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By: Robert Janis

Dana Creech -- Born to Run

Dana Creech back in 2000
Dana Creech back in 2000

What makes a legend? Is it his or her exploits in a given field? Is it doing something no one else has done before? Is it pushing the envelope of convention? Is it risking life and limb one’s entire life to pursue a passion? Is it throwing caution to the wind and pursuing a life-long passion? Whatever it is, I think one can say that Dana Creech is a legend. Before he could walk, he was riding ATVs. Really, it’s true. At the tender age of only seven weeks he was riding an ATV. He claims that his very first ride on a Yamaha Tri-Zinger 60, which he received as a birthday gift earlier in the day when he turned 3 years old, was traversing the backyard of his family’s home and running the machine up his grandfather’s right leg. This created a memory that Grandpa Dale and Dana’s parents would have liked to forget, but one that perhaps Dana doesn’t even remember.

He was four when he participated in his first race. Again, it was on that now infamous Yamaha Tri-Zinger. “The fact that I was four years-old insures that I had little preparation other than juice and a nap,” quipped Creech. He noticed that there was a rhythm section in the middle of the track that had deep ruts that were created by dirt bikes. He decided that he was going to cut the track every lap and go around the ruts because he was afraid of running his three-wheeler through them. “After the race everyone who participated except for me got a participation trophy. I didn’t get a trophy because I had cut the track. I think that could be why I am so competitive today.”

It is not surprising that Creech was introduced into ATV riding and racing at such a young age. It was actually a part of his family’s lifestyle. Living in California, the family, including little Dana, rode ATVs on the beach just about every weekend. According to his mom, Teresa, they would pack a dinner and cook it over a bonfire and share the meal with a group of 20 or so friends and their kids. It wasn’t long before the kids actually made a track and did their riding there as their parents watched while other adults who were part of the group went on their own rides on the beach. It was just a common thing for them to do like others watch a pro football game on television with family and friends as a routine on Sundays every fall.

Dana Creech was a pioneer for the first ATV freestylers.
Dana Creech was a pioneer for the first ATV freestylers.

But being an ATV enthusiast involves actual participation and can also lead to problems with others who don’t favor the use of ATVs for environmental reasons. Young Dana learned that there was an opposition to what he liked to do when in 2001 a group of environmentalists were able to ban the use of ATVs on the beach.

No problem. That’s about the time when Dana turned pro in pursuit of his racing career. He had already built a reputation for himself dominating the youth classes where he lived. By the time he was in the fifth grade he had graduated from the Tri-Zinger to a Blaster and was racing in indoor arenas. Those who raced against him were much older and couldn’t believe that this young rebel who was beating them was only in the fifth grade. When he graduated into the sixth grade, he also graduated on up to a 250R; and he started to pursue racing with more enthusiasm, participating in larger races at better tracks in the area including Phillipsville Motocross. By this time Dana was sharing his racing experiences with other kids who were about his age which no doubt made racing even more fun.

By the winter of 1998, Dana had pretty much conquered the local racing scene so he turned his sights on bigger races at bigger venues--like the King Dome in Seattle, Washington. He happened to eye the King Dome when the last motorsports event was scheduled, and before the home of the Seattle Seahawks of the National Football League and Seattle Pilots and Mariners of Major League Baseball, was to be torn down.

Dana was 16 years-old, and he was excited about participating in an event against racers he had been reading about in the magazines. These guys were his heroes and pictures of them that he cut out of magazines were taped to his bedroom walls at home. His days before that race were spent rubbing elbows with some of the best ATV racers, participating in practice runs and jumping hills. The promoter noticed him and asked if he would do an exhibition “pretend” race before the main event, which he did, and he raced in the main event coming in a respectable eighth place overall. By the end of the weekend, he was signing autographs for the first time in his career.
In 1999, Dana started participating in the GNC Races and also made an appearance at another major venue, Angel Stadium, the home of the California Angels and the site of the Pro Quad Series. Racing in the main event, he shot passed other racers into fifth place with only four laps before the finish when his engine blew. His skills prior to the engine disaster won him lots of friends and added to the growing legend. As a result of the Anaheim experience, he developed a close friendship with Wes Miller and was a major participant in the filming of Miller’s Huevos 3. In 2000, he continued with the GNC Series all the while developing a reputation as one of the best jumpers on the circuit, whether pro or amateur.

Dana Creech during Loretta Lynn's Dirt Days in 2000.
Dana Creech during Loretta Lynn's Dirt Days in 2000.

From 2001 through 2007 the legend continued to grow until recently he became involved with Polaris Industries who asked him to ride their Ranger RZR in WPSA UTV class events. In his first race piloting an RZR in Boswell, Pennsylvania, he won and bested a class of four modified Rhinos and one modified Arctic Cat. And he did it on an RZR that was mostly in stock form except for some safety modifications and a Dana Creech signature dual exhaust.

Today he still competes in such major races as the SCORE INTERNATIONAL Baja Series and is a member of the Temecula Motorsports team which includes Danny Prather, Mike Cafricana, Levi Marana, and Marc Spaeth.

His list of sponsors include Polaris Industries, Jagermiester, Kicker, DG Performance, Temecula Motorsports, Procraft, PRP Racing Seats, Looney Tuned Exhaust, Car One, Hiper Wheels, K&N, Precision Dampner, and Alpinestar. He is also sponsored by his own company, Dana Creech Racing. Through its website (www.danacreechracing.com) he sells parts for Honda, Yamaha, Suzuki, Kawasaki, and Polaris ATVs as well as tires and accessories for ATVs.

Dana Creech racing the Polaris Ranger RZR during the WPSA side-by-side races.
Dana Creech racing the Polaris Ranger RZR during the WPSA side-by-side races.

Now 25 years-old and living in Lake Elsinore, California, Dana also builds Rhinos and RZRs that are ready to race and continues to ride trails and sand dunes for recreation. In his career as a racer he has won 16 Series Championships in Northern California from 1986 through 2000; the 2000 DivisionFour.com Freestyle National Championship; the 2000 AMA GNC Series 250A National Championship; the 2001 DivisionFour.com Freestyle National Championship; the 2003 SFX Stadium Series ProQuad Series Championship; and the 2003 Clear Channel Stadium ProQuad Championship. He has participated in the 2006 MXI Tour Series; the SCORE INTERNATIONAL 2005 and 2007 Baja 500 and 2005 and 2006 Baja 1000; and the 2006 Weston Super Mare. He finished second in the ‘05 Baja 500; second in the ‘05 Baja 1000; first in the ‘06 Baja 1000; and first in the ‘07 Baja 500.

With time to reflect on his success, Dana tapped his favorite races as those that have occurred in stadiums. “I like to compete under the lights in front of thousands of people, and I really like the technical tracks that the stadium events offer with their rhythm sections that allow you to pick different lines,” he said.

So now that he has achieved so much at such a young age, he says it is time to take a break from ATV racing.  “I would spend all of my time working on bikes, driving to the races, working out or riding and there was not any money left nor time left for other things. So I am taking a break from racing ATVs until I am on my feet and can support the lifestyle or a sponsor comes along who wants me to race for them on their team. I would like to thank my fans who stand behind me in whatever I do. You are the ones who keep me going,” he concluded.


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