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By Robert Janis

Fit For A Dragon

#59 Jimmy Weitzel is solidly in 1st in the this stock rhino.
#59 Jimmy Weitzel is solidly in 1st in the this stock rhino.

Who better to know how to improve a product than the people who are most familiar with it when it is used in the most extreme conditions? That's the premise behind DragonFire Racing, a Mesa, Arizona- based company that manufactures parts for desert racers.

Opened in 1992 by Todd Romano, a desert racer in his own right, the company earned its reputation building race wheels for desert racing and rock crawling guys. Their inventory also included race motors for off-road trophy trucks, race cars, sand cars, Class 10 to 1/2 1600 race cars, etc. "Anything that you've seen raced in the Baja--we built motors, race wheels, and chassis for them," said Romano.

About three to four years ago the company expanded into the ATV market when Yamaha introduced their Rhino. "Yamaha approached us about three years ago," said Romano. "We were provided a Rhino to use as support for the Baja 500.  I made changes to it to improve its capability in the desert. Then things took off. Racers wanted us to make the parts that we made for my Rhino so that they could use them on theirs."

Today, the company offers three categories of products--sand, race cars, race products, and powersport. ATV falls under the powersport category.

DragonFire Racing has more than 60 different accessory products for the Rhino 660 alone. They now manufacture ATV products for Can Am, Arctic Cat, Honda, Kawasaki, Suzuki, Polaris, and Yamaha and they also make seven customized quads. The product inventory includes exhausts, computers, steering stems, suspensions, axles, front and rear bumpers, nerf bars, and foot pegs. Products are sold under the DragonFire Racing label and some are also sold as private label for manufacturers. Interestingly, DragonFire also offers audio packages for the Polaris Ranger and Yamaha Rhino 660.  They work in conjunction with Kicker, a major manufacturer of car and marine audio products. The major designer of the packages is Tim Gertz, who designs systems for Kicker.

The Mountain Dew customized ATV by DragonFire Racing
The Mountain Dew customized ATV by DragonFire Racing

"I met Tim Gertz about one and one-half years ago when Polaris hired both DragonFire and Kicker to make aftermarket accessories for their Ranger," said Romano.  "We've since worked together on other projects such as building show cars for companies. We both agreed that there is a market for audio packages for ATV vehicles. We (DragonFire) know what needs to be done so that the products can sustain in harsh conditions and Kicker knows how to use quality audio products." So far DragonFire markets as an accessory an audio package for the Polaris Ranger RZR as well as a full system that includes an amplifier, several pods with big speakers and a large power subwoofer for the Yamaha Rhino 660.

DragonFire sets the parameters and Gertz at Kicker designs the packages. Romano noted that basically DragonFire is concerned with such issues as clearance and assurances that the audio products will not be damaged by sand or water, vibration, rocks, sticks, or trees.

Gertz uses vehicles supplied to him to determine the best and safest locations for the audio components and selects the appropriate Kicker marine products. The kits are then sent to DragonFire who, in turn, sends them out to other clients to test and present feedback.

The kits come with wiring looms included and are designed for drop in/bolt-in installation. So the kits can be installed by the purchaser of the kit or by staff where the kit is purchased.

In order to help in the development of their ATV desert racing accessories, DragonFire sponsors two UTV desert racers--Kyle LeDuke and Jimmy Whitzel. "They help us improve a product by winning with it or breaking it," said Romano.

DragonFire Racing Main Offices
DragonFire Racing Main Offices

The company also sponsors desert racing events. In the past they have sponsored the Podium Series and Lake Elsinore Series. These races have been shown on OLN Cable Television.

In addition, the company has a Research & Development division. "We have our own engineers who design most of the products in solid work or CAD type software to make sure it functions properly, then we have a host of manufacturers who are all state-side to manufacture and package the products," said Romano. "The products are then returned to us, and we test them and validate them. Our testing procedure includes up to 500 to 700 miles of driving time. Once the parts are proven, then they are released to the market.

"As far as suspensions are concerned," continued Romano, "we have a partnership with Fox Racing. They take time to test and tune our suspensions to get the right valve specs and spring rights."

DragonFire Racing products are sold as an accessory through distributors in Canada, Mexico City, Johannesburg, South Africa, and Dubai. In the United States they sell their products directly to power sports dealers and also through their own four retail stores located in Mesa, Lake Havasu City, Phoenix, Arizona, and San Diego, California.

For more information including the company's complete line of ATV products, visit their website at: http://www.dragonfireracing.com.


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