lights. I pulled out a little Magnalite flashlight and taped it to my helmet and kept going. I was in a section of the race where none of my teammates could pit for me so we used Baja pits. I pulled into a little camp, and the bike was spitting and sputtering so I talked some kid into giving me his speaker wire from his boom box so that I could charge up my battery so I could keep going. I used that speaker wire about every 25 miles or so to keep charging the battery. It was cold, dark, and miserable. I had to bump start the bike like five times and almost gave up. However, I didn’t want to spend the night in the middle of nowhere with the Chupa Cavra (Mexican Myth) so I kept going. I drove over 250 miles at night with only a flashlight, and I finally came to the last pit to hand the bike off at 6 a.m. It was something I will never forget.”

Danny Prather

The best part of racing, said Dan, is winning races. The worst part of racing is losing races. His favorite race is the Baja 500. “It is a fast-paced race. It is longer than the Baja 250 and shorter than the Baja 1000 so the rides are typically less than 200 for each rider. So you can still push hard,” he said.

He sees a very bright future for ATV racing. “I think ATV racing is definitely progressing and getting to be more mainstreamed. With all the factories putting out ATVs that will allow you to bolt on parts and go racing and be competitive, doors have opened for a lot of people who could not afford to build a $30,000 250R themselves. Now, with the factory support getting involved, we will see better products and more support and more coverage from the media. I think that our team has a bright future too. If we play our cards right, hopefully we can get some factory support,” he concluded.


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