By Robert Janis
Fit For A Dragon
#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
Today, the company offers three categories of
products--sand, race cars, race products, and
powersport. ATV falls under the powersport
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
"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
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
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